Defensive Players to Watch vs. Kentucky

Kyle Funderburk

Georgia football's defense is coming off its worst performance in quite some time. The Bulldogs allowed 41 points against Alabama and the Crimson Tide accumulated 564 total yards.

The Bulldogs are hoping for a bounce-back performance Saturday at Kentucky. The Wildcats field a completely different offense than Alabama, relying on a zone-read attack without fielding a great passing game. Even without a solid air attack, Kentucky's zone read is dangerous so the following players will prove integral in shutting that offense down.

Eric Stokes, Cornerback

Kentucky quarterbacks Terry Wilson and Joey Gatewood have combined for 63 completions and 617 yards. With 25 catches and 290 yards, Josh Ali is by far the Wildcats' leading receiver. No other Kentucky receiver has more than seven catches or 68 yards. With Stokes covering Ali, Georgia has a good chance of making Kentucky's offense one-dimensional early in the game.

Georgia's secondary struggled in man-to-man coverage against Alabama, but Stokes managed to hold his own. A bogus pass interference penalty in the end zone was his only real blemish.

Jordan Davis , Nose Guard

To find a complete running game in the SEC this season, look no further than Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats have two running backs with at least 235 yards, and Wilson complements the duo with 251 rushing yards. The Wildcats are even missing Kavosiey Smoke, who is arguably their best running back.

Kentucky's running game is working despite Smoke's injury, thanks to its elite offensive line. Head coach Mark Stoops has built Kentucky into a juggernaut on both sides of the line of scrimmage, making them a real challenge for Georgia's vaunted defensive line. However, if one player can negate a great offensive line, it's Davis.

Whenever Georgia is playing a team with a great offensive line, watch Davis closely. If the Bulldogs are winning at the line of scrimmage, it's usually because he's dominating the interior.


Monty Rice and Nakobe Dean, Linebackers

It will take more than a good performance by Georgia's offensive line to contain Kentucky's zone-read attack. The Bulldogs need a good game out of linebackers Monty Rice and Nakobe Dean.

Rice and Dean are integral in keeping Kentucky's running backs from making big plays when its offensive line handles Georgia's defensive line. Both players are certainly up to the task as they are likely the best linebacker duo in the SEC. Both are great at quickly processing the play, locating and pursuing the football, and they're also excellent tacklers.

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