Georgia Football: Are the Bulldogs ready to be carried by defense?


The Georgia football program has been breaking school and conference records on offense over the last few seasons, but is the pendulum ready to swing the other way?

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For several seasons in Athens, Ga., Aaron Murray passed the ball, Isaiah Crowell, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb ran the ball, and the Georgia offense did all they could to score more points than Todd Grantham’s defense would surrender.

But last season, with Hutson Mason under center, the passing game took a back seat to the run game and the Georgia defense improved throughout the season and eventually was taking over games against quality opponents.

With defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt taking over, the once cheesecloth-like secondary started to gel into a group of ball hawks, and the Georgia run defense began to solidify (as long as they weren’t facing the option).

Georgia’s recruiting team is bringing in some top prospects on the defensive side of the ball, and some unheralded players stepped up to become household names in 2014.

What we are seeing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you love seeing tons of deep outs and scoring frenzies. The Georgia defense is going to start carrying this team, and that could be the missing element that has kept this team from reaching their goals.

The Bulldogs have questions at quarterback next season that may not be answered, and the wide receivers could go from what was once the best group in the SEC to a sum of a few parts that simply get the job done and keep defenses from loading up to stop Nick Chubb.

Everyone knows what Georgia has going on at linebacker, even with Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera moving on to the NFL, and the defensive line will continue to beast up. The additions of strong-side defensive ends Jonathan Ledbetter and Michael Barnett, weak-side defensive end Chauncey Rivers and defensive tackle Trent Thompson — all four and five-star players — will only make an already imposing line better.

Nov 1, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Dominick Sanders (24) against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia’s secondary, which finished the season as one of the best in the nation, is also gaining some top recruits and will no doubt look even better.

This isn’t to say that the offense isn’t getting a lot of talent, but it’s nowhere near the number of top recruits joining the defensive side of the ball.

Bottom line, start looking for some ball control offense, followed by a defense pitching three-and-outs and forcing turnovers on a regular basis. Start looking for a team more closely resembling the championship teams of the early 1980s. Start looking for the Bulldogs to become much more renowned for their defense than their ability to score points and rack up yards.

Defense wins championships. It’s always held true and it always will. If Georgia’s defense starts clicking early and Pruitt’s intensity comes through in his players, championships will start coming to Athens.

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