Georgia Bulldogs Defense Will Be Key to 2015 Championships


The Georgia Bulldogs are once again a favorite in the SEC East and will no doubt garner some discussion of an SEC and even national championship, and if the Dawgs want to take it beyond discussion they may have to rely on defense.

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It wouldn’t be a summer in the new millennium if there weren’t hopes and whispers of a Georgia Bulldogs championship run. It seems every year there are players who will “provide the missing piece” or a schedule that is “set up for a championship run” or some other reason Georgia fans can stop slinking around like Gollum when the talk of a championship comes up.

This year, Georgia had a very nice recruiting class…some decent pieces, but nobody at a skill position who has everyone licking their chops in expectation to see. No…the best players from this year’s crop of recruits are from down in the trenches.

Which is probably fine by Nick Chubb.

All the recent buzz around Georgia’s quarterback situation has kept everyone distracted from the real reason the Bulldogs might actually have the wheels to drive on through to a playoff berth…and that’s Jeremy Pruitt’s defense.

Yes, quarterback is an issue that has to be addressed…but history has proven — in both the NFL and college football — that you don’t have to have a record-setting QB to hoist a big time trophy at the end of the season.

In the meantime, while Mark Richt and Brian Schottenheimer are sorting out who will stand under center, take a good look at both the returning and entering players on defense this season.

They’re…a scary group.

First of all, you have last year’s secondary almost completely returning intact, with the exception of Damian Swann. But Georgia’s young defensive backs — like Aaron Davis, Reggie Wilkerson, Malkom Parrish and Dominick Sanders — grew up in a hurry last season, and had Georgia’s pass defense near the top of the nation.

If you don’t think Pruitt will have them looking even better this season, you’ve not followed his defenses over the years.

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

Then there’s the Bulldogs’ always imposing linebackers, missing a couple of pieces from last season, but showing promise for this season again including a nice surprise in UAB transfer Jake Ganus, who has been outstanding in drills and practices thus far. Last year’s defensive freshman standout Lorenzo Carter is poised to become one of the top names in the SEC this season, and junior OLB Leonard Floyd has people turning heads.

On the defensive line, where Georgia may have been a little weaker last season, there are high hopes for the return of senior DT Sterling Bailey and some serious expectations for what may be one of the youngest D-lines in the SEC. Watch carefully for incoming 5-star freshman Trent Thompson, who could become a huge force on this line.

Last year, there were letdowns (particularly against the run) against Florida and Georgia Tech. Once again, the Bulldogs will be facing some teams who love to pound the rock and that young defensive line will be tested.

This is clearly a defense where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With only a few legitimate superstar players to speak of, this defense could end up becoming part of Georgia lore.

The fact is, this Georgia team may very well need a history-making defense if they want to reach college football nirvana. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see new Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan showing his team films of Georgia this year to give his NFL team an example of what he wants in a true ground-and-pound attack.

Hand it to Chubb…run down the clock…shut down the opponents and cause turnovers.

An old south recipe for cooking up a newfangled playoff berth and for dusting off a spot in the UGA trophy case that has been waiting for a resident.

Georgia riding defense to a championship? You may hear a lot about that this season.

Next: 2014's Five Year-Changing Moments