Georgia football is hoping a great pass rush can hide an inexperienced secondary.
If you watched the Super Bowl you saw why it is more important to have a great pass rush than it is to have a shutdown secondary. A secondary can only cover for so long. The quicker you can get to the quarterback and disrupt his timing the better the secondary will do at their job. However, if your pass rush is negated it is just a matter of time before the opposing quarterback will pick your secondary apart. This is what Georgia football is hoping to avoid in 2021.
Most quarterbacks that play in a Power Five conference can get rid of the ball in three seconds or less. If they get that long to scan your secondary chances are they are going to find someone open. The only way to keep them from doing that is by putting pressure in their face, getting hands in passing lanes, or bringing them down for a sack.
Good thing Georgia football has one of the best pass rushes in the nation. Last year Georgia was number 12 in the nation with 32 sacks and number 11 in the nation with an average of 3.2 sacks per game. They also had a total of 99 quarterback hurries, 9.9 a game. Adam Anderson will lead Georgia’s pass rush this season. Last season he had 6.5 sacks and ten quarterback hurries.
Nolan Smith also returns for his Junior season. In 2020 Smith seemed to take a small step backward as he only collected 2.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Channing Tindall also returns after having three sacks and three quarterback hurries. Middle linebackers Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker combined for 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries.
Linebackers aren’t the only great pass rushers Georgia has on defense, they have a few on their defensive line as well. Their best interior pass rusher is probably sophomore Jalen Carter who had two sacks and five quarterback hurries as a freshman.
With Azeez Ojulari and Malik Herring leaving for the NFL and Jermaine Johnson transferring to Florida State there are a few holes that some of the younger guys can fill. Expect someone like Mekhail Sherman, Nazir Stackhouse, or Travon Walker to step up with an expanded role up for grabs.
Whoever ends up rushing the passer for Georgia football this fall, expect them to get to the quarterback with great consistency. Kirby Smart and Dan Lanning know it is essential to put pressure on the opposing quarterback so they scheme up ways to do it early and often. Opposing quarterbacks aren’t going to know what hit them.