Georgia Football: 3 things to watch on defense against Samford

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 3: Jordan James #20 of the Oregon Ducks is tackled by Chaz Chambliss #32 of the Georgia Bulldogs during a game between Oregon Ducks and Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 3: Jordan James #20 of the Oregon Ducks is tackled by Chaz Chambliss #32 of the Georgia Bulldogs during a game between Oregon Ducks and Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

In Week 1, we witnessed Georgia football pick up in 2022, where it left off in 2021 — destroying the competition. The Dawgs’ defense heard all offseason how they would take a step back after losing eight members to the NFL Draft.

Georgia imposed its will on the Oregon offense preventing the Ducks from reaching the endzone and giving up just three points.

The Dawgs’ linebackers constantly put pressure on Oregon’s offense. When Oregon appeared to gain momentum, Georgia’s defense stood up and slammed the door. There were interceptions from Chris Smith and true freshman Maliki Starks.

The names have changed, but the intensity did not. There was a fire lit under the Georgia defense last Saturday, and it blew up against Oregon.

Georgia football must watch for these three things on defense in the Dawgs’ home opener.

Usually, we would discuss three things Georgia’s defense needs to do to secure the win. However, this week the opponent is Samford, and honestly, playing hard will do that.

Instead, I want to list three things to watch for and a player I expect to see accomplish that particular objective. These are all something that could lead to big things in the future.

Games against opponents like Samford are where we see Georgia’s leaders take over on the field. Do they allow the younger players to sleepwalk, or will they demand focus?

Georgia adds to its sack count

Against Oregon, Bo Nix was under pressure from the first whistle to the last. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart preached to the fanbase that the sack number does not always tell the story. Havoc plays is the term the fanbase has heard and the term they all associate with success now. However, it’s always nice when the Dawgs take down an opposing quarterback.

Against Samford, it is time to get those sacks. Nolan Smith and Robert Beal are expected to be at the top of the sack column. However, while those two are the ones everybody expects, the player I think will tally his first career sack this week will be freshman Mykel Williams.

He played a lot of snaps against the Ducks but only had one tackle on the stat sheet. The five-star out of Columbus knows the standard at Georgia — now he needs to execute those expectations on the field.

Another player who could find his way on the stat sheet this week is Chaz Chambliss. He could earn himself more time on the field with a big game this Saturday.

Become that Guy

If there is one position at Georgia that has performed at an extremely high level since Smart became the Dawgs’ head coach is its inside linebacker.

Co-defensive coordinator and inside linebacker guru Glenn Schumann has coached that position since  2016 and has created a reputation as probably the best in the country. That ability should come as a surprise because, before he came to Georgia, Schumann was the assistant inside linebacker coach at Alabama — assisting Smart.

Georgia has another loaded core of linebackers, but they are inexperienced because of who left after the 2021 season. However, after having three drafted last season, you can imagine the Dawgs saw their experienced playing time hurt considerably. None of the inside linebackers is the roster have played a meaningful snap while at Georgia.

If you follow recruiting all the names, they are familiar ones. Georgia has five inside linebackers that were 4 and 5-star recruits.

The guy I’m looking to have more of a coming-out party is junior, Trezmen Marshall. Watching Marshall against Oregon, his speed was something that looked elite. Marshall appears to have used his outstanding spring and used it into fall. Now it’s time for him to put that product on the field during the season. It’s his year to take control of that position and earn the playing time he has waited to get.

When you think of great inside linebackers like Roquan Smith, Tae Crowder, Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall, and Quay Walker, all had one skill in common — speed. They were all extremely fast for their position — Marshall has that.

Let’s watch against Samford and see if Trezmen Marshall takes that step to be the next great Georgia linebacker.

Keep Racking Up Turnovers

Against Oregon, Georgia forced two turnovers. Samford comes to Athens 1-0, beating Kennesaw State 27-17 in Week 1. In the victory, Samford quarterback Michael Hiers threw for 289 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

That said, expect Samford to attempt to sling the ball around because it is Hiers’ strength. Kendall Watson is one of Hiers’ favorite targets. He stands 5-10 and can fly. Watson could potentially test the Dawgs’ secondary, which will be good for this level of opponent.

Sometimes when a team plays an FCS school, they may run an offense you will not see for the rest of the season. Georgia would gain nothing from playing an option team, but thankfully these Bulldogs aren’t like that — slinging the ball around is the name of their game.

Samford will throw the ball and challenge the defensive backs. The player I am looking to take that next step in Week 2 is sophomore Kamari Lassiter. He played a great game against Oregon and will use Samford to cement his starting job opposite Kelee Ringo.

Must Read. Georgia football odds and prediction for the Samford game. light

Georgia proved against Oregon that they will be contenders for the national championship in 2022. As good as the offensive unit is at Georgia this season, the defense will be Georgia’s trademark. Samford needs to be coming out party for the names we will talk about in January.