Well, it was an ugly victory for the Georgia football team against Missouri, but there were still a couple of bright spots in the victory. While the offense finally seemed to start clicking and working together the last three drives, I was actually most impressed with Jamon Dumas-Johnson.
The defense has had plenty of up and down moments already this season, largely due to inexperience and the sheer amount of turnover from last year. While it was inevitable that there would be a drop-off from last season’s elite group, I think some Dawg fans, myself included, underestimated just how much of a drop-off there would be, and the previous two weeks have shown that.
We’re definitely missing Jordan Davis, Travon Walker, Channing Tindall, Quay Walker, and company — Georgia is actually missing Nakobe Dean the most. While his ability to pick apart an offense and his ball skills were definitely elite, Dean’s leadership on the field was unmatched.
Georgia football has found its next Nakobe Dean to run the defense
Although Nolan Smith has tried to fill that role this season in practice and on the sidelines, it hasn’t been enough on the field, some of which is just due to position. But, in this battle against Missouri, Dumas-Johnson suddenly stepped up and began to fill this role.
Through five games, Dumas-Johnson leads the Dawgs with 24 total tackles, including 23 solo ones. He has four tackles for loss, two sacks, one pass breakup and five quarterback hurries. Dumas-Johnson has done work so far and filling those shoes nicely.
He wasn’t just lined up and making plays like he has since the start of the season. Dumas-Johnson was actually telling other defenders where to line up and adjusting plays based on Missouri’s lineup. He even went up to Kamari Lassiter after a bad play and let him have it.
Maybe it was not quite as intense as what Dean gave Tindall in the national championship, but my mind instantly drew the connection. That interaction is what leadership looks like,e and that is what Georgia desperately needs on this defense.
If they want to play as one cohesive unit the rest of the year, which there were sparks of in the 4th quarter against Mizzou, the Dawgs need a leader on defense.
Is Dumas-Johnson the next field general that Georgia likes having on its defense? Only time will tell. It’s hard to replace talent and a leader like Dean. But the potential is there, and Dumas-Johnson took a major step towards that role tonight. After all, what good is a wolf pack on defense if you don’t have a leader?