July 18, 2024

Report: Georgia Needs to Find Playmakers on the Defensive Line

Kirby Smart is one of the premier defensive coaches in football. Year after year, Georgia fields one of the top defenses in the nation, full of future NFL talent. Even going back to his days at Alabama, Smart’s defenses had their own unique style.

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With the transient nature of college football, each iteration is going to look a little different, but the premise is usually the same when it comes to the defense Smart puts on the field: two deep safeties, three down linemen, and a couple of burners at inside linebacker. But it’s when he has a game-breaker on the defensive line that his team truly shines.

A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, and Jonathan Allen were all focal points of national championship defenses when Smart was the defensive coordinator at Alabama. Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, and Travon Walker led Georgia to its first national championship in four decades, then Jalen Carter helped make it back-to-back. Each of Smart’s championships can be traced back to an absolute menace on the defensive line. Someone who takes up multiple blockers and changes the way an offense operates.

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If there was one thing lacking from Georgia’s defense last year it was that. Yes, plenty of the guys who played on Georgia’s defensive line last season will play in the NFL, but none of them showed the ability to take over a game. Christen Miller led all Georgia linemen with 4.0 tackles for a loss. Warren Brinson and Chaz Chambliss were second with 3.0.

Compare that to 2021, when Jalen Carter had 8.5 as a backup. Jordan Davis finished with 5.0 from his nose tackle position, and Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt added 7.5 and 7.0 respectively.

Kirby Smart has preached about creating “havoc” for opposing offenses. That starts up front. The Bulldogs will face a plethora of elite offenses in 2024, they’ll need someone to step up as a game wrecker on the defensive front.

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