ATHENS — Georgia linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson is the vocal leader of the defense. He’ll bark out calls on defense and hold teammates accountable.
That includes himself, as Dumas-Johnson offered up an honest assessment of his play when speaking to reporters on Monday.
“The way I’d evaluate my own play the first four games, really average,” Dumas-Johnson. “I wouldn’t say I have gotten a lot of action the first four games due to them running the ball outside, trying to make us run. Really just average. Not a lot of action in the hole or going outside. They’re trying to get our corners, make our corners tackle on the perimeter, things like that.”
Georgia’s defense has slipped from its usual standard in recent weeks, giving up 14 points to South Carolina and 21 to UAB. There were flashes of dominance sprinkled in during those games but Georgia has also had some gaffs as well.
“That’s been a common theme, that the consistency in performance - and it’s not game by game, sometimes it’s series by series,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “We have had the fortune of playing a lot of players. That’s good because you gain depth doing that. We’ve played really dominant at times, sometimes against inferior opponents, and then we’ve had — our standard of defense here is so high.”
Smart was asked about how he would view Dumas-Johnson’s play so far this season. The junior linebacker has 10 tackles through Georgia’s first four games. He’s shown flashes of being disruptive, as he has 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack as well.
Yet Smart didn’t speak about Dumas-Johnson’s onfield play but rather the junior linebacker’s intangible qualities.
“A good leader. He’s been a little more vocal this year, which I think is important,” Smart said. “He has the pulse of the team of when to push somebody and when to back off a young player and help him and pat him on the back. So, he’s done a good job, in terms of that.”
Dumas-Johnson believes he just has to get back to being and playing like himself. Trusting his eyes and effectively communicating with the rest of the defense.
He’ll get a chance to do that this Saturday against Auburn’s offense that didn’t score an offensive touchdown against Texas A&M. The Tigers rotated between Payton Thorne and Robbie Ashford at quarterback, while also bringing in a number of talented running backs.
Dumas-Johnson though still very much believes in the talent in Georgia’s linebacker room and how they will go about slowing down the Auburn offense.
“They’ve got four ball handlers, we’ve got five or six linebackers,” Dumas-Johnson said “We have depth in our room and we believe in every single guy in our room. They’ve got four, we’ve got six linebackers. It ain’t a big problem to us.”
Stomping out complacency has been a big theme for Georgia this season. Dumas-Johnson acknowledges, much like his head coach does, that it can creep in and impact the program and players.
And it’s up to players like Dumas-Johnson to recognize that fact and correct it. Georgia hopes to continue to do that on Saturday when it visits Auburn.
“Even when you don’t see it, you want to keep saying it so your players won’t get complacency and relax,” Dumas-Johnson said. “By him staying on us, it’s definitely not going to happen when he keeps saying it.”