Georgia’s defense last year was one of the best in NCAA history, and the main reason why the Bulldogs won the school’s first national championship since 1980.
If anybody doubted the level of elite talent, Georgia proved its worth by having an NFL-record five defenders selected in the first round in last month’s draft.
What about this year’s defense? Despite the heavy losses to the NFL, ESPN college football analyst David Pollack is expecting another strong performance out of Georgia for the 2022 defense -- although he candidly put it in perspective in an interview with DawgNation Daily’s Brandon Adams:
“I’m going to tell you this – this defense is going to be at least 10 points a game worse than it was a year ago,” Pollack said. “That sounds horrible. That sounds terrible. They will still be in the top 30 of scoring defenses in the country. They are still going to be really good. But you’re going from … historic ‘great’ – five guys drafted in the first round, and that doesn’t even count Nakobe Dean.
“You’re talking about going from super special (on defense) to something that’s different. But who’s your leading sack guy? You’ve got (Robert Beal) back, you’ve got Nolan Smith – who I think is your heartbeat. The best defensive player on that team is Jalen Carter to me. He’s coming back next year, so you’ve got a lot of pieces to be successful.
“Yes, they are going to have to be aggressive. Yes, they’re going to continue to get to the quarterback. That’s something that group proved they could do really, really well at a high level. It’s what separates you from the other defenses in Georgia’s past years.
“But again, they’re going to take a significant step back, but they are still going be really solid.”
UGA opens the season against Oregon on Sept. 3.