Georgia football defense: Kirby Smart indicates unsettled front seven ‘committee’

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Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder (left) and incoming freshman Quay Walker (right) are competing for snaps at inside linebacker.

ATHENS — An injury was the lead story coming out of Georgia’s second scrimmage, and the rest of the attention went to Kirby Smart’s displeasure with his quarterbacks.

Meanwhile, questions persist about an unproven Bulldogs’ defense that’s trying to replace seven departed starters, including SEC Defensive Player of the Year Roquan Smith.

It’s fair to say the most legitimate area of concern is the interior defensive line and the inside linebacker positions, particularly against the run.

Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker identified both of those areas this fall, most recently after the first scrimmage on Aug 11.

The head coach still doesn’t sound convinced Georgia is adequate in that area.

“I don’t know if we tested it enough, you know what I mean? The intent of today was ….  we wanted to throw the ball, get some timing,” Smart said, asked Saturday if the front seven had shown improvement.

“Less what I call 11-on-11 car pile ups, you know what I mean. Less bodies on bodies because we did that last scrimmage. I don’t know if we made our run goal or not. I’ll have to wait and see the numbers but we didn’t run it a whole bunch.”

Elijah Holyfield ran wild on the Georgia defense a week ago, and Brian Herrien was featured cutting through the defense in a video released by the team this week.

RELATED: Watch Georgia junior tailback shred Bulldogs’ first-team defense

Smart didn’t sound settled on any starters up front, talking about committees on the defensive line and at linebacker.

“We do defensive line by committee so if you’re asking me who’s on the committee, there’s like eight guys on the committee,” Smart said, declining to single out any defensive linemen for praise.

“There’s a bubble there on D-line where we’ll probably travel eight, nine, 10 depending on special teams and there’s some guys right on that threshold.”

Asked about inside linebacker, Smart again provided the “committee” answer.

“It’s by committee,” Smart said. “They make mistakes, but Quay Walker and Channing Tindall are fighting tooth and nail.

“Juwan Taylor has had a good camp, so between Monty [Rice], Natrez [Patrick] and Tae [Crowder].”

Smart said Patrick and Jaden Hunter have battled injuries in fall camp, but both took part in the second scrimmage.

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