If UGA defense wants another shot at Alabama, it must first ‘out-fundamental’ Kentucky
Even Kirby Smart, one of the best defensive minds in college football, is conceding that right now in college football, a good offense has the upper hand on a really good defense.
“The really good offenses have been ahead of the really good defenses, I don’t disagree with that,” Smart said. “But, if you look across the board, there’s some teams that have really dynamic offenses and don’t have defenses, they struggle, they struggle when they go play really good teams. You’re really looking to have both”
So what does that mean for a team that has a really good defense, even after getting out-executed by a really good Alabama offense?
Smart still likes his defense and where they are at four games into the season. And he noted the group is getting better after the off week.
As for the fixes, Smart laid it out in simple terms.
“You get better at tackling. If you watch teams fundamentally across the country, we’re trying to say we are going to out-fundamental you,” Smart said. “We are going to get off blocks, and we’re going to strike people. We are going to tackle people better than the people across from us. There is no magic potion for it.”
It will also help that the Bulldogs won’t be laying an offense as dynamic as Alabama this week when they travel to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky had just 145 yards of total offense against Missouri this past week. By comparison, Alabama wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith had 161 and 167 yards respectively against the Bulldogs.
Kentucky’s passing offense is nowhere near as potent as Alabama’s but the Wildcats have shown they’re a capable threat when running the football as they run behind one of the best offensive lines in the conference.
Georgia also faces the prospect of seeing multiple quarterbacks, as the Wildcats played both Terry Wilson and Joey Gatewood last week.
“They have done a really good job in terms of being physical at the line of scrimmage,” Smart said. “Both of those quarterbacks present issues in terms of contain, how you play people outside when you are playing against them. They’ve always done a good job of that.”
Ultimately though, the Kentucky game won’t define how good the Georgia defense can be. The Bulldogs have shown to have no problems against the likes of Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas. The Wildcats certainly fall closer to those teams than the likes of the Crimson Tide.
That’s why even though Georgia isn’t facing Alabama this week, the 41-24 loss still lingers even with this Saturday’s game being in Lexington, Ky.
“Of course that’s on the back of our mind,” safety Lewis Cine said. “That’s why we want to play them again and we want to get to that place of playing them again. It’s a very bitter taste. But here on out, we’re going to play every team as hard as we can.”
Cine offered a similar viewpoint to Smart when discussing the Alabama game. It just comes down to executing and winning certain matchups. Alabama won a lot of those when the two teams met on Oct. 17.
If the Bulldogs are going to accomplish their goals this season, it will very likely have to face Alabama again. The Georgia defense is going to have to play better, even if it matters more what the offense ends up doing.
Georgia will get its first chance to correct some of the wrongs it made against Alabama on Saturday against the Wildcats. It should have an easier time against Kentucky and get to show that in most games, having a great defense can still go a long way in determining the outcome.
And if the defense plays as it did in the first three games of the season for the rest of the way, the group will get a chance to correct some of the many errors they made against the Crimson Tide.
“It just comes down to your game plan and how well you can execute it and what you can do to not make any mistakes,” Outside linebacker Jermaine Johnson said. “It’s a football game. There’s a winner and a loser, and the loser makes the most mistakes so we just have to do better with not many as many mistakes, hopefully none.”
Georgia safety Lewis Cine wants another shot at Alabama again
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