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Steven Colquitt/UGAAA
Jordan Davis is a big reason the Georgia defense figures to be one of the nation's best.

Kirby Smart explains why Georgia football defense is ahead of offense after second scrimmage

Anybody that has watched Georgia football since Kirby Smart knows that the Bulldogs have been a defense-first team. In his time as the Alabama defensive coordinator, Smart became one of the most respected defensive minds in all of college football. So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Bulldogs have consistently been able to build strong defenses.

That looks to be the case once again this season, with the Bulldogs returning eight starters and a host of contributors such as Nakobe Dean and Lewis Cine looking to take on bigger roles this season.

With all that experience returning, along with the possibility of improving in areas like tackles for loss and sacks, it’s easy to see why Smart is once again excited to work with the defensive side of the ball.

“Defensively we’ve got some really good leaders,” Smart said. “This is a fun team to coach thus far. We do things as a group. I love being around them. They’re funny. They’ve not shied away from any work. I’ve really enjoyed both sides of the ball, including special teams.”

Conversely, there are questions once again on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs have to replace the likes of D’Andre Swift, Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, along with trying to find a new starting quarterback.

Finding that starter got more difficult this week with the news that Jamie Newman would be opting out of the 2020 season. That puts an even bigger focus on the position and finding that eventual starting quarterback who will lead the team.

Related: Kirby Smart adds further details on Jamie Newman’s departure

Smart praised the likes of Richard LeCounte, Monty Rice and Jordan Davis because of their leadership ability. While there were some offensive players Smart highlighted as well, it helped paint a picture of why the Georgia head coach feels more comfortable with the defense than the offense at this point.

“There’s so many guys that seem like they’re experienced and they lead in the right direction,” Smart said. “They’re positive when things aren’t going well and they have a lot of fun on the football field. At times on offense, I feel like that’s missing at times because there’s not a bonafide natural leader out there.”

“We certainly need to find that one emotional guy on offense.”

On the 2019 team, that player was Swift. Given the uncertainty at quarterback, it looks like there’s a good chance either Zamir White or James Cook becomes that sort of guy on the offensive side, as Smart indicated. He also mentioned offensive linemen Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer as well.

Based on the first two scrimmages, the defense seems to have the upper-hand as well. But Smart did say the offense seemed to be making some progress in certain areas based on the results of Saturday’s scrimmage.

“The ones-on-one period, it was pretty balanced,” Smart said. “Second-and-10, third down, I thought the one offense dominated the one defense. Red area, the one offense beat the one defense. But in the move-the-field portion the bigger portion of it, the defense was probably a little bit ahead in regards to that.”

Georgia now has then less than three weeks to even things out, as the Bulldogs’ first game of the 2020 season is on Sept. 26. The Bulldogs open the season against Arkansas. After the opener, the Bulldogs will face much tougher tests, as they play Auburn, Tennesse and Alabama in succesvie weeks.

By the time of that Alabama game, the Georgia offense will need to be caught up to the same level as the defense.

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart

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