Friday, March 26, 2010

Secondary a Primary Concern During Spring Practice

[First, sorry for the hiatus (for those of you who noticed)]

With Georgia's overhauled defense, both in scheme and coaching, one of the main improvements on the field will need to come in Georgia's secondary. The Bulldogs' pass defense was porous, and just as importantly, showed little in the way of play-making ability (Brandon Boykin and Reshad Jones had a few nice moments).

The big buzz over the last week or two was the line from one returning DB, who basically said that, under Willie Martinez, defenders were taught to generally shield the receiver from the ball, rather than turn, locate the ball, and make a play on it. This was evident even to the casual observer over the past few years, and it will be interesting to see how Georgia's corners and safeties adapt to new secondary coach Scott Lakatos' approach of playing the ball as much as the receiver.

However, tantamount to being more aggressive and forcing more turnovers is the back-to-basics (or, sadly, the first visit to basics) mentality when it comes to hard-nosed, sure-handed form-tackling. I seem to be wearing out my "-" key.

Let's face it, you need guys who play with consistency within a given system. That being said, it seemed Georgia's defense was far more concerned with a guy "knowing what to do" than playing a guy who was perhaps a little less experienced, but simply made plays (I'm looking at the Bacarri Rambo v. Bryan Evans situation). The VERY early returns on spring practice suggest that, while playing time will ultimately be earned based on the complete package, guys who are hitting, tackling properly, and making plays will be favored over guys who "know the system." That's one of the many great things about a new philosophy. Because nobody really knows what they're doing, from the 5th year seniors on down, a lack of superior talent or playmaking won't be camouflaged by a few years of experience.

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