ATHENS — No team in the nation gave up fewer plays of more than 20 yards than Georgia in 2018, but it came at a price.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart didn’t send the Bulldogs on blitzes as often he might have normally been inclined, and he explained why during a recent interview on Atlanta radio station 680 AM.
“We were really a young defense last year, so it’s no reflection on a lack of ability of a lack of trust,” Smart said. “It was more a factor of being young.”
No doubt, UGA went into 2018 replacing five of the starting front seven, including SEC Defensive Player of the Year Roquan Smith at inside linebacker.
The Bulldogs had just 22 sacks last season, tied for the second-fewest in the SEC and well off he pace set by league-leader Alabama (42).
Departing UGA defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter shared how Smart had the Bulldogs turn up the heat toward the end of last season, as the team become more experienced.
Toward the end of last year Kirby was like ‘I want sacks, y’all go get after it, y’all go do what you do,’ ” Ledbetter told DawgNation at the NFL combine.
Smart indicated that will be an area that gets plenty of work once spring drills begin on March 19.
“I’m hoping to get some more pass rush, we’re trying to increase the pass rush and tackles for loss, we’re always trying to give people negative plays,” Smart said. “The only way to get really good at that is practice and be aggressive and try to come after folks.
“This year we don’t feel like we’re as young on defense. We feel like we’ve got some guys coming back that can contribute, some guys coming back that played and that may allow us to be more aggressive.”
Grinding harder than ever right now
— Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) February 22, 2019
Channing Tindall is tops among returning sacks leaders with 2 last season, while Tae Crowder, Julian Rochester, Jordan Davis, Malik Herring and Devonte Wyatt each had 1.5.
More Georgia football spring 2019
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