Published June 30, 2011 - 5:44am
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In 2011, it will not matter how many yards or touchdowns Aaron Murray throws for; it won’t matter how big of an impact Isaiah Crowell will have; it will also not matter if this Georgia offensive line exceeds expectations. The offense is going to get theirs. However, I do believe this Georgia Football team will only go as far as Todd Grantham’s defense takes them.
There are three new faces looking to make an impact for the Bulldogs in 2011.
First, the addition of JUCO defensive lineman John Jenkins will have more of an impact than anyone. Jenkins is 6-4, 340lbs, and he is a mountain of a man. Georgia would love for Jenkins to step in and eat up offensive lineman and space much like Mt. Cody did for Alabama’s 3-4 defense. Jenkins can clog the middle, leaving minimal running room into the teeth of the Bulldogs’ defense. Ideally, when a huge nose tackle clogs the heart of the defensive line and is able to take on two members along the offensive line, it should open up more ways for the linebackers to get to the football in the backfield. Again, this is the strategy behind the 3-4 defense. John Jenkins could be the staple this defense was missing in 2010.
The next two new faces are in the linebacking group.
Richard Samuel has moved from offense to defense, and he will play middle linebacker this coming season. Samuel excelled on defense in high school but opted to play running back his first two years in Athens. Now, Samuel has made the transition back to defense, and hopefully for Bulldog fans, the transition is a rather smooth one. Samuel’s play should affect his defense.
Last, but certainly not least, is USC transfer and Georgia native Jarvis Jones. Jones was an absolute man-child in high school, and he chose to play at USC, rather than stay home in the southeast. Jones did have a serious neck injury at USC, and he sat out the last five games of his Trojan career. With such a massive vacancy left by outside linebacker Justin Houston (massive as in production, with 10 sacks and 67 total tackles), you would have to figure Jones is the leading candidate to step right in and eat that position up. Although, Jones will likely not put up Houston’s freakish numbers from a year ago, he does look to be a better athlete dropping into pass coverage.
If Georgia wins the East this coming season, the defensive improvement and production will paint a pretty picture.