After hearing reports on his pec injury yesterday, we’ve probably seen senior outside linebacker Nolan Smith don the red and black for the last time as he has been declared out for the season with a torn pec.
But even Smith and his “unquestioned toughness” hold an important role on this team according to Coach Smart.
“He is like an extra coach because he is so enthusiastic and so ‘getting after it,’” Smart said.
The team is doing its best to have him at practice to boost morale, and hopes to have him on the sideline versus Tennessee.
Losing Nolan Smith is quite the blow to this team, but it just means that the next guys in line have to step up. Against the Florida Gators we saw play from Robert Beal and Chaz Chambliss in Smith’s absence. Chambliss even sacked Anthony Richardson towards the back end of the game.
Chambliss expects no dropoff saying, “The defense has a standard here that we’re going to be the best of the best, and it doesn’t change by whose here or how many draft picks. It’s just a standard here to have a great defense.”
Against the Volunteers Coach Smart said we should see a bunch of guys coming in to try and replace Smith. As well as Beal and Chambliss, you can expect MJ Sherman, Marvin Jones and maybe even Jalon Walker who has been playing more inside than outside backer.
While you may associate the Georgia defense with big names like Nolan Smith, Christopher Smith, and Jamon Dumas-Johson, this team isn’t built to lean on one particular guy. The team’s production is the result of everyone executing a role to try and achieve a specific goal.
The next guy up won’t be Nolan Smith, but they won’t have to. But as long as everyone on the team is able to do their part, execution will come. This kind of reality is the kind of luxury Georgia has afforded itself with the way it goes about recruiting.
The depth is there. They’ve just been waiting on an opportunity to prove themselves. Now it’s here, and those guys have the biggest stage Athens has ever seen to show it.