I’m running out of adjectives to praise the defense that Dan Lanning has put together. The old saw remains true, “If the other team doesn’t score, you can’t lose.” Particularly, with the Georgia offense playing ball control, repeatedly driving for scores against Arkansas. In the end, Georgia’s skill and depth was far too much for Sam Pittman’s piglets.
Not only did the offense operate efficiently under Stetson Bennett’s leadership, it simply overpowered the Hogs. Nothing fancy, Stetson’s passes tended to be short; he averaged about 10 yards per completion. However, he got some big first downs through the air, and he ran enough to make Arky respect the threat of a running quarterback. Stetson Bennett played one hell of a game, showing no sign of nerves and no evidence of a lack of confidence in relief of JT Daniels. Bennett just went about the business of the day – beating Arkansas.
Let’s get back to that defense; has anyone seen a better defense in red jerseys and silver britches? I haven’t. What is the secret to Georgia’s defensive success? There is no secret. The Bulldog defensive front is so big – and talented – and deep that it is almost impossible to run against consistently. Sure, teams are going to have a few runs that break contain. But trying to make a living by running against this front is a recipe for failure. The big guys up front can move, and the bench injects relief when needed.
Recruiting is the first thing that should come to mind when analyzing the source of the Dawgs’ defensive prowess, but bringing uber-talented players is not the complete answer. Every team has the same number of scholarship players. Kirby Smart has built a defense that is several quality levels higher than most, but talent alone doesn’t dominate teams like Arkansas.
These Junkyard Dawgs live up to the old nickname. They are certainly very talented, but they are unbelievably well-trained and have bought into the message from the staff. They hustle! Anytime one sees a 350-pound defensive lineman running down a play 30 yards from the interior line, one is watching the result of buy-in.
It just may be that we saw these Bulldogs come of age Saturday afternoon. Georgia’s fronts on both sides of the ball took over the game and imposed their will on a good Arkansas team.
It was fun to watch!