Senior defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter has a close relationship with former defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. The last three years the two of them have formed a tight-knit bond. Now he will play his final game as a Bulldog without him.
Personally, Ledbetter feels like it’s weird not having him there, but supports Tucker because he took a chance on him. However, as a whole defense, things continue as if Tucker was still there.
“On a personal level, it’s kind of weird just because me and him had a personal relationship. He took a chance with me, and I’m forever grateful for it. I support him in every aspect, and he supports me, and I guarantee we will still be in contact,” Ledbetter noted. “As for an efficiency level, our defense is close-knit. Our coaches work together whether it’s play calling or substitutions really anything. It’s not much of a change; we’re still doing the same things we did before because everyone knows what to do. It’s just working together still keeping that unity and support him where he is now, and we wish him the best.”
Ledbetter stated that practice is still the same as it would be if the former defensive coordinator were there.
“Everyone is talking, everyone is yelling, everyone is screaming, coaching and everyone is out there trying to make sure every single player on defense and offense is doing their job to the best of their ability and if they can’t then they’re coaching them up to do it like that,” Ledbetter said. “We had that when Coach Tucker was here and when he wasn’t. Coach Lanning and Coach Schumann are more of the hands-on coaches, and coach Tuck was over everything, and he was just as hands-on as them. It just kind of doesn’t change, you have one less person out there.”
There is one more game this season, Ledbetter’s final one as a Georgia Bulldog. He mentions that bowl games are somewhat about the seniors playing and getting their last moments on the field, but more about what’s to come in the future.
“It’s really the start to a new season. You get those younger that you have been developing in the games to see how they act in game situations. You put them in crunch time situations like that to see how they react and how they go,” Ledbetter commented. “That’s what it’s about, you want to win the game, and you want to be physical and execution the same way but you also want to see what you have for the years to come.”
Georgia’s final game is a big one, the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1 at 8:45 p.m. where Ledbetter and the rest of the team face off against the Texas Longhorns.
Below, check out Ledbetter’s full interview.