The Georgia football team have sustained several injuries to a number of different players through their first four games. Thankfully, none of them serious or season-ending. But the bye last week came at a good time for the Bulldogs to try to get some of those players healthy and back closer to 100%.
Two of those player injuries are to Georgia’s secondary, starting defensive backs Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes.
Campbell suffered a lower-leg injury in the second quarter of the Arkansas State game back on September 14th and was not able to play versus Notre Dame. Stokes suffered an apparent knee injury in the first quarter of the Notre Dame game but was able to return and play late in the fourth quarter.
Given that Campbell and Stokes are dealing with and coming off injuries senior inside linebacker Tae Crowder was asked about UGA’s next opponent, Tennessee, during player interviews on Monday and whether or not he was concerned about Georgia’s defense getting exposed by the Volunteers’ experienced wideouts.
“I think they’ll (defensive backs) will be good. You know. It’s not about what they do,” said Crowder. “But it’s all about what we do; so, I feel we’ll be fine.”
The Bulldogs have been good on defense this season only allowing opponents 262.5 yards of total offense per game, which is 9th best nationally, and to score 10 points per game, which is 5th best nationally. That performance has them as one of the best defenses in the conference, but where one could potentially find a kink in Georgia’s armor is their pass defense. The Dawgs give up an average of 205.5 yards per game, which while not bad, 6th in the SEC and 46th nationally, but could be better.
Of course, part of the reason teams have been trying to pass on Georgia is that they simply have not been able to run on the Bulldogs successfully.
UGA is only giving up 57 yards on the ground to opponents, which is the No. 1 rush defense in the SEC and fifth-best in the country. The Dawgs are also one of only two teams that have yet to not allow a rushing touchdown on defense. Iowa is the other. And truth be told, even though the secondary has given up some yards through the air, they tend to make offenses work for it. Opposing quarterbacks are having to dink and dunk the ball against Georgia, only averaging 5.4 yards per pass attempt and a 107.21 pass efficiency rating. That puts UGA’s pass defense second best in the SEC and top-10 and top-15 nationally in those categories.
Perhaps Tae Crowder is on to something when he says “we’ll be fine.”
You can watch the senior linebacker’s full interview from Monday in the video below.
On how he used the bye week…
“For me, I saw it as a work week. We really didn’t want to get complacent this week and wanted to focus on us for a little,” said Crowder. “I worked on small, fundamental things like feet work, staying disciplined and sticking to the keys.”
On how much a factor he thinks Jim Cheney will be in terms of play-calling on defense…
“It will depend, but we’re just focusing on preparation this week. I’m sure Coach Cheney will probably try to mess with our defense a little, try to scheme a little,” said Crowder. “We’re just going to stick with what we know.“
Senior Tae Crowder came to UGA as a running back as part of the Bulldogs 2015 recruiting class out of Harris County High School from Pine Mountain, GA, but he made the switch to defense and inside linebacker just over a year later, midway through his redshirt freshman season in 2016. Now, several years later, Crowder has been an invaluable leader and rock in the middle of the Dawgs’ defense, starting all four of Georgia’s games this season at ILB.