Although we were looking on from a dizzying height (literally) last Saturday in Neyland, we could still see the most beautiful sight our eyes could behold on the gridiron...a will-breaking rush defense sporting red helmets.
I'm not going to make this a long explanation piece by breaking down why it's happening or answering questions about whether this stout run defense is a mirage. I'm only writing to say that these DAWGS deserve some real credit when it comes to stopping the base run game of their opponents.
The following snippet comes from Marc Weiszer at the Athens Banner-Herald:
Georgia’s defense now ranks in the top 12 in five categories nationally: total defense (sixth), rushing defense (12th), third-down defense (fourth), pass-efficiency defense (eighth) and passing defense (11th).
The Bulldogs are also tied for 20th in scoring defense and 17th in tackles for loss.
Georgia held Tennessee to minus-20 yards rushing, the lowest total ever by an opponent against Richt.
“I’m enjoying a defense beginning to play like a Junkyard Dawg bunch,” Richt said.
Do not just dismiss that rushing total on Rocky Top as what should be expected against any opponent. That is NOT common as Weiszer points out and the DAWGS did not do it against some directional school. This rush D is for real.
As we've pointed out before, defense is where it's at and it should come as no surprise that Georgia's four (should've been five) straight wins have coincided with Georgia playing better and better on the defensive side of the ball.
Watching the opposing team's backs disappear into a huge stack of linemen time after time may not be the most flashy visual, but it is a beautiful thing to behold. One thing leads to another...Kwame Geathers, John Jenkins and Co. swallow up backs, linebackers run free to the ball, a twist along the defensive line here and a bull-rush there gets a little pressure, the quarterback's timing is thrown off and the end result is more sacks, forced fumbles, broken up passes and interceptions.
Good job, DAWGS. I'm not branding you Junkyard DAWGS just yet. Great defense is played by men that constantly carry a chip on their shoulder that have something to prove because they know that you are only as good as your last game. Junkyard DAWGS...well not just yet, but a strong effort in Jacksonville against a team with multiple game-breaking threats in a few weeks would go a long way proving you've earned it.
Go DAWGS and G.A.T.A!!!