One word comes immediately to mind when I think about the 2013 Georgia Bulldogs’ defensive unit: HUNGRY.
So much discussion is being had about the loss of big-name guys like Jarvis Jones, Bacarri Rambo, and Alec Ogletree, that most people are expecting the Dawgs’ defense to fall hard on their collective arse in 2013. After all, the schedule is harder, the teams around them are improving, the line has lost a lot of talent in Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins, and it’s hardly clear if any of these guys will know what they’re doing once the ball is snapped “‘Tween The Hedges”.
Bearing all of that in mind, however, what no one is talking about is how all that darned “they can’t duplicate last season” chatter is effecting the approach this group of guys has coming into this spring and heading into the summer—when the rest of the 2013 class is set to arrive.
Wilson speaks in the video (below) about how impressive Tray Matthews has been so far; he falls just an adjective shy of calling him a leader, but that’s hardly news; Todd Grantham already made it clear that he expects Matthews to open the season as a starter, and Matthews cut his senior season at Newnan High short to make sure that happens. That said, the only surprise you should be exhibiting where that young man is concerned is if he starts the season on the bench.
That said, the problem with last year’s defense was something that surely isn’t the problem of a player like Tray Matthews or Ramik Wilson, a lack of focus. That particularly issue was a theme throughout the season beginning with the ill-fated spring break which netted several suspensions. From that point on it became clear that the highly-touted, immensely talented, NFL-laden defense, being coached by one Todd Grantham, was less interested in BCS titles than their future draft status; the guys seemed to choose when and where they would step it up, and you saw that behavior time and time again…until Shawn Williams had the nads to say out loud: we havent regressed, we just ain’t playing hard.
However, this team is young, hungry, free of the pressure of the NFL’s waiting evaluators, and wanting like hell to prove to the masses that they aren’t just a bunch of replacement players for the outgoing talent. They are here to win and they aren’t going to worry about a broken nail or missed party along the way.
If you’re anywhere near a true Georgia fan, you’ve got to love the hell out of that! Hopefully that blue-collar attitude lasts more than just a spring…assuming spring actually ever finds Georgia.