MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Georgia beat Notre Dame last Saturday night by one point. We might have believed that if the Bulldogs won, Jake Fromm would have been the reason. But he really wasn’t. It was the Georgia defense that won that game in South Bend.
Georgia might need its defense to win a few more games this season, and it can. This defense may be that good that head coach Kirby Smart can depend on his kids on that side of the ball to simply stop teams from scoring. In the past, Georgia has just relied on its offense to outscore the opponent. It’s almost refreshing to know something different is in place now, where we can watch an opponent, see its offensive weapons and have faith that the Georgia defense can be better and stop them – no matter how good they may be.
Smart has a solid front three in Trent Thompson, Jonathan Ledbetter and Jon Atkins. And then look at the linebackers. I think we can say it’s not just Roquan Smith anymore. Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy kind of had their coming out party on NBC last Saturday. They were tremendous and really deserve the credit for winning that game. The secondary looks better, with transfer J.R. Reed and freshman Richard LeCounte playing very well at the safety positions. This could be the most talented defense since the group that led Georgia to the SEC Championship game in 2012, when they almost beat Alabama.
And the point… if the Bulldogs are ever going to beat Alabama, they must have an elite defense. You can try to outscore other opponents, but defense wins championships. In just his second season as head coach, Smart must feel his defense is taking the steps to getting to that next level. It might not be there yet, but last Saturday showed us something.
Next week, Georgia has Mississippi State and Nick Fitzgerald coming to Athens. He’s a great talent and will be a great challenge for the Bulldogs. Georgia’s biggest games later this season will be Tennessee, Florida and Auburn. So far, all three of those teams have had issues on offense. It could change, but right now, is there a SEC offense on Georgia’s schedule that could do well against the Georgia defense – at least against the type of defense we saw last Saturday night? Now, I’m not saying Georgia is a perfect team. They made too many penalties last Saturday, and there are still more things to work out on offense. But when a team has a defense like the one we saw against Notre Dame, great things can happen.
This is the kind of defense Smart wants, and we’ve got 10 more regular season games to see if this is the type of defense that can, at the least, get Georgia a SEC East title.