Georgia Defense Dominates Headlines, but the Bulldogs' Offense Is Legit
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
They say that defense wins championships, which Georgia proved last season when it rode the nation's fifth-best defense to 10 straight wins and an SEC East championship.
The Bulldogs find themselves ranked No. 5 in both polls this season, and squarely in the mix for not only the division title, but the discussion for the crystal football.
Georgia's defense has been average this season, giving up 343.3 yards per game during the first four weeks. That should improve now that safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree (we assume) will be back this weekend vs. Tennessee.
But it's the offense that has been leading the Bulldogs so far in 2012, to the tune of 530 yards per game—tops in the SEC and the 13th-best mark in the country.
Todd Gurley has established himself as a reliable SEC running back four games into his career. The Tarboro, N.C. native leads all SEC running backs with a 101.5-yard-per-game average, and shows no signs of letting up.
Georgia is getting great play from its wide receivers. Marlon Brown has largely been a letdown between the hedges, but the senior leads all Georgia receivers with 88 receiving yards per game and three touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Michael Bennett and Tavarres King both find themselves in the top 10 in the SEC in receiving as well.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Even more help is on the way.
The return of Rambo will allow Sanders Commings to move back to cornerback, where former wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell has been playing since this spring.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mitchell has worked on offense and defense this week and won't know where he will lineup until shortly before kickoff (which is probably a product of the fact that Mark Richt won't acknowledge the status of Rambo and Ogletree).
The Georgia offense hasn't been the typical SEC-style, ground-and-pound offense; it has been explosive.
The Bulldogs lead the country in plays from scrimmage of more than 20 yards with 35, 15 of which came against SEC foes Missouri and Vanderbilt. They have 21 pass plays of more than 20 yards and are third in the country in rushing plays of more than 20 yards with 14.
Does Georgia have a national championship-caliber offense?
The big-play success should only continue this weekend vs. Tennessee. The Vols are tied with Arkansas for last in the SEC having given up 20 plays from scrimmage that have gone for 20 or more yards.
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones will dominate headlines, and rightfully so. When he's healthy, Jones is a force that should earn Heisman Trophy consideration this season.
That defense is only going to get better once Rambo and Ogletree return.
Couple that with what has already proven to be a big-play offense and you have a recipe for success in Athens.
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