The Southeastern Conference is a Big Boy Football League. Proof positive of BBFL status is four consecutive BCS National Championships.
Why does the SEC rule the roost when it comes to NCAA football? Simple. Defense…with a capital D. In 2009, six of the top 26 defenses in the country prowled the gridirons of the SEC, five of which finished in the top 25 in scoring defense.
What allows the SEC to play defense at such a high level? The difference is the athletes that play defensive line in country’s finest conference. The hunters that toil in the trenches in our league chase down running backs, rush the passer and generally create havoc up the field and between the numbers for opposing offenses unlike any other group in the country.
It is no secret that outside linebackers are the stars in the 34 defense and they have to be. OLBs must generate pressure off the edge in the passing game and set a hard edge in the run game for the rest of the defense to “fit up” right and be fundamentally sound as a unit. But make no mistake, the play of the interior defensive line is crucial if any team running the 34 defense is to be ultimately successful. Edge pressure in the passing game is vital. However, as Coach Richt recently pointed out when talking about Justin Anderson’s development at the Nose position, things really get rolling for a defense when you get “a good push” up the middle from the defensive line that pushes the pocket into the quarterback’s face and forces him to get deeper in the pocket or to move outside the tackle box where the outside pressure is waiting.
The DAWGS are youthful and relatively inexperienced on the interior heading into the 2010, but there is no shortage of capable characters waiting to emerge. With a good mix of veterans and newcomers and with no behemoth anchor on the Georgia roster at the Nose position, versatility and athleticism should be the calling cards for these pups and many of them will play all three down lineman positions. You may not know all of their names as the season starts, but if Georgia is going to reach the heights that we all hope for in 2010, I can guarantee that the play of the DAWGS D-Line will be an integral part of the success.