Georgia waiting for youth to mature

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
1:30
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- There was never any mystery about where the question marks existed on this Georgia team. With the bulk of a record-setting offense returning, the progress of a wholly reconstructed defense would likely make the biggest difference in whether the Bulldogs reach their championship goals.

Georgia's first four games showed exactly why those questions were valid, as Todd Grantham's group that had glaring holes to fill at every level typically struggled mightily against the nation's most challenging September schedule. And yet even when statistics -- and the eyeball test -- might paint an ugly picture of Georgia's current defensive capabilities, Grantham's group has done just enough to help keep the Bulldogs' division, conference and BCS title hopes alive.

"I believe that we showed up at the crucial time when we really needed to," said Georgia defensive lineman Ray Drew, who had a key pass breakup on LSU's final drive during the Bulldogs' 44-41 win last Saturday. "There were some things that happened that if we could go back and change, we would. But I'm happy with the outcome."

That has been a common theme thus far. No. 6 Georgia (3-1, 2-0 SEC) has won three in a row -- including wins against then-No. 6 South Carolina and LSU, also ranked sixth when it lost to the Bulldogs -- following a season-opening loss at Clemson. In each of those victories, a defense that looked helpless for much of the game came up with key fourth-down stops on the opponent's final possession that helped put away the win.

"It just shows our potential and shows what our future holds," said outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, whose team visits Tennessee (3-2, 0-1) on Saturday. "If we can play like that 24/7, consistently, we have a hell of a defense and that's just going to get us where we want to go."

They're not anywhere near that potential yet, however. So let's take a look at some things Georgia's defense is doing right -- and what it absolutely must improve -- if the Bulldogs are to approach the defensive results they still believe they're capable of achieving.

To read the rest of the story from David Ching, click here.
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