SEC: Thomas Davis

Georgia looking to regain edge on 'D'

August, 3, 2011
8/03/11
2:00
PM ET
It’s one thing for a fan or a member of the media to say something was missing from Georgia’s defense last season.

But when one of the Bulldogs’ own says it, everybody tends to sit up straight and listen.

Former Georgia safety Thomas Davis, who’s now a linebacker with the Carolina Panthers and delivered more than a few knockout-sized blows during his days with the Bulldogs, used the dreaded “soft” label when describing Georgia’s defense last season.

You can bet his comments have been posted for every member of that Georgia defense to read. The Bulldogs will undergo some testing sessions on Wednesday and then participate in their first on-field practice of the preseason on Thursday.

"We've never been considered a team that was soft and didn't go out and make people feel like they'd just left a fight when they left the game," Davis said of last season's defense. "I didn't feel like our defense, in particular, made people feel threatened to come in and play us. When we played defense, we had a guy like Greg Blue, Odell [Thurman], David Pollack, guys that would really come and really lay the lumber on you, and you would feel it after the game.

"Even going into your next week, you still had that hit on your mind that those guys did to you. I didn't think we have anybody on that defense that was doing that, presenting that intimidation factor. And I told the guys how I felt about it. ... We have a bunch of South Carolina guys on our team [with the Panthers], and for a guy to come up to me and say, 'What happened to Georgia? You guys are soft.' ... that did something to me."

Davis, who will return to Athens on Saturday to receive his undergraduate degree, remains firmly behind Mark Richt and said he thinks Richt will light a fire under the Bulldogs this season. Davis spoke to the Georgia team last season prior to the Vanderbilt game and made some of his thoughts known then.

Davis acknowledged that making the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 is never easy. The Bulldogs should play faster and with much better instincts the second time around in Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme. The other thing they have to do is tackle better, which was a big problem early last season.

Some help is on the way.

It shouldn't take junior college nose guard John Jenkins long to make his presence felt. The 350-pound Jenkins has already impressed his teammates this summer with how well he moves for such a huge guy.

The other move that should help the Bulldogs defensively and restore some of that physical edge Davis thinks was missing last season is Alec Ogletree shifting from safety to inside linebacker. Ogletree is up to 236 pounds and is a big-time hitter. Look for him to provide an intimidating presence at linebacker. The same goes for USC transfer Jarvis Jones at outside linebacker, although Jones is still waiting to hear if he will be forced to miss any games because of the AAU basketball matter while he was in high school.

Curran, Bulldogs eager for redemption

September, 3, 2009
9/03/09
1:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low


Where have you gone, Georgia?

It’s been a while since less was expected of a Georgia football team entering the season.

But that’s what happens when you lose Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno early to the NFL, and the chief rival in your division is returning virtually everybody from a national championship team.

It’s Florida and everybody else in the Eastern Division, but Georgia junior linebacker Rennie Curran sort of likes being that team that's lurking in the shadows.

“It’s a humbling experience to be in that underdog role, but we like that role,” said Curran, whose 115 tackles last season were the most by a Georgia defender since 1998. “It lets you know that you have to work yourself up, and that’s all this team is about this season … working ourselves up.

“The big game for us is the next game.”

Right off the bat, we find out a lot about these Bulldogs, who travel to Oklahoma State on Saturday in one of those openers that can shape a season one way or the other.

Curran likes the fact that it’s such a tough opener, especially with what happened to Georgia’s defense a year ago. The Bulldogs gave up 38 or more points in four of their last five regular-season games. Their tackling was poor all season, and it was kick in the gut to a program that has long prided itself on rock-solid defense.

If they tackle poorly on Saturday, Oklahoma State’s explosive tandem of Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant may get tired of seeing the end zone. They’re that good.

“We’re not used to having people run the ball on us, and everybody knows the tradition Georgia has on defense with guys like Thomas Davis and Boss Bailey, those legendary guys that came before us,” Curran said. “You want to make them proud, and we didn’t do that last year. We weren’t disciplined at times, made a lot mistakes and a lot of penalties, missed a lot of tackles and didn’t play well.

“We’ve got something to prove this year. We’ve got that chip on our shoulder. We’re going to get this defense back to where it needs to be. Going against an offense like Oklahoma State’s gives us a great opportunity to make a statement to the nation and show what we’re about as a defense.”

There’s also the Big 12 vs. SEC debate that will no doubt be a big part of this game. Who wins: SEC defense or Big 12 offense?

“We’re going to go out there and play faster, player tougher, play SEC ball and see what happens,” Curran said. “Any time you’re going against a team with this many good players, you’ve got to go in and get them frustrated, shut down the run and make them one-dimensional.

“If we can do that, it’s going to be a long day for them.”

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