The Natural Angst This Time of Year

ATHENS – Damian Swann tired his best not to roll his eyes… then he answered the question.

"We are going to be fine," Swann said. "We are going to be fine. I think a lot of people are more worried than we are – and we are the ones who are actually going to play."

Swann's right – people are worried. That's what Georgia fans do – they worry (thanks Larry Munson).

People have a tendency to do that sort of thing in the pre-season. This is the time of year for oversimplifying a problems and strengths. Aaron Murray is still going to throw interceptions… and Shaq Wiggins (and other newcomers) is going to make interceptions.

My coach in college used to scream at us our freshman year saying: "There is no good or bad young – there is only good or bad." And that's about right. Todd Gurley was good right away; A.J. Green was, too. Shaq Wiggins, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Tray Matthews and others are either good or bad – they just happen to be young.

The problem with young is that we know nothing about it – that's really the issue for everyone… ignorance. We know what we know – which is limited, and Swann knows what he knows… which seems to be much, much more.

This defense, in a lot of ways, reminds me of the defenses going into the 2003 and 2005 seasons. In 2003 the question was if the defense, with suspensions all around the secondary, could handle Clemson up in Death Valley. In 2005, the stars of the defense were gone – leaving the returning base (which had been overshadowed by the narrative that was David Pollack, Odell Thurman and Thomas Davis) and the rest of 2004 defenders to figure out how to get pressure without those high-level players. The 2005 defense – though not void of talent, but not with the talent the likes of which the 2004 team had – figured it out against Boise State and South Carolina to start the season… and powered their way to the conference crown that year.

The test is the same this season – big games out of the gate with questions on the defensive side of the ball. Clemson isn't the same program it was in 2003… this is the highest ranking the Tigers have had coming into the season in decades. They have won a ton of games in the last two years, and capped off last year with a win over LSU… and any win over LSU is a good win.

The expectations in Tiger Town are high. So perhaps the level of opponent is not the same at the start of the season as the '03 and '05 teams had to deal with… then again the expectations of the '13 Dawgs are as high as any in the program's history – at least since 1982 and 2008, and neither season ended with a national title.

Swann said there's a media motivation for the question asking about the secondary.

"At the end of the day people are looking for stories," Swann said. "We just – we are going to play. We don't have a choice."

We don't have a choice, either. We have an audience, and they want to know all about the secondary, too. Sure, maybe we in the media are making too much of it – that won't be the last time this sort of thing happens. But angst isn't something a confident cornerback should ever exhibit, so its totally understandable that Swann doesn't get why people are wringing their hands about the secondary. But I think it's understandable that they are.

Time will tell if Georgia will "be fine" in the secondary, but I think they will be. There's just too much overall skill back there. Swann, Matthews and Sheldon Dawson aren't a bunch of scrubs – they are going to win more battles than they lose, and that's all you can ask for.

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