Dawgs' Defense Dominant

ATHENS - Quentin Moses could be an All-American this year but probably not. The linebackers may not even be named All-SEC, and most fans around the league couldn't name the starting cornerbacks.

Still, Georgia's defense is in a familiar place four games into the season -- ranked near the top of the SEC and nation in every statistic that matters. No big names? No problem, say the Bulldogs, who are seventh in the country in scoring defense (11.2 ppg), and, not coincidentally, in the Associated Press poll as well.

"We're a true team," said safety Greg Blue, who leads the group with 30 tackles. "We love each other. In the past years we've been close all the time, too, but for some reason, I just feel so good about our team this year with the love that's going on."

One year after three-time All-America defensive end David Pollack, safety Thomas Davis and linebacker Odell Thurman all were snatched up within the first 50 picks of the NFL Draft, Georgia is getting it done with lesser-known players and, they're not afraid to say it, love.

"It's not the prettiest team I've been on, but we're just real together," defensive tackle Kedric Golston said. "We just love each other so much."

The Bulldogs have embraced their "All for one and one for all" approach to the point they say it's their biggest strength.

"I think the main thing about our defense is that someone is going to step up and make a play," Golston said. "In the past, it's been David Pollack, Thomas Davis and Odell Thurman, but with this defense, you never know. I think we rally around the fact it can be anybody's game on any given night. We've got a lot of guys who can play, so you really can't single out one player to slide a protection to. The guy on the other side is going to be just as good."

Georgia, which is tied for first in the nation with 14 turnovers created, is in the top 25 in the country in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense and total defense. The Bulldogs rank third, fourth and fifth in the SEC, respectively, in total yards allowed, yards allowed rushing and yards allowed passing.

Nine Bulldogs have more than 10 tackles; 10 have either intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble, and seven have at least part of a sack.

"I think they're starting to develop an identity," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "It's a very close group from what I have sensed. They pull for each other, and I really like that a lot."

Part of the defense's camaraderie is built around familiarity, Martinez said. Eight of the Bulldogs' defensive starters have been on the team for at least four years.

"We're a very united team," Coach Mark Richt said. "I really think the whole team is that way, but within the core of the defense, I think that's true also. I know it happens in spring and summer, but in (fall) camp I thought it really solidified how much everybody just likes each other and trusts each other. We have to count on each other to win."

Dogs' Defense
SEC rank National rank
Scoring (11.2 ppg) 2nd 7th
Yards (259.1 ypg) 3rd 11th
Rushing (87.3 ypg) 4th 18th
Passing (171.8 ypg) 5th 25th


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