September 4, 2010

Dawgs' defense creates a ruckus

Linebacker Cornelius Washington nodded his head in approval as he perused the defensive stats from Saturday's 55-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

He liked what he saw.

"That's what we've been striving for all during the offseason - just plain and simple domination," Washington said. "It's all about getting turnovers, causing a ruckus, causing havoc, making offenses uncomfortable."

That's basically what the Bulldogs were able to do in the game that marked Todd Grantham's debut as the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator.

Of the Rajin Cajuns' 53 offensive plays, Louisiana-Lafayette managed only 128 total yards, 60 coming on a touchdown pass from Chris Masson to Ladarius Green as a result of a blown coverage by safety Bacarri Rambo.

Otherwise, the Georgia defensive basically lived up the expectations most fans placed upon the unit as the Bulldogs recorded nine tackles for losses of 26 yards, including three sacks, plus three interceptions - one each by Brandon Boykin, Sanders Commings and Jakar Hamilton, which the former GMC standout returned for a 17-yard touchdown.

The most passes picked off by the Bulldogs in a single game last year was two.

"As we continue to improve and do things as the season goes along, we'll tweak some things here and there to make our arsenal stronger than it was today, but overall I thought it was a solid performance," Grantham said. "I think our players showed that they can be physical, that they can be stout. I think our players prepared well during the week, but the thing we've got to do is do that every week. We've got to play with the same kind of mindset, the same kind of tempo and Monday to improve in some areas that we see based on the film."

Rambo and Akeem Dent had six tackles apiece to lead the Bulldogs, who held the Rajin Cajun offense to three-and-outs in nine of their 16 possessions.

"The way I look at it, let's wear the defense out so if you can do three-and-out and put them back out there, it's going to become a factor," Grantham said. "I think it did today."

The game probably should have been a shutout.

But whatever chances the Bulldogs had of that disappeared when Green got behind Rambo and outran the safety to complete the 60-yard touchdown play.

" Anytime you have 53 plays, everybody notices the one but our players played well. It's something we can learn from and we'll move forward," Grantham said. "There's no such thing as a perfect game. You can look at it like that or you can look at it like we came back and they didn't get any more point. That's the way I looked at it. You can't do anything about what happened in the past, we can only do things about what happens in the future so from that standpoint I was pleased with the way the team rebounded."

Still, Grantham gave a Rambo a piece of mind. Mistakes, he explained, simply won't be tolerated.

But mistakes aside, Grantham said he was very proud of his team's intensity, something he said has to become a trademark for the defense to live up to his lofty expectations.

"I think there's one way to play and that's with effort and intensity and relentless approach to the ball. I think it's a mindset, I think it's an attitude and I think it's a habitual trait. I think it's something you have to develop and as we move forward," Grantham said. "Every series matters, every play matters. It's important that you finish series off so when the situation comes up in a game it's important you handle that situation the way it's supposed to be handled. These players want to win, they want to do well and they do take to coaching. We just need to move forward and continue to improve."

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