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Defensive Preview: Georgia

Texas will face an extremely physical Georgia defense, but has some advantages of its own that could lead to key offensive victories

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Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports

Texas will face one of the best defenses in the country in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia has put together another great season on the defensive side of the ball under Kirby Smart. Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker will not be with the team after leaving to take the head coaching job at Colorado, but you can expect the Bulldogs to field a defense unlike any Texas has faced this season. Let’s take a look at the Bulldog defense:

Defensive Line

Georgia’s defensive line will be the toughest front the Texas offensive line has faced all season. The Bulldogs have a mix of experience and talent up front, led by DE Jonathan Ledbetter. Georgia ranks 28th in the country against the run, allowing 130 yards per game.

Although the Bulldogs are stout against the run, they have had trouble generating a pass rush. Georgia ranks 101st in the country in sacks, recording only 22 in the 13 games played this year. Kirby Smart is more than willing to bring extra men to cause disruption in the backfield, but the Longhorns should have the advantage when dropping back to pass, especially if Sam Ehlinger uses his legs effectively.

Linebackers

Sack leader D’Andre Walker will be tested in space. His 245-pound frame makes him deadly in Georgia’s defensive scheme, but the Longhorns will surely want to see if he can cover sideline-to-sideline. The Bulldogs also have Tae Crowder and Monty Rice, both of whom can hit and play well between the tackles.

Defensive Back

Perhaps the biggest news to come in the past week was Kirby Smart’s announcement that Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will not play on Tuesday, opting to sit out as he prepares for the NFL draft. Even without Baker, the Georgia secondary is loaded with NFL talent; Collin Johnson and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, however, should be able to do some damage.

Without Baker, Georgia will lean heavily on redshirt freshman Eric Stokes and sophomore Mark Webb, along with freshman Tyson Campbell. The trio has yet to record an interception this season, but have more than held their own. JR Reed and Richard LeCounte hold down the safety positions, and are very good against the run and in coverage.

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Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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