Pass rush--feast or famine

Rewatched the game. And I have been reading about our nation leading sack total. And how great JD, and especially Drew have turned out to be. All awesome. I have also read our dreadful ranking on yards per game given up in the passing game. Not awesome.

Which leads me to this point: when watching the games and it becomes obvious we are bringing some flavor of blitz, I have anxiety and usually think, or even say out loud “better get there.” Mary asked me what I meant, and I told her the truth–when we blitz we have to play some form of man…and with Slush and Cat out, our safeties and nickels are just being abused.

Which brings me to this question–I wonder how Odom, who knows defense 1000 times better than me–plans to accentuate his pash rush and diminish the vulnerability of having to play man when he decides to blitz.

I don’t know the solution. I do know we played MUCH more cover three cloud last year. We didn’t have the pass rush with the drive killing plays, but we also didn’t get toasted as often. We shall see how we play once Slush is back. We sure miss Cat. But it is what it is. One thing’s for sure–we need to figure this out. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. An old saying we all know. We shall see how Odom and his staff go about it.

I think that dilemma is the key to the outcome of the season.

Getting sacks doesn’t matter if you are still giving up that many passing yards and points.

Either Odom is going to give more help in the form of zone coverage or we have to score every time we get a drive killing sack/stop.

The only exception I see is giving sanders more blitzes out of a true 2 linebacker 3 down lineman set. But you have to guess right.

I’m guessing we will play what we’ve been playing against TAM since running seems to be their offensive strength and their QB isn’t good against pressure.

Against Miss State I expect a change.

Getting sacks DOES matter. Without the sacks, we probably give up more passing yards than we already have.

The reality is, McGlothern, Slusher, and Catalon are the only players in our secondary that would likely start for half of the other SEC teams. Only one of those is playing currently. Jayden Johnson and Brini would probably be in the 2-deep of most other teams. Anyone I missed? We have who we have. Recruiting will change that, eventually.

The other factor that, hopefully, was an exception in the Missouri State game is tackling in space (particularly by our LB’s). You can run zone coverage all day to protect your lack of talent in the back end, but you still have to tackle them when they throw underneath you.

The effect of getting sacks is irrelevant if you are next to last in pass defense nationally. I suppose we could be worse. And it will only get worse when another team with a better OLine is able to keep you from getting sacks.

Having slush back will no doubt help.

Although I agree with you about your general concerns about our pass D, I guess we just have different perspectives about the effect of getting sacks.

The effect of getting sacks allowed us to shut down Missouri State on their last few possessions. Without the sacks, perhaps they answer our punt return score.

Timely sacks can be a huge help to a very porous secondary.


I don’t disagree that those sacks at the end of the game made a difference in winning the game. Bobby Petrino said so himself.

However, the question is did the man coverage and blitz put us in the tough position of having to make great sacks, TD punt returns, bombs etc. at the end of the game in the first place.

I think the strategic choice for Barry Odom is how much man and blitz/sack game do I play vs. zone and contain. And it probably depends on who we are playing.

Some observations about our defense from the Stats

Total Defense Scoring Defense 1st downs defense 3rd down conversion % ranking Rushing Defense Team sacks ranking Team Tackles for Loss Team Passing Efficiency Defense Passing Yards Allowed ranking Passing Yards allowed Passes intercepted ranking
2021 50 39 45 16 92 89 50 36 41 214 33
2022 105 79 96 96 7 1 17 85 131 353 68

Even though our rush defense, Team sacks and Tackles for Loss have all improved dramatically our overall defense and scoring defense have decreased dramatically compared to last year.

Clearly the four man front, press coverage with our current personnel has got to be a concern because we are giving up more points, more 1st downs and more 3rd downs even though we are getting the sacks and stopping the run.

They have got to be rethinking some of this with what they have or there is clearly an execution problem.

Didn’t Brini start for JAWJA some last year?

Tackle better is the short answer.


I like the pressure we’re generating. The other part of that is we have to improve coverage. I thought the 2nd half was a little better. Most experienced QBs (like he was) can pick up the blitz and beat you on man coverage by picking up the open guy. I still like the pressure we are generating. The lack of pressure the last couple of years drove me (and many others) crazy.


Yes, Brini was an occasional starter for UGA. He’s a nice player.

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I like the fact we are stopping the run.

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This thread underscores my original post. Pittman alluded to as much in his Monday presser. If you are gonna blitz, you can’t play cloud. You can compromise…bring maybe 5 and play quarters or some other form of zone. But if you are consistently bringing 5 or more, you better be able to play some man. Can we? We shall see. Sam seemed to feel like the versatility of Slusher–aka being able to play anywhere they need him–may well allow them to get their best 5 on the field…the insinuation being that some of the best 5 can’t play certain spots…making getting said best 5 out there harder.

Here is hoping our best 5…whomever they turn out to be (my money is on Slush, McGlothern, Chavis, Hud and Blair…with Brini and Johnson rotating in) get on the filed together ands mesh. FAST

I have always thought you need to bring pressure if you’re going to really affect the quarterback. we have played three very solid quarterbacks and have played some receivers that are very good as well but with our injuries there’s not much we can do whether we’re bringing the heat or not.

I think with slusher that we will look better. It will be interesting to see what we do with Johnson at quarterback who’s not quite as mobile but is a better passer.

I have always thought that if you’re going to end up giving up a touchdown by playing soft then I would rather give up a quick
TD blitzing(and getting our great offense back on the field quickly to wear out their defense) rather than let them wear my defense out 5-6 min at a time and letting the quarterback get real comfortable.

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Aloha Clay,
I have never seen Bumper Pool miss so many tackles. And Jayden Johnson appears to shy away from any contact. He had several whiffs against Missouri State. Moved AWAY from an incoming ball carrier on the sideline and whiffed with his shoulder pad instead of holding his ground and driving forward into the ball carrier.
Our tackling is much worse this year than last. Has to dramatically improve.
UA…Campus of Champions

Zone blitzing is a thing. IIRC Ohio State used a zone blitz on us to intercept Mallett in the Sugar Bowl after we blocked the punt. You can’t just run a standard zone though; you have to put some wrinkles in there; sometimes that’s blitzing a linebacker and dropping a defensive end into coverage. But I’m sure Barry Odom would incorporate a zone blitz if he thought it would work

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I think Pittman alluded to revisiting how much cloud they play given… they played cloud about 90% of the time last year… He said something to that effect.

I’d like to see more than one potential tackler running to make a tackle. What I saw with Pool is that if he missed no one else was nearby. Can’t put all the blame on the first guy - sort of playing on an island.

Did we ever hear what happened to Bishop ? Is he going to return this season ?

Pittman said they have discussed returning to cloud to a degree…but then said last year it worked sometimes…didn’t work sometimes…I imagine it will be mixed in a little more…but he also lauded the pass rush. It will be a mix I am sure.