Jordan Jenkins watched Georgia’s game against North Texas with his father on Sunday morning.
His stat sheet got some ticks here and there — the sophomore outside linebacker had two tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and six total tackles.
But no sacks.
He didn’t record a sack on Clemson’s Tajh Boyd or on South Carolina’s Connor Shaw.
There’s a goose egg so far on the season.
“That’s something that’s been eating at me a little bit,” Jenkins said.
So there he sat, with his father, Ronald, dissecting why he couldn’t manage to get to North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson for his first sack of the 2013 season.
Bad angles. Thinking too much about getting a sack rather than just playing. Not keeping his pad level low enough. Trying to simply overpower blockers like he could in high school.
But that won’t work at the collegiate level, Jenkins says.
“I talked about using some of the stuff [defensive coordinator Todd] Grantham said, but in a game I got caught up in the heat of the moment and went back to some of the stuff that I thought would work,” Jenkins said. “I just got to get back to the basics and just really do what I need to do to get some sacks.”
So Jenkins’ father extended their film session to text message, sending his son technique advice through the beginning of the week.
Jenkins is looking for all the motivation he can get.
“I’m rushing straight up field and not at where I need to be aiming at,” Jenkins said. “That’s another aspect that I have to think about and really what I’m going to be focusing on this week and just really fixing my angle of attack this week.”
Though Jenkins doesn’t have a sack on his stat sheet — freshman Leonard Floyd leads the team with two, followed by Sterling Bailey and Mike Thornton with one apiece — he leads the No. 9 Bulldogs with four tackles for loss. He also is also second on the team with six quarterback hurries, behind Floyd, who has seven.
Tackles for loss and quarterback hurries help the defense just as much as a sack, defensive lineman Garrison Smith says.
“Sometimes people that really don’t understand football don’t understand things like quarterback pressures and getting in the quarterback’s vision,” Smith said. “They don’t understand how much that affects the game also, so Jordan is doing a great job.”
As the Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) prepare for No. 6 LSU, powered by a pocket passer in Zach Mettenberger and an offense averaging 480.2 yards per outing, Jenkins said he surprisingly hasn’t gotten that much flack from his teammates about not getting a sack yet.
But inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera said he has stayed on the younger Jenkins, just to pick at him.
“It’s just funny,” Herrera said. “I say something all the time. I’m just on his case all the time about him as a player.”
Georgia’s top-10 matchup against LSU (4-0, 1-0) is the Bulldogs’ fourth game of the season. During Jenkins’ freshman season, he was held without a sack through the first three games but recorded his first two sacks of the season in the fourth game against Vanderbilt last season.
Maybe the fourth time is the charm for Jenkins.
At least he is hoping that nagging feeling of not having a sack will be a thing of the past after Saturday’s game.
“He’s coming off the edge, forcing quarterbacks to get up in the pocket,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “And that’s part of his job, contain the quarterback, get him to move up in the pocket and hopefully we’re pushing the pocket up front to the point where we’re disrupting the guy’s timing, things of that nature. He’s gotten a few knockdowns and he’s playing hard. That’s what we’re asking him to do. The sacks will come in time I’m sure.