The past few weeks have been crucial in the development of Georgia’s defense.
AJ Reynolds/Staff, @ajreynoldsphoto
Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25), Georgia defensive end Garrison Smith (56), Georgia defensive end Sterling Bailey (58) and Georgia defensive end Ray Drew (47)during the second half the NCAA college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.
Senior safety Connor Norman said it’s easy to see how far the younger players have come since the start of the season.
“You’ve just got to keep building on it every week,” Norman said. “The more games you play the more confidence you get, so I definitely can see them building confidence, which is good.”
That confidence will be much needed against LSU’s offense, which is averaging 480 yards per outing.
“I think we understand the challenge that’s ahead, but at the same time we’re preparing and we’re getting ready to play, too,” Norman said. “[The younger players have] got three games under their belt and they’re continuing to get better every week.”
Senior Garrison Smith has watched LSU play this season, and much like the Tigers of the past, it’s no secret how they plan to pick apart Georgia’s defense.
“They’re a team that’s going to try and run it on you,” Smith said. “They’re coming and they’re not trying to hide it. You’ve just got to be mentally prepared to get ready for it.”
Being mentally prepared is an area freshman safety Tray Matthews has put in a lot of work this season.
“I’m just looking forward to the competition,” Matthews said. “I strive for big games like this. I’m going to play my hardest.”
Georgia’s defense must focus on stopping the run first and the pass second if it plans on slowing LSU down. However, LSU’s passing game, led by former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger, has been efficient thus far, totalling 10 touchdown passes and just more than 1,000 yards through the air.
“That quarterback puts the ball on the money,” Matthews said. “He can throw the ball anywhere he wants to, and we’re ready for that. That’s more plays for me and I can hopefully get some picks.”
Matthews has the mind set that he’ll be able to make a few big hits in the secondary given the ball makes it that far.
“I’m pretty sure of our defensive backs,” Matthews said. “We’ve got some hard-hitters. For me, I really don’t have any fear in my heart. If they get to the next level, I’ve got to bring them down. Who else is going to bring them down?”