ATHENS, Ga. — The numbers look bad. The trend line looks worse. Georgia’s ability to stop other teams from running the ball doesn’t appear to be heading in the right direction.
But those around the team say it’s not that clear cut.
“Our run defense ... it’s good,” defensive lineman Sterling Bailey said, thinking over his words for a moment. “We’ve just gotta eliminate the big plays. Take the big plays out of the picture, and our run defense is good. It’s really good.”
That’s a rosy assessment, but the Bulldogs say they’ve seen enough glimmers of hope to think they can be a stout defense against the run.
Georgia’s rush defense currently ranks 102nd in the nation, out of 123 teams, yielding 211 rushing yards per game.
It’s not a volume issue. The Bulldogs are yielding 6.2 yards per rushing attempt. By comparison, Texas, which ranks 121st in the nation, is only yielding 6.0 yards per rush.
The Bulldogs face North Texas this weekend before hosting LSU.
A&M tries to fix defense
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M’s defense allowed six long touchdown drives to top-ranked Alabama, and defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said the lessons his young players learned will last a long time.
Still, the Aggies rank 115th out of 123 Bowl Subdivision programs in rushing defense, allowing 260 yards per game. They rate 112th in total defense (allowing 489 ypg) and 107th in scoring defense (36 points per game). The numbers suggest a Southeastern Conference title will be tough going for the 10th-ranked Aggies, at least at this point.
A&M (2-1, 0-1 SEC) has been especially soft in its pass rush, in collecting only three sacks and three quarterback hurries over its first three games. The Aggies host SMU on Saturday night.
Clowney, battling foot injury
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton will be day-to-day because of foot injuries for the rest of the season, but neither is expected to miss games, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Tuesday.
Clowney is dealing with bone spurs in his right foot, a continuing problem dating to high school. Sutton has had a foot injury since preseason camp.
Ward said Tuesday the two likely will wear walking boots to protect the injuries when unable to practice.
The No. 12 Gamecocks (2-1) are off Saturday. Their next game is Sept. 28 at UCF.
Clowney has two sacks and 10 tackles. Sutton has 1½ sacks and 11 tackles this season.
Compiled from The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and The Associated Press.