On the other hand, the defense (and its coordinator) have been under fire for giving up so many yards and points to opposing offenses. Let's take a look at what situations our defense has been put in the past three games:
At Oklahoma State:
- A fumble by Carlton Thomas is recovered by OSU at the Georgia 11 yard line. The defense holds strong and they kick a field goal.
- The first kickoff of the 2nd half is returned by OSU to the Georgia 24 yard line. OSU scores a TD from there.
- A fumble by Joe Cox is recovered by OSU at the Georgia 32 yard line. OSU scores a TD from there.
Total scored after turnovers: 17 points
Vs. South Carolina:
- AJ Green fumble recovered by USCe at the Georgia 23 yard line. USCe touchdown.
- Branden Smith fumbles the kick return at the Georgia 8 yard line. USCe held to a field goal.
- Joe Cox pass intercepted by USCe, returned for TD. (missed extra point)
Total scored after turnovers: 16 points
- Prince Miller punt return fumbled, recovered by Arkansas at the Georgia 34 yard line. Results in a TD.
- Richard Samuel fumble, recovered by Arkansas at the Georgia 30. Results in another Arkansas TD.
- Joe Cox pass intercepted by Arkansas at the Arkansas 48. Arkansas forced to punt by Georgia defense.
Total scored after turnovers: 14 points
Georgia's defense this year has been forced to try to stop offensive drives starting in Georgia territory 7 times already this season. 5 of these drives resulted in an opposing touchdown, while 2 were held to field goals. The defense had to defend starting at the Georgia 11, 24, 32, 23, 8, 34, and 30 yard lines.
An often noted aspect of any sport, but especially football, is the idea of "momentum." In other words, a big play can boost momentum and stimulate the play of a team, while a big mistake can destroy momentum and hurt the performance of the team as a whole. If you believe in the effects of momentum, it's easy to understand why the Georgia defense has been struggling. They've faced 9 turnovers in only 3 games.
This not only hinders momentum, but I'm sure that our offensive and special teams turnovers catch our defense off-guard. When they're supposed to have time to rest between drives, they instead have to rush back onto the field, many times right after successfully stopping the opposing offense.
So yes, you may disagree with the coaching, or you may fault the defensive players who may not execute perfectly on every play, but when you look at what they've faced recently under a microscope, it's hard to feel no sympathy.
I don't think we've seen this Georgia defense at their best yet, simply because they keep getting rushed onto a short field to defend in our own territory. If our offense and special teams can stop turnovers and mistakes, only then will we see what this defense is capable of.