Georgia Team News

How effective will Georgia pass rush be against Missouri?

Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia’s outside linebacker duo of juniors Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter have yet to record a sack or tackle for loss in 2016. That said, they are not concerned about their performance or the pass rush in general.

Bellamy and Carter were expected to be the big-play defenders for the Bulldogs, but others have stepped to the fore. The Bulldogs had four tackles for loss and a sack in the season-opening win over North Carolina; they followed that up with five tackles for loss and two sacks last week against Nicholls State.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart remains steadfast in his belief that the Bulldogs have the ability to affect an opposing quarterback.

“When we bring pressure, we usually get pressure,” Smart said. “It’s just a decision of how many times you want to do that in the game.”

How many times defensive coordinator Mel Tucker decides to send pressure Saturday against Missouri’s Drew Lock bears watching. Lock leads the SEC in pass attempts (88) and passing yards (730) and is second with six TD passes. Georgia, whose best position unit is the secondary, has allowed just 267 passing yards and two scoring tosses.

RELATED: Smart: Drew Lock ‘throws one of the best deep balls I’ve seen’

One issue with bring pressure, of course, is that it can leave a defense vulnerable to the run. But Mizzou isn’t especially proficient on the ground, meaning the Tigers’ offense Saturday likely will be in Lock’s hands – or, rather, his arm.

Carter says the relative lack of tackles for loss and sacks isn’t anything to worry about for now.

“We’re just getting chemistry with each other in the pass rush,” Carter said last week. “Pass rushing is something that you have to work on and work on it daily. We’re going to do that. I feel like we have good-enough pass rushers to get back there.”

Bellamy shares Carter’s optimism.

“I think we’re doing pretty good,” he said. “We’re staying in the game plan, and we know this is a defense where everybody has to do their job. It’s not about two guys getting sacks; it’s about coordinating the pass rush and the coverage working together.”

And while Lock likely will attempt 35-plus passes, Bellamy said getting to him won’t be an easy task. Lock has been sacked just once.
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“I think the quarterback knows where he’s going with the ball,” Bellamy said. “Along with him having good protection, it’s going to be hard to get with him.”

RELATED: Lorenzo Carter’s biggest critics? His parents

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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