Ahead of Georgia's matchup with Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, The Red & Black takes a look at who has the edge at each defensive position group.
Florida knows how to get after the quarterback, and it starts with the defensive line. The Gators are second in the SEC in sacks, fueled by defensive linemen Jachai Polite and Jabari Zuniga, who have combined for 11.5 sacks. No one on Georgia’s defensive line has more than one sack. Throw in the fact the Bulldogs were gutted for 275 rushing yards against LSU, and it’s hard not to give the advantage to the Gators.
It’s tough to compare linebacker units on the teams since Florida’s defense typically only calls for two or three linebackers while Georgia employs four. Middle linebacker Vosean Joseph leads the Gators in tackles and boasts 6.5 tackles for loss. While outside linebacker D’Andre Walker leads Georgia in sacks and tackles for loss, no linebacker has asserted himself as a dominant force. Florida’s linebacker group has looked just as good, and it has done it against better competition, including Kentucky, LSU and Mississippi State.
This game will feature two of the top secondaries in the conference, as both teams rank in the top 15 in the country in pass defense. But Georgia has a weapon Florida can’t match: Deandre Baker. The preseason All-American corner continues to be a force in the defensive backfield, breaking up eight passes this year. While the two secondary units are mostly comparable, no one on the Gator sideline is comparable to Baker. It’s just enough to tilt the advantage to Georgia. He’s that good.