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Georgia football: Mark Richt expects Bulldogs' defense to be potent next season

The Georgia head coach isn't expecting a drop-off in production from his defense in 2013.

Scott Cunningham

A loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship meant the Georgia Bulldogs' consolation prize was a 45-31 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. Despite ending the season on a high note, the Bulldogs could be in for a harsh reality when the deadline for declaring for the NFL Draft comes and goes. Junior linebacker Alec Ogletree already announced he'll be leaving for the draft, meaning Georgia could be without 12 defensive starters from this season when they kickoff next season.

Nine players will be out of eligibility, and Ogletree's teammates, linebacker Jarvis Jones and nose guard Kwame Geathers, could be headed for the NFL early as well. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham told the Journal-Constitution that the Bulldogs must work on the younger players' minds and bodies.

"That’s what we have to work on with the young guys coming up, that mental and physical toughness to win ballgames. In this league, the bottom line is winning and losing and you do it by playing every snap as hard as you can with the right mindset," Grantham said.

Although they were working with more seniors, the Bulldogs defense gave up nearly 80 more yards per game than last season.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.