Georgia's Jordan Jenkins still seeking first sack

Georgia's Jordan Jenkins still seeking first sack

September 18th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

ATHENS, Ga. - Jordan Jenkins entered this season hoping to extend Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's three-year streak of having a double-digit sack producer.

Entering this week's visit by North Texas, Jenkins and his fellow outside linebackers are still seeking their first one. The Bulldogs have just three sacks so far, with defensive linemen combining on 2.5.

"We are not where we need to be, and we've really been working on some of the moves that we should have been using," Jenkins said Tuesday. "We've tried to use some of our own moves instead of what Coach Grantham has told us. We're really getting back to some of the stuff that got us better last year."

Jenkins, who had five sacks as a freshman last year, said he thinks too much sometimes and needs to commit to one move and one counter move while rushing the passer.

"If you're thinking of two or three different moves, it will mess up your head," he said.

Jarvis Jones, now a rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, totaled 28 sacks the last two seasons. Jenkins said he received a playful text from Jones last week saying "you better get your [stuff] together."

The Bulldogs could see their sack totals rise simply because they're past the elusive quarterback tandem of Clemson's Tajh Boyd and South Carolina's Connor Shaw.

"Certainly a sack is something statistically that you can see, but there are other ways to pressure him without getting him on the ground," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "You can force him to throw it away or break out of the pocket, which isn't always good sometimes. Sometimes you want to try to keep guys in the pocket, but we need to do a better job of that.

"The more pressure we can put on the quarterback, the less pressure there is on a relatively young secondary back there."

Quality quarterbacks

The past two weekends have provided two marquee matchups in the SEC, with Georgia outlasting South Carolina 41-30 and Alabama surviving Texas A&M 49-42.

Is there not as much defense within the league this season? Or can the excess points be attributed to stellar quarterbacks such as South Carolina's Shaw, Georgia's Aaron Murray, Alabama's AJ McCarron and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel?

"You have a great chance of moving the ball and having success when you have a veteran quarterback," Richt said. "We kind of knew as a league going into this year that there would be a lot of guys that could play well. Between Murray, Manziel, AJ and Shaw ... I think they're four of the best in the country. It's harder to defend guys that can't be affected by the pressure that a crowd will make or the pressure a great defense can make.

"If they can stand up to the pressure, you've got a chance to move the ball and have success. It's probably a little bit of a cycle right now, and we have some veteran quarterbacks that can handle it."

Those four quarterbacks, incidentally, have a combined career mark of 87-23 as starters.

Waiting his turn

Georgia backup quarterback Hutson Mason has not played since getting mop-up duty in the 2011 SEC championship game loss to LSU.

The 6-foot-3, 202-pounder from Marietta redshirted last season and has not played in the first two games. Mason's time on the bench could come to an end if the Bulldogs could build a sizable lead against the Mean Green.

"We're always hoping as an offense and as a team to blow teams out," Murray said. "Other teams prepare and other teams have a game plan and other teams go out there and execute, so we're going to have to play it by ear. Hutson has been ready for a while, and he's a great quarterback."

Said Richt: "We hope he plays. Our goal is for him to play as much as possible."

Odds and ends

Georgia sophomore tailback Todd Gurley leads the SEC with 143 yards a game and 12 points a game. ... Freshman Paris Bostick, who underwent toe surgery in June, has begun practicing at inside linebacker despite having signed as a cornerback. Richt has not ruled out Bostick playing this year. ... Georgia will be the 13th top-10 team that North Texas has played in the last 14 seasons. ... The Mean Green lead the nation in forced turnovers (11) and forced fumbles (seven).

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.