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Monday, March 23, 2009

Curran's Credo: Consistency

A year ago, Rennie Curran stepped into a leadership role on Georgia's defense out of necessity. This year, the job was his from the start.

"Rennie is always going to be the natural leader of this defense because he's such an explosive player and everyone respects the way he plays," safety Bryan Evans said. "He plays the game with passion and that's something that I feed off of."

Curran has worked to develop a gung-ho mentality on this season's defense that he admitted wasn't always there a year ago.

While Georgia's defense was brilliant at times in 2008 -- including a goal-line stand orchestrated in large part by Curran against South Carolina -- there were too many miscues. The team allowed 38 points or more five times last season, including a brutal stretch late in the season that culminated with a loss to rival Georgia Tech. It wasn't that the talent wasn't there, Curran said, or that success wasn't possible. It was inconsistency that killed the defense.

"It's a mystery, but I feel like it was a lot of different things," Curran said. "I feel like it was a lack of discipline, a lack of guys getting after each other and holding each other accountable. Now we have everybody standing beside each other and making sure that guy is running and just doing the right thing. If a guy messes up on a play, we get after him, but we encourage him at the same time. Those are the things that make a defense strong and keeps it strong throughout the season."

With Corvey Irvin, Dannell Ellerbe, CJ Byrd and Asher Allen -- four of Georgia's most experienced defenders -- now gone, Curran has quickly become the central voice in the locker room, and he said the enthusiasm this offseason has been just what he was hoping for, and where last year's group had trouble maintaining its focus, consistency is the name of the game now.

"When we step onto the field, no matter what drill it is, we're going full speed," Curran said. "We're playing at one speed, one tempo, and one mentality and that's relentless. Everything that we do is disciplined, but it's relentless at the same time."

ADDITIONAL: Check out this video of Curran discussing the role he'll play this year with senior Dannell Ellerbe now headed to the NFL.


Mike In Valdosta said...

AS you know, David, I love your work, but saying the defense was brilliant at times last year is akin to saying I was a star student every time I visited the elementary school while I was in college.

I love my Dawgs, and there were some great individual efforts, but we never showed up as a unit against quality competition.

David Hale said...

Well, fair comment I guess, but I do think the defense won the game against South Carolina, and held Arizona State and Tennessee both to less than 10 yards rushing. That's pretty good. I'm not saying they did it against the best offenses, just that there were games when they did play well. But I can see your side of it, too. I guess we can agree that the defense needs to improve a lot in '09...

Mike In Valdosta said...

I submit to your knowledge. We were pretty awesome against the rush until the wishbone got us. But at the end of the day, the only stat that matters is points allowed. Can't really state if AzState lit it up in their conference being provincial and all, but columbia and knoxville did not.

Considering all the injuries, I think our performance against the run was remarkable until our secondary was required to make tackles against north avenue. Which is why I have not had any problems with Willie, we were in position to make the play, we just didn't.

At the end of the day, who am I to be critical of a 10 and 3 season.

I was going to make a crack about Syracuse's record in 2008, but it appears has erased all mention of it.

Sorry for the cheap shot. Basketball was very prominent, unlike our situation.

David Hale said...

Syracuse has a football program? Hmmm... I thought for sure I'd have heard something about it.

Mike In Valdosta said...

Well taken.

Sorry, I am conversing with my buddy Jim Beam. That's right, I do not hang out with Jack Daniels, or anyone from tennessee.

David Hale said...

Gotta appreciate a man with ethics!