You could be forgiven for getting the impression that the Georgia Bulldogs decided as a team not to show up for the 2019 Sugar Bowl.
You could not be forgiven for reaching the same conclusion about junior defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt. The 6’3, 301 pounder from Decatur was a rare bright spot on a dismal night in Nola, racking up 7 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and even batting down a pass. It was the culmination of a season that saw Wyatt’s profile in the defensive front steadily increase.
That will need to continue in 2019. Defensive line coach Tray Scott has become a bit of a trendy target for Bulldog fans who, I guess, need something to complain about. The charge against the Bulldogs front is that they don’t create a great deal of havoc/disruption.
That is not entirely unfair from a statistical point of view. Departed defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter and returning tackle Tyler Clark were the only members of the defensive line to tally more than 4.0 tackles for a loss in 2018. Wyatt’s 1.5 sacks in 2018 tied him with fellow junior Malik Herring for the lead among UGA defensive linemen. These are not awe-inspiring numbers.
What positions Wyatt to spearhead improvement in this area? A couple of things. For one he’s probably the quickest and most flexible interior defensive lineman on the Bulldog roster. Wyatt plays with a low center of gravity and has a quicker first step than a lot of bigger defensive tackles.
For another, he now has experience and the ability to play just about anywhere up and down the line in 3-4, 3-3-5, or 4-2-5 alignments with the possible exception of a 3-4 nose tackle. With 12 games worth of experience in 2018 and several players on the defensive front exhausting their eligibility after 2019, the future is now for Devonte Wyatt. Until later...