Despite being in the discussion for a range of head coaching positions, Dan Lanning has chosen to remain in Athens at the University of Georgia and has elevated the Bulldog defense to one of the country’s elite. He produced 2021 NFL Second Round pick Azeez Ojulari, who led the Southeastern Conference in sacks and forced fumbles in 2020, while also helping to deliver top-four recruiting classes all four of his years. As evidenced by performances such as the one his defense displayed versus Missouri on Nov. 6, Lanning’s defense has dedicated themselves to near perfection at protecting the end zone. The Tigers advanced the ball for a first down at the UGA 3 yard line in the game’s final minute. Two rushing attempts, two passing attempts and a pair of Missouri timeouts later, the Bulldogs kept the Tigers from scoring a single point.
Dan Lanning transitioned from the Bulldogs’ outside linebackers coach to the Fain & Billy Slaughter Defensive Coordinator/OLBs coach before the 2019 season and has proven himself as one of the nation’s most outstanding assistant coaches. The 2019 Broyles Award finalist has had the country’s leading Rushing Defense in both 2019 (74.6 yards per game) and 2020 (72.3 ypg), Scoring Defense in 2019 (12.6 points per game) and in Rushing Touchdowns Allowed (school record two). Georgia also ranked second and third in Total Defense in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the latest 2021 College Football Playoff (CFP) poll with a 9-0 record. Georgia has posted a 7-0 mark in Southeastern Conference games and clinched the outright SEC Eastern Division title on Oct. 30, matching the earliest date in league history for any team to clinch and making them the fastest team from the East to clinch.
Georgia’s defense leads the country in Scoring Defense (6.6 points per game) and Red Zone Defense (56. 2 percent) and ranks second in Total Defense (231.8 yards per game), Passing Yards Allowed (151.1 ypg) and Rushing Defense (80.7 ypg). The Bulldog defense has only allowed five touchdowns this year and scored three of their own in pick sixes. Through nine games, Georgia’s opponents have scored just 59 points, which is the lowest nine-game tally for the team since the 1971 squad gave up just 53 during the same span. The Bulldogs are the only team nationwide to hold opposing offenses out of the end zone in five games this year.
ILB Nakobe Dean – Butkus Award/Bednarik Award/Wuerffel Trophy semifinalist, Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, 38 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 2 INTs (50-yd return for TD); OLB Nolan Smith – 32 stops, 4.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, INT, 2 FF, FR, blocked punt; N Jordan Davis – 21 stops, 3.5 TFLs, 2 sacks; DL Jalen Carter – 22 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, blocked PAT; S Lewis Cine – Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist with 40 stops, 1 INT; OLB Travon Walker – 26 tackles, 5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks; ILB Channing Tindall – leading tackler with 45