ATHENS — “Havoc,” as it pertains to the defensive goal of creating disruptive plays, is a word used every day in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and on the practice fields.
We just didn’t see much of it on Saturday in the G-Day Game, and coach Kirby Smart explained there’s a good reason why.
“We’re not doing as much today,” Smart told the SEC Network, “because we don’t want to put everything out there on tape.”
Havoc, in football terminology, refers to the percentage of plays that a defense causes sacks, pass break-ups, interceptions or forced fumbles.
Smart made it a point of emphasis this spring after taking a more conservative approach last season that led UGA to ranking near the bottom of the league in a couple of Havoc categories:
• Tackles for loss — Last in the SEC
• Interceptions — 10th in the SEC
• Pass breakups — 3rd in the SEC
• Forced fumbles — first in the SEC
While Smart turned his outside linebackers loose in the first two scrimmages and practices, enabling outside linebacker newcomers Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson to quickly standout, he kept G-Day vanilla.
There were still 10 pass break-ups, 9 tackles-for-loss, 7 sacks, and 2 interceptions.
It’s a good indicator the players are completely bought in to the more aggressive mindset, even with Smart wanting to keep the game friendly to the offenses and newcomers.
“We want to find out what the players can execute, so (havoc) is not the purpose of a spring game, to go throw everything at the kids,” Smart said. “We want to let, especially, the guys who don’t have game experience, execute the call and find out what they can do.
“So there was not a lot of opportunity for havoc.”
Smart said the defense only brought “one 5-man pressure,” and one blitz.
But the trend will change once fall practice begins and into the season, because Smart has the personnel to execute a more aggressive and still have confidence it won’t lead to an unacceptable number of big plays.
“Our kids enjoy rushing the passer and can create havoc,” Smart said. “Our offense sees a lot of that, so it helps them to see that (in practice).
“We’ll continue to work on havoc, and it will be a big word for us all year.”
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