But the Bulldogs’ vaunted defensive ends did, and Quentin Moses knows it.
“People are calling us two of the playmakers on the team,” Moses said, “and we didn’t make many plays Saturday.”
Many? How about any? Georgia’s only sack against the Volunteers came from blitzing safety Tra Battle. No other Bulldog was credited with a quarterback hurry. Moses and Charles Johnson combined for seven tackles and a half a tackle for loss.
“Not one time did (Moses or Johnson) touch me,” said Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge, who threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
“That was one of the bigger disappointments in the ball game for us was our defensive ends didn’t pressure the quarterback like we wanted them to,” Coach Mark Richt said. “We didn’t even squeeze the pocket very much. It’s a little bit shocking to me that we didn’t do a little bit better in that regard.”
Moses didn’t offer any excuses about double-teams or the Georgia game plan.
“It was a lot of base blocking,” he said, “and we just didn’t get the pressure we needed to get. (Defensive coordinator Willie) Martinez made it clear that in order to be successful, we had to get pressure with the four-man rush. We knew what we had to do, we just didn’t get the job done.”
Moses, who was considered a preseason All-American by several media outlets, took it hard, too.
“Me being a senior and supposed to be one of the leaders on the team to go out and not have a good game and then have a losing effort, it’s frustrating, but I try not to dwell on it too much because when you dwell on the past, that hinders you in the future,” he said. “We just have to focus on Vanderbilt now and not let it happen again.”
The No. 16 Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC) take on the Commodores (2-4, 0-3) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Sanford Stadium.
Moses, who not long ago was expected to be an early first round NFL Draft pick this spring, has just one sack and 16 tackles this season. Until Saturday, his subpar numbers didn’t bother him.
“We got off to a great start, 5-0, so at that point it really didn’t matter because we were winning,” he said. “Having a loss like that and then not going out and being as productive as you would like to be, that definitely hit close to home. I never would have thought by game six I would have one sack, but that’s just the way it is. Fortunately, the season ain’t over yet.”
Johnson has had a more productive season, with 3.5 sacks and 21 tackles, but, like Moses, he was handled completely by Tennessee offensive tackles Arron Sears and Eric Young.
Moses will be disappointed, he said, if Martinez now thinks he must blitz to get pressure on quarterbacks.
“I hope he just leaves it to us,” he said, “and we just man up.”