Originally written on College Football Zealots  |  Last updated 11/8/14
The Georgia Bulldogs (along with the Texas A&M Aggies) were the first SEC school to kick off spring practice as they took to the field on Saturday. With Georgia starting practice, spring previews are popping up all over the internet. Georgia returns most of a dynamic offense that averaged 37.8 ppg but will have to replace the bulk of it's production on defense. All eyes this spring will be on the defensive side of the football. Georgia beat writer Marc Weiszer gives us some storylines to watch this spring and Seth Emerson has some notes from the first practice. Georgia loses nine of their top twelve tacklers from 2012. The three that return are ILB Amarlo Herrera (70 tackles,1 INT), DL Garrison Smith (57 tackles, 1 sack) and CB Damian Swann (52 tackles, 4 INT, 2 sacks). The other top returners are OLB Jordan Jenkins (31 tackles, 5 sacks) and DE Ray Drew (23 tackles).  There will be very important position battles all over the defense this spring for Georgia. Based on their performance last season I would expect Smith, Herrera, Jenkins and Swann to be penciled in as starters. I also expect Drew, Sheldon Dawson (CB) and Ramik Wilson (ILB) to have the inside track at their positions.  That leaves the most interesting battles at nose tackle, both safety spots and OLB spot opposite of Jenkins.  At NT, the Dawgs lose both John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers. With the loss of those two monsters, Georgia will be smaller on the line but they should be more versatile, athletic and deeper. The battle here is wide open with Chris Mayes (JUCO early enrollee), Jonathan Taylor (RS Freshman/2012 Scout.com #9 DT), Mike Thornton (RS Junior/2010 Scout.com #16 DT who might be better suited at DE in 3-4) and John Atkins (prep school early enrollee) among those battling for playing time.  Opposite Jordan Jenkins there is a lot of talent but not a lot of known commodities. Sophomore Josh Dawson showed flashes and should get a long look this spring. Another sophomore James Deloach is also a front runner at this position and was said to look good on day one.  Returning senior Chase Vasser is a guy that can be plugged in as needed and should get on the field this season due to his experience and familiarity with the defense. Georgia is deep at OLB and I'm sure Todd Grantham will throw everybody he can at the position and see who is the best fit. Safety might be the most critical position to fill for Georgia because it loses both Shawn Williams (a key leader on the defense) and Bacarri Rambo (Mr Interception). Georgia returns Connor Norman (18 tackles in 2012) and Corey Moore (14 tackles in 2012) and those are the two team veterans that have the best opportunity to earn some playing time. But I would keep an eye on the youngsters at this position. Sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons is very versatile and could play at both safety and linebacker this season. Early enrollee Tray Matthews has already made enough of an impression on the coaching staff that he's lined up as a first teamer in some drills on day one. Including Matthews, Georgia signed five safeties this spring and that includes two JUCO players that will get a long look (Kennar Johnson and Shaq Fluker). This is going to be a very interesting spring for the Georgia defense. Georgia loses the majority of their starters off of their defense but let's face it, this is a defense that under performed in 2012. Will the new blood in 2013 be able to upstage the returning talent the Dawgs had in 2012? 
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

WATCH: Kenny Smith pushes Shaq into a Christmas tree

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Quincy Acy ejected for throwing punch at John Wall

Billy Beane did not want to trade Josh Donaldson

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.