Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Sanders Commings gets in on Georgia's smack talk

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ATHENS, Ga. — With a war of words brewing between the defenses of Georgia and Louisiana State University before the Southeastern Conference Championship game, Sanders Commings didn’t come out of his corner Tuesday to play peacemaker.

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Georgia safety and former Westside High School star Sanders Commings (left) didn't shy away from talk that the Bulldogs defense is as good as top-ranked LSU's.  Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Georgia safety and former Westside High School star Sanders Commings (left) didn't shy away from talk that the Bulldogs defense is as good as top-ranked LSU's.

“We just have to win this game to prove that we’re the best defense in the SEC,” said Commings, the Bulldogs’ junior cornerback out of Westside. “If we do that then you can’t argue that we aren’t. We definitely need to win this game. If we do, everyone in the conference will see that we are the best.”

It isn’t an entirely indefensible argument. Both the Bulldogs and Tigers rank among the five best defenses statistically in the nation, although LSU sits a higher in every defensive category. Considering the No. 1 Tigers are undefeated and expected by many to be a lock to play for the BCS title in January, the confidence that Georgia’s less heralded defenders are showing has raised a few eyebrows in Baton Rouge, La.

The bulletin-board material started on Monday when Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones said in a conference call “I think our defense is just as good as theirs, if not better.” That assessment quickly spread across social media, prompting LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard to tweet, “Is this dude serious?”

Judging from Commings’ unqualified comments Tuesday, Georgia is very serious.

“They’ve played well this year, but our players are just as good as theirs,” said the typically soft-spoken Commings. “Our defense is better than theirs is. So, I’m not really worried about how good they say they are or people saying we don’t have a chance.”

What makes Commings believe Georgia is “better?”

“I think we have better players, better coaches,” Commings said. “The way that we’re playing right now, I don’t think anybody can run on us or throw on us.”

Bold words coming from a unit that started the year 0-2 and hasn’t faced the kind of quality opposition that LSU has in defeating No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Arkansas and No. 8 Oregon.

“Since they think we haven’t been tested so far, I guess our test is Saturday,” said Commings. “It’s going to be interesting what people say once we pass this test.”

Commings also wasn’t shy about adding his two cents about the other programs regarded as the SEC West’s best and why Georgia stacks up better against LSU than either the Crimson Tide or Razorbacks.

“Our offense is definitely better than Alabama’s,” he said. “We can run as well as pass the ball. We have a great quarterback who has experience. We don’t have to have a perfect game because the offense has our back and we have their back.

“Arkansas doesn’t have the defense we have. When LSU got the ball they pretty much scored whenever they wanted to.”

Commings may have some good points, but why produce motivational fodder for a team that has already established its dominance and might feed off the fuel of being disrespected?

“We want them to be motivated,” he said. “We want them to give us their best shot because that’s what we’re gonna do. He hope they play as hard as they can. We feel that we can stop anybody. We respect them. They are the best team in the country. We’re going to play them like they are. But we don’t fear anybody.”

Saturday’s SEC title shot in a sold-out Georgia Dome is a career moment for Commings. His parents, Norma and Sanders Sr., and siblings (Treazure, 18, and Aaron, 13) will be among his contingent in Atlanta watching the biggest opportunity of his football career.

“It means everything,” Commings said. “I’ve dreamed of playing in games like this. Being from the state of Georgia, in high school I never got far enough in the playoffs to play the Dome. I never got to do that. Fortunately this is my second time playing in it this year. I’m excitement about the opportunity and ready to make some plays.”

LSU’s run-oriented offense will pose a huge challenge for Georgia’s rush defense that ranks sixth in the nation. Commings believes that bodes well for the Bulldogs’ secondary.

“Keep everything in front of us and not allow any big plays,” he said of the gameplan. “We’re trusting those guys in front of us to not allow them to get any plays running the ball. Our defense is better playing teams that try to run right at us. Nobody runs the ball on us and if we make a team one-dimensional we can cover anybody’s pass attack.”

Georgia’s secondary has been calling itself the “money team” all season since a freshman dubbed them that making a joke and it stuck.

“We take pride in covering people and we think we’re the best at it,” Commings said. “If someone in the secondary gets beat in a game, you owe us now. You owe the money team.”

On Saturday, Georgia will put its “money team” where its mouth is. Commings and his defensive mates aren’t backing down from the challenge.

“This is a must win,” he said. “Nobody on this team has ever won an SEC Championship. Losing is not an option. We’re going to do whatever we have to win this game. They’re the No. 1 team in the nation so they’re going to have all the hype. But we’ll see who finishes with it after the game.”

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follower
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follower 11/30/11 - 10:38 am
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I'm a committed Dawg fan, but

I'm a committed Dawg fan, but I'm avoiding the trash talk. LSU is good enough as it is. Inciting them to anger is not a good idea. Tooooo much talent.

augfootballfan
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augfootballfan 11/30/11 - 12:35 pm
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wow, if they feel like they

wow, if they feel like they are that good and better than the other teams in the West, then South Carolina must be REALLY good. didnt USC put up 45 on this defense that he is spouting off about??

LemonJello
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LemonJello 11/30/11 - 12:36 pm
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C'mon, the confidence of this

C'mon, the confidence of this team should be embraced. Should they say, "we know they are good and we don't know if we can hang with them, but we'll see?" Our players need that confidence and swagger and they should ALWAYS take the attitude that we aren't backing down from or afraid of anyone. Good players want to play against the best at their best. Thats all our players are asking. They want LSU's best shot because they want the challenge. If you plan to be the best, you have to beat the best. We are a young team that is full of pee and vinegar. Even in loss, the future with this young team is extremely bright. I will take the advice of noted college football expert Phil Steele..."Don't expect Georgia to win, but don't be surprised if they do." Paul Finnebaum made an excellent point last night, "LSU need not be over confident....UGA isn't exactly Ole Miss." Also do not forget in 2005, LSU was ranked #3 in the nation and UGA #13. UGA upset LSU in the title game....quite handily. Anything can happen...anything at all. A beat down at the hand of LSU or they could do the beating. Anything is possible. Its why they play the game.

rkyall
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rkyall 11/30/11 - 01:15 pm
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Did'nt SC score 4

Did'nt SC score 4 nonoffensive touchdowns while UGA's defense was off the field. That leaves 17 points the defense were responsible for.

augfootballfan
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augfootballfan 11/30/11 - 01:28 pm
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Lattimore ran for 182 yards

Lattimore ran for 182 yards and Garcia ( who isnt even on the team anymore) lit them up through the air. UGA barely scraped by Vandy, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Florida, and Tennessee. Barely. They won so they deserve to be in the game, but definately arent good enough to be calling out Alabama and Arkansas. Give me a break. You had the easiest schedule of ANY SEC team and barely backed your way into the title game

LemonJello
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LemonJello 11/30/11 - 01:53 pm
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augfootball, you smack of a

augfootball, you smack of a jealous Gamecock fan. UGA is a VERY young team and well-coached quality young teams figure out how to win, if they have talent. We did not choose our schedule and you play the schedule you are given. History shows that Richt's teams get better and better as the year goes...with the exception of last season. UGA is not playing anything like it did at the beginning of the season. They have gelled beyond where they were against Boise and USC. Georgia turned the ball over in Carolina's territory 3 times, all yielding points. I think South Carolina is a VERY good team and that is no disrespect to them...its just a fact. Carolina is a force to be reckoned with in the SEC. We did not "back into" the title game....we won 10 straight and earned it, beating the snot out of an Auburn team that smacked Carolina around, and a Georgia Tech team that had beaten a once #8 Clemson team. This just shows that anything can happen.

kiwiinamerica
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kiwiinamerica 11/30/11 - 01:57 pm
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What is Commings smoking?
Unpublished

What is Commings smoking?

augfootballfan
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augfootballfan 11/30/11 - 02:04 pm
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lemmonhead, not a carolina

lemmonhead, not a carolina fan and not sure what Carolina has to be jealous of,,didnt they beat u tween the hedges?>?>? and to say that Auburn smacked carolina around... lets see. USC was the ONLY undefeated team in the SEC East. USC beat Vandy by 17 UGA beat them by 4, USC beat Florida by 5 UGA beat them by 4, USC beat Kentucky by 52 UGA beat them by 6, USC beat Tennessee by 5, UGA beat them by 3. USC performed better against EVERY team in the EAST so if i were a Carolina fan i would be cheering, not jealous. All i said was before UGA spouts off the mouth about who they are better than, they better worry about themsleves

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/30/11 - 03:45 pm
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Whatever augfootballfan,

Whatever augfootballfan, Saturday at 4:00 Richt will be coaching football and the Ole Ball Coach will be hanging Christmas Lights.

LemonJello
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LemonJello 11/30/11 - 04:46 pm
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Weak logic, auggiehead.

Weak logic, auggiehead. Comparing margins of victory is extremely weak. Using that logic, shouldn't Georgia Tech have beaten our daylights out simply because they beat #8 Clemson? Thats what the Tech fans were predicting along with ESPN. Tech Shouldn't our game against Auburn have been closer simply because Carolina beat UGA, and Auburn beat Carolina? No. Anyone can beat anyone of any given day, margin of victory is not a valid or useful indicator, especially in the SEC. I agree with you, Carolina fans should be cheering. They are going to a nice bowl and had a terrific year. But our players should be displaying the confidence they have right now. I don't interpret their remarks as 'spouting off.' They are saying they want LSU to bring their A game and they want to bring there's. The fact that they believe in themselves as young as they are is a good sign for the future. Win or lose, UGA has a great young nucleus on which to build for the next 3 years. Win or lose, things are bright in Bulldog land. You seem to be awfully protective of South Carolina...I still think you're a Gamecock...or perhaps a Techie. If you're a Tech fan, perhaps you should worry more about your own program than concentrating on the win/loss and margin of victory statistics for the Bulldogs.

Makaveli
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Makaveli 11/30/11 - 10:21 pm
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Auggiehead, Garcia lit

Auggiehead, Garcia lit Georgia up? Really? Since when does 11 of 25 for 142 yards 1 TD, 2 INTs count as lighting someone up? Oh right, it doesn't.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/01/11 - 11:21 pm
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Hey, guys, I have a feeling

Hey, guys, I have a feeling we are all former football players on some level. Ain't you glad you didn't play in this era of no chop blocks, leading with your helmet, hitting below the waist or doing anything to the quarterback but grab him to keep him from falling?

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