Georgia Pass Rusher Nolan Smith Out For Season, A Big Loss For Kirby Smart’s Defense

Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith will miss the remainder of the season for the Bulldogs with a torn pectoral muscle. The injury looked to have occurred in the first half against Florida this past weekend.

Smith was considered a lock for the first round of the NFL draft, leading Georgia with seven tackles for loss, three sacks and sixteen hurries. The loss of Nolan Smith will be felt by this Bulldog defense, especially with him being one of the key leaders on this team.

Anthony Dasher was first to report the news.

Kirby Smart praised Nolan for his ability to be a leader during a press conference last week.

“He’s been a natural leader. His leadership is more important than his ability, and his ability is pretty strong. He creates a toughness about the way he holds people to a standard of the way you strike blocks, the way you close on counters, the way you rush with effort, special teams, I mean, he plays on all special teams. He’s just a core guy.”

Nolan Smith #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

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Who Steps Up In Nolan’s Place Against Tennessee?

The Bulldogs will need players like Chaz Chambliss, Marvin Jones Jr. and Robert Beal to step up in Nolan’ place. Getting pressure on Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is crucial for the Bulldogs, especially with how fast the Vols offense moves.

“They go really fast. They get a lot of at-bats in terms of possessions, and they do start fast,” Kirby Smart said of the Vols offense. ” I think our team has done a really good job of growing and getting better throughout this year. And each week, including the off-week, it’s, like, I see marked improvement. I really want to continue to do that. We’re trending in the right direction in terms of getting better both offensively and defensively.”

How Georgia handles the up-tempo offense from Tennessee is crucial, while also preventing the Vols wide receivers from roaming free.

It will certainly be a test for Georgia, but this team has enough depth to fill the gigantic hole left from Nolan Smith’s absence. As for the leadership part, that’s a tough one replace.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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