ATHENS — Jamon Dumas-Johnson is his own toughest critic. The Georgia defender helps hold everyone accountable on defense and he’s no exception.
“I played well. I don’t feel like I’ve lived up to the standard of how I could play,” Dumas-Johnson said. “My teammates hold me up, my coaches hold me up, so it’s fine. I need to clean up some eye control stuff, it got me here and there. Things like that… The last few weeks training has been a slow start for me. It definitely carries over to the games. You can see that, you can feel that. In a few weeks of training I feel good, I feel the hype and in this game I go crazy. Going through training, which you shouldn’t do, leads to a bad game and I’ve definitely experienced that in the past few weeks. I agree the training hasn’t been my best over the past few weeks but one can only look ahead.”
The numbers paint a rosier picture than what Dumas-Johnson paints. He finished Saturday with eight tackles against Kentucky and ranks second on the team in that brand.
The Georgia-led defense also continues to be one of the best in the country. The Bulldogs are giving up just 83 yards per game, good for third place nationally. In back-to-back games against Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Kentucky, all four finished the game with 100 rushing yards or fewer.
Dumas-Johnson deserves some credit for that. While his play on the field doesn’t live up to his high standards, he’s quick to point out how well fellow linebacker Smael Mondon has been playing in recent weeks.
He led the team in tackles against Kentucky at 11. In the first quarter, Mondon had back-to-back short-haul stops to stop a drive in Kentucky. If Dumas-Johnson is considered the brains of the GEorgia defense, Mondon is the brawn, though both linebackers tick all the boxes they want.
“He was just putting on a show. Take cover, strike,” Dumas-Johnson said. “Like I always say, he’s everything you want in a linebacker. Relentless, physical, smart, big fast. This is Smael.”
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Georgia coach Kirby Smart agreed with Dumas-Johnson’s assessment of his own recent game. If you’re following in the footsteps of Nakobe Dean – with whom Dumas-Johnson still chats, though he talks more about life than the ins and outs of football – you have a lot to live up to.
Dumas-Johnson knows that. He wants to face the challenge of being a linebacker at Georgia just as much as he wants to slam a running back coming through a hole.
“He’s also the signal caller, the one who picks up the signal and tells people what to do. And he holds people accountable, you know, including himself,” Smart said. “He hasn’t had some of his best games and best weeks of training here lately. But he still holds himself to a high standard and recognizes that he can do better. If you have a man in that position who thinks like that, it’s good hardwiring for your defense.”
Georgia just wrapped up its most difficult stretch of the season, contesting and beating four teams, all of which will compete in bowl games. However, the route before Georgia will be considerably harder. After the game against Georgia Tech, a matchup with LSU awaits you. Then possibly the college football playoff if the Bulldogs keep winning.
The Bulldogs will need their leader to be at the top of his game.
“The doubters trying to challenge this defense, that’s them with a chip on their shoulder,” Dumas-Johnson said. “We were at every game, every Tuesday, every Monday, every Wednesday, every Thursday, every Friday and every Saturday. So it’s just the doubters who doubt us on this defense to show what we can do and we have to keep proving them wrong and keep going.
Jamon Dumas-Johnson discusses his latest play