A source inside told me the Redcoats have altered the pre-game show just a little bit to where it's different in between Battle Hymn and when the Dawgs run out. I don't want to spoil it because I think it's supposed to be a bit of a surprise, but just pay attention to the pre-kickoff ceremonies. I hope to write about the change and how I felt about it on the post-game wrap up. We now return you to your regularly scheduled "he doesn't know what the f*ck he's saying" post.
Oh shit. Here comes the prediction post...
Sept. 1 in Athens is without a doubt the biggest home opener I've ever seen the Dawgs play. Yes, even bigger than the 2005 Boise State contest. Boise State was not the Cinderella it is now and even though their game against Oklahoma last year was an epic one, I still don't believe the two teams were BCS-worthy teams. Anyway, we'll get into that on a later post I'm sure.
So let's get to it.
When OSU has the ball:
The Cowboys are an explosive team and return an offense with physically gifted weapons at QB and WR. They like to spread it out and tend to enjoy offensive sets of 3 or 4 WRs. They lost one of their possible starters in Artell Woods due to a horrible offseason workout injury, but they return both Adarius Bowman (60 rec./1181 yards/19.7 PYR) and D'Juan Woods (41 rec./647 yards/15.8 YPR). Both of those have the ability to break the game open and we will need to guard them closely. Bobby Reid (QB) rushed for 500 yards last year and we all know how poorly we played Vandy and Kentucky's mobile QB's last year. At RB you have two very capable, but not outstanding backs, who could cause havoc for us should our D-line not show up.
The UGA Defense has to watch out for #12 (Bowman).
What UGA needs to do is contain, contain, contain, and put pressure on Bobby Reid. If he gets his rhythm, it could be a very bad day for the Dawgs. Willie Martinez needs to bring some heat with ONE LB just to throw the pace off. I figure with 2 and 3 WR sets (we will see 4, but not as often as some might think, I believe), we'll use a nickel package. IMO, it would be best to rush one LB, use the MLB as a spy, and drift the other into coverage. My preference would be to rush Brandon Miller, use Ellerbe's talent as the MLB to read the play, and use Dewberry's (or whoever else might be in) speed in coverage.
The key is to get solid play from our Secondary so we can effectively stop the run. If we can disrupt Reid with our pass rush and keep the RBs from having a big day with our MLB and D-line play, then the Dawgs should be just fine in stopping a very productive offense.
When UGA has the ball:
As Ally pointed out, OSU has been a doormat to a lot of opponents. You can't finish in the mid-90s in total defense and win a lot of games. A lot of their seniors are on the offensive side of the ball and a lot of their team in general is very young (40 Fr., 25 Soph., 25 Jr., 20 Sr.). This team did not fair well last year against opponents who were worth playing, and they had a horrible road record. Last year alone they went 2-4 on the road and only beat Kansas and the powerhouse of Arkansas State (who Texas is playing for their opening game...get my drift?).
UGA needs to get the ground game going early and then use it to set up the play action pass (somewhere, Hal Mumme said "Amen"). Mike Bobo stepping in as an aggressive play caller will help a bunch. It also doesn't hurt to have Stafford as QB, a talented group of WRs ready to prove people wrong, and a stable of RBs that have power, balance, vision, and speed. If we can get on the board early and often, we win this game easily. Bobo has to use the weapons we have, possibly pull some trickeration, and spread out the offense to give us a chance. If we get one-dimensional, we might struggle, but I think out ground and air game will carry us through. Ally's friend Bill nailed it when he said "first to 30 wins."
Offensive mind and lead singer of R.E.M. Amazing...
Should OSU make our offense struggle, we might be in for some trouble on the special teams side of things. We have a competition for punter going on between Drew Butler (Fr.) and Brian Mimbs (Jr.). Even with Mimbs recently being named the starter, with a Junior going neck and neck against a Freshman you have to think that either the Freshman is really good or the Junior just isn't that great. I'm not sure if anyone really knows yet, but the video on Butler looks promising and he uses a one-step kick instead of taking the traditional two steps. That will give our rush a little more time to get downfield and force a fair catch.
On the FG side of things we should be fine with Brandon Coutu. He's a clutch kicker with good accuracy and a cannon for a leg. No surprises there, but Ben Wilson or Andy Bailey will be handling the kickoff duties. With the new kickoff from the 30 instead of the 35, the stronger, more accurate kicker needs to do his job so we can keep the Cowboys from gaining good starting field position.
Return wise, we look stable with Mikey Henderson handling the PR duties and a good battle between Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno for the KO duties. Tony Ball's imput has really made our returns something to talk about in my opinion.
I don't care who gets the ball. Just do lots of this.
What I think will happen:
OSU is a "team on the rise." They are pointing to this game as a statement that they're ready for attention on a national stage and I think they'll get that attention...just not quite yet. I see them pulling a big upset on a team that is slated to kill them (see: Texas, Oklahoma), but I don't know if they will gel soon enough defensively to pull one off against the *hopefully* high-powered Georgia Offense.
The Dawgs will probably look sloppy on Defense for a few possessions but I would expect the coaching staff to make the necessary changes to keep the bleeding down to a minimum. I expect scores from both teams in this game, but in the end, I just don't see OSU pulling the upset in front of 92,000 Georgia fans that have had all day to "get fired up." That being said, if we play from behind any in this game, there's an opportunity for things to get out of hand.
OSU will be a good team, I just don't think they'll be good enough on Sept. 1. Also, I just saw where Mark May picked them to win. I'll be honest, I've agreed with Senor Asshat on a lot of stuff lately (like how Notre Dame blows ass), but him picking against the Dawgs is always good.
Until next time kids.
Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).