Collage 3
The Dawg-gone Blog
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Friday, September 21, 2007
I'm not scared, afraid, nervous, or anxious of this game. I was before South Carolina and we all saw what happened, right? Am I predicting a victory? We'll I'm a f*cking homer for UGA, so of course I am, but let's take all that out of the equation and talk about why I think my optimism (with pessimistic tones) has some warrant.

When Alabama has the ball:

Expect Saban to pound the football early on to try to wear out the defense. This will force us to stuff some in the box and bring the safeties up for run support. Our D-line play is more critical to success than any other game we’ve played this season and we really need a performance from them like the one against OSU. It’s extremely important for them to blow up the line of scrimmage and stop the run so we can back our safeties off. I heard Richt say on the radio that our young CBs are going to be forced into some man-to-man situations and he’s hoping their up to the task (see #2). Richt knows that Saban is out to make us tired and then have us play catch up.

Also expect the Tide to try and get on the board early and make the Dawgs play from behind. Hal Mumme says, “PLAY ACTION PASS, NICK!” I also have a feeling you can expect a shot downfield on the first series. It’d be a huge momentum builder, and if last week as any indication, Alabama may need to get some early points to have a shot of staying competitive for four Quarters.

On offense, J.P. Wilson is turning out to be a hit or miss QB. Sometimes he’s really hot and can’t be stopped, and others he looks like an average QB on an average team. They have a good little running back in Terry Grant (and Glenn Coffee to an extent), but no real offensive playmakers that require us to double team a WR or stuff nine in the box. You could say that DJ Hall fits into this category, but I don't see Hall being as imposing as a Calvin Johnson. Hall has the added bonus of being a senior, but that's a mental edge. Physically, if we man-up, I think we can contain him.

The key to us winning on Defense is good, solid play and, say it with me, BLITZ TO THROW OFF THE RHYTHM OF THE OFFENSE. We need to make some plays, force some turnovers, and make the Tide question their ability on offense. Also, don't forget how tired Alabama's defense became last week and how little depth they really have on the other side of the ball. If we keep the offense off the field, we got a real chance in T-town.

Finally, if you're worried about anything that I just said, remember that Marcus Washington will be starting at Mike, Akeen Dent (possibly) at Sam, and Dannelle Ellerbee at Will. That's what we call a "shake-up" because of under performing people *Brandon*cough*Miller*cough*. There's a new fire in the front seven. Trust me on this one.

When UGA has the ball:

Bobo said to Ching that he’s been conservative with the play calling, but it’s getting time to start taking more shots downfield. To that I say:


Seriously, it’s time for us to open it up a little bit. Alabama's secondary were burnt a few times last week against Arkansas and their whole defense in general looked a little tired at times. I said earlier this week that I think Knowshon Moreno's play and how our coaches intend to use him stand to be our biggest factors to winning the game on Thursday (see #3). Expect Alabama to blitz as much as possible and force our still young, but very talented, QB into turning the ball over. The Tide is going to need the momentum in this game. What we need to do is find ways to get two TBs into the backfield. Perhaps split one wide and make Alabama play the game of "run or pass?"

In building upon that, Moreno has shown flashes of playmaking ability and the hype is around this kid to start doing some really special things. It's time for him to step up and break one for about 60 yards. I think it happens in this game, and I would even go so far to say that it happens on a pass play.

Other than Know-"one-man-show"-n, our O-line has got to play their nuts off in order to give us a fighting chance. We've really got to protect like our mind is bad because if Stafford does not have time to throw, then we may be looking at a very ugly game. It's critical for blitzes to be picked up in enough time to run some short routes and stay ahead of the chains.

Finally, the WRs. Simply put, we need to get open, catch the ball, and block downfield. I say if we do what we're supposed to 85-90% of the time, we score big points.

Special Teams:

Richt said to Ching (again, I'm telling you, Ching is automatic) that he does not expect Butler to travel with the team. That's fine. Mimbs has done a better job than I expected and I think that speaks volumes about our future in the kicking game. If Butler was giving Mimbs a run for his money, then how good is Butler as a Frosh? Anyway, we will inevitably have some 3-and-out situations, so playing the field position game and having our Defense get some crucial stops will be important at a few stages of this contest. We need to protect Mimbs well because I believe Saban will bring heat as much as possible on Saturday and try to take advantage of our poor blocking.

Field goal wise, we're more of the same. I know Coutu would have loved to have gotten his FG back from USC, but the kid is as solid as a rock. As long as the protection holds, he's got the leg and confidence to get the clutch kick. I feel confident here that if we need crucial points, we can rely on him to get them for us, but again, only if the protection holds like we need it to.

The Intangibles:

The fans will have all day to tailgate in an atmosphere that will be electric to say the least. That being said, the fans will have ALL DAY to get boozed up, tired, and pissed off should things not go their way. We can take advantage of that. Last weekend was a long one for Alabama fans and you see how UGA fans handled two night games in a row. Expect the crowd to be electric at the start, but if we can get the early lead, I'm not positive they'll get things going for their team in order to jump start a rally.

Emotion is at the center of this game with all the UGA talk of "No Respect" and all the Alabama trash talking. Thankfully, we closed most of our players to the media this week. Alabama may have some bulletin board material to focus on, but 1) It didn't come from our guys and2) It's not nearly as good as the stuff we have from them.

The Dawgs are focused and ready to make a statement. We want to prove we're better than people want to suggest. Our team will be very business-like when they walk out of that tunnel. Just wait and see. They'll only have a "W" on their mind.

What I think will happen:

This game will not go without its moments of close calls. I expect us to get on the board, and maintain a lead through most of the game. I don't know if we get on the board early, though. I wouldn't think that Alabama or UGA scores on their first possession on the fact that aside from maybe a shot downfield for momentum, you're looking at two great coaches trying to figure out what the other team is bringing.

UGA should have the lead for most of the game, but it will be a slim one. Alabama's a better than expected football team because they're playing with tons of heart. Had I done an SEC preview, I would've listed LSU, Alabama, and Auburn in that order in the West. Make no mistake, this weekend we're playing a solid football team, not one that's lucked their way into a 3-0 start.

That being said, I think UGA has better athletes and the added bonus of a man like Mark Richt, whose road record speaks for itself. He's a great source of focus and motivation for our kids and his decision to close practice all week was one that I will stand up and cheer for. It sent a message to the fans and, most importantly, to the team that we're in this game to win this game.
Dawgs play a good game, and so does Alabama, but I think we walk out with the victory.

UGA: 27
Alabama: 20

Until next time kids.

Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).

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Blogger Ally said...
Wow, you really did your homework. Great preview! Hope you're prediction is right. We need this win.
Go Dawgs!

Blogger Kim said...
Hey Kit!

Just wanted to say that for whatever reason I was compelled to find the version of "Glory" with the Angel tag online (though I'm still disturbed that it's played after EVERY win instead of just the huge wins) whilst watching the 'Bama game tonight. I guess I just needed a little more inspiration, and maybe, just maybe it helped.

Your blog is the first link that pops up in the Google search engine, and just as I was playing the stands tune for the second time and praying during overtime- Senor Stafford connected with little Mikey, and I fell off the couch whilst expressing my glee.

I'm pretty sure your blog and inclusion of that mp3 helped with this.

So on behalf of other Redcoat alumni and the Bulldawg Nation, I thank you.

Kim Newsome
UGA '04

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, you were pretty much spot on. Good job.