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The Dawg-gone Blog
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Friday, September 28, 2007
Sorry the preview is way late. Work’s been “you-know-what” this week and I just haven’t had the time to write a long post.

Man, I can’t believe it’s time for another game. You know what I love about our schedule this year? There’s a nice break right before Florida to get us ready for the rest of the season. In years past, the season has pretty much been over before the Dawgs got to take a breather. Anyway, I’ll get into all that later, I was just saying that I still feel fresh and amped up about UGA and college football.

And with that perfect segue, let’s begin our preview:

When Ole Miss has the ball:

The Rebels were an entirely different team last week when they squared off against Florida. Most of that had to do with playing to win and to upset a top ranked opponent; which is what we here at The Dawg-gone Blog like to call “playing with heart.” Talent-wise, Ole Miss is recruiting better than they have in the past few years, but that talent is still quite young and I’m not completely sold that they’re buying into the system they’re running. I’m not saying that the system sucks, but right now you’re looking at an Ole Miss team without a proven leader to rally the troops. Seth Adams showed some promise and a little bit of poise last week, but the truth is that everyone is focusing on Jevan Snead to be that guy and he won’t take any snaps until next year.

There’s always the talented running back in Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis, but he had a rough go last week against the Gators. Don’t let that one performance fool you, though. He ate up the Dawgs and most teams he faced last year. He’s not the most talented guy in the SEC, but he has great power and is a pretty good overall back. I think Ole Miss would have more success, and even take a little more pressure off the young QB, by running BJGE as much as possible this week. They tend to have the same type of mindset as us in that they run to set up the pass.

Defensively, we need to do more of the same from last week and that is to bring the pressure to throw off the timing. Our CBs stepped it up at Alabama where they ended up playing pretty decent ball. Now that they’ve got that under their belt, you can expect the coaching staff to be more willing to give the leash some slack. Turn our CBs loose so they can play as they were meant to, and that will free up your LBs and Safeties for run support. It’s as necessary this week as it was the last and maybe even more so. Ole Miss left everything on the field last week against the Gators, but a win against Georgia on the road would mean as much to them and possibly more. It is imperative we put 7-8 in the box and dare them to throw, even though they had decent success last week throwing the ball. I still think Ole Miss is more of a danger in the running game as opposed to the passing, but I don’t expect our defense to sleepwalk against them like Florida did. I attribute much of the Rebels’ offensive awakening to Florida’s defensive narcolepsy. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Blitz, blitz, blitz. When in doubt, think “What Would LSU Do?”

When UGA has the ball:

Defensively, Ole Miss gave Florida (who is one of the best, if not the best offensive team in the SEC) fits up front. Their Defense and our Defense have a lot of similarities in that they lost their best LB to the draft, are young in the Secondary, and don’t impose too much of a threat with the D-line. However, when they focus and play with determination, they can be quite the cohesive unit. If you look at it on paper, though, we just have to play up to our talent level (a problem after a signature win) and play to win instead of playing not to lose. Aggressive football is key again this week.

We showed a very balanced offensive attack against Alabama. We passed a lot, ran a lot, and kept the clock moving. We’ll need to do more of the same this week, but I’d like to see us establish the run early and stick with it. The combination of Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno has been a very beneficial one for the Offense, and I have a feeling their 1-2 punch of power & speed should easily wear out the Ole Miss Defense while giving our Defense some time to rest.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see us air it out a lot, but I think overall it’s just not a good idea. There’s no need in overworking our guys up front if we can pound the ball and give them a little breather here and there. We need to stay fresh going into the next few weeks because the games don’t get any easier from here. Again, I’d love to hang 50 on everyone we play and really establish some dominance over some teams, but I think there’s a way to do that and minimize our risk of injuring someone we need. We can pound the football, run the clock, and air it out when we need to. Let’s put the game away early and hit the cruise control button by the fourth quarter. I’m not saying it’s going to be that easy, but it should be if we play early, aggressive football, put some points on the board, and make them question their confidence. If we do all that, we should have no problem getting a comfortable lead and keeping it.

Special Teams:

I heard Richt say this morning on the radio that Coutu is still down about his two misses last weekend. It’s understandable. When you’re as automatic as that guy has been as well as being the savior of so many games, it’s got to break your heart when you can’t come up with the clutch kick to win it all. Reports say he’s been working on some mechanics this week to get his confidence back up, and barring some unfortunate circumstance where we need to win it on a field goal, he should have a couple of chances this week to get his confidence where it needs to be.

Coverage wise, we need an exact replica of our game against Alabama. We had our best coverage all year in regards to our special teams and Ole Miss is not shy about coming after our punts. Heck, they blocked two of them last year in our game (that we easily could have lost) and there’s no reason for them to believe they couldn’t do the same this year. We have to GATA on kick offs and kick returns to play the field position game. We really want that Ole Miss Offense to question their ability to drive 90 yards, because I guarantee they won’t question it to drive 30.

What I think will happen:

I don’t see this game as a “trap game.” Yes, the timing is perfect because it falls directly in between a big win and bigger game next week, but there’s something about this Dawgs team that I really like in their ability to focus and prepare. I think they learned their lesson against USC and probably won’t be inclined to make that mistake again.

What does scare me though, is the fact we’re not on television. I think we play a LOT more aggressively when we know someone’s watching. My biggest fear is the Dawgs think they’re going to steamroll Ole Miss and since only 92,000 people will see it, it doesn’t have to be too impressive. If we play with that attitude, we’re in for a helluva fight.

That being said, the biggest key to the game is how our fans get behind our team. It’s an earlier kickoff, which means not as much time to tailgate, and the opponent is one that we have no hatred towards beating. Richt even addressed this on the radio today when he asked for the fans to be very loud come game time. Recipes like that usually create a neutral atmosphere that keeps the Dawgs from getting out of the gate with some steam. I DO NOT EXPECT THIS TO BE A PROBLEM. I think our fans will show up and show up in a way that will get our team ready to play some football. It will be a gorgeous autumn day and we are finally ramping into the meat of our schedule. Our fans are smart ones and they understand that this will be a contest not to be taken lightly. The Dawgs will feed off that and Georgia should win comfortably in this one.

UGA: 34
Ole Miss: 16

Until next time kids.

Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).

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Blogger Ally said...
Great preview as always. Can't wait to see the replay. From looking at the stats, it seems like the lights came on during the 2nd half.

Thomas Brown for Heisman! 180 yds, most for UGA in 6 years - outstanding!

Best line: "We really want that Ole Miss Offense to question their ability to drive 90 yards, because I guarantee they won’t question it to drive 30."

Your predicted score was not far off either, Nostradamus ;-)

Anonymous Jeff Keith said...
Good preview. Keep up the good work. I posted a tribute to UGA in the fall. Check it out if you get a chance. GO DAWGS!!

Blogger Moose-Tipping said...
Good job with the prediction about the running game. Spot-on as usual.