This is the kind of game that scares the crap out of me. See how I did that right out of the gate? You’re worried now, aren
Well, I am too a little bit.
You see, the Dawgs
have the tendency to bash negative expectations into the ground, but do the exact opposite when the expectations are high. It’s the same stuff we run into year after year when we play not to lose instead of playing to win (see: Florida). This game has huge implications for both teams and it seems like after the OSU
game, all of the pressure is now on UGA
So, here’s how we keep ourselves from being disappointed Saturday night:When USC has the ball:
It has to start up front again. I, along with everyone else, was very impressed by how we totally dominated OSU
’s O-line. Watching our Defense play the game of “how many red shirts can be in the backfield” was entertaining. It’s got to be even more of the same with this game because of how USC
is going to air it out. I’m not positive on this, but I have an inkling that Spurrier
took a look at the game film from OSU
and saw that if they’re given time to find a window in our zone, it’ll be a pretty dang big one.
There are only two ways to counteract that type of problem:
1) Don’t give the QB time to throw.
2) Don’t give him anyone to throw to.
The first one is taken care of with great D-line and LB play, but the second is fixed only by our secondary (sometimes LBs
play a role in this, but bear with me). The one glaring weakness I saw from last Saturday was that our CBs
were playing off the ball way too much to make me feel comfortable. That might have been a scheme thing because it was common knowledge that Bobby Reid was not the type of QB that was going to slice you up with his mental prowess. However, if it wasn
’t, then we’ve
got to get up on the line, bump some people, and throw the timing off. USC
is not a dangerous team, per say, but the system they run is and if given enough time and opportunity, the system will expose our weaknesses.When UGA has the ball:
More of the same please. We hung 35 on a craptacular
defense, but even against cupcakes last year we weren
’t that efficient in the red zone. Richt
said even though the stats counted us as 5 of 6 from inside their 20, he really saw it as 5 of 5 because the last time, they were just running out the clock. THAT is an exceptional improvement over not only last year, but all of the years under Richt
. MORE OF THAT KIND OF EFFICIENCY WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
We also need the WRs
to block as well as they did last week. I don’t think the running and catching part is where they’ve
really shown the most improvement. The dropped passes are more easily correctable than anything else and it seems that our guys spent an extended amount of time in the offseason
making sure that’s no longer a problem. That being said, the downfield
blocking is what I was most impressed with last Saturday. They gave our RBs
and other WRs
a chance to really break one at any given time. Our kids have been taught that for years, but it’s like it finally clicked last weekend. Yards After Catch was our SECOND most impressive stat last weekend (170 of 234 yards), and we’ll need those guys to keep making the opposing team miss.Special Teams:
I’m sorry. I really like Coutu
. I think he’s a good kid and has a golden leg. However, I love not having to rely on that leg to win games. I’m sure we will at some point this season (maybe more often than we all like), but for the time being, it’s nice to think our offense is going to put points on the board. We know what we have in the FG
game, so there’s no point in bringing that up.
What we really need to improve on is our blocking on punt returns, kickoff returns, and on the FG
attempts. If it’s bad enough where Richt
wants to go for it on 4th
down to avoid a potential missed assignment, then it’s pretty dang bad. Don’t let the stats fool you; Mikey Henderson made something out of nothing on that one punt return and he had to dodge 4 white shirts that got to him immediately after he caught the ball.
On kickoffs, I think we did fine with the new rule, but it’d be nice to kick it a little deeper. A couple of those kicks were only to about the 10 or 15 yard line. It’s a little nit picky, but it is what it is. PWD wrote a pretty good piece about our kickoff coverage and where we can improve.What I think will happen:USC
has weapons and an offense designed by one of the best to ever coach the game. Even Spurrier
thinks they can be competitive. I tend to agree somewhat. They can be competitive, but not for the SEC East this year because all the teams have the potential to beat anyone in the SEC. Every SEC East team has talent and nearly every one will score an "upset" this year. Bank on at least the lion's share of them ruining someone else's
Anyway, sorry for the tangent, but basically what I'm saying is that Spurrier
is again coaching one of those teams. In 2005, South Carolina scored a major upset against Florida to send UGA
to the Georgia Dome and eventually to an SEC crown. While I'm not sure that this year will be the same, I do believe the Gamecocks have at least one "upset" within them. I just don't believe it will be this game.
It's not going to be the offensive masterpiece people were planning the UGA
game to be, but it will have its moments. Expect "Bags O' Tricks" from both teams playing to win instead of playing not to lose. It will be a more competitive game than last year because USC
both know what's at stake. However, UGA
has more athletic talent that truly believe in the system and we will find a way to *again* keep the opposing team's offense off the field. Our playmakers
will do their thing and the crowd will be too pumped up about 2 night games in a row. The atmosphere could possibly win this game all by itself. We just want it too badly right now.UGA
Until next time kids.
Be safe (and Go Dawgs
Labels: College Football, Game Previews, UGA Football