Collage 3
The Dawg-gone Blog
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Seriously, last week is dead and gone. It’s time to keep on keepin’ on.

When Vandy has the ball:

Two words: Earl Bennett. He’s their machine, playmaker, Offense, savior, whatever word you want to use. He’s the guy. In all of Vandy’s games this year, it has been the case that if you shut him down, you shut them down.

However, even though Bobby Johnson starred in “The Jerk,” he’s not one of those or a fool for that matter. I would be very surprised if Vandy wasn’t working their ass off to expose UGA in another way. My guess is that they will try to run the living heck out of the ball and then throw quick outs and slants to expose our soft zone. If I were coaching the ‘Dores, I would spread the offense out as much as possible and then rely on the quick legs of Chris Nixon if everything breaks down due to a play actually being defended correctly.

What’d you say? Chris Nixon got benched last week?

No big deal. He’ll be back this week. His play might have been shoddy Ala “Brandon Cox of earlier this season,” but he had a big game against UGA last year because we had so much trouble against a mobile QB. We’ve done better this year, but I fully believe his butt on the bench was a wake up call rather than a changing of the guard. His athleticism is too important to be ignored against a UGA squad that last week had such a hard time defending the run and tackling in the open field.


What UGA needs to do is stuff as many as possible in the box to force man-to-man situations. I’d say rush anywhere from 6-7 men and stunt as many as 8 or 9 depending on how many WRs are in the set. Of course, this can only be effective if we play bump and run coverage AS CLOSE TO THE LINE AS POSSIBLE. Now it could be said that we need to double team Earl Bennett, but my thought is that if Chris Nixon is on his back, then he can’t throw a deep one to Bennett. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?

When UGA has the ball:

Nationally, Vandy ranks 53rd in rushing defense, 15th in passing defense (I was surprised by this stat), and 18th in total defense. For the record, UGA is 28th in total defense. I’d say that with those types of stats, you would think we REALLY need to play motivated football. Well, we do.

It has been said over and over and over again that we’re missing a “spark.” Well, with Thomas Brown out, who is going to really push this team to have a “never say die” attitude? That person this week apparently is Knowshon Moreno.

Fernando Velasco has been pegged by many as the vocal leader in the huddle, but sometimes, and especially in football, actions speak louder than words. Moreno consistently has the ability to make your hold your breath every time he touches the ball. Couple his playmaking ability with his pure “hard hat” attitude, and you’ve got a guy that reminds me a lot of Hines Ward. You can pop Moreno all you want and he is just going to get right up and run right back to the huddle. He’s a worker, a playmaker, and someone that this Offense can believe in. Everyone loves and will miss TB, but Moreno is not a bad replacement at all. Expect him to get the rock and get it often.

How he runs the ball is what we need to work on. We should really capitalize on his speed and change of direction by bouncing him more to the outside and letting him turn the corner. One of our many problems against UT was that we kept trying to pound the ball up the middle and THEN try to bounce it outside after the play broke down. If our backs have the speed to cut it outside, then let them do it at the BEGINNING OF THE RUN. At the very least, run towards the guards and have them break farther out if need be.

The good news is we have Lump back, who will give us some fresh legs and a relatively un-banged up body. Tony Ball said yesterday that the cast on his thumb is actually giving him a more conscious awareness of how he catches and carries the rock, so that’s a good thing (shout out: Ching). Also, I doubt the Vandy Defense will bruise up the Georgia Offense badly, but it still helps to have a guy in there with relatively fresh legs.

Passing game-wise, we need a very solid performance out of this group. With Florida coming up, we want to give them a look on film that they haven’t seen before. I’m not saying that because I want them to see as much game film as possible, but because UK is not a guaranteed win this year, Florida is only going to get 5 days to really prepare for Georgia. With Kentucky honestly looking like a better team than the Dawgs, I see UF using most, if not all, of their bye week to prepare for the Wildcats. That doesn’t give them much time to prepare for what could appear like a very balanced run/pass attack that is wildly different than the UK Offense. Just my opinion; sorry for the digression.

Anyway, the passing game needs to be there on Saturday. We’ve got too much talent in the WR corps to not be effective. If the O-line can’t protect for long stretches of time, then THROW SHORTER PASSES. It’s not brain surgery. And honestly, I know most people hated running out of the ‘gun, but it seems like every time this year we’re in the shotgun, we tend to only pass. Use a few shotgun formation passes, then sprint draw a few times (which we actually rarely do anymore), and then pass out of the shotgun again. Keep them guessing all the time. That’s the key to effectiveness here.

Special Teams:

To me, this is a wash. They're going to kick it away from Mikey Henderson because everyone has this year. Neither team is playing "Beamer Ball" anytime soon. One thing we've got to do, though is learn to block better and defend returns competently.

How about Mimbs being a captain, though? Kid deserves it, if you ask me.

What I think will happen:

I had been saying it for years before it happened. Vandy always plays us as tough as they can and at some point in EVERY Vanderbilt game from the past 6-7 years, we had a moment where we struggled. Last year, we were finally caught with our pants down and were beat in our house…on homecoming.

This year, Vandy is little less impressive than they were a year ago and even though they are still a team to be respected, they are not completely feared within the SEC. The key to winning against them is to score first and make them play from behind. If they get a lead on us, I’m not sure our team has the mental toughness to crawl its way back out and we’ll be playing with a nagging doubt in the back of our brain. An interesting stat that goes along with this was passed on to me from Ally, who said that UGA is 3-0 in games where they score first and 1-2 when playing from behind. The only win came against Ole Miss, and to me, that might not have happened had Ole Miss not fumbled the ball on the 4 yard line keeping them at 7-0 instead of 14-0.

My guess on this game is that UGA comes out flat as usual on Offense, but the Defense should actually play some competent ball. I don’t mean to pull my best Larry Munson impression here, but I’m still not getting the feeling that there’s a fire lit under this team’s ass and it still seems like everyone is blaming youth for the inconsistent play. Of course, I could be completely wrong because for the first time since I can remember, there isn’t a Senior Captain for this Saturday’s contest. I’m hoping that will send a message to the veterans in the locker room that they’ve got to step it up…and soon. To me, this game will define how we play the rest of our season, plain and simple. That being said, even if we only play decent football, we should win this game. I just have a feeling we’re all going to left wishing for more effort once the 60 minutes are up.

UGA: 27
Vandy: 13

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Anonymous Jeff Keith said...
I say Rush 3. Drop a Tackle into a zone and let the LBers stand 7 zards off the line off scrimmage and react flatfooted to a running back with a 10-12 yard head start! Just Kidding! Great post Kit! You interested in the DC job at the end of the year?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
problem is uga hasn't put any kind of fear in the sec's hearts this year either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Blogger Ally said...
I just can't get excited about this game. I don't think we'll lose b/c like you said, their offense is not clicking like last year. But I also don't think it's gonna be a cakewalk either.
I'm sure we'll witness the same problems we've seen all year - God knows making adjustments isn't are strong suit.
As usual, the D worries me the most. I'm not the biggest fan of Miller, but having him & Washington out makes me queezy. If our boys play like they did last week, it's gonna be a long night.
Great preview - you really did your homework!
Go Dawgs!

PS- your word verification bites!