Category Archives: Georgia Bulldogs
Because that’s a pretty plausible scenario, too.
Yesterday, I posted three reasons why Alabama is going to roll into Athens and win. Though I picked the Tide to win on the award-winning DudeYouPodcast, it’s really a hedge…I have no idea.
So, there is some opponent-based pessimism, but there’s certainly reason to believe the Dawgs can (and should?) win.
Jake Coker is probably more error-prone than Greyson Lambert
I riffed on my trepidation about Greyson Lambert vs. better competition. Well…
Coker has been very inefficient, breaking 60% in completion percentage just once (the opener vs. Wisconsin). He threw two picks against comparable competition in Ole Miss, and hasn’t thrown for more than 5 YPA in the past two games. On passes traveling over 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, Coker is 1/15 for 42 yards.
The horizontal tendency of Lane Kiffin’s passing game plays into Georgia’s hands, where rangy linebackers (you know the names) and Dominick Sanders in a ‘robber’ role should be in the vicinity of a lot of balls. Georgia SHOULD find at least one pick during this game, and my hope is that that’s a low estimate.
There’s also Georgia’s pass rush. It is good. You know this.
This is also Coker’s first road challenge, and he stands to face 92,000 screaming fans PLUS the elements. If Lambert can avoid mistakes and play Coker to at least a draw, advantage Georgia. Make Alabama one-dimensional, advantage Georgia.
Georgia hasn’t really tried to run tempo…yet
Alabama’s D is most vulnerable to mobile QB’s. The Bulldogs’ stable is…not that, but some no-huddle could simulate that experience.
If Georgia can force Alabama into personnel disadvantages, the Dawgs could feast with their run/pass balance. Getting All-American Reggie Ragland into coverage on a TE or (prayers) a speedy slot WR could be lead to a field day between the hashes. Ragland is very Amarlo Herrera-esque: great in run-stuffing, mediocre against the pass. Bama’s back four is susceptible to the deep ball, and the thought of 1-on-1 matchups for Malcolm Mitchell have me feeling some type of way.
Finally, if the game does turn into a muddy slopfest, forcing tempo with Chubb/Michel/Marshall could wear the Bama D completely out over a four-quarter game.
Speaking of Michel, get him the ball
I’m hoping to see Chubb and Michel on the field together a lot on Saturday. Jet sweeps, fly sweeps, slants against linebackers…Michel has a chance to have a HUGE game against a defense keying on #27.
Find a way to get Sony 15 touches, and good things are going to happen.
BONUS (and I’ll regret this one): Alabama special teams woes?
God, I hate myself for typing these words. But Alabama’s specialists have been anything but special thus far.
PK Adam Griffith is 3/7 on field goals. P J.K. Scott is 92nd of 100 qualified punters in yardage per kick.
Maybe (KNOCK ON WOOD VIGOROUSLY) Georgia pounds Alabama’s third unit into submission.
The rain may render all of these points moot. This game may go crazy and be 17-17 after the first quarter.
What I’m saying is: we know nothing about what’s going to take place Between the Hedges today.
But it’s gonna be a HELLUVA lot of fun, and Georgia has a chance for a statement win at 3:30. Stay tuned.
Josh is at it again. Follow @j_thompson89 for a more Andrew-level silliness than the rest of us can provide.
Alabama’s finally back in town. It sure doesn’t feel like seven years since the Tide strolled into Athens, made quick work of the preseason #1 Bulldogs, then didn’t look back for the next several years. But here we are.
Things feel different this time around though. Alabama comes into this game already having one loss, dropping out of the top 5, whereas in 2008, they came into Athens surging up the polls after early season beatdowns of Clemson and Arkansas. While the Tide have “struggled” (this is a VERY relative term here) early in the season, the Dawgs have looked better each week.
So Georgia fans can approach this game with cautious optimism, and there’s a palpable buzz around Athens. But we’ve all seen this play out before. However optimistic they may be, fans need to prepare for the worst. And what better way to prepare than to drown your fears in a bottle of bourbon. Chad’s note: bourbon is nature’s poncho. Plus, if things turn out well, you’ve already got a head start on your postgame buzz. Below are the rules for the Georgia-Alabama drinking game. We’re gonna get a little more aggressive this week in preparation for the worst.
Alabama @ Georgia drinking rules:
- Just go ahead and finish that first drink when the inevitable highlights of that 2008 game are shown
- Drink if the announcers mention this is the first time that Alabama’s been an underdog since 2009
- Take a shot for every Alabama missed field goal.
- Take 13 drinks (one for every game in the streak) if Chubb goes over 100 yards. If nobody around you mentions him breaking Herschel’s record, drink double.
- 5 drinks if Verne Lundquist ogles over Greyson Lambert’s girlfriend at any point.
- Just keep drinking into oblivion if he starts comparing her to Katherine Webb
- Drink if any of the Lane Kiffin rumors are mentioned
- Finish that drink if there’s any mention of Joey Freshwater
- Drink when the announcers start breaking down Jeremy Pruitt’s tenure at Alabama
- Drink if there’s a questionable targeting call that gets a key player ejected. Doesn’t this just feel like a game that happens?
- If you’re near an Alabama fan, drink every time they scream for a quarterback change. This could be very dangerous.
- If Georgia falls behind 31-0 at the half again, just turn the game off and turn that bottle upside down until it’s gone.
Season-long Georgia Bulldog drinking rules:
- Finish your drink on Georgia’s first Special Teams error of the day
- Shot for each additional Special Teams mistake
- #ChugForChubb every time he gets the ball
A lot has been made about the similarities between Georgia and Alabama heading into tomorrow’s game. One point of consensus differentiation is that Georgia’s defense is “fast” and Alabama’s defense is “big.”
Based on last week’s lineup for the Bulldogs, it’s hard to argue with that. Georgia started an average weight of 235.4 pounds with:
- John Atkins – 300
- Chris Mayes – 323
- Sterling Bailey – 282
- Jordan Jenkins – 253
- Jake Ganus – 233
- Leonard Floyd – 231
- Aaron Davis – 190
- Malcolm Parrish – 188
- Dominick Sanders – 189
- Quincy Mauger – 200
- Jonathan Abram – 200
But I don’t know that Georgia gives up a ton of functional athleticism by dropping a defensive back (say, Parrish), adding a pass-rusher (Lorenzo Carter), shifting Floyd to the middle linebacker spot and moving Sanders to a corner spot. Sure, that line up is “slower,” in a relay race but I don’t know that a quarterback would feel suddenly blessed by the slowness of the game. I trust Davis and Sanders in one-on-one coverage against an unproven QB whose trying to dodge Jenkins, Floyd and Sanders. I think Ganus can pick up a tight end there and Mauger and/or Abram could file up as necessary.
Against a big, physical Alabama team that kind of lineup makes sense. And don’t be stunned to see big Trent Thompson out there early and often. Hell, I’d like to see him lined up next to Mayes on an obvious running down as Jordan Jenkins comes up behind him as a standing defensive end.
Last week Georgia basically started and played a 3-3-5 for much of the game. This week that could become a pseudo 4-3-4 with Jenkins, Thompson, Mayes and Bailey at the line; followed by Floyd, Ganus and Carter. That’s not a slow defense, folks. And it would weigh almost 260 pounds per Dawg.
This is what I love so much about Pruitt. He’s not just building depth, he’s building usable depth. Floyd can play anywhere on the field. Defensive backs are interchangeable. This is fun.
That’s all I got/
Let’s temper those expectations a little bit, because we all know we’ve seen this movie before.
This isn’t the ‘Blackout’ game of 2008, where Georgia is 100% the favorite. This also isn’t the 2012 SEC Championship Game, where a very game group of Bulldogs came within five excruciating yards of a certain national championship. It falls somewhere in between, but all the chatter I’ve heard going into this week’s showdown with #13 Alabama is “when we win” followed by anything from the following:
- the schedule really opens up for us.
- we’re going to have a letdown against Tennessee next week.
- Alabama is out of the championship race.
Let’s tap the brakes here, folks.
This isn’t your ‘head and shoulders above everyone’ Alabama team of the past near-decade, but the squad in all white on Saturday is still the most talented team in college football. Enigmatic? Maybe. Minus-5 in turnovers and still had a shot to beat Ole Miss, in the latest iteration of “is the Alabama dynasty over”? You bet. This is a damn good football team.
Here’s why they should beat us on Saturday:
Greyson Lambert has yet to face live bullets.
33/35 over two games is damn impressive, don’t get me wrong. But #11 was basically throwing against air in those two games. Stack the box, run play action, stifle the pass rush, throw between the safeties and LB’s has been an effective combo since the Vandy game.
Here’s the thing with Alabama, though: they have the biggest, strongest, fastest front seven in the country. They can do a better job stopping the running game with less guys in the box than we’ve seen thus far. They’re going to manufacture pressure against the Georgia OL, and Lambert (hearkening back, for a second, to his Virginia days) has not historically performed well when flushed. I expect Lambert to throw at least one pick, and for the Bama front to double the number of sacks (3) he has taken this year.
Comparing Lambert & Johns vs. pressure last year… can’t blame the OL for the diff… pic.twitter.com/q1jxLC5vBe
— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) September 29, 2015
Yeah, we have Nick Chubb. But Bama’s run D is STOUT
Alabama’s front seven has faced historically GREAT running team Wisconsin, and damn good team Ole Miss in two of its four games this season. Even those teams (yes, a cut below Georgia’s rushing attack) are scheming away from running against Alabama, because its so damn hard to do.
In FootballStudyHall’s advanced stats, Alabama’s D ranks third in the country in success rate against the run, stopping 75.6% of runs short of a ‘successful’ (i.e., moving the chains on three downs with four-yard gains) one. Chubb is at 8.4 yards per carry himself, and Georgia’s offense ranks third itself in rushing down success rate. But something’s got to give when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. We can’t expect the easy-button explosiveness of the Georgia running game we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.
I still have Alabama 2012 and Florida 2014 PTSD.
And you should too. Remember how Eddie Lacy took over the last 25 minutes of the SEC Championship game? Remember how Florida’s hapless offense marched on the edges in Jacksonville last year?
Lane Kiffin is a stubborn, annoying, probably unfaithful, boorish dude. But he’s not an idiot when it comes to offense.
Georgia is still young on the defensive line, has had no real tests against a physical O-line pushing it outside, and…oh. That physical O-line shields a 250-lb behemoth of a man in Derrick Henry.
(Lane Kiffin also doesn’t like to stretch the field horizontally, and is famous for forgetting he has the country’s third-best back. Pray for this.)
BONUS: S**t, is Georgia the new Clemson?
Clemson has made a lot of headlines this week about how unfair the perception that they lose big games is. They are 5-2 in their last seven tilts with top-1o opponents, so this may be a justified beef.
Taking final rankings into account, Georgia is 2-6 vs. top 10 opponents in the past three plus years. “But Alabama isn’t in the top 10,” you say. I think it’s a safe bet that they will be back by the end of the year.
Emotions are running high, and this blog post was NO fun to write as Saturday Between the Hedges approaches. But if we wake up on Sunday and Georgia is 4-1, there’ll be good reason why.
I don’t see what the big deal is here. This isn’t a career-defining game for Mark Richt. It’s arguably the least important game of his tenure at Georgia.
What does beating Alabama mean? I mean it’s a win. But all a win against Alabama means is that Georgia is better than Alabama. And right now, the polls and Vegas already think Georgia is better than Alabama. Is the statement folks are looking for from a statement game simply one that says, “See everybody was right about us! We’re better than the team we were supposed to be better than!” I don’t think this is a statement game at all.
And last time Nick Saban’s team lost, it fell from No. 2 to No. 12 in the polls. Another 10-spot drop puts Bama at 23rd. Hell, the Crimson Tide might fall even further. So who gives a damn about beating a team that might not even be ranked?
Richt was once 1-0 against Saban-coached Bama teams.
For Georgia to win a National Championship (now that game would matter), at least five things need to happen:
- Georgia needs to win the SEC East.
- Georgia needs to win the SEC Championship Game.
- Georgia needs to receive the likely bid into the playoff.
- Georgia needs to win a national semifinal game.
- Georgia needs to win the National Championship Game.
Those things are unarguably sequential if normalcy prevails.
Does beating Alabama help Georgia in the SEC East? No, not really. I mean sure, conference wins matter. But if this helps achieve that goal then the most important game of the season will happen again when Georgia plays Auburn. And if winning the East is the first step to a Natty, then the rest of the steps don’t matter and games against SEC East foes count as doubly important victories. South Carolina was the most important game of the season…at least thus far.
But we can keep going. Does beating Alabama win Georgia an SEC Championship? Not in October. In fact, beating Alabama all but eliminates from SEC West contention the one team in the West that we would know Georgia was better than (Alabama).
Does beating Alabama get Georgia a playoff bid? Not directly. Sure, it matters that Georgia needs to win a heavy majority of its games, but in that light last week’s game against Southern mattered because Georgia needed to win that one too. As far as raw wins and losses are concerned, this is just the most important game of Richt’s week.
And obviously, this game does nothing for beating another opponent in a semifinal or final.
This game means absolutely nothing. I’m being more than a little bit facetious here, but this is worth noting.
The Chubb storyline might be the most important of the day.
Georgia fans have put Mark Richt into a box and created a no-win atmosphere. If Georgia beats Alabama tomorrow—and I think that possibility is possible (that’s why it’s a possibility)—how quickly are we going to dismiss the win against an Alabama program that’s “not what it used to be” or that’s “barely or not even ranked?” My guess is we discount that game the second we see Georgia struggle against another opponent, which is bound to happen because football is a hard game and it’s a long season. And we’ve already seen this happen on a smaller scale. Heading into the South Carolina game, very few fans felt confident about the Dawgs taking on an obviously down Gamecocks team.
The win was a blast, but the narrative shifted from “Oh we are gonna win this game” to “It feels great to beat South Carolina” to “Hahahahaha Spurrier” to “Yeah but South Carolina sucks” awfully fast. And that “We ain’t done nothing yet” mentality showed its ugly head when Georgia wasn’t winning by 100+ points against Southern in the first half. If Georgia beats Alabama then everyone—even us as Bulldog fans—will immediately downgrade the Crimson Tide and if Georgia does anything less than a four Touchdown victory in Knoxville next weekend it will prove that we “still don’t know if Georgia’s good or not, the Bama game meant nothing.”
And Georgia could lose to Bama still. And Georgia could beat Bama and find someone else to lose to. That happens in football. It’s worth noting that six of the last nine National Champions lost at some point. LSU lost twice in 2007. So losses do happen to good teams—especially good teams that are still breaking in new offensive schemes, a new quarterback and adjusting to real opposition for the first time.
Georgia’s probably going to lose sometime this season. It might be against Alabama; it might be against someone else. In the grand scheme of things, a loss to Alabama is the easiest to come back from. After all, Alabama isn’t an intra-division foe (like Tennessee, Missouri, Florida and Kentucky) a long-standing rival on the field and in recruiting (like Auburn) or a a little-brother in-state program that should always be beaten (like Georgia Tech). To be sure, a win helps the cause and a loss hurts. But unlike some of the games listed above, a loss to Alabama doesn’t doom the Dawgs or otherwise indict the program.
In that regard, this is just another game. Hell yes we want Georgia to win. Hell no we don’t want Georgia to lose. But it’s another game against another good team.
And to put my blogging money where my mouth is: win, lose or draw vs. Bama, I think the game at Knoxville next weekend is more important. And the fight in Jacksonville is suddenly looming quite large.
That’s all I got/
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