24 September 2008
This week the Tide travels between the Hedges to face the Georgia Bulldogs in a match-up of top ten teams. My only question is how will they see to play if there will be a “blackout” during the game? (Pause for laugh here)
Thank you, I will be here all week.
I think that is enough comedy for now. This game has all the makings of a classic SEC style slobber knocker. Georgia has over come a rash of injuries in the preseason to go 4-0, thanks largely to a prolific offense led by running back Knowshon Moreno and quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Moreno has accumulated 455 yards so far this season and is averaging 6.6 yards per carry. The most impressive thing about these numbers is that he has done it behind a patchwork offensive line.
After adjusting all five line positions following the injury to LT Trinton Sturdivant in fall camp, UGA again shuffled things around going into last weeks game with Arizona State. True freshman Ben Jones (from Bibb County High School in Centreville, AL) started at center and red shirt freshman Justin Anderson got the nod at right tackle.
Stafford has also been productive, throwing for 919 yards while completing 61% of his passes. Stafford has been inconsistent in his first two years in Athens, but he appears to have taken the next step in fulfilling the expectations of the Bulldog nation.
At least part of Stafford’s development can be attributed to the play of the receiving corp. Freshman sensation (no, not Julio) AJ Green leads the team with 300 yards receiving on 16 catches with a couple of touchdowns. For the record, Green did put up half of those numbers in one game last week against ASU with eight catches for 159 and a touchdown.
Flanked out opposite of Green is Mohamed Massaquoi and his 14 catches and 195 yards receiving. Massaquoi also has two touchdowns for the year. Green and Massaquoi are averaging 19 and 14 yards per catch, respectively.
Georgia brings the nation’s third ranked rush defense into this match up, averaging 46 yards allowed per game. The defense is led by Sophomore linebacker Rennie Curran and his 29 tackles. Curran also has two sacks and five tackles for a loss on the year.
Another standout for the Bulldog defense in Geno Atkins at defensive tackle that specializes in stuffing the gaps up front in order to free up Curran to make plays. Atkins only has 11 tackles on the year but has been attributed with 14 quarterback hurries.
Also keep an eye on linebacker Darryl Gamble and his 15 tackles. Gamble and fellow linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (12 tackles) are key to Georgia’s defensive success.
There are three players who have one interception each in Rashad Jones, Ellerbe, and Demarcus Dobbs. Jones is also third on the team with 14 tackles.
Offensively, look for the Bulldogs to make some quick throws on early downs to help their young offensive line and to try to tire out Bama’s big man in the middle, Terrance Cody.
If they can have some success passing on early downs it could tire out Cody and help ease the way for Moreno to pound the ball late.
I would also look for tight ends Tripp Chandler and Bruce Figgins to play a bigger role in this game to try to take advantage of the Tide’s youthful linebackers.
Defensively, I would be shocked if Georgia doesn’t stack the line with a bunch of run blitzes and stunts to try to slow down the Bama rushing attack. The Bulldogs will try to make John Parker Wilson beat them through the air, so look for Nick Walker to perhaps have a lot of balls thrown his way.
Assuming the offensive line can handle the Bulldog defensive line and Wilson can avoid the big mistake the has plagued him in big games, look for the passing game to open things up for Coffee and Ingram.