Five burning questions as we head into the weekend:
1—What does Kevin Steele have cooked up for the Georgia Tech offense tonight? Steele is a veteran defensive coordinator who has seen just about everything. He spent the last two years at Alabama working with Nick Saban. He’s been the head coach at Baylor. He spent six years with Tom Osborne at Nebraska. He worked for Bobby Bowden at Florida State. The guy knows how to coach defense and can get very creative when the situation calls for it. Last week, for example, he went with a lot of six defensive back looks against Tony Franklin’s spread offense at Middle Tennessee. He didn’t play his base defense for one play, which made sure Tech’s offenses coaches had to reach back to Alabama to get some film on Steele’s scheme. It will be interesting to see if Steele has anything special for Georgia Tech. Defenses have to be very disciplined when they play Georgia Tech. “The thing about what they do is you have to follow your assignments on every single play. If you take one play off, they will break a big one on you,” said Steele.
2—Is Georgia going to “Man Up” and get ready to play South Carolina? I thought Mark Bradley made a great point yesterday when he wondered aloud if something—other than talent—was missing at Georgia. It’s too early to tell right now but after doing this for a while I do know what a team needs when they are facing a critical game like the one the Bulldogs have against South Carolina on Saturday.
Georgia needs an Al Wilson.
Every great team I’ve ever been around had a guy like Al Wilson, the former linebacker at Tennessee. On Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team Al was basically the enforcer. If guys weren’t putting in the work or were taking plays off, Wilson would deliver a basic message. Get your butt in gear or I’m going to start kicking it for you. And the guys on that team knew he would back it up.
Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes play that role for Florida. Does Georgia have anybody who is in somebody’s face this week?
3—Will Jonathan Crompton get his revenge? Tennessee lost to UCLA in Pasadena, 27-24 in overtime. It never should have happened. Jonathan Crompton threw the ball 41 times (completed 19). Never should have happened. After that game things started going downhill for Crompton and at the end of the season coach Phillip Fulmer was relieved of his duties. Now UCLA comes to Knoxville and Crompton will get another shot at the Bruins. He is feeling better about himself after completing 21 of 28 passes against a bad team from Western Kentucky. Does he get his revenge and still feel good after Saturday’s game.?
4—Does Maryland need to look out for James Madison? I would say yes because apparently you just don’t mess with the Colonial Athletic Association, the future home of Bill Curry’s Georgia State Panthers. Last Saturday the Division I-AA conference had three wins over Division I-A teams. William and Mary beat Virginia, Richmond beat Duke, and Villanova beat Temple. Now James Madison, coached by former Georgia assistant Mickey Matthews, goes to Maryland, which got embarrassed last week at California. Keep an eye on that one.
5—Does LSU finally explode on offense against Vanderbilt? The LSU defense played poorly last Saturday at Washington, giving up 478 yards in an ugly 31-23 win over the Huskies. The net result of that bad defensive performance was that the LSU offense only had the ball for 48 plays in the game. Washington had the ball for 83 plays. Look for LSU to try and get the ball to true freshman Russell Shepard when Vanderbilt comes to Baton Rouge on Saturday. Shepard, from Houston, was supposed to get 10 or 12 touches last week but LSU wanted to protect the football when the Tigers found themselves in a dog fight on the road. Will LSU take it out on Vanderbilt in their home opener?
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