Key to beating Aggies: Play keep-away

Jerrod Johnson is the type of QB that gives the Dogs fits. (Associated Press)

Jerrod Johnson is the type of QB that gives the Dogs fits. (Associated Press)

The Independence Bowl probably isn’t much on the minds of the folks at ESPN2, but if they do spend any time looking ahead to the Georgia-Texas A&M matchup, they’ll no doubt be licking their chops over the prospects of a shootout between two teams known for scoring points and for having suspect defenses.

Especially with the sidebar that one of the teams fired all but one of its defensive coaches and will see the former quarterback head coach and two graduate assistants helping the lone survivor try to scheme against the No. 5 total offense in the country.

I watched that Texas-Texas A&M game on Thanksgiving night in which Aggies QB Jerrod Johnson was so impressive, and when it was mentioned they might be headed to the Independence Bowl, I remember thinking, “I really don’t want to see the Dogs facing that quarterback.”

Ranked sixth in the nation for total offense, Johnson is one of those mobile throw-or-run types that the Dogs have had trouble with over the past couple of years. He’s passed for 3,217 yards (averaging 268 per game) for 28 touchdowns and has run 131 times for a net of 455 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Aggies rack up an average of 465 yards per game on offense and rank 15th in the country in scoring at 33.9 points per game. They rank 22nd in passing offense (274.9 yards per game) and 25th in rushing offense (190 yards per game). They scored 38 or more points in six games this year. They’ll be meeting a Georgia defense that gave up 34 or more points five times this season but still managed to rank 30th in total defense, 33rd in pass defense and 40th in rushing defense.

The other side of the coin might put a gleam in the eye of Mike Bobo as he anticipates the first meeting between these schools since the Herschel days: The Aggies are even worse on defense than Georgia on its worst day this season, ranking 87th in the nation against the run (giving up 168 yards per game) and a dismal 111th nationally in pass defense (yielding 263 yards per game). The Aggies gave up 47 or more points four times this season, including 65 to Oklahoma and 62 to Kansas State.

Aggies fans have taken note of the way the Dogs approached their game against Georgia Tech, running a ball-control offense and eating up clock, and that’s what they fear most from Georgia in the bowl game. A&M tends to have trouble stopping hard-running tailbacks, and the Dogs have a pair of them in Caleb King and Washaun Ealey. And then there’s the prospect of Georgia getting back its biggest offensive weapon in time for the bowl: A.J. Green.

So the game plan for Georgia appears clear: Keep Jerrod Johnson off the field by running the ball. And when the Aggies crowd the box too much, throw it downfield to A.J. Another plus to keeping the ball on the ground: If Joe Cox spends most of his time handing it off, he won’t be as likely to fall vicitim to Aggies defensive end Von Miller, who leads the nation in quarterback sacks with 17.

Speaking of Cox, I got a chuckle out of the way one Aggies fan blogger summed him up: “Cox is a mediocre college QB. Unfortunately our defense can make mediocre QBs look like world beaters.” Sounds like Georgia fans describing the Dogs defense after the Tennessee game.

Of course, regardless of the opponent, Georgia fans are less than thrilled that the Dogs’ season-ending upset of the team that went on to win the ACC championship failed to improve our bowl standings. Interestingly, the Aggies’ fans apparently aren’t thrilled with going to Shreveport, either. They wanted to play Navy in the Texas Bowl, which actually pays less than the Independence. That might tell you a little something about their state of mind after a 6-6 season.

201 comments Add your comment

Dawg Gone

December 7th, 2009
10:16 am

james

December 7th, 2009
10:17 am

dont really care about the outcome, just glad murray & co. are getting an extra month of practice. any updates on the defensive coordinator search?

Dawg Gone

December 7th, 2009
10:19 am

Alabama DC Kirby Smart would look great back in the Red & Black.

Joe Cox---- Average?

December 7th, 2009
10:20 am

Tebow is average–literally–he’s ranked #60 in rushing and is 35% completion rating in the red zone in 2009.

Joe Cox average?
Joe Cox stands up pretty well against some of the greatest QB’s:

——————————————
Tom Brady 1998 Michigan
131 Effic., 15 td’s, 12 int’s, 2636 yards

Joe Cox 2009 Georgia
138 Effic, 22 td’s, 14 int’s, 2426 yards
——————————————-

——————————————-
Dan Marino, Pittsburg, 1982
58% completion, 2432 yards, 17 td’s, 23 int’s, 67 pass rating

Joe Cox, Georgia, 2009
56% Completion, 2426 yards, 22 td’s, 14 int’s, 138 pass rating
——————————————–

——————————————–
Joe Montana, 1978
54% completion rate, 9 int’s, 10 td’s, 2010 yards
Joe Cox, 2009
56% Completion rate, 14 Int’s, 22 td’s, 2426 yards

Toe Meets Leather

December 7th, 2009
10:21 am

I think the greatest challenge facing UGA will be concentrating on Texas A & M, given the tremendous distraction posed by leisure time in the great metropolitan area of SHREVEPORT!

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Keys to Dogs Winning?

December 7th, 2009
10:25 am

Right on, Georgia’s only chance without defensive coaching leadership is to play keep-away and give the ball to Ealey and King.

Can Bobo do that? I’m not sure. Bobo seems remarkably naiive at comprehending winning offensive formulas like this one:

Richt is 40 wins and 3 losses when he gets a 100 yard rusher

Bobo only got Richt a 100 yard rusher in 2 games this year, Richt won both of course.

In addition to running the ball 40+ times, the Georgia defense needs to get 2 turnovers, and the Special teams need to make a Big return to help out the defense.

45ACP

December 7th, 2009
10:27 am

Shreveport or where ever. Just win baby!
It will be interesting to see the defensive scheme that coach Richt implements.

Bama Shreveport 2007, Natl Champs 2009

December 7th, 2009
10:31 am

Both Alabama in 2007 and Oklahoma in 1999 have followed up a visit to Shreveport with a Natl Championship visit 1-2 years later.

Bodes well for Georgia.

disgusted dawg

December 7th, 2009
10:32 am

Go Aggies! To hell w/traveling to Shreveport to see this team

saddlecreek

December 7th, 2009
10:33 am

Will the game be televised? Greyhound has added three buses, round trip, from Athens to Shreveport. Drinks included-$49.95. Tickets included also. Game starts when buses arrive…..

I really doubt, Bill...

December 7th, 2009
10:34 am

…that anyone really cares about this game! You are going to have a difficult time keeping your readership until the DC thing heats up with an announcement of who gets the job. Then, if your blog weathers this lull, the storm to follow re: the hire may keep you around until next summer!

CatsFly

December 7th, 2009
10:38 am

Get me a tikit on dat bus. I luv my dawgs bettern my wife, heck, even bettern my girlfriend.

Paul H

December 7th, 2009
10:39 am

Same thing we did against Tech. Keep their offense off the field and run it down their throats. Remember that, Tech fans? 30-24 in case you’ve forgotten. 2nd in your state.

Dawg4Ever

December 7th, 2009
10:39 am

You have got to be kidding yourself if you think the D coordinator for Alabama will leave a national championship level team for Georgia. Our best bet is to find a great up a coming coordinator from a lower league like the ACC.

k

December 7th, 2009
10:43 am

How about Slyvester Croom for D coordinator?

MiltonDawg

December 7th, 2009
10:44 am

agree with Paul H- keep their offense off the field and limit turnovers and penalties.

Barqs

December 7th, 2009
10:44 am

Same game plan as against Tech seems like the way to go. Also, Kirby Smart to UGA is not far fetched at all. He could go home and if he becomes the new Erk Russell, he’s in perfect position to become head coach of his alma mater when Richt either retires, or leaves coaching to become a full-time missionary.

Deputy Dawg

December 7th, 2009
10:48 am

Man I done checked and Greyhound has all kinda speshuls to Shreveport. I even herd they got a toilet right there on that bus. Man talk about high living! And it only takes about 13 hours frum Athens to git over to Shreveport. Maybe a bunch of us UGA fans could git together and be on the same bus. I reckon they will be between 2,000 – 3,000 UGA fans at the game. I am at the liberry using they’re computer and have dunn booked my tikkit on Greyhound. Man its grate to be a UGA alum and fan. Sic em woof woof woof woof

Texas Wreck

December 7th, 2009
10:48 am

Dear Georgia fans: you can either have a cakewalk or a blowout the wrong way, depending on which Aggie team shows up. They are really Jekyl and Hyde this year. Their quarterback leads the Big 12 but their defense can not tackle a lick. Good luck and enjoy the game. Score should be about 52-48 either way. BTW UGA did not keep Tech off the field. They just simply ran it up the gut and scored. And Tech had the ball last with a chance to win which is all you can ask for.

Cuz

December 7th, 2009
10:50 am

I care about the game. It should be a good matchup and an offensive coach like Mark Richt coaching the defense is compelling. I care about every game the Dawgs play. That is why I am a founding member of the Sightless Dead Greek Poets Society.

L-Dawg

December 7th, 2009
10:53 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!

LET’E BE HONEST WITH OURSELVES FOR A MOMENT. WE ARE LANDING IN SHREVEPORT, BECAUSE WELL, WE EARNED NOTHING BETTER THAN SHREVEPORT. I, LIKE THE MAJORITY OF DAWG NATION DO INDEED LOOK FORWARD TO TURNING ON THE TV ON THE 28TH, POPPING OPEN A BEER AND WATCHING WHAT WE LOVE… BULLDAWG FOOTBALL. HOWEVER, I DO NOT EXPECT A HUGE UGA TURNOUT AT THE GAME. I ALSO DO NOT CONSIDER THIS A “MUST WIN” GAME BY ANY MEANS. EVERYBODY CLOSE TO THE PROGRAM KNOWS WE HAVE MUCH MORE ON OUR MINDS THAN WINNING THIS GAME.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE HAVING TO TAKE A PAGE FROM THE NERDS THIS YEAR, AND ADMIT THAT THE 2009 SEASON WILL BE REMEMBERED AND BASED ON ONE GAME…. THAT IS THE GAME WITH THE 30-24 OUTCOME. GOOD THINGS ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN IN ATHENS, WITH A FRESH, YOUNG QB NEXT SEASON, AND THE ADDITION OF A NEW DEFENSE ALL TOGETHER. WE HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE ON THE 28TH, AND I FEEL THE ONLY REASON WE ACCEPTED IS BECAUSE WE OWE IT TO THE SENIORS THAT WORKED THEIR TAILS OFF THE 4 OR 5 YEARS THEY PLAYED IN RED AND BLACK.

IM ANXIOUS TO GET INTO THE OFFSEASON, AND AM COUNTING THE DAYS DOWN TO SPRING PRACTICE, SO WE CAN HAVE SO MANY POSITIVE THINGS TO ANTICIPATE. THIS OFFSEASON SHOULD BE A FUN ONE, UNLIKE THE MOST RECENT ONSLAUGHT OF GEORGIA TECH FANS RUNNING THEIR MOUTHS ABOUT THAT 3 POINT WIN THAT IS VIRTUALLY FORGOTTEN, AND EVERY “PROFESSIONAL” WRITER WANTING TO TELL US HOW SCREWED WE ARE SINCE FORMER #7 AND #24 LEFT US EARLY.

THE UPCOMING OFFSEASON WILL SHINE FOCUS ON TOMORROW, AS OPPOSED TO YESTERDAY….. ALL WITH A LITTLE STAB HERE AND THERE TO THE TUNE OF “30-24!!!!”

GOOD LUCK IN THE PREPERATION AND EXECUTION OF THE BOWL. THIS DAWG FAN LOOKS FORWARD TO THE BRIGHT THINGS THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA FOOTBALL PROGRAM!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!!

{{{{{30-24}}}}}
1-8
60-39-5
We Run This State.

JB

December 7th, 2009
10:57 am

For what’s it worth, Sonny Smart, Kirby’s dad, interviewed last week from his home in Dillard Georgia,
” I would imagine Kirby would listen to Coach Richt, they both( his wife played basketball at UGA) love the university of Georgia”. He also said FSU is sniffing around also……..also stated he really likes Saban and his Job at Bama…………………………………….My two cents….And mine only….. If Bama wins it all this year, Saban will consider his job done at Bama……He will be back next year, but me thinks when the Michigan job comes open next year, and it will, they are coming after him full bore with the Checkbook open. He would love nothing more to cement his college coaching legacy to have won THREE NATIONAL TITLES at THREE different schools, while getting rich in the process……please, I hope you don’t think Saban is hell bent on retiring ( or loyal to) Alabama.
Go Tide…..This Dawg is pulling for you to win it ALL this year.

Dawgs73

December 7th, 2009
11:04 am

L-Dawg I have to admit, that finally I agree with everything you just said. I will certainly watch the game, but the level of importance is just not there. I am glad that Mark made the correct decision to make changes on the defensive side of the ball.

Let’s hope that Richt hires the very best option for our defense and that Murray pans out to be our next great QB.

NCR

December 7th, 2009
11:04 am

Bulldog Nation,
Next year you’re starting from scratch again with a new QB, a new DC, and a shaky OC. You won’t be highly ranked pre-season, so you’ll likely have NO shot at a MNC (assuming you’d actually win all your games, ha!). Tech, meanwhile, will probably be ranked pre-season top 10 (assuming everybody comes back, and pre-season top 20) if one or two players leave early.

So, while you’re in Shreveport, make sure you make reservations for the 2011 Independence Bowl too!!!!

What the Huck!

December 7th, 2009
11:05 am

Alabama was 6-6 two years ago and lost to La Monroe enroute to Shreveport…..We have a tremendous number of great young players. I believe the future is bright. I see the glass as half-full and any bowl game–even one in Shreveport–is worth it beacause it gives us more time to develop a QB for next year. And for all the Tech folks who are crowing about their trip to Miami…Congratulations. You won your league. You will destroy the slow-footed Yankees from Iowa. But I promise you, Shreveport is more excited about having Georgia in town than Miami is about having Tech. You were given 17,500 tickets to sell. What the heck does Ga. Tech need with 17,500 tix? What are you going to do with the other 17,000 once you fill your orders? And any Tech fam who says they were more euphoric after their historic win over Clemson Saturday night than they were after beating Georgia last year is a bold-faced liar. Bet you won’t put this year’s score on your rings.
30-24, 8-1, 60-39-5–We run this state.

1eyedJack

December 7th, 2009
11:09 am

I won’t go to Shreveport, but I will definitely have a ticket for the chair in my den watching on HD. I think the Richt-as-DC thing is interesting, and I for one would love to see the game played in a snow storm ala the 2000 Independence Bowl.

jdawg14

December 7th, 2009
11:11 am

If kirby smart comes to uga, the dawgs will win national champ. in two years.

BobDog

December 7th, 2009
11:18 am

UGA probably won’t travel well to Shreveport. Maybe we will, but it’s hard to get excited about spending money to go there. But, we would fill up a major bowl game. The Orange bowl will have empty seats, unless Iowa brings a crowd.

The ACC championship game had a total of 42,000. That’s it. The only good thing is that attendance was up from last year’s 27,000. What a joke.

Awesome

December 7th, 2009
11:19 am

K-Town Dawg

December 7th, 2009
11:20 am

Amen, JB.

Any Tide fan that thinks Saban is loyal needs to lay off the PBR.
Saban has been anything but loyal to ALL of his former employers.
He will leave if the money is right. $6M a year and we won’t have to hear about the buckeyes anymore.

On another note:
I feel like the future is bright for the UGA defense. Our secondary will be better with the return of Rambo and the number one safety in the nation is on his way (Alex Ogletree). Add that to the return of B. Smith and S. Commings. Good things to come if we develop a pass rush.

I don’t really worry about the offense, because we are returning everyone. I realize we will have a new QB, but that sets up well for Murray or Mettenburger to have all the weapons already in place and an O line that is seasoned.

Go Dawgs

K-Town Dawg

December 7th, 2009
11:21 am

That should be Alec

ToccoaDawg

December 7th, 2009
11:21 am

Dawg Gone Kirby Smart DID look good in red and black.

Awesome

December 7th, 2009
11:22 am

Join us on the Third Thursday Night of each month for a trolley tour of Downtown Shreveport cultural treasures.

Paul H

December 7th, 2009
11:24 am

Well said, L-Dawg

Pete

December 7th, 2009
11:25 am

Smart to GA-Done deal-Bank on it!!

murfdawg

December 7th, 2009
11:27 am

How big is the LSU game now? 8-4 and 5-3 in the SEC would have probably gotten us in the Chick-fil-a bowl or at least the Outback. how did Auburn get the Outback? Didn’t we travel well last year to the Cap One? I was there.

Bill, if you see CMR this week, tell him I am available to run the defense for the bowl game. My qualification—I will never, ever run a cover two defense.

Oklahoma Shreport 1999, Natl Champs 2000

December 7th, 2009
11:31 am

Georgia LOVES Shreveport.

raleigh

December 7th, 2009
11:31 am

hope we win but looking forward to have a real defensive coordinator next year more than anything else. its going to suck watching that johnson guy run up nad down the field, but the dawgs will score about 90 points and pull out a big 12 type score of a victory.

FalconUGAFan

December 7th, 2009
11:39 am

Thanks Bill for getting us back to thinking about a game. Not the Bowl we wanted, but its what we have. Hope the team uses this for motivation for the game and next year. Go DAWGS!

DawgMAN

December 7th, 2009
11:52 am

Good Blog – I think we will be toast – Texas A&M is going to blow us out. This is a much bigger game for Texas A&M – a building program that showed improvement during the year. I think UGA is playing to get this sorry season over.

UGA will revert back to what they have been this season:
- Joe cox will have at least 2 turnovers.
- UGA will have a least 3 turnovers.
- Our sorry defense will have at least 2 personal fouls.
- Our kickoff coverage will surrender great field position.
- We will not create a turn over.
- Texas A&M’s offense is going to eat our lunch early in the game as we will not have an answer.
This – is – UGA 2009 Football!!

Texas A&M wins by 3 touchdowns – bank it!

DawgFan

December 7th, 2009
12:09 pm

The Outback Bowl got what it deserved by selling their soul so they could sale extra bowl tickets. Northwestern vs. Auburn at 10 AM on New Year’s Day is one of the worst matchups of the bowl season. Have fun with those TV ratings. Oh yeah, Outback the restaurant is highly overated, just like their bowl game they sponsor. If I was a UT fan, I would be happy that we fell to the Chick-fil-a Bowl. The Chick-fil-a Bowl has passed the Outback in prestige and it has been that way for a while.

GATA

December 7th, 2009
12:14 pm

Memo to giddy tech fans lurking on this page:
Apparently beating you isn’t worth much, since the Dawgs are heading to Shreveport after that beat down in your own house, when you’re having you best season in years and UGA is having a typical tech-like season. Enjoy your brief visit to the top 10, UGA’s normal residence, knowing it will be business as usual when your backfield graduates and you have no one to run that high school offense anymore. Got a little taste of the future when that backup qb came in against UGA.

ACCsucks

December 7th, 2009
12:19 pm

Hey NCR and St. Simons,

(((((((((30-24)))))))))))

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

ACC Championship is the equivalent of a class A High School Championship

hotbobby

December 7th, 2009
12:21 pm

Just lost three recruits

Vick=Dog killing thug

December 7th, 2009
12:23 pm

Remember the Simpson’s episode where Homer was promoted to president of the plant and productivity shot way up because Homer himself wasn’t bumbling his job making mistakes at every turn?

Well, Willie is gone and I don’t think our “D”’s level of play will fall off at all. Maybe correct adjustments will be made at the correct time and we’ll be on our way to a fine win?

Go Homer.. errr.. I mean Dawgs….

South Beach

December 7th, 2009
12:23 pm

Shreveport, lol

SECSucks

December 7th, 2009
12:25 pm

The Toilet Bowl

Delbert D.

December 7th, 2009
12:26 pm

It looks like a good matchup, if the Dawgs get their defensive ducks in a row with Garner and a couple of grad assistants. If Geogia doesn’t flub multiple times on offense with turnovers and penalties, the RBs should have another big night.

I can’t understand why some of the Dawg fans are so down about this game. Must be the faux fans who wanted them to lose to Tech, so the whole coaching staff would be fired. The chance to go 8-5 is a lot better than 7-5, so I’d think the Dawgs’ players are glad to be playing one more time.

atl-xmen

December 7th, 2009
12:26 pm

uga has trouble with sec qbs on sec teams that are mobile..they wont have trouble with the slow b-12 linemen. they pretty much shut down the okl st cowboys big 3 they wont have any trouble with the aggies…the only reason texas a&m numbers are that good is because they dont play defense in the big 12…all about scoring over there..watch for ala to hold texas under 14 points..

uga wins this game and wins big….with or without willie…

bbb

December 7th, 2009
12:27 pm

Ugh, Shreveport. I will watch from home but will be cheering for the Dawgs and hoping that we have enlisted a fantastic DC in the meantime. And holy moly, how great was it to see Bama manhandle Floriday? Way to go BAMA!