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

dawginsider

December 7th, 2009
12:29 pm

VERY strong rumors circulating in Athens that Mark Richt will be the new Notre Dame coach. You heard it here first!

Jim Mora Jr.

December 7th, 2009
12:30 pm

So Shreveport wants some Dogs in their game???

As far as I’m concerned, they should’ve sent that invite to Mississippi State.

Sorry, NCR...

December 7th, 2009
12:32 pm

…but UGA, nor any other SEC or ACC team can go to Shreveport next year – their conference tie-ins beginning next year are with the WAC and MAC!

Tiger's 'Wood'

December 7th, 2009
12:32 pm

Hey Thug-dawg playas and fans….

…if you need any company in Shreveport, I have some names…

…give me a call…but block your Caller I.D….I am on a tight leash!

Have fun in scenic North Louisiana boys.

MilanDog

December 7th, 2009
12:32 pm

One thing that has not been mentioned is that if we win this game, that makes 13 straight seasons with at least 8 wins. I know we are playing an extra game now than we did most of those years, but it is still quite an accomplishment if we can get a “W.”

South Beach

December 7th, 2009
12:35 pm

The most important stat in comparing Tech and UGA:

$58,900 – $43,900

Average starting starting salary of Tech graduate compared to UGA graduate.

atl-xmen

December 7th, 2009
12:35 pm

dawginsider…haha..heard that like 3 years ago…

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

December 7th, 2009
12:36 pm

NCR:
THAT SHAKY OC RAN IT OUT THE OTHER END OF THE STADIUM AGAINST YOU GUYS JUST A WEEK AGO…SURE YOU HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN IT….YOU NEVER WILL….NEVER SAW THAT ONE COMING….THE BLOWOUT ALL JACKET FANS WERE EXPECTING WENT UP IN SMOKE AT BOBBY DODD STADIUM, BUT WE KNEW YOU WOULD BEAT THE CLEMPSON TIGGERS ….OLE BALL COACH SHOWED YOU HOW TO BEAT CLEMPSON….

PUP FAN

December 7th, 2009
12:36 pm

You really think Tech could beat Buford? Not a chance!

swimdawg68

December 7th, 2009
12:37 pm

Outback should have taken Tenn. and UGA should have gone to Chick-fil-a. Auburn is the team that should have gone to Shreveport. As far as the Outback goes, I hope they never again offer a bid to UGA, I for one have made my last trip to their bowl and I have been there many times.

I will not attend the bowl this year in Shreveport, the only good thing about that bowl is it gives us some early practice for next year. I will be surprised if we sell our allotment of tickets. The game is 600 miles from Atl. do they have an airport? If dosen’t matter, I will be in my den watching it in HD. This is the first bowl I have missed since CMR became head coach, I am a club level season ticket holder and have seen enough bad football in person for one season. I am excited about the prospects for next year, Mark, go find us another Erk Russell.

CMR still with BooBoo??

December 7th, 2009
12:38 pm

To Joe Cox—- Average?: You really must be joking if you think Cox can be mentioned on the same page of the best QBs in college football, much less the same sentence. Are you the real Joe Cox that posted that comment??

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

December 7th, 2009
12:38 pm

NCR:
THAT SHAKY OC ALSO THREW ONE DOWN IN THE LEFT CORNER AT STORIED GRANT FIELD TO BEAT THE JACKETS WHEN HE WORE THE RED AND BLACK AND WAS #14…I JUST REMEMBERED THAT THAT GAME WAS ONE THAT DIDN’T MATTER….THINK YOU WERE ON YOUR WAY TO THE BLUE FIELD….

Delbert D.

December 7th, 2009
12:39 pm

Something just struck me about the post that said Mark Richt is going to Notre Dame. On the face of it, it’s BS. But since CMR dumped his friends Willie and the strength coach, what are his remaining ties to Georgia? As an outsider, I’m just asking.

Peggy Ledbetter

December 7th, 2009
12:40 pm

I’m perplexed at people saying UGA got what it deserved. Kentucky, South Carolina, Auburn, and Arkansas had 3-5 SEC conference records. UGA had a 4-4 SEC conference record. It looks like the pecking order of the bowl selections for the above schools relative to SEC conference standings is upside down. This does not make sense. Does this mean the SEC commissioner failed to represent the SEC conference properly? Or do the SEC conference standings have no importance? Is the SEC commissioner making the case that overall records should replace SEC standings? ( I’m surprised a reporter hasn’t already picked up on this.)

For what it's worth

December 7th, 2009
12:40 pm

Hey dawginsider – what are you smoking over there – to think that CMR would go to ND, much less anywhere else?? CMR will be like his mentor Bobby Bowden; he will want to retire at GA one day (after coaching here for 30 years) and will have to ‘retire’ a couple of seasons earlier than he would have liked.

atl-xmen

December 7th, 2009
12:40 pm

joe cox also had less to work with…he did just fine this year with all the young guys he had around him..

Delbert D.

December 7th, 2009
12:49 pm

atl-xmen – I think that’s the first time we’ve agreed on something.

“joe cox also had less to work with…he did just fine this year with all the young guys he had around him..”

Alabama Jack

December 7th, 2009
12:52 pm

dawgs are so irrelevant

For what it's worth

December 7th, 2009
12:52 pm

murfdawg – what do you have against the cover-two that you would ‘never’ run it? It forces a QB to be very accurate – and if you have a good front-4 on defense – who can pressure the QB – the cover-two works really well. I’m not saying that the cover-two is the best defensive plan – but it should be another component of a defensive scheme to use depending on what type of offense (and OB and receivers) the opposing side is running.

Reality Dog

December 7th, 2009
12:55 pm

Shreveport is fine-no need to complain or lament lost opportunities (KY, LSU). We just need to accept the opportunity, beat the Aggies and look towards building something better for 2010.

Honestly, you can’t expect much of an increase in stature from beating GT. Nobody outside of Atlanta takes GT seriously. They are very good at running their offense but their defense is god awful.

Roll with it

December 7th, 2009
12:56 pm

Amen Alabama Jack – Dawgs? Who cares? They are irrelevant. Too bad we didn’t get a chance to play them this year – it would be like watching a poodle fight a tiger (or elephant).

FALCON JOSH

December 7th, 2009
12:58 pm

I think the Bowl game in Shreveport will be great!!! The big boss loves UGA and since the game is at 5pm on a Monday afternoon…. Looks like I can plan on leaving early that day.

DawgFan

December 7th, 2009
12:58 pm

Peggy,
The reason why reporters don’t bring up issues like this to the commissioner is because most reporters are scared to ask the tough questions. Reporters just want to keep cashing those checks. Slive got what he wanted already, a 1 vs. 2 in the Dome for the SEC championship and two SEC teams in the BCS. Pass that, he could care less what the other bowls do.

Driver 8

December 7th, 2009
12:59 pm

If Russ is going to Shreveport, we’ll be fine. I do not think that Russ is the type of pooch that will settle for this type of season going forward.

dap01

December 7th, 2009
12:59 pm

Important stat: 37,000 vs 92,000. Tech’s average home attendance compared to UGA.

Important stat: 5 vs 0. Tech’s average muggings per week compared to UGA.

Important stat: 1 vs 0. Tech’s pocket protector average compared to UGA.

Important stat: 78 vs 0. Tech’s average Zit count compared to UGA.

flagboy?

December 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

Delbert D.

December 7th, 2009
12:39 pm
Something just struck me about the post that said Mark Richt is going to Notre Dame. On the face of it, it’s BS. But since CMR dumped his friends Willie and the strength coach, what are his remaining ties to Georgia? As an outsider, I’m just asking.

Delbert, I’d say Richt letting Martinez and company go is a better indication he would be staying at UGA rather than leaving. If he was leaving, he’d probably leave the coaching staff intact and let the next person coming in clean house/bring in his own men. Stranger things have happened i guess, but that would be my take on it.

TechCrybaby

December 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

Georgia and Tech both need to win their bowl games. Georgia did well against us in the Big Game on November 28. They ran the ball successfully. I’m thikning the same will work against A & M, unless the Aggies have a terrifically strong defense. Georgia needs the win for pride. Not only would it give the Dawgs an 8-5 season, but they’ve lost three of the four games ever played against Texas A & M.

Tech needs to win, to show they can run against a reputedly strong defense. Offense is their only chance to win against Iowa, because the Tech defense is not going to stop anything. This could be another embarrassing postseason beatdown.

DawgFan

December 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

Roll with it,
Congratulations on finally winning a game that matters. Don’t go embarass the SEC out in Pasadena like ya’ll did last year in the Sugar. Don’t forget that Bama was in Shreveport not too long ago. Ya’ll liked Shreveport so much, ya’ll went two years in a row.

Taco

December 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

Kirby Smart? Tommy Tubberville? Brain Van Gorder? Knute Rockne? You Dawg fans have very high expectations for a program on the decline. Who would want to leave a true contender like Bama and come to a historically middle of the pack program like UGA. You have a great signature BCS victory over Hawaii! Whoopee! Get real and start interviewing some good High School coordinators or 1-AA talent. you are correct nobody takes Tech seriously outside the state and the same goes for the lame Dawgs. The biggest story of the year was UGGAA IXVIIXVXVX dying from a KY trash truck. Please tell me you you don’t honestly think UGA is a national power? Good every so often I will give you, but consistent…..no way.

k

December 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

other D coordinator candidates?

flagboy?

December 7th, 2009
1:03 pm

Alabama Jack

December 7th, 2009
12:52 pm
dawgs are so irrelevant

and yet, here you are.

Shreveport Lot Lizard

December 7th, 2009
1:05 pm

Cant wait to see all the sexy mullets in Shreveport! ;P

South Beach

December 7th, 2009
1:07 pm

The most important stat in comparing Tech and UGA:

$58,900 – $43,900

Average starting starting salary of Tech graduate compared to UGA graduate.

Mike

December 7th, 2009
1:13 pm

Got my Bowl Game package from the UGA Athletic Department – now that we are in the prestigious Weed-Eater Bowl, I sent it back, marking across the front: “You got to be kiddin’, right?”

I wish all five UGA fans that will actually attend this stupid, embarrasing bowl, well. In this economy, to spend good money to go to Shreveport? Yea, right …

UGA needs to understand that as the team declines, so do the fan’s and alum’s support. I’m a huge UGA alum and fan and have been donating to the University and buying season tickets for almost 25 years. This season was undisciplined, poorly coached, lacked effort at times, and mostly under-achieved by a bunch of guys who failed to execute. I’m tired of sending money to UGA and getting this kind of performance in return. I’m a huge fan of Mark Richt, but I am really hurting. Maybe he will find some new energy and a new plan now that he realizes we were the 8th overall SEC pick and have accepted the worst bowl in the post season. I hope he enjoys watching another SEC team play for the National Championship – I won’t.

Silver Classic

December 7th, 2009
1:14 pm

If the quality of Georgia fans is measured by the majority of those posting comments on these AJC blogs I’m susprised that any bowl would issue as invitation to UGA. The team could have done better this year but their performance was far and away more impressive that the idiots who can find nothing of value in a great school and football program that UGA represents.

To think that the situation will be improved by your spouting venimious and uninformed dribble demonstrates their ignorance. Those of that ilk should be embarassed by their bratty tirades, but, somehow, I doubt they are.

Fed Dawg

December 7th, 2009
1:15 pm

Seems that with the schedule we had and the out of conference games we played that with equal records of 7-5 the dawgs got the short stick. I am pretty sure we are better than Auburn. That Kentucky game really hurt them.

OZZFEST

December 7th, 2009
1:15 pm

Aggies cry too.

atlanta aggie

December 7th, 2009
1:16 pm

How to beat the Aggies? Can’t be done. The Aggies have never been beaten. Occasionally they have fewer points when the clock runs out. They can be outscored but never beaten!

Duck08

December 7th, 2009
1:17 pm

Another important fact about tech vs Georgia.
Girl to guy ratio at georgia…
10-1
Asian/fat girl to guy ratio at Tech..
10-1

flagboy?

December 7th, 2009
1:20 pm

South Beach, I think you’re on the wrong blog.

This is the sport blog. I think the “Feeling the need to compensate?” blog is somewhere else on the ajc. Good luck in your endeavours.

jawga boy

December 7th, 2009
1:20 pm

UGA's Finest Grad

December 7th, 2009
1:21 pm

YEEEEHAWWWWW !!!!!

It’s shore nuff ’bout drinkin time, ain’t it ?

jawga boy

December 7th, 2009
1:22 pm

Taco, U need to take a plunge back in the Rio Grande boy….. U doan no nuttin’ bout football. Check the last 10 years and see who done finished in top ten in nation ( and I ain’t talkin bout bulldawg nation ) It be da UGA. And dat’s consistency. Doomas.

Dawgsruletech

December 7th, 2009
1:22 pm

JetBuzz

December 7th, 2009
1:23 pm

Many Jackets will likely return the support given by Dawgs during the ACCCG in Tampa. Consensus was a great and exciting game. Call our defense what you wish (even though they made the stop Sat. when it counted most,) but you have rivalry blindness to continue calling the GT offense anything but powerful. Both teams will improve season-to-season, and Thanksgiving weekends should become interesting again. Enjoy the Independence.

harleyman

December 7th, 2009
1:25 pm

Another important stat comparing Tech to UGA

1 live-in partner for Tech graduate compared to wife and two kids for UGA graduate.

harleyman

December 7th, 2009
1:25 pm

especially Tech grads in South Beach

Big Bad Dawg

December 7th, 2009
1:26 pm

There are already three listings for tickets on ebay. A pair of tickets on the lower deck forty-five yard line (row 12) is going for $30 (total) buy-it-now. There is a Motel 6 near the stadium with vacancies for $39. If you are in the ‘Goin 6′ club, there is a $8 discount per night available. I’m not sure if it is available on game day or not though. There is a Waffle House within walking distance.

I understand the Dawgs will be giving select Hartman Fund contributors the chance to sit in folding chairs along the sidelines (18 feet from sideline starting at 20 yard markers on east side only) for $195 per head. The Hartman Fund contribution level is 6,000 or more points. The seat will include a commemorative plastic cushion and cup holder. This is the same distance as the hedges are from Sanford Stadium sideline. Quite an opportunity to see the action up close.

harleyman

December 7th, 2009
1:31 pm

I love the wind in my hair with my Bulldog buddy riding in the saddle behind me. Go dawgs!

Big Orange

December 7th, 2009
1:33 pm

Obviously it’s not heart-breaking to me either way, but would someone explain to me why the Outback took an Auburn team that UGA beat with an identical record? I’m glad my Vols will be here in Atlanta. I can go watch them and sleep in my own bed here in Covington. Just trying to figure out the thought process with the Outback.