In my conversations with UGA fans about Saturday’s game against the Jackets, two general themes have emerged.
The first is a conviction that whether Mike Bobo chooses to emphasize the run like last year or have Aaron Murray toss it in A.J. Green’s direction every chance he gets, the Dogs can score points on an inconsistent Tech defense.
The second is a real concern over whether Georgia’s own inconsistent defense, which has had trouble stopping running offenses and running-oriented quarterbacks all season, can handle Paul Johnson’s triple-option rushing attack.
Last season in the upset win over the Jackets at Grant Field, the middle of Georgia’s defensive line came up big, keeping Tech’s Jonathon Dwyer from becoming much of a factor in the game and the Jackets were held to just 205 yards rushing. This year, the undersized middle has been a weakness for the Dogs’ defense, which has also had trouble at times with players sticking to their assignments and wrapping up tackles — both keys to stopping the Jackets’ running game, which leads the nation with an average of 319 yards rushing per game.
Still, even if the Dogs are not as successful in shutting down those fullback dive plays as a year ago and the Jackets get their usual yardage, a Georgia fan has to like the odds in this match-up. If Tech loads the box to try and stop Washaun Ealey and Caleb King from revisiting their “I run this state” glory, A.J. and Kris Durham and Tavarres King are likely to be wide open all day for Murray.
So, yes, I’m concerned about whether Todd Grantham’s troops can do against Tech what they failed to do against Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State and even lowly Colorado.
But I think as long as Bobo doesn’t start second-guessing himself and try to get too clever in his playcalling, the Dogs simply have too many offensive weapons for Tech’s outmanned defense. Basically, I’d like to see Bobo stick with whatever’s working and not take his foot off the pedal like he did in the second quarter against Auburn.
This is Tech, after all, the game that more than any other the Dogs have to live with for the next year. Getting bowl-eligible is just the gravy.
Speaking of which, I’ll be hitting the road today for our annual family gathering in Athens, and I hope all of you have an enjoyable, safe Thanksgiving and will be back here to discuss another Georgia win over Georgia Tech this weekend.
See you at the game Saturday.
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