First thoughts on Alabama-Georgia

The Quad has its preview of the game posted and it hits most of the highlights, but I’m not sure I agree with the main point:

This is going to be some match-up Saturday night. Knowshon Moreno of Georgia vs. Bama’s defense. The issue is going to be the youth of the Bulldogs’ offensive line vs. Cody and the rest of the Bama defense.

Don’t get me wrong.  Cody is going to be somebody to watch, as will how the Georgia offensive line holds up for the ground game.  But I think the key to the game is going to come from the two quarterbacks.

Which is why I really like this post from cocknfire over at Garnet and Black Attack.

… It’s also, though, fair to say that the running games could essentially cancel each other out. If Alabama plays to its rankings on run offense and defense, and Georgia plays to its rankings on run offense and defense, both of these teams will pile up impressive but not slobber-inducing ground yardage on the run. It shouldn’t shock us to see, for example, 125-150 yards and a touchdown or two on the ground for both teams.

I think this one is going to boil down to which playmakers in the passing game step up.  And that’s why it may very well turn out that all the hype over the Julio Jones-A. J. Green showdown is justified when the dust settles.

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Bruce Feldman thinks shutting down Moreno is the key to watch.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “First thoughts on Alabama-Georgia

  1. NebraskaDawg

    Bama going to blitz a helluva lot to expose our o-line. To counter, we’re going to throw quick outs and screens to KM & CK. In response, Bama will quit blitzing so much and we’ll be back to a normal trench warfare battle. It’s time for Ben Jones to show that nasty streak that got him a scholly in the first place. GO DAWGS!

  2. JasonC

    I agree the QBs will probably be the key factor, but my other big question is how does our OL hold up. I think Stafford is better than JPW, but their line is better which may equalize things a bit.

  3. Christian

    1. QB play is #1 – if the Stafford we’ve seen so far this year is present – I’ll feel just fine. He’s made sound decisions, taken smart chances and realized that a punt isn’t our worst enemy. Nebraska Dawg is right on that we’re going to get blitzed early – not just to test the OL, but to also see if MS will make the correct read.

    2. Our kickoff coverage must be exponentially better than it has been or I feel certain that we’ll give up a special teams score this game. As much as I like CMR’s dig right back at Javier Arianas – he could very well have a huge day.

    3. I like our chances better as each day passes.

    Go Dawgs!!

  4. thinkingbulldog

    I think the difference maker could be the play of our second-tier receivers and Chandler/Figgins, especially how well they hold onto the ball. Any play that Green and MoMass are both on the field, somebody’s going to be open…but can they catch the ball?

    Totally agree with Christian on item 2 above. And item 3.

  5. montgomeryaldawg

    I believe (besides the usual turnover stat), that total first downs attained (including 3rd down conversion %) is supremely important. So there is rush yards and there are RUSH YARDS. Will we sustain drives and keep their D on the field, and not vice versa forcing the ball into JPW’s hands? Also, I’d like to see Michael Moore on more of those screens. He seems more of a tenacious runner than KD, get him the ball in the short zone…besides, KD seems to be nurturing a bum shoulder from one of his screens in the desert.

  6. Pingback: DawgsOnline » Ground game will likely tell the tale

  7. You are all partially right. The one thing that is definite is that neither team will match their averages on O or D. They are based on four games of which two each, for both teams, were cupcakes.
    The offensive lines are so critical because of the push and protection. Alabama only added one new back and their rush numbers are so much better because of the line play. Line play is so so critical.
    Don’t try to be nice and say there is a comparison between Stafford and JPW because Matt is infinitely better than Wilson. Same thing with Moreno, there is no one close to him on the Tide roster. However, Alabama has confidence because the line play has been so good. It is arguably the best O-line in the conference (maybe second to LSU) and that’s Chris Low’s opinion not mine.
    I wouldn’t look for a ton of blitzes because, up to this point, the defensive line has gotten a good enough push to not have to resort to that. That’s why Cody is so huge (no pun) in this scheme because off the push he generates. He will single-handedly collapse the pocket. He cannot be handled man-to-man. That’s not bragging ; the undisputed best center in the conference (Luigs) couldn’t handle him. Without gaps or time the best running backs or quarterbacks can’t reach their potential.
    Alabama is very susceptible to the screen and middle passes because of the inexperience in the linebacking corp. But this is a very salty run defense. The numbers are misleading. The Tide was the no. 1 rush defense just last week and Arkansas mixed it up and ran more than they had showed. Alabama was in Nickel most of the game yet Arkansas still did not gain 100 yards rushing.
    If Alabama wins it will be because your O-line can’t get enough push to spring Moreno (who is awesome). Stafford, Green and MoMass are great players, but if Saban knows you’re going to pass it’s over. Moreno<100= Alabama victory. This is not the team you beat in T-town in OT last year. They are much, much better. Georgia is as well. I’m expecting Bobo to air it out early and loosen the run d. If that works, it would be a long, long night for the Tide.
    Can’t wait.

  8. kckd

    UGA is gonna need to be balanced and that is the way it will need to be against anyone it plays. Even in Knowshon’s biggest games last year, we threw for 200 or more yards usually.

    But Knowshon doesn’t need huge holes like most runners. He can get yards when nothing is there. I will not be shocked at all if he gets 100 against Bama even with what is likely to be an average performance at best from his OL. Last year when Richt kept saying our RBs are making our OL look better than it is, he wasn’t speaking so much for T. Brown as Moreno.

  9. kckd

    I’ll be honest and tell you that I watched Arkansas play a couple of times this year. Luigs is not that great against the pass. They ran it mostly last year and that’s what he’s good at, but he’s had to learn a whole new deal this year and he hasn’t looked solid even in their two cupcake games. Still, we will have our hands full, but the Bama NG will face a better center at some point this year. No doubt in my mind.