MSU-Georgia: two keys

Groo hits on something that’s bugged me since the second half of the South Carolina game:

… If Georgia showed a weakness on defense at Ole Miss, it was on the edge. The Rebels didn’t have the players or scheme to exploit it, but the next opponent does. I’m confident in the interior line to slow the dive plays and even the inside zone-reads of the MSU spread option. It’s when the outside defenders bite on the dive and the option develops outside that I get a little more concerned.

Ole Miss may not have had the personnel to do much, but as we saw, South Carolina did.  Cornelius Washington in particular got taken inside and walled off by the right side of the ‘Cock line, allowing Marcus Lattimore to take it outside several times for solid to big gains late.

Mississippi State isn’t as talented as South Carolina.  Vick Ballard’s a good SEC back, but he’s no Lattimore.  And the MSU offensive line has been banged up (although the Bulldogs get one player back this week).  That being said, they’ll be a big step up from the last two offenses Georgia has faced.  Chris Relf is a formidable runner and, perhaps ominously, MSU saw its best success last week running the ball outside the tackles.

The good news for Grantham is that Mullen’s offense has struggled throwing the ball, scoring touchdowns in the red zone and converting third downs.  So if the Dawg defense can get a handle on stopping the outside run, it may very well be able to control the MSU offense.

The second key for this Saturday is how Bobo game plans against that aggressive, physical Mississippi State defense.  Manny Diaz may be gone, but if you watched the MSU-LSU game, you saw a team that was still zone blitzing early and often.  They got their shots against the Tigers, but eventually wore down.  If Georgia had LSU’s offensive line, I probably wouldn’t be as concerned, but a comparison of the sacks allowed numbers illustrates that’s not the case.

That being said, Bobo’s task is far from hopeless.  For one thing, lost in the disappointment of last year’s loss is the fact that Georgia gained nearly 400 yards, outgaining MSU in the process.  For another, Georgia is loaded with the best weapon against a team that relies heavily on the zone blitz:  the tight end.  Aron White’s coming out party last week at Ole Miss has to be a concern for MSU’s defense.  Nor can they sleep on 344 fullback.

Certainly, you’ve got the general concern about Georgia shooting itself in the foot with dumb play.  They got embarrassed by that last week.  It cost them the South Carolina game.  And it killed them in last year’s MSU game.  But assuming that’s a bullet they can dodge this go ’round, watch to see how MSU’s outside running looks and how Georgia responds to the Mississippi State defensive scheme.

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29 Comments

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29 responses to “MSU-Georgia: two keys

  1. The ATH

    I feel bad for Aron. He’s been under-utilized ever since Mr. Charles showed up on campus (not taking anything away from him).

    When he’s gotten chances, Aron always seems to deliver. I thought his coming out party was the Texas A&M bowl game, but his opportunities have been limited since.

  2. James Stephenson

    He will make a good pro though. He has the ability and can block well.

  3. NCT

    This makes my stomach hurt when I think about Florida and Tech.

    • Macallanlover

      Florida perhaps, but GT is the one who looks bad in this matchup. Any time you can stuff the A dive the GT option is neutered, I see us putting Kwame and Jenkins up the middle creating a pile-up and forcing them to bounce the play outside where LBs and corners can handle. I am also pretty confident we can stay man on their receivers. If you look at our best success against Johnson-head offenses it was when we stuffed the middle. We can worry about them later but, barring injuries, I like the GT matchup this year.

      • JBJ

        One problem could be our hurry up offense. If we employ that against Yech, then our D could be in for a long day. I prefer the I formation and pounding the ball against their D to control the clock. The Tech D did not look very good last week against UNC.

        • Macallanlover

          I will take that chance, if we are scoring quickly we will wear their D down as well. But I do agree about the I, don’t think they are built for a heavy dose of smash mouth….if we can just learn to block. Don’t want our D out there too long, gives the chop blockers too many shots!

  4. CarolinaDawg

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Commings and Boykin blitzing a little this weekend.

  5. vincent

    At the expense of sounding like a broken record the key to this game, the season, and mark richt’s future will be the ability of the team to stay sharp mentally for a whole game. if we limit our turnovers and stop gifting tds we will be a solid team fail to do that and the irrelevance and mediocrity continue

  6. Go Dawgs!

    Even with as badly as Mississippi State beat Georgia physically last year, the fact remains that Georgia could have changed the complexion of the game simply by holding on to the football. Without the fumble problems, Georgia may have even won the game. The defense has improved. The problem is just going to be avoiding the dumb mistake. If they can do that, I think Georgia can win.

  7. Saint Johns Dawg

    Agreed on all points. But as you pointed out (and as the South Carolina game showed), we can’t rely on the linebackers alone to hold the edge … we’re gonna have to cheat the corners and safeties up at times to hold the line with Relf running the MSU offense.

    That might get them a few wide open looks in the passing game. If they do that consistently … well, it’s gonna be a long day at the office.

  8. Will Trane

    It is good to hear CMR’s remarks about the practice and focus special teams’ play this week. Both sides of the ball. If they can prevent any points or field position against MSU will be good. Have to make MSU go the long route on offense and get some freaking turnovers, like fumbles. If their is a weakness on this team it is the special teams play. Almost none. Boykin is an issue on punt returns, and all opponents use the rugby punt to by time for coverage. I’d like to see some coach come up with a block on that kind of play.
    For the defense against MSU you have to stay focused, know your assignment, and commit to the gap and run hard and quick. Can not piss along. MSU will get to the edge, and you have to understand they do that well. But you have to limit those gains by creating negative plays on 1 and 2.
    For me as I have thought all week will be the special teams and the play of the defense. If those guys want to be in the Bama, USC, and LSU crowd this is their opportunity. All LBs have to be lights out, fully wired, and under control. Time to have some fun if you are on that side of the ball.

  9. Bevo

    Good post. I think this hits the nail on the head.

    I hope we take care of business.

  10. Keese

    They need to get someone like Vasser on run sutuations and have C Washington for pass rush.

    Offenses have been exploiting Cornelius Washington containment issues EVERY game. Lattimore got a lot if his yards because he got sucked in and it was the safeties responsibility to force outside angle

    • Keese

      If anyone remembers the ole miss thread, containment issues was #1 on my list of observations. I thought Chase Vasser did a great job adjusting after he got blown up on a inside play that ole miss bounced outside for big yardage early in the game.

      I wish they’d go ahead and get Ray Drew in there part time…call it baptism by fire

  11. Rhymerdawg

    Look, while containment is a problem it is not the whole problem. The major problem comes from the fact that the refs are not calling the holding calls against our OLB and DE. Seriously, looking back at the SCar game the only reason Lattimore gained all that yardage from the corners is the blatant holds which let him cut through. I would love to make a video and send it to the SEC, NCAA and UGA to get them to say something about the fact that this holding on the edge against UGA, mind you, is getting ridiculous. In the SCAR game there was one holding call; it was against UGA. Seriously, had this been curtailed in the game there is no doubt that UGA would have won and SCAR would not have had its 2nd half comeback. In the OLE MISS game it was similar but not as bad. But even in the BOISE game it was pretty bad.

    I understand everyone on the offensive line holds but when jersey’s are being stretched and that person is inches from the ball carrier it is a crying shame stuff like that gets called. Even A. Jeffrey, the SCAR OT’s and other WR were holding shoulder pads at the shoulder, grabbing people from behind by their jersey, and on and on it goes. But not one call. So the defense is pretty strong even when there is the occasional getting sucked in event.

    I guess I am saying that while I agree that there is some problems with the OLB’s it is not the entire issue.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The crooked SEC refs have been a problem for us ever since the “endzone-stomp” in ’07. When there was such a ruckus on national TV sports shows about the bogus celebration penalty against AJ Green that cost UGA the LSU-UGA game in ’09 they moved on to another method—the “no-call.” I have never seen as much holding in a college football game by one team not get called before as there was in this year’s USCe-UGA game. There are many other examples, too. The UGA AD’s office has the responsibility to do something about it but nothing ever seems to happen. I wish CMR would just pull a Michael Vick and call out the refs. At least then people would be watching for it. Might scare the bastards into calling the game honestly.

  12. OKDawg

    “But assuming that’s a bullet they can dodge this go ’round…”

    Man, I so badly want to assume this with you.

  13. Dawgaholic

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but does anyone know exactly when and where the dawgwalk will be Saturday? Taking my son and my cousin’s two sons to the game Saturday. I’ve always been interested in the myriad of other gameday “attractions” and haven’t been to a dawgwalk though I think the kids will enjoy it.

  14. Castleberry

    I’m more concerned about stopping Relf running than anything else. Pulled up last year’s box score and saw Relf was their leading rusher with 109. Inside, outside, stopping QB run on 3rd and short, 3rd and Willie; whatever the situation, I want us to come after him and tackle him to the ground.

    Our D also has looked unprepared when the other team goes hurry up. I’m expecting them to try and take advantage there.

    • Bevo

      Agreed. I’m concerned about how our DEF will react to a hurry up look as well. Ole Miss could have taken advantage of that more but thankfully did not. I’m guessing o-coordinators around the SEC are taking notice of that.

  15. AusDawg85

    OLB’s holding the edge is very coachable and should be corrected by now. For those who have criticized the interior line for lack of tackles/sacks, I think they are missing CTG’s scheme that has those boys just gumming-up the middle and letting the LB’s make plays. Relf is terrible from the pocket, so let’s keep him there and dare him to beat us with his arm.

    Baccari and Boykin should be salivating at the thought.

    P.S. Bobo’s offense scores 30+ ppg. Get the chapel bell ready.

  16. W Cobb Dawg

    Dawgs will win if the O shows up and scores some points. I’m not worried about the D – they’ll do their job and keep MSU within reach. If we lose, it’ll be the O and/or special teams (again).

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