First SECCG thoughts

Hate to start off like a Negative Nelly, but I’ve got two big concerns about Saturday’s game.  The first is “duh” obvious:  how Georgia’s offensive line holds up against Alabama’s defensive front seven.  The good news, if you want to call it that, is that the ‘Bama defensive line isn’t as overwhelmingly daunting as either LSU’s was last year, or as this year’s South Carolina line played.  The bad news is that it’s still pretty damned imposing.

And that makes for a tall task for Will Friend’s troops.  And for Mike Bobo’s playcalling.  I thought Bobo did a masterful job in the first half of last year’s SECCG keeping Chavis off-balance with a kitchen sink approach to his playbook.  Had the player execution kept up, there’s no telling how that game might have played out.  He’s going to have to scheme like crazy against a well-coached and talented Alabama defense to keep Murray upright and functional.  One thing he’s got in his favor this year is a realistic running threat with the two fabulous freshmen.  That should help keep Saban/Smart honest about how they defend the Georgia attack.

All that ties into my second worry.  This one may not be so obvious:  Georgia’s ability to hit big plays.  Yeah, the Dawgs are seventh in the country in offensive plays of 20 or more yards.  But when you break it down a little, there’s a good reason for concern.  Through the first five games of the year, Georgia ranked first in those plays.  Then came October.  Georgia’s ranking that month?  107th.  Now some of that can be attributed to the Dawgs having only played three games that month.  But most of it has to be chalked up to the opposition – that’s the month Georgia took on South Carolina and Florida.  November saw a decent bounce back, as Georgia finished 23rd nationally, but it’s not as if the Dawgs took on a defense as good as the ones they saw the month before.

I’m sure you know what’s coming next.  Alabama ranks sixth nationally in opponents’ offensive plays of 20+ yards, which is better than Florida (11th) and South Carolina (30th).  (If you’re looking for a silver lining in that cloud, the Tide dropped to 41st in the month that Texas A&M showed up to play.)  The challenge is clear.

Big plays are a big deal for this Georgia team.  Aside from the obvious – you’re picking up significant yardage, of course – it’s a good sign when Georgia’s busting out that play action is working, which means that the running game is clicking.  Besides that, it’s part of Georgia’s identity on offense.  It doesn’t mean that they can’t scrap and plug away to win (remember Florida), but it makes it tougher and puts a lot more pressure on the other parts of the team to hold things together.  If you’ll recall, that’s the exact way the wheels came off the wagon in last year’s SECCG.

Anyway, that’s what’s making me fret mid-week.  What are you guys worrying about?

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154 Comments

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154 responses to “First SECCG thoughts

    • Brandon

      Yep he is our biggest factor, how he plays will determine how much of a chance we have. Saban is going to make him prove he can beat us, he’ll focus on stopping the run and see if Murray can make good throws under pressure early, if he can’t we are in for a long day on offense and we will have to hope our defense can keep us in the ballgame, and maybe get some points of their own and or long enough for our offense to find a way to get some points, essentially the way we beat Florida and the way most slugfests between SEC heavyweights are traditionally won. For years we didn’t have a defense that could keep us in those kind of ball games, Florida was the first one in forever. Of course if Murray can pull a David Greene vs. LSU in 2004 and consistently beat the blitz with pressure passes that will open up the run game and give us a much better chance to win, based on Murray’s career in big games to date I am not expecting that, though I’d love to be surprised. Our best chance to win is a lights out 60 minutes from the defense and get a few turnovers. We’ve got a chance, we do have a fellow named Jarvis Jones that can come up big in the clutch.

      • The Lone Stranger

        Murray likes blitzes — he said as much, so I am welcoming of a “get after him with pressure” plan by the Armani Bear.

        • Brandon

          If he can make them pay especially early that would be huge.

          • The Lone Stranger

            ….and some timely snags, just like all season, TK & MM & CC & AL & RW.

            • AusDawg85

              But he can’t turn the ball over. Eat it when being sacked, don’t throw wildly into coverage.

              • The Lone Stranger

                True enough, that. Though I would hope that AM ought to have an extra sensitive head-timer working Saturday whereby if he doesn’t see what he wants in 3 seconds, off he goes to the outside where he can either dish it into the seats or run some upfield.

      • Dboy

        Murray is like any well trained QB, he likes the blitz if it is picked up long enough for him to beat it. Murray’s performance (just as with all pro NFL QBs) is going to be dictated by the offensive line play. If the Oline allows us to run effectively and gives Murray enough time to make basic reads, he will perform well.

        • Brandon

          Unless Murray is overjuiced and his throws are all high or unless he tries to force balls into coverage trying to make plays, things Murray is wont to do in big games, understand I am hoping for the best in Murray and I like the kid, I am just concerned. Murray keeping his head in the game and being calm and focused is a big part of our best chance at success Saturday, in his case its not all o-line a lot of it is between his ears though I do agree o-line protection is important and he’ll probably settle down quicker if he is being protected well.

          • Dawgfan Will

            Maybe we could tell him the game starts at 2 instead of 4 and have the scout team dress in Bama uniforms so he can get his yips over with before the game starts. Then the game starts for reals and voila! Calm, laser-like Aaron Murray. :-)

          • Tom

            When playing golf, people ask what is your handicap ? The space between the ears, just as Brandon said. That is what concerns me about Aaron Murray and this game. He has shown that when the pressure gets to him he will fall apart. SC game is the best example.

            And, can our Defense keep us in the game long enough for him to recover?

            • Will (the other one)

              Yes and no. He was terrible vs. SoCar, but our non-brilliant plan to often pit one outmatched OLineman vs. Clowney meant we could have some genetic clone made from Drew Brees/Tom Brady/both Manning brothers’ combined back there and it wouldn’t have mattered that much.

              While I’m still nervous as all hell, I try and keep in mind that Murray fell apart in the 2nd quarter vs. UF too…but he got better in the 2nd half.

            • You would be upset to, if your Father was going thru a very difficult time. Murray will be outstanding on Saturday.

    • As I have said in a comment about 4-6 weeks ago, AM will not necessarily have a truly “coming out game”, but his coming out games will be winning the SECCG and BCSCG. I posted this likely prior to Florida game in one of GTP’s blog. If he fails, as others have mentioned, his legacy will just be breaking records. It is just like the best team or athlete never to have won the big one.

    • JasonC

      But the line usually dictates whether Murray is playing anxious- forcing it, not stepping into his throws, getting hit and losing the ball and having to carry the burden because there’s no running game.

      How much of Murray’s issues were directly or indirectly caused because SC and Florida’s DL were dominating our OL?

      • The Lone Stranger

        You’re right. How many football games don’t boil down to competent line play? I have not dug through the stats yet, but Bama’s DLine does not strike the same kind of concern into me that the USCJr. or UF lines did. Alabama’s LBers are another deal entirely, but to combat them is the ever-present threat of Gurshall. #3/4 may cause Saban to back off on his usual up-the-gut blitzing plans.

      • Bevo

        Exactly. Those of us putting all this on Murray have a point, but sometimes we forget that he’s been under extreme duress and without a running game against talented defensive lines.

  1. charlottedawg

    Frankly, I’m not expecting us to win this game. As you mentioned our O Line is going to have to play the best game of the year. Then there’s Murray, I really want to see the guy win this game for himself, for the team, for the coaches. However, based on the past few big games, another freak out resulting in multuiple turnovers would almost be expected, and if that happens we’re on the wrong end of a blowout. Georgia CAN win this game, not just in a any given Saturday sense, the question is will EVERY unit show up with their A game because that’s what it’s going to take to win this and Alabama will be guaranteed to bring their A game. We’re going to find out Saturday how much this team has truly improved since the debacle in Columbia.

    • Rocket Dawg

      Do you ever not expect us to lose? Seriously you should just copy and paste your comments from every quasi big game we have played recently.

      I am not as sure we are going to win as I was this past Saturday but I think that we have a very good chance against an Alabama team that is living off of it’s name.

      • The Lone Stranger

        I’m in there with you RocketMan. The closer the game gets, the more I like these Dawgs. And their pre-game jaw-jacking is even a welcome changeup that indicates that the challenge has been put to Bama.

  2. Rusty

    I’m actually not particularly worried . I gave that up after they locked down the east.
    I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it and hope our guys perform to their capabilities. If they do that, we win. I believe that. If they don’t…well, we’re gonna lose again.
    Oh yeah. I hope the guys leave the trash outside the dome. We won’t be able to stand Personals for trash talking, or other extra curricular activities.

    • Go Dawgs!

      THIS. Someone needs to sit Malcom Mitchell down and tell him how much we love him, and tell him that we’re going to kill him if he gets whistled for a personal foul in this game. That kid is the most talented athlete we’ve got, and he’s got the biggest mouth.

    • Will (the other one)

      Another thing: if our WRs can play like the ones we had in ’04…we could win, and maybe even by more than the skin of our teeth. If Bama has to blitz to get pressure, and plays man, much like Saban’s old LSU D, the secondary can be burned, and sometimes even burned big (LSU’s WRs weren’t quite good enough to get a huge pass against them, but still proved it could be done.)

      And if he’s on his game, Murray and our WRs are the best passing attack (with a legit run threat) Bama’s faced since they lost to Sakerlina in 2010.

  3. sniffer

    I share your concerns regarding the O line. They’ve developed as the season went on and are playing well right now.

    My other concern is player enthusiasm leading to costly personal fouls. My sense is the players are excited to be back, determined to play better and really want this win. I have seem just enough “swagger” this year to be concerned about stupid penalties that extend drives. We’ve been here before, lets play like it.

  4. pantslesspatdye

    “What are you guys worrying about?”

    Yes.

  5. HVL Dawg

    The dome’s kryptonite gas. That dome seems to have kryptonite gas in it and our recent teams seem to be particularly vulnerable to the special mix of kryptonite gas inside the GA Dome.

  6. Spike

    Finding a parking spot.

    • Puffdawg

      Haha. This comment will be underrated but probably the best response to the original post so far.

    • Cojones

      If Rich’s has started it’s Christmas shopping buses, you might look into a reverse parking lot by parking there or near there and taking the bus on it’s return to the Dome.

      Of course you would have to be discreet when you tailgate in the rear of the bus.

      • Will (the other one)

        As a former (long time ago) Rich’s employee, I guess I have to break it to you that they’ve been long gone from downtown…

      • You do not drive to the game..dip shit. Have someone drop you off at the gate after the first 3 minutes. Then get the hell out of there before everybody leaves. Or do what I do…stay home if you do not have a box.

    • Debby Balcer

      we bought a pass online at the yellow lot on Monday it was $20.00

  7. gastr1

    Defensively I’m concerned about Bama targeting Ogletree in the passing game with short throws over the middle or the TE on post routes over the middle. Concerned about the offensive issues too. One thing I like, though, is the resilience against Florida. We know that Florida is good; we held them off and led the whole way despite it.

    • SCDawg

      Florida hurt us with that, but Bama’s TE is not as good as Trey Burton.

      • The Lone Stranger

        I just checked on it and the Bama TE appears to be a converted DLineman, so maybe his hands aren’t silky smooth. Plus, the leading WR for the Tide is freshman Amari Cooper (45) and they don’t have another guy with more than 26! My guess is if Commings can snuff out this Cooper cat then UGa will not be greatly threatened through the air.

      • Will (the other one)

        With Bama I’d be more worried about wheel routes and screen passes to Lacy/Yeldon than the TE.

  8. Well, like I said the color of the blood on Saturday is scarlet not crimson.

  9. Mike Cooley

    I’m with Rusty. I’m not particularly “worried”. I’m going to enjoy this one. I hear people saying that we have to bring our A game in every facet for four quarters because Alabama definitely will. The thing is, I don’t necessarily believe either one of those two assumptions are true. First, I don’t think we have to play perfect on offense, defense, and STs to win and I think if we try to hard to do that we will lose. I really believe that it largely hinges on the performance of a very capable Todd Gurley. That’s right, Gurley, not Murray will decide this game. If Gurley gets 100 yards or better, we win. I think it’s really that simple because that will determine a lot of other things from what it will mean for Murray’s play, to how Bobo can call the game, to what it will mean for Smart and Saban’s defensive approach to how our defense plays. Gurley gets a saw buck and we win. Is there anyone else you would rather bet on than Gurley?

    • Go Dawgs!

      I’m concerned that the run game won’t get on track early, and that Bobo will abandon it like he did against South Carolina. As soon as we became one dimensional in that game, we were toast. If it happens against Bama, we’ll be burnt toast. The SC game was the only game this year where I felt like the Bobo criticism was legit, and he’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt and my patience this year. But still, as much as we hate the term “balance” in the Dawg Nation, we need to make sure to stay committed to the run game in this one.

      • Ginny

        Well, hopefully we won’t be down 21 points in the first quarter for him to feel the need to abandon it. Thankfully, Alabama does not have Jadaveon Clowney on their team.

      • Cojones

        All offensive plans are a gamble. Bobo lost that gamble, but has won plenty others.

        The O line has to clear the holes for our RBs so the onus for Gurley’s performance is a shared one.

        Reading everyone’s input so far is refreshing from what we’ve had in the past. Most everyone is jacked and waiting for this game, players and fans alike don’t approach with dread like they have before in other big games and everyone has a theory as to how we will win. And everyone is correct. This will be a game where, when the goin’ gets tough the fans will cheer louder to encourage, not boo to discourage; when we are down, hope will grow in our hearts for a comeback, not wither as it begins to sprout; the drunk and disorderly will awaken the next morning and not understand why they have laryngitis or why there is a 3″ lock of pleated hair unexplicably on their pillow. Then they see the replay on their morning sports news with a laughing Jarvis Jones along with other players gladly letting drunk revelers cut part of their dreds while everyone cheers insanely. And then they will know that we all pulled together on this one and no one in Dawg Nation has any bad epithets to volunteer toward the coaches’s and players’s efforts. Then we all stand together as Dawgs, win or lose, and we take it with us into next year.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Imagine snagging a natty lock from The Jarvis. It would be, “Ungodly!” I’m real confident ahead of this one, and I cannot precisely figure as to why.

  10. Sanford222view

    I am worried about Malcolm Mitchell’s decision making on kickoff returns and him running his mouth to DBs resulting in a personal foul. I am worried about being too jacked up in general trying to show swagger resulting in personal fouls for the whole team really.

  11. Jrod1229

    Trying to be something we’re not.. by that some of the talking heads (sadly I actually turned on 92.9, they may actually be worse than 680s morning show) are saying UGA should run the ball a ton early to show they won’t back down.. even Richt eluded to taking it easy early on and working into the game..

    While I agree a slow start may not be the end of the world (I don’t expect Bama to drive all over us early), I think we have to play our game. Push the safeties off the line early by taking a few shots and go from there. If you throw a pick 40 yards down the field.. so be it, short punt. I don’t think Richt can out game plan Saban so we need to make their game plan not work. And do that by forcing them into uncomfortable situations.

    I think we have the ability to take them out of their comfort zone.. soley because we can spread the field like A&M did. 3 WR sets with one back will be the norm.

    Random thought.. we never run Murray because we’re too worried about him getting injured, I get that and fully support it.. but now is past time to worry about that. Could we run a few of the QB reads and actually have him hold the ball?

    • The Lone Stranger

      I like the idea of a few bootleg roll-outs for AM.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Agree. And hitting our TE’s about 20 yards down field. Also would like us to throw the long ball at least 4 times. I think we have to stretch the field against bama. But that means the OL will need to play their best game of the year, and it might leave the D on the field a long time.

        • CitadelDawg

          Been frustrated this year at a few dropsies on QB roll-outs to TE’s, but when Lynch drags have worked, he’s been phenomenal. If our O-line can pick up the blitz for 3 full seconds, Murray WILL hit targets downfield.

  12. Mike Cooley

    As for Alabama bringing their A game being a foregone conclusion, I bet Utah could tell you some good stories about that.

    • Let’s ask Johnny Football about that….

    • gastr1

      Utah in a meaningless bowl game is a lot different than a national title at stake. That’s not just an apples to oranges comparison– it’s apples to broccoli.

      • Dawgfan Will

        We don’t give our own boys a break for not bringing their best game against UCF in the freaking Liberty Bowl, so I ain’t cutting Bama any slack for how they played against Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

  13. Cameron

    The Florida game was a slog, but don’t forget it was the big play to Malcolm Mitchell that really gave the team the breathing room it needed to close that thing out.

  14. timphd

    If the o line lets Murray go through his progressions the Dawgs win. Of course I hope it doesnt come down to our freshman kicking a last second field goal. Not much confidence in that.

    • WTF happened to our kickers. Remember that time Kevin Butler kicked that field goal and the next day Lewis’s column was titled: “Son why your name is Kevin.” That was one of the most wonderful Sunday’s I ever remember. Me, the AJC, having my Coffee by the pool.

    • Chuck

      But Aaron’s got to go through his progressions. When he tightens up in big games many times he throws to the first guy, whether he’s quadruple covered or not.

  15. Mike Cooley

    I do hope Richt gets real candid with Mitchell about running his mouth during the game.

  16. @gatriguy

    My hope is that Murray has spent this week reviewing the 2004 LSU game and the 2007 Alabama game. That’s how you hav to beat Saban’s defense: either deliver knockout blows with perfectly thrown sideline fades, or I’ll them slowly with 800 different variations of screen passes. Make this down: if we try to rely on the back shoulder stop route, Alabama WILL have a pick 6.

  17. ChicagoDawg

    My predominate worries are not all that imaginative, but include…..
    1.) FG accuracy & PAT execution — can ill afford to miss any scoring opportunities.
    2.) Excessive or untimely penalties at critical junctures (i.e. helmet-to-helmet and/or roughing the passer on what would have otherwise been a critical 3rd down stop) — emotion can give and it can take away. Will Grantham & Co. have the formula right on Saturday night?
    3.) Inability to withstand and overcome adversity (i.e. 1st quarter of Boise ’10, 1st quarter of SC ’11, 1st half of Bama ’08, 3rd quarter of LSU ’10) — there will be a bad stretch, but can GA weather the storm and rally?

    Nonetheless, I think Bama is susceptible on defense and I think McCarron is capable of producing some turnovers, despite having given up only 2 INTs all year.
    Perhaps it is irrational, but I think GA wins out. I typically assume the worst going into these types of games, but I think come Saturday night there will be some happy folks on this blog.

  18. Careful Brad

    I am worried the Georgia Dome scoreboard will blow a fuse with all the points we will put up! Heck yes, Go Dawgs!!!
    I have been labeled a Disney Dawg which is awesome because this weekend when the Dawgs play their biggest game in 30 years I will be with the family in Disney World. This is all setting up too perfect!

  19. mwo

    No need to worry. This team is playing with a chip on their shoulders and they are playing for themselves. They are not playing for me or Michael Adams or Greg McGarrity or anyone else-only themselves. They will hold each other accountable and beat the brakes off Bama, celebrate a little, then turn their focus towards Miami and Notre Dame. May God have mercy on the poor fools across the line of scrimmage from UGA, because the Dawgs will show none.

    • austintwo

      The Lord may have mercy…Rambo won’t.

      Sincerely, Richard Crenna

      • The Lone Stranger

        “I pity the fool”

        Yours, BA Barracus

      • The Lone Stranger

        Wait, I crossed goofy TV action-drama with somewhat less goofy bigscreen action-drama. And in the process conflated Richard Crenna with George Pappard. Either way, all merciless sentiments re: Bammers are appreciated! Sic ‘Em.

        • Cojones

          Not criticizing, because we all mistype, just having fun. Peppard. Pap pard would be his wife.

          • The Lone Stranger

            Verily, Cojo. Since the guy has been out of sight ever since the A-Team went under 30 years ago the details get hazy.

            • mwo

              We paraphrase Peppard (Hannibal Smith) all the time here at work, “I love it when a plan comes together, even if it is a fucked up plan”

  20. IndyDawg

    Senator, my concerns match yours. I was thinking about it last night and I could see the game play out where our offense drives up and down the field but has trouble punching it into the endzone. If Bama’s defense keeps everything in front of them, avoiding the big play, the Dawgs’ offensive line vs the Bama front 7 in the red zone will be the tipping point. I start sweating a bit when I think about settling for field goals or forcing ill-advised passes because we need a touchdown.

    • Cojones

      The same reasoning applies to Bama. Their red zone play in tough games is not too braggable. Both teams will take field goals early in the game and perhaps one to win it.

      • Cojones

        Saw an AJC headline on this site and it used the words “mirror image”. Get ready to play an old Auburn game when no one had an inkling as to the outcome.

  21. Mike Cooley

    In other news, Mitchell practiced in green yesterday. That aint good but the concerns about his jawing may be moot.

  22. NC Dawg

    If our D-line can neutralize their talented O-line, we’re in good shape, provided our young offensive line can stay in the game. At least that’s how it seems to me now. Go Dawgs.

  23. Objective Bama Fan

    As a Bama fan, I have three concerns. First, as you correctly pointed out, our defensive line hasn’t gotten much pressure without the help of a blitz. Murray looked very average when pressure got to him. However, we don’t have a Clowney on our roster. This is not last year’s Bama defense, or 09 for that matter. If Murray has time to throw, he will pick us apart. The second concerning thing is y’alls two freshman running backs. Bama tries to make an offense one dimensional by taking away the run. If y’alls running game is working we will have problems. The third concern I have is overall talent. This is arguably the first team Bama has played that can match Bama talent with talent. Both teams have really good athletes all over the field.

    On a side note, this should be a great, entertaining game. It is a shame that all this expansion has watered down our beloved conference so much that these teams will rarely meet in the regular season.

    • King Jericho

      Here’s hoping we make it an annual meeting in the Dome.

    • timphd

      Before reading your post I would have sworn that “objective Bama fan” was an oxymoron. I do hope we make this game an annual affair.

    • Cojones

      This is the first game in several years where the coaches , teams and fan bases respect each other plus everyone is ignoring the pundits. That says a great deal about the SEC being the paragon of CFB.

    • Dawgfan Will

      As a Georgia fan, I also have three concerns. They are:
      a)Bama’s offense
      b)Bama’s defense
      c)Bama’s special teams

      But I agree, it should be a great game. I’m actually excited that we got to play y’all this year after all. If we want to be the best, we’ve got to beat the best.

      • Puffdawg

        That’s a step in the right direction. Most UGA fans are worried about:
        a) UGA’s offense
        b) UGA’s defense
        c) UGA’s special teams

  24. MGW

    I’m worried about Notre Dame already having all the good hotel rooms booked.

  25. paul

    Who is Bama’s long snapper? I’ll bet he’s an All American.

  26. FIrst of all, lets start with the first point, which you raise yourself. We played 5 games in september, 3 in october and 4 in november. More importantly, just as we look at yardage on a per play basis rather than . We ran 336 plays in September and 256 in November. My guess is our September number was partially the result of the 5th game relative to schools that might have had an off week. That said, just off the top of my head, my guess is the next difference was long runs. We simply had fewer of them then we did earlier in the year. Obviously October had to do with competition, and quite frankly, any analysis of our offensive numbers reveals the start contrast between our season averages and the games against UF and USC. Further, we all understand the fact that UF and USC were our the two toughest defenses that we faced. There is NO WAY around that fact.

    The more relevant question is, “Does our performance against UF and USC, which statistically suggests that our offense, which has proven capable of moving the ball against bad teams, is likely to perform poorly against Bama’s good defense?”

    Let me take this head on…I have no idea, and quite frankly perhaps only our coaching staff knows. As outsiders, we have all witnessed our QB perform at both ends of the spectrum. I would argue that most of those performances were driven by a lack of protection and running game. The first half this year against UF was the notable exception where our OL was doing its job, and he inexplicably abandoned all of the fundamentals he works so hard at perfecting, ranging from footwork to his read progression. That said, to his and the coaching staff’s credit, he was eventually able to get back to playing more to his capabilities in the second half, recognizing that Bobo’s limitations in having to “scheme around” Aaron early in half until he had regained some confidence ALMOST CERTAINLY cost us points and being able to put the game out of reach.

    As for our OL against their DL, we know they were able to make holes for Gurley to run through against UF. based on everything i have seen, I have no reason to believe they can’t do the same against Bama. Were they massive holes where he did not get hit until 10 yards downfield? Additionally, I think we get more from Marshall this week than we did against UF and USC. While the same size is not huge nor the competition stout, but he has looked very good the past few weeks. He appears to be a bit tougher, a bit more patient, and a bit better than earlier in the year. Perhaps that is seen with a bit of red and block glasses, but I do think his presence will be important in sharing some of Gurley’s load. Additionally, I think he is a better pass blocker than Gurley. He gets his body into guys where Gurley has a tendency to try to cut guys.

    In as much as I like combing through statistics to understand relevant trends or pieces of information that offer marginal insight, I am not sure the number of big plays by month tells us much. Our yards per play has been higher than our average for the year and comparable to September which was skewed by UT and FAU.

    Ultimately, facing tougher defenses will impact our stats. that said, if one thinks about the activities that create those stats, making good reads, making accurate throws, creating space for RBs, RBs seeting cut back lanes, etc, there is nothing that suggests to me that we won’t or are incapable of doing those things against Bama. Certainly, the frequency of “positive” events against a defense will be lower, but when we give aaron time and there are open receivers, there is no reason to believe he is NOT going to take advantage of the situation. Similarly, if we give gurley a hole, I don’t suddenly expect him to fall down or miss it.

    Truthfully, if one was doing an analysis of Bama’s defense, one could basically take the arguement you used about us and turn it on Bama. their defense has NOT stopped any good offenses. (No ole miss does not qualify). if one looks at Bama’s defense, why would n’t you say, “holy crap, they are about to face a good offense. they have been lit up pretty good by two teams and have been lights out against everyone else?”

    • The Lone Stranger

      Like all the points, and to expand upon the perrenial theme: Alabama has not faced a team as BALANCED as UGa all season, or perhaps for as long as the Armani Bear has been there. I say Bobo’s Balance Principle finally gets its just payoff come Sat. nite.

      • Cojones

        “Amen” to you both. “mdc” could stand for Mike’s Dawg catcher on gtp, I don’t know, but your blog looks at events a little differently and in minutia at some points. Good read and the differing take on this game is what this blog thrives on.

  27. What fresh hell is this?

    My worries:

    1. That we run when predictable. This will not work well against Bama.
    Please throw at least 50% on first down, Bobo.

    2. That Jenkins can’t hold up against Jones. If so, Bama will run at will and
    control the game.

  28. John Denver is full of $hit

    What worries me is UGA 9- UA 6…
    Do we still get to go to the dance with that outcome?

    If Murray starts without jitters, than we smoke an overrated Alabama. Maybe more overrated than ND.

    • Macallanlover

      Really? You are worried about the politicians’ reactions to a victory in the SECCG? Just win baby! It is what makes this game/title so special, we have earned our place here, and no one can deny us. What ever happens after this game is secondary to winning on Saturday. I will join the argument afterwards, if there is any argument to be made. I will take a 9-6 win right now, 2-0, 3-2, 7-6, etc. are all acceptable so long as we have the higher number.

  29. Governor Milledge

    TA&M may have been the team to have beaten Bama, but our roadmap against the Tide will be based on what LSU did in the passing game against Bama.

    Fair number of 1-2 WR sets, that were passed out of, to negate the defensive pass rush. Lots of medium (10-15 yd) passes along with perimeter passes to keep the D from sitting too far back on passing downs.. Mettenberger had his breakout passing game against Bama, no reason Murray can’t either

  30. Lakatos Intolerant

    Patience on offense is the key in my mind. Stick to your guns, and be willing to punt the ball and let your defense go to work. Big plays are going to be at a premium for both O’s, so don’t get antsy and force the ol’ square peg in the round hole. Both D’s are going to give their respective teams a chance to win – it’s going to come down to which offensive unit can sustain those long, methodical, soul-crushing drives and get 6 when the opportunity presents itself. I think the first quarter and possibly the first half will be played a bit tentatively as the teams feel each other out, so we just need to keep it close.

    Guessing it will be a well-played game somewhere in the 27-23 range. Here’s to hoping the 27 will be for the good guys.

  31. Bryant Denny

    I have to attend a wedding at 5 p.m. I’m worried about how to get out of going.

    • Jrod1229

      My girlfriends parents got us tickets to cirque du soleil.. at 4pm.. on Saturday. Here’s to a transistor radio in your pocket and being miserable regardless..

      • paul

        Well, unless she is, you know, THE ONE, there are other girlfriends. Don’t get me wrong, cirque is awesome. But there are priorities man, priorities. Even if she is the one, if her dad wouldn’t rather be watching the game too, you may want to reconsider.

        • Puffdawg

          If she is the one, he’s setting a bad precedent.

          • Russ

            +100

            My wife knew from the get-go that college football was very important in my life. I make the occasional sacrifice for “big” games (like Bama-LSU) but then I can let her know when the truly important games are on, and she’ll leave me alone.

            This ain’t Georgia vs a crappy Auburn team….this is for the defacto national championship!

            • What fresh hell is this?

              Bryant Denny, I recommend a sudden illness.

            • Dawgfan Will

              I got married before I became an obsessive college football fan. Fortunately, our anniversary always falls 1-2 weeks after the SEC championship game. Don’t tell ME there’s no God looking out for me.

      • Slaw Dawg

        Both of y’all need to get out of the thing. Take it from me. In 2005, I was, of course, delighted to watch my daughter dance in The Nutcracker rather than watch the presumed whipping of our Dawgs by the LSU Tigers in that year’s SECCG. This being the pre-DVR age, I popped in a tape (yes, a tape) to record the game. I avoided all discussions about the game, kept mobile phone “off,” determined to watch the thing unfold with no spoilers. Got home, rewound the tape, hit “play.” Guess what? It didn’t record. You never saw a sadder Dawg in your life, except maybe my son, a devoted D.J. Shockley fan. I had to wait until YouTube made it available to catch that game in its entirety. Verily, the Dawg god (or god of Tides, as the case may be) is a jealous god.

        If you must take in these other events, take a note from my brother-in-law. His daughter got married–IN AUGUSTA no less–during the UGA-SC game, the Evil Genius’s debut in that game. The bride’s father assigned me the specific task of tracking game developments and signaling scores during the ceremony, and provided me with a transistor radio to facilitate the process. During the reception, I quickly became almost as popular as the bride and groom. Actually, I should say the radio did, as it made the rounds from table to table before somebody finally dragged in a TV and just turned the damn game on. Even the newlyweds were glued to the final minutes.

    • HahiraDawg

      Uhhhh, BD WTF?! I had to have an ear bud in one ear, radio in my coat pocket, when I was a groomsman in one wedding. Just to listen to my dawgs hand it to ole Tenn. I hope you don’t have the same success I did.
      My sympathies to your plight though brother.

    • Rusty

      If you don’t go, will they still remember it twenty years from now?

    • Russ

      BD, I expected more from you than this. And Jrod1229, you should know better as well! I guess I have to repost this site: http://www.fallweddingssuck.com/

      It’s sad to me that we even have to post a site like that. Don’t you know that the glory that is college football only takes 4 months out of the year? That leaves 8 months for all the other boring stuff like weddings and Cirque de Soleil. Or just get married on a Tuesday, for crying out loud!

      BD, I read “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer” and I know all about the family that missed their daughter’s wedding because it was scheduled for the third Saturday in October. I assumed you were cut from the same cloth.

      Well, all I can save in your behalf is thanks to Herschel for inventing DVRs so you can watch the magnificence on Saturday evening, after trying to dodge text messages and misguided fans. Harrrumph!

      • Bryant Denny

        Funny thing is, if it was a family member’s wedding I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM SKIPPING. This one happens to one where I have to do the “right thing.”

        One family member had the audacity to die and have her visitation on the evening of the 2009 Iron Bowl (last second comeback win). I looked a little strange whooping it up and high fiveing folks at the funeral home, but I don’t think my aunt cared.

  32. I’m worried about how out of hand I may get in front of my house guests if things head south. It’s been 4 years since my wife decided it would be ok to have a football party because I lost it during the ’08 FL game. Please, Dawgs, don’t let me down!

    • HVL Dawg

      I have one very good friend from Oklahoma who has a great house party every year coincidentally the day of the WLOCP. We have very good mutual friend, a casual football fan, who is a UF grad.

      My wife and I have opted to sit out this very nice party every year because I can’t control myself during the game and I can’t help from being bitter if we lose.

      My wife is as much a fan as I am, so now we politely decline to watch any UGA football with friends who aren’t committed to the G.

      • “…we politely decline to watch any UGA football with friends who aren’t committed to the G.”

        Amen to that.

        • Russ

          Yep, watching with a casual “fan” is almost worse than not watching the game at all.

          • HVL Dawg

            Yep, and my wife won’t allow other women in the house during a UGA game unless they are serious fans too. She’s not going to chit chat with somebody’s wife during one single play.

          • Bingo, Russ.

            They want to talk, and shit.

            • Can’t have any friends that want to talk during the game. Have to turn the sound off and listen on the radio. It is great. delayed reaction on TV so you have already heard it then you get to see it. Then You are really paying attention. It is great for me. But everyone must shut the fuck up.

  33. Macallanlover

    Solid assesment Senator. Yes the OL concern is valid because it is our most vulnerable Achilles Heel. Assuming Achilles had two heels, the 2nd biggest worry for us is the pass defense of our LBs on short throws. Thinking we have any chance to break several long runs against a talented, disciplined defense is pure fantasy. This game has two talented defensive units that will require the offenses to sustain drives all game long. Similar to the work required for scoring against Florida is the best way to approach it, hitting key 3rd down plays will determine if we are effective.

    While the OL may be the biggest “primary” concern in any championship game, we may not win the trench war, but we should not get raped like we did against SC because Alabama’s DL isn’t built that way. I think we find it difficult to run the ball effectively, but don’t see us getting crushed in the backfield and having all options shut down. Because of that, I hope Saban does set up to shut the run down and make Murray beat him. That would be the perfect storm for us because Murray and our receivers are more capable of winning this game than any other formula I can think of. The successful runs will only come if we make them loosen their LBs and DBs when they are given space when, and if, we get th eholes top break the LOS.

    I trust this game to AM’s hands, Bama has to respect our Gurley/Marshall threat enough to give Murray time. I think this is a game where you use the pass the set up the run so come out with guns blazing. If we fail the first series or two, turn it over to the defense to get the ball back, they have to carry that responsibility anyway for us to be successful. Thinking we have to score on a high percentage of possessions is silly anyway. We should be prepared for a lower scoring, SEC slobber knocker.

    While I appreciate the historical review of what we did when we had 5-6 twenty yard runs per game in September, it is only significant because we/they know we have that capability if they don’t respect it. So it is more of a background piece that requires them to not be too aggressive and leave lanes open. Beyond that, I don’t think we should expect to that unless we really rip them apart with passing, which I don’t expect either. To go into a game against this defense and think you are going to live off the big play is like a baseball team going into the World Series and planning on beating teams with high scoring games, big innings and the usual amount of home runs. You can bet that team didn’t get that far without some Cy Young level pitching, you are going to have to play “little ball” most games. Same with championship football, you don’t get to the SEC title game without having an above average defense facing you. Patience, diversity, execution, and being disciplined/opportunistic is the formula. We are pretty evenly matched. I think this team will bring it on Saturday and like our chances. Should be no surprise to either fanbase if they do get beat.

    • Cojones

      Today, I’m impressed by the solidarity of coaches, team and fans. Most impressive is the fan base objectivity that holds hope while not giving an inch specifically because the fans understand both teams. I’ve always wished for this attitude from the git-go. It provides interesting football comments that have a common thread of belief. I am surprised at the number of posters who believe this to be a solid football game that should, barring fumbles and surprise athletic feats, be one for the ages.

      Hope nothing negative happens to dash this enthusiasm. This entire week is worth the entire year for wounded fan egos and for the promise of several teams to come.

      SIC’EM DAWGS!!

      • Macallanlover

        And a solidified front is hard to beat unless you are just much stronger. Alabama will bring the right mindset but I think we match them talent wise on an overall basis. All comes down to execution, I have no doubt our guys will match their intensity/desire.

  34. Irwin R Fletcher

    What Alabama does is control the running game. Long plays in the running game aren’t just big plays, they are indicators that you are controlling the line of scrimmage. We got off zero big runs against Florida or South Carolina. Alabama does a lock down job on preventing big runs b/c they stop the run.

    Plus, because they don’t blitz as much and can use their front 7 for pressure, they aren’t very susceptible to the screen pass.

    I’m not as worried about pass blocking as I am run blocking. Murray’s mistakes usually are his own…he is smart enough and good enough to handle some pressure in the pocket, the question is whether he does it. He’s got to take care of the ball over the middle but we have to challenge their safties with Rome and Lynch to open up long plays on the outside.

    The key to me is O-line in the run game. Can we get Gurley or Marshall into the secondary? If we can do that, one of those guys is going to break one and it is going to be indicative of a good day.

  35. electronpulpwood

    I hope Alabama isn’t able to run it up the gut for 7 yards on the first play.

  36. PTC DAWG

    Nothing, find someone who will take a money line bet and lay it on the DAWGS.

    • Macallanlover

      Moneyline bet is a definite for me, adding a play with the points too.

      • Cojones

        The odds have gone to 7 with an opening of 8.5. The way the pundits were burying us, I thought those unwise points would increase. Didn’t happen, went the other way. That decreased the amount of my bet at this stage. Now I’m waiting to be evascillated before making my bet. Didn’t take my own advice this week. Yeah, yeah. I know that’s not a word, but it can join the rest of the lexiconic offerings.

  37. Run Gump Run

    Amen to that, EPW. If Lacy gets going, it’s going to be a long day. Georgia’s run defense has been spotty.

    • Cojones

      That is a good word for it, “spotty”. It will continue to be so as a part of this game in order to play conservatively against the long one.

  38. PTC DAWG

    To the poster who was worried about guests getting out of hand, it is certainly not worth that. I would suggest you get some different friends.

  39. Debby Balcer

    This team understands what is on the line so I am not worried. I know they are hunkered down and ready. What worries me about the Dome is the artificial turf we have had issues with our cleats and artificial turf when we played on turf. Of course I will do all my superstitious rituals before the game.

  40. AusDawg85

    Intangibles. Just to beat every lame analyst to the punch on this one.

    Best omen thus far…Tammy from the Finebaum show is pulling for the Dawgs.

  41. hunkerdowndawg

    Regarding the running game… Recall that last year against LSU we had to rely on Isaiah Crowell who did not want to be there and averaged 1.5 yards on 10 carries and Carlton Thomas who weighs as much as Gurley’s right thigh. Thomas still had 7 carries for 28 yards. Then, late, when the outcome was certain, Boo Malcome came in and got some yards in the 4th quarter. When it mattered, we had to rely on Crowell’s vagina and Tiny Thomas. Since that was a lost cause, Murray had to do it all. That won’t be the case this year against a defense that won’t be quite as good as LSU’s last year.

    Gurley and Marshall will help Murray this year in ways that weren’t even remotely possible last year.

  42. BulldogBen

    My fear? Everything. Mostly Murray though. Visions of Carolina game.

    Running game HAS to get going to take the pressure off Murray. He WILL throw an INT or 2 but the D has to hold up when he does.

  43. 20 ninjas

    I actually am not worried about this game. I actually believe we can win this one. And I **KNOW** we can beat ND. So we just need to get there.

    The only only only thing that maaaaaaybe is a little upsetting is thinking that if we do manage to screw the pooch and lose the game in an embarrassing way, we’ll drop to the CFA bowl. On the flip side, thinking about Bama dropping to the CFA bowl has brought a smile to my face several times this week.

    GO DAWGS!

    • Cojones

      I’m with Saban. How do you earn your way into the SECCG and the loser has to pay a penalty for playing an extra game? It isn’t fair in any sense of the word. That team will have two losses, but one more game that should make a dent in the computers for final ranking. How does the loser not increase the distance from FU by playing an extra game against another champion? If the winner goes to the NC game, how do we not have the loser left to represent the conference in the SEC-Champions game, the Sugar Bowl? It is electioneering at it’s worst.

  44. Russ

    My worry is stopping Bama’s running game. For some reason we’ve had trouble there this year.

    I also think we have to take some shots at the end zone from 20-30 yards out. I think we’ll have problems trying to grind it into the endzone on their defense, therefore, I look for a couple of semi-big plays of around 20 yards or so to get a score or two.

  45. sUGArdaddy

    I’m worried about picking the right dadgum hat. Bear Bryant never wore hats in the Superdome, and I usually don’t indoors, but I’m doing it just to spite the Bear this Saturday. Just gotta pick the right one…

    • Cojones

      A golden sombrero?

      • sUGArdaddy

        If we were looking to go the Tempe, maybe. I think I got a good one. Did a walk-through dress rehearsal last night. It was Daddy’s. I think I need to carry a little of my family into the Dome.

  46. Rebar

    My concern is with our defense. I can’t help but remember the Tennesse game, where we had to outscore them to win, but we never got any real pressure on the Tennesse quaterback. Tennessee’s line is not as good as Bama’s line, so I hope Grantham has been working overtime in to make sure we win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

  47. stoopnagle

    I get sick every time I think too much about Saturday.

  48. The Bruce

    ZACH FREAKIN’ METTENBERGER “assaulted” this Bama secondary for 300 passing yards…
    I think we’ll be ok. GO DAWGS!!!

    • Bryant Denny

      I heard he also attended the Stephen Garcia Game of Your Life Camp this past summer. I hope Murray wasn’t there, too.

      • I don’t understand (?).

        On Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 6:38 PM, Get The Picture wrote:

        > ** > Bryant Denny commented: “I heard he also attended the Stephen Garcia > Game of Your Life Camp this past summer. I hope Murray wasn’t there, too.” >

        • Bryant Denny

          In 2010, Garcia played out of his mind – went 17 of 20 or sumsuch – and USC beat us. I think Johnny Football may have gone to the camp – or at least was a counselor; he was like 15 of 16 at one point against us this year.