Will the Cap One Bowl turn out to be a preview of next season?

Two things about this Chris Brown preview of the Cap One Bowl leave me queasy.  One is a reflex response any time I see use of the term “the wheel”.  The other is this:

So, despite all the wrinkles, multiple schemes, read options and run-pass plays, the success of Martinez and the rest of the Husker offense against the Bulldogs will likely come down to one matchup: Can they control Georgia’s interior defensive linemen? For a game pitting ten-win teams from the Big 10 and SEC, that sounds about right to me.

The absence of Jenkins already makes me nervous, but I was hoping that would be balanced out to some extent by the return of Abry Jones.  Unfortunately, it sounds like that return won’t amount to much.

Argh.  That means Grantham’s got to cobble together a stout run defense relying to some extent on defensive linemen that… well, that he hasn’t relied on for the most part this season.  Unless he thinks Geathers has the stamina to play nose for an entire game as part of a three-man front.  Honestly, I’m not seeing that. And that’s got to be a cause for concern, because the Nebraska rushing attack is quite good.

So where’s Georgia’s best hope to counter?  I look at a couple of areas.  One is something I’ve posted about before – the big advantage Georgia has on the turnover front.  Nebraska turns the ball over at a prodigious rate of two and a half times a game (good for 118th nationally), while Georgia’s defense forces two turnovers a game on average.  If the Dawgs go +2 or better in turnover margin, that’s likely to blunt a couple of Nebraska scoring opportunities.

My other hope?  That the best defense is a good offense.  As Chris notes,

Much of that inconsistency centers around quarterback Taylor Martinez, a talented, speedy quarterback with a shotput throwing motion. In Nebraska’s ten wins, Martinez had 20 touchdowns to only four interceptions, and a nice 157.37 passer rating. In their three losses, however, he had only one touchdown pass to six interceptions and a sub-100 passer rating. During the year, most of Martinez’s best passing plays were scheme plays, ones that were successful because of some wrinkle Beck had introduced, such as the post/wheel combination out of the Diamond formation

Off of these run actions, Martinez can be deadly simply because of the threat that he can run. But when pressured, and asked to make more traditional dropback throws, Martinez’s efficiency drops significantly. If Georgia can get an early lead, it could get ugly for Nebraska.

Georgia is ranked 26th in total offense, which is certainly good, but not phenomenal.  However, it’s worth noting a couple of things.  First, the only major conference offense Nebraska faced with a better yards per game number than Georgia’s was UCLA’s, and Nebraska gave up over 650 yards that day.  Second, while the yards per game number may not be outstanding, Georgia’s offensive yards per play average sure is.

The bottom line is that if Georgia’s defense can’t make Nebraska’s offense more one-dimensional, maybe Georgia’s offense can.  And that may be next year’s mantra, too.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Will the Cap One Bowl turn out to be a preview of next season?

  1. W Cobb Dawg

    Dawgs need to step up and finish strong. I expect to see Jarvis, Tree, Williams, CWash, Rambo & Commings playing on Sundays in 2013, and GSmith, Jordan Jenkins, Swain and Herrera to be sec 1st teamers. Geathers will be one or the other. Talent shouldn’t be an issue for us in the bowl game.

    • Merk

      No, but desire will be. I think that Big John checked out after the SEC Champ game loss and started counting the millions he is going to be offered. I just wonder how many other D players did the same.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I am not going to speculate on Big John Jenkins or his motives. As far as I am concerned he is injured and cannot play. That said, the depth problem rears its ugly head once again, which is a direct result of undersigning. We have had this problem year after year at least at one position for quite some time. Last season it was at RB. This year it is DL. When you have only 67 scholarship recruits on your team and you play teams with a full complement of 85 you are at a disadvantage. One may overcome that disadvantage but why place yourself at a disadvantage in the first place. In CFB you have to plan for attrition because it is going to happen. Hopefully undersigning is on the way out at UGA. A 30+ scholarship signing class this coming year will go a long way toward ending the depth disadvantage.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          “Last season it was at RB.” Going into 2011 I thought we were pretty well stocked at RB. Count ‘em up. We had 5 running backs. Who knew King was gonna flunk out, Ealey would go rogue and Crowell would be a little light in the loafers and play with guns. Can you really prepare for that kind of attrition?

        • AlphaDawg

          Dead Horse here’s your Beating…

  2. 69Dawg

    Lets face it Nebraska’s strength is our weakness. Running QB, check, strong running game, check, and short pass game to backs, check. The O better be ready for a shoot out.

    • Macallanlover

      Good post, that hit every scary note I see about this game. For 30 years that has been the story of our defense (except periodically we have been able to stop the run.)