I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Tech’s two best performances of the season came against Mississippi State and Miami. Both opponents offered a pretty similar package: better than average defenses, worse than average offenses and shaky at best quarterback play. And in both games, Tech won the turnover margin battle.
Tech’s at its best when it can get out to a lead and grind an opponent down psychologically. In both the MSU and Miami games, it was apparent early on that neither team had the offensive fire power to mount a serious challenge, which meant that those defenses were under enormous pressure to avoid making a single mistake in coverage. Neither was up to the challenge; Tech had 500-yard performances against each.
So what does this say for Georgia as it prepares for the Jackets?
Well, on offense, the Dawgs will present a much stiffer challenge than either MSU or Miami. In fact, checking the NCAA stats, Georgia is the highest ranked team in total offense that Tech has faced this year at #23 nationally (next highest ranked offense that GT has faced is Florida State’s, at #43). I don’t think Tech will be able to sit back and leave its back seven comfortably in coverage while relying on its d-line to control Moreno and Stafford, as it did last night.
On the other side of the ball, it’s Paul Johnson football, no doubt. There are three simple rules on defense playing against the triple option: (1) control the fullback dive; (2) maintain containment on the outside with your defensive ends and outside linebackers; and (3) wrap up and make the tackles on the ball carrier. Miami pretty much failed miserably at all three, which is how a team winds up yielding 472 yards rushing. You hope that Georgia’s defensive players were watching the game last night so that they could see how foolish that offense can make a defense not playing with focus look.
You also wonder if Willie Martinez, were he watching, had a few flashbacks to the West Virginia game, particularly watching Cox do his best Owen Schmidt runaway beer truck impression. If the Dawgs let the turnovers get out of hand, Dawg fans could definitely be feeling a bad case of déjà vu all over again in a couple of Saturdays.
One good thing from this blogger’s standpoint – last night’s win should make the Tech message boards even more fun to read over the next week or so. Hopefully there will be more than a few choice comments to share here.