Mississippi State’s beat writer suggests to Seth Emerson that the Bulldogs’ struggles on defense are largely personnel related:
4. Does the Mississippi State defense miss Manny Diaz’s playcalling? If not, what else ails their defense, especially against the run?
Marcello: I know a lot of folks are complaining, but Chris Wilson’s defense is very similar to Diaz’s scheme. The Bulldogs are missing three NFL players more than anything. All three starting linebackers (two now in the NFL) and defensive end Pernell McPhee (now sacking quarterbacks for the Balitimore Ravens) are gone from last season’s team. McPhee commanded attention, often drawing double teams that allowed inside guys like Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox to apply pressure in the middle of the field. State simply does not have that luxury this season and they’re trying to figure things out…
Brophy notes that Wilson pulled a trick or two out of his sleeve at crunch time against Louisiana Tech.
… On the final interception, needing to inch closer to convert the downs (5 yards), likely because of the inconsistent short-yardage production from the banged up Lennon Creer, Tech opts for Y Cross isolating standout receiver, Quinton Patton, in the boundary with a double outlet underneath to the field. Mississippi State presses the line of scrimmage showing press cover 1, essentially baiting Isham to throw the 1-on-1 with Patton. At the snap, MSU bails out to cover 3, Patton’s cornerback retreats deep with deep help from the free safety in the end zone. Because MSU disguised this so well (discouraging the run with 7 defenders versus the 5 blockers), it was too late for Isham to recognize the Hi-Lo on the lone MSU linebacker to the field.
Still, that was crunch time against Louisiana Tech. There’s something a bit comforting about MSU getting pushed to the limit by Tony Franklin and a 17-year old quarterback.
Georgia won’t be running anything like Franklin’s offense, but there are still a couple of lessons to be taken from the Tech game. First, Louisiana Tech kept Mississippi State’s defense on its heels with a short controlled passing game (Isham was 29-40 passing, but averaged less than six yards per passing attempt). Second, as Brophy mentions, LT couldn’t rely on its run game to pick up first downs in short yardage situations. That allowed Wilson to be creative with his play call on the last interception.
The Dawgs need to do two things on offense against the Dogs this Saturday. Make them respect the run. And make them fear the tight end.
14 responses to “Keeping ’em honest.”
The Dawgs are doing something wrong if every team we play doesn’t fear our tight ends.
I am sure all the teams Georgia players, put in extra work against the TEs. Which is one of the reasons they are not leading the college football in catches.
When BVG left, they said Willie would play the same scheme. Just sayin’.
He did. The big problem was that the execution of the players degraded over time (which is as much on the coordinator as playcalling is). Van Gorder blitzed a little more, but their schemes really weren’t all that different.
(That statement hit me the exact same way, btw)
That and the fact that Willie didn’t have NFL-esque DE’s that could pressure the QB like BVG did. Look at what BVG is doing with the Falcons. When Abraham is a force out there at DE and pressuring QBs, BVG looks like a genius. When the DEs aren’t doing much, the Falcons secondary tends to get picked apart.
Not to defend Willie, but a lot of people point to the fall of the defense to the change from BVG to WM (which I don’t entirely dispute), I believe it had just as much to do with the fact that the talent level BVG enjoyed at the pass rush spot wasn’t there for WM and that defensive scheme can’t survive without being able to generate pressure from the front four. That, plus your comment about an overall degradation in player execution.
BVG was at UGA when DE recruits Moses, Geathers, Johnson & Howard, were signed. You can add Pollack, though he was a FB when recruited. BVG was a terrific game coach. And he was far better at developing players. Not only did coaching fall off a cliff when BVG left, but also recruiting and player development – at least on the defensive side of the ball.
BVG has done a terrific job with the Falcons. Isn’t Dimitroff supposed to be a talent guru? Where are the players? BVG is making pro-bowlers out of guys from the trash heap like Grimes and Bierman.
On paper, UGA and MSU seem to stack up well against each other. Look for a close game that will be settled by turnovers. That is my main concern. If our O line does not pass block better, then we will have a long day tomorrow.
The other concern for me is Ballard + Relf late in the game. It will be time for our S&C to shine or take a crap. We all saw the quotes about how MSU man-handled UGA last year.
Actually, on paper, Georgia should win handily.
The problem is that they keep making the Dawgs play on a football field. 😉
I believe South Carolina understands this phenomenon as well. 50 time defending pre-season national champs.
Senator, you have the best sense of humor…ha!
That 344-Fullback should be fun to watch on Saturday!
Louisiana Tech was doing quite well gashing MSU on power early and often. Had Ray Holley not been knocked out early in the game, it is VERY likely Tech could’ve pulled an upset (in spite of their bad special teams play).
Tech did a pretty competent job throwing screens and +10 yard throws. MSU has the talent on defense, they just weren’t executing like they could be (and have shown flashes earlier in the season).
MSU just may not have been up to play a lowly non-AQ team like Tech, as they became their own worst enemy with many folks booing Relf by the 4th quarter.
Georgia by 14