Brian Fremeau makes an interesting point about the win over Tennessee.
… On seven occasions [this season], a team has overcome a field position value deficit of at least 10 points, including Georgia’s victory over Tennessee this past weekend.
The Bulldogs started six drives at or inside their own 20-yard line, including two drives pinned all the way back at their own one-yard line. Tennessee held Georgia to 14 total yards on three of those drives in the first half, and followed up each of those three possessions with a short-field touchdown drive of their own. Field position was a bit more even in the second half, and Georgia took advantage to pull out a 51-44 victory.
Partly because of this and partly because of what happened in last year’s game, I expect Richt to go pretty conservative on special teams Saturday night. You can probably guess what McGowan’s instructions are as the go-to guy on punt returns, just like you can expect Gurley to be less aggressive on kickoffs. And the over/under on punt safe formations has likely taken a jump.
I can’t say that I blame Richt too much for that, but there’s a risk he runs. That risk is that Georgia winds up with lousy field position anyway. If that happens and Bobo decides to play it close to the vest against a talented, aggressive Carolina defense… well, we saw that show last week. When I said this game may come down to how many times Georgia is forced to start inside its own 10-yard line, I wasn’t being facetious.