But head coach Kirby Smart, who has faced the Rebels’ spread offense as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, has sounded weary of the challenge. Like when discussing how to design the pass defense: Play corners and safeties back in order to avoid the deep ball, or play close to the line to take away the short passes?
“So you can either die a real slow death with little paper cuts, or go after them and be aggressive,” Smart said. “And that’s the dilemma that we face with coaches: Which one do we do. It’s hard.”
You can dismiss that as this week’s coachspeak, but don’t forget which defensive coordinator’s been on the losing side in the previous two Alabama-Ole Miss games before last week.
Does the experience of playing another spread attack last week help Georgia’s defense prepare for Ole Miss?
So where does the experience against Missouri pay off? Potentially it’s in reading and reacting to quick releases, a feature of the spread. Georgia’s pass rushers, who didn’t sack Lock, are working on ways to at least effect Kelly.
“We’ve been practicing our hands-up ability, so if we don’t get there in four seconds, get your hands up and disrupt the pass,” Amaechi said.
Missouri also played up-tempo – at least in the first half – so that won’t be new to Georgia’s players when Ole Miss hurries up on Saturday.
“They go real fast,” Georgia junior inside linebacker Reggie Carter said. “Both teams go fast.”
Eh, maybe. But my biggest fear is that Kelly is a better runner than Lock. My second biggest fear is Evan Engram, who’s currently third in the conference in receiving yards per game and is a nightmare match up. We’re about to find out whether Georgia’s inside linebackers are more of an asset than a liability in pass coverage, I think.