Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Jim Chaney’s got a helluva narrow strait to navigate this Saturday.  Does he try to establish the run?  Well, check out Auburn’s run defense over the past five games:

  • La-Monroe:  112 yards
  • Mississippi State:  103 yards
  • Arkansas:  25 yards
  • Ole Miss:  105 yards
  • Vanderbilt:  120 yards

Of that bunch, the Commodores had the best yards per carry average, a whopping 3.64.

Fine, then throw the ball.  Only, if you do, make sure you account for this:

The Bulldogs face an Auburn team that has been disruptive on the defensive front during the 2016 season. Through nine games, the Tigers have racked up 21 sacks, which places them fourth in the SEC. Stopping that pass rush has proven to be a difficult assignment and could be for a Georgia squad that has had its issues on the offensive line.

Carl Lawson has been chief among the hard-charging Tigers in 2016. The junior defensive lineman has been a menace throughout the season, racking up 8 1/2 sacks to sit only half-a-sack off the SEC lead.

None of which is to say Auburn’s defense is totally impervious.  The Tigers are one spot behind Georgia in SEC total defense, after all.  But to succeed with any game plan, it’s going to require better execution than we’ve seen most of the season.

Smart said a key part of stopping someone like Lawson is the offense not getting itself in positions where the Auburn defense knows a pass is inevitable. It’s a problem the Bulldogs have experienced a considerable amount in the past two weeks. Georgia faced six third downs with 7 yards or more to go against Florida and then dealt with nine in the win Saturday over Kentucky.

I think it’s fair to say the quality of Auburn’s defense is closer to Florida’s than Kentucky’s.

Even if you want to call the defenses on Saturday even, Auburn’s clear advantages in special teams and red zone defense means that Chaney’s gonna have to call his best game of the season and have his players execute at a higher level than they’ve produced at so far for the Dawgs to have a real chance.  That’s a pretty tall order.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

17 responses to “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  1. If there was a game to spread it out, this game would be the one. Force Auburn to play the entire game with the nickel package on the field. Run when the numbers and down/distance warrant it. Let Eason play some 7 on 7 with a quick passing game.

    This game is the one where the defense needs to play like its hair is on fire.

    I don’t think we’ll win for a myriad of reasons, but I would love to be surprised walking out of Sanford early on Saturday night.


    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      I don’t know what the down/distance is that this team needs to run the ball. They’ve been almost as bad as anyone nationally in short yardage situations.

      It comes down to whether the O-Line can block enough to get Eason a little time and give the backs a little space. The play action pass was back against UK…partly because the run was working and partly because the O-Line could block long enough not to hang Eason out to dry. You can’t quick hit them all night and if you do, at some point they’ll jump the routes.

      It may be one of those games where you’ve got to pull a trick play out early, too.


      • I agree … you have to be able to run in favorable situations especially from 3-wide sets. We can make some hay there. The problems happen when we run into 8/9 man fronts.


    • Otto

      Agreed with Sony as the primary back moving from Sony as a RB to empty sets with Sony in the slot.

      Also Sean White may not be 100% and their RB may be out. Auburn clicks with them in but looked very beatable last week with key players out. UGA still has little room for mistakes with that Auburn D.


  2. Macallanlover

    Odds are definitely against us based on play from both this season, but this isn’t mission impossible. Vandy moved the ball all day long against the Tigers on the road. Chaney needs to see how they neutralized the pass rush by spreading them out with alignment and motion and got the ball out quickly. We have better talent, we can do the same. Defense gets help with Pettway likely out, just need to get the DL healthy enough and make White uncomfortable in the pocket to force errors or off-target on throws.

    Most feel the betting line should be higher than 10 and many simulations are in the 33-13 range. Oddly, bettors are backing the Barners by about 60% but the line has stayed around 10 all week with little movement. Are the sharps expecting a close game and want to risk a little? Doubt it, must be small bettors and the money is staying balanced.


  3. St. Johns Dawg

    We’ve all seen funny things happen in this series with Auburn. Of our rivals, I consider the game with the Tigers every year one to throw out the playbooks. That said, I agree with the Senator that Auburn’s defensive front mirrors Florida’s … or Ole Miss’s when we played them. Chaney didn’t call great games against those teams (or maybe we just didn’t execute worth a damn).
    I keep hoping we see a crazy repeat of the 1999 game (think the year is correct) … Where one of the worst teams in the series history lead by Ben Leard at quarterback absolutely destroyed the favored team. Not holding my breath, however.


  4. JT

    I talked about this yesterday and I will again today but without some help from the OL it is impossible to call a great game. The OL doesn’t need to be great but at least play good enough to give Chaney and chance to call a creative game to hide the lack of dominance, most games the OL is too bad to even do that.


  5. Will Trane

    10 seconds left. Dawgs on tigers 43. Eason drops back, scrambles out of the pocket, Ridley breaking down the sideline with Trey Matthews on his hip. Touchdown dawgs. Up by 6. No one goes on the field unless with goggles and helmet.
    The prayer in Sanford is offered up by the thunder and lightning combo again.
    Run the ball dawgs.
    After watching the Hawgs line man handled the Gators…well I have a lot of confidence in Pittman. It was apparent in the opening series the Hawgs were going to move the ball on the Hawgs and pass on their corners. Thank you Kirby for telling the Dawg faithful that could happen.


  6. AusDawg85

    Don’t care about the game outcome. Show me we practiced well and point to at least one more area of improvement at the end of the day. #theprocess



    We need to catch the ball….turn SKINNY loose.


  8. Camping World Independence Bowl

    finger’s crossed


  9. sniffer

    We had no chance in ’06 either.

    Had to be said, right?


    • I’ll admit I played golf that day I was so convinced we were going to get our clocks cleaned. Needless to say, I was surprised when I came in and our pro said the Dawgs had won.


  10. Uglydawg

    We beat Kentucky by winning the field position match. Win that and anything is possible. The young skinny guy can play a little looser when he isn’t backed up to where a mistake is a disaster. He showed some great improvement during the KY game..if it carries over we may see something really fun.