There is no doubt that Georgia’s biggest concern going into the SECCG is how Auburn’s lines manhandled Georgia’s three weeks ago. Maybe the Tigers’ defensive front having its way with Georgia’s offensive line wasn’t a big surprise, but seeing the Dawgs defensive front pushed aside in the second half certainly was.
Strength and speed are strength and speed. Those aren’t going to magically change in less than a month. Some things you can scheme around a little, but if you listen to some of Georgia’s players, it’s as much a matter of will as anything.
Georgia normally dresses out in full pads for practices on Wednesday. On this particular day, just three days before the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs wore shoulder pads and helmets only.
But that didn’t mean practice wasn’t every bit as physical as usual.
Georgia left tackle Isaiah Wynn said players were still running at full speed, thudding each other with the same intensity as before. With everything on the line in Saturday’s conference title game against Auburn, there wouldn’t be any other way for the players to approach this week.
“Even if the coaches wanted us to tone it down, the players were still treating it as another day where the only way to get better is to go full speed,” Wynn said.
Physicality has been the code word for Georgia this week…
Georgia tight end Jeb Blazevich said a lot more can be made out of football than what it truly boils down to, however. He mentioned that while a lot goes into preparing its own complicated plays or defending against a complex scheme, much of the game itself comes down to who more often moves the opposition off the snap.
It’s an attitude that appears to be filtering down from the head dude.
“Physicality is an attitude,” Smart said. “Physicality is a size. It’s a physics matter, too. It’s an attitude with which you approach the game and how you approach contact. We didn’t do as good a job as they did at that.”
I’d blow this all off as happy talk — you’ve got to find a way to motivate your players or you’ll repeat the experience, right? — except for one thing: Georgia’s opponent. Auburn’s offensive line started out the season terribly, giving up eleven sacks in the Clemson game. They’ve been shuffling linemen most of the season because of injuries and the early experience, and, yet, look where they are now. You can’t chalk all of that up to strength and conditioning. Somebody lit a fire under those guys.
Will that happen for Georgia Saturday night? Hard to say, but without it, I have a hard time seeing a path to a Dawg win.