We’ll played, Dawgs.
Daily Archives: November 3, 2018
Kirby likes what he sees when he studies Kentucky tape ($$):
“When you talk to the other coaches, which we all talk to each other week to week, everybody talks about Kentucky’s group of seniors,” the Georgia coach told reporters this week. “Their whole defense, it’s seven or eight defensive players, seems like they’ve been playing for four years. You look back at the tape two years ago when we were up there playing, all those guys are still there. They’re really good football players. …
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Mark (Stoops) and the job he’s done. I think it’s really remarkable, and it shows the patience of an athletic department to stick with a guy who I think is one of the best coaches in all of college football. He’s now put his roster together…”
There’s a lot to be said for experienced, well-coached players. But Smart’s not exactly going into Lexington unarmed.
If you want to tell me that Josh Allen is the best player on the field today, I won’t argue with you, not after the way I saw him take over the Florida game earlier this season. But note that, at least according to PFF, Georgia’s fifth highest graded player has a higher score than Kentucky’s number two. Georgia has both depth and talent to counter UK’s experience.
Allen is a stud, so what Georgia’s tackles are able to do to handle him today will be one story to follow. (In that light, note who has Georgia’s second highest grade, and then remember that Thomas isn’t 100% healthy.)
The more I think about this game, though, the more I wonder if Mel Tucker’s game plan is… well, not exactly to sell out to stop Snell, but at least to lean towards closing down the Kentucky running game. Putting the game in the hands of Terry Wilson seems like what Tucker would prefer to do.
Kentucky has Benny Snell Jr. (78.5) and they want to run the ball – that is known and clear. But if the running game falters in any way, what will QB Terry Wilson (59.3) and the rest of the offense do? Wilson has struggled passing this season, only averaging 6.5 yards per attempt with more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (five). His primary target, WR Lynn Bowden Jr. (79.4), has caught 43-of-51 targets and has seven of the team’s 21 explosive plays in the passing game so expect to see our highest-graded corner, Georgia’s Deandre Baker (91.4), shadowing Bowden wherever he goes. It won’t be just Baker making it difficult for Wilson as the Bulldogs have the second-highest coverage grade in the FBS and have forced an incompletion on 16.4% of targets, third-most in the FBS.
If the game is played on those terms, that overwhelmingly favors Georgia. Is Benny Snell good enough today to dent Tucker’s game plan?
I’ve already mentioned earlier this week that Kentucky isn’t built to emulate the tack LSU took in running a lot of plays against Georgia. If you look at the numbers, UK is very similar in its approach to what Georgia likes to do offensively. Maybe even more Georgia than Georgia, in fact. Both teams’ time of possession numbers in conference play are over half the game, but the ‘Cats have run 32 fewer plays in doing so. That’s a deliberate offense.
Of greater concern to Kentucky than pace has to be that there’s a pretty significant gap in yards per play on offense: 6.64 for Georgia, versus 5.25 for Kentucky. The slower Stoops can make the game, the less that gap matters — but that also makes explosive plays more significant. I’ve got to think Chaney’s going to run some hurry up today. It’s a good way to exploit Kentucky’s inferior depth, it plays into the percentages of Georgia’s yards per play advantage and Fromm seems to play well in it.
Speaking of Fromm, it will be interesting to see if his game today is tailored to his opponent. The Kentucky secondary is experienced; it’s also big, which makes you wonder how the fade and back shoulder passes that are his strengths will work today. Meanwhile, UK’s got some banged up linebackers and that sounds like an opportunity to exploit with the tight ends and Swift coming out of the backfield.
One other possibly intriguing issue to watch, if you’re convinced penalties are a big deal, is whether that’s an area where the more experienced team has an advantage. Strangely, the ‘Cats have been the team that’s been more penalty-prone in conference play, but look at the numbers for opponent penalties. Makes you wonder if the refs will feed on the home crowd emotions today in making calls. In a slow moving, defense-dominated affair, it’s possible some 30-plus hidden yards could have significance.
Georgia should win, but don’t kid yourself. Kentucky’s got a shot today, and not in the on any given Saturday sense, either. Any time you play good defense in this conference, you’ve got a real chance to prevail. Add in the team of destiny factor and the ‘Cats are not a team you want to see the Dawgs sleep on.
There’s a lot at stake and I don’t think Georgia will take this game for granted, but I’ve gone back and forth on it and I believe Lexington’s gonna look a lot like Jacksonville in that it will take Georgia time to take control of this one. Dawgs win by nine.
It’s your game day post, so have at it in the comments.
Something popped up in this Rick Neuheisel Q&A over at The Athletic ($$) about today’s Georgia-Kentucky game I’m seeing for the first time this week.
Georgia inside linebacker Monty Rice said he noticed something on film this week: Missouri, which held Snell largely in check, had a linebacker who “was able to call out pulls, show where the ball was going.”
Two questions: first, is that true? Like I said, it’s the first time I’ve seen anything about that happening. (Reminder: Mizzou held Snell to 67 yards on 19 carries, for a 3.53 ypc average, his lowest of the season.) And if it’s true, why would Rice bring it up publicly?
If, in this week’s “Let’s Play Mr. Conventional Wisdom” game, you picked Josh Allen…
James Carville ain’t backin’ down.
Gotta admit that “Greg Sankey [hearts] Alabama” made me chuckle.