One persistent thought I had watching Clemson’s take down of Alabama in the last national title game was that Dabo and his staff had taken a fair amount of Georgia’s game plan from the SECCG and used it more successfully.
So naturally, I’m intrigued by this Ian Boyd piece that gives credit for Clemson’s work defending Alabama’s bread and butter RPO game… to Mississippi State.
For the vast majority of their season, Alabama faced defenses that focused on trying to stop the run. That led to lots of open RPOs and play-action opportunities for their speedy WR group and consequently four of them had at least 700 receiving yards and Devonta Smith nearly made five with 693.
Mississippi State did things differently. They surmised that they couldn’t survive allowing Tagovailoa to throw open slants, screens, and downfield shots to their WR corps and instead chose to take away the easy pass options and force Alabama to beat them by running the football.
I’m not trying to be one, but that’s what Georgia did in the SECCG. And Georgia did a better job, at least judging by Tagovailoa’s passer rating.
- Mississippi State: 138.46
- Georgia: 92.30
- Clemson: 145.24
It’s all the more interesting to me, based on what Boyd had to say about the national title game Georgia lost to ‘Bama.
This “glance” pass option against man coverage outside was a game changer that presented clear problems to the Dawgs.
Georgia clearly was ready for Tua’s RPO work in the rematch, even if that meant it was more vulnerable to the Tide’s rushing attack. Kudos to the staff, although we already had a notion that Kirby’s been focused on stopping the RPO.
Now, if only the Dawgs could learn how to handle an in-game quarterback change.