In yesterday’s comments, Bill Glennon brought up this quote from Smart at his Auburn post-game presser:
On what Auburn was able to do differently in the fourth quarter…
“They just got hot, got on a rhythm. It’s not like we went conservative. We didn’t call different calls. We were ‘bend-but-don’t-break.’ They hit some plays. They went tempo. I thought Bo (Nix) got a little more confident. We had a couple of busts and when you combine those things, guys get hot. It wasn’t like they didn’t move it earlier, because they moved it earlier, we just had some really big stops. We didn’t have really big stops on the later drives. We didn’t get behind the sticks. They did a good job of personelling, Gus did a good job of searching till he found something. We didn’t have enough answers to what they were doing. Earlier in the game, we did and we kind of didn’t have enough answers when we needed it most. But I’ll say this, they went out there the last time and came up with some big stops.” [Emphasis added.]
Now, wait a minute. I’m no coaching genius — I’m no coach, period — but I can recognize a soft zone when I see one. And I’m not the only one. I watched the replay last night and Gary Danielson made the same observation.
You know who else did? Seth Williams, Auburn’s leading receiver in the game ($$).
There are two sides to every football game, and Auburn’s offensive surge in the fourth quarter can’t be fully explained without pointing out what Georgia was doing on defense.
According to Williams, Georgia ran a lot of man coverage in the first three quarters of the game. That resulted in a heavier diet of slants and other man-beating routes for Williams, who finished with 13 catches on 20 targets.
That changed in the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs decided to drop into more zone coverage — trying to prevent one mistake from turning into a huge play. Auburn’s second touchdown drive featured back-to-back first-down completions to Williams against zone coverage.
Pretty obvious, in other words. But I guess Mr. Impose Your Will would rather have people criticize his choice of language than question his fourth quarter defensive strategy.