Hunker down one more time.

Hear me out.  I know most everyone is laser-focused on whether Georgia’s offense will have enough of a pulse come Saturday to make a real game of it, but I grow more and more convinced that the key matchup will be on the other side of the ball.

To state the obvious, the Georgia defense/LSU offense collision is definitely a strength vs. strength deal.  Check out these advanced stats, in case you need further convincing.

Screenshot_2019-12-05 DawgStats on Twitter ChampStats from Dawg_Stats https t co 4Gtc3bsvk8 Epic Matchup when LSUfootball h[...]

Those stats are real, and they’re spectacular.

Bill Connelly’s SP+ calls for a final score of LSU 29, UGA 26.  My question boils down to whether Georgia can do something to shave that LSU tally south of 26 points.  Maybe, just maybe, that Dawg defense can.

It’s gonna be a daunting task, though.  It’s not just that the LSU offense is hell on wheels.  It’s also that it’s structured by nature to work away from Georgia’s greatest defensive strength, stopping the run.  The Tigers’ offense uses the pass to set up the run.  (With that quarterback and those receivers, who can blame them?)

Burrow will operate out of 4- and 5- receiver sets all game long.  Georgia will likely be forced to counter with its dime package for most of that.  That’s going to keep some key personnel off the field more than Smart and Lanning would like.

Fortunately, there is some depth at cornerback due to Tyson Campbell’s injury situation.  There’s also some additional talent that will have to be relied upon.  For example,

I don’t worry about the ability of Georgia’s defense to prevent the big play.  They’ve been doing that all season.  But what LSU does to attack the middle of the field with its passing game?  Yeah, I worry about that.  The Dawgs are going to have to make adjustments to take away the slant pass that has seemingly been a problem all year.

That’s all well and good, but it’s still not the matchup I referred to at the beginning of this post.  For that, take a look at this video of the SEC Network’s Marcus Spears.  It’s his take on what Georgia is capable of doing to limit Joe Burrow.  He’s bullish about that — and before you dismiss him, he reminds the viewer at the beginning of the clip that Smart dialed up some coverages that Tua had problems with in last year’s SECCG.  Kirby and Lanning may be challenged, but they won’t coach scared.

Anyway, as I watched the video in its entirety, I got to a conclusion I can’t shake.  This game is going to come down to what Georgia’s four-man front can do with LSU’s offensive line.  If the Dawgs can control the line of scrimmage with four, get pressure (with this defense, that doesn’t necessarily mean sacks), keep Burrow contained in the pocket and prevent Edwards-Helaire from having an unchallenged day on the ground, that will enable Smart and Lanning to mix all kind of looks behind them.  That should help greatly limit LSU’s mid-field passing game.

I may even be underestimating what Georgia will be able to do with pressure.  Keep in mind that sacks allowed aren’t something LSU avoids.  The Tigers are next to last in that stat in conference play.

I’m not saying this is a lock for Georgia.  Far from it.  I’m saying that I don’t see a path to victory if Kirby can’t get his defense to play well with a four-man front, because without that, I don’t see how LSU stays under thirty points.

In other words, it’s the trenches and in the SEC, that still means more.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

28 responses to “Hunker down one more time.

  1. Normaltown Mike

    Have been watching LSU – Auburn and by my lights, Auburn was getting good pressure with 4 in 1st half and Burrows was uncomfortable. LSU RT had to lasso his guy a couple times on a key drive.

    2nd half, Auburn has sent a couple corner blitzes as well.

    I’d like to see one of our LB’s slide back into Burrows throwing lane and on those slants

    Liked by 1 person

  2. practicaldawg

    I agree 100% with you. Even if our offense suddenly puts up Big 12-esque points, it won’t matter if Burrow can throw for TDs from his 5 yard line like he did against TAMU. Our secondary must play lights out. I also agree that Campbell’s early season injury now looks fortuitous because there is simply no way Daniel would be playing at the level he’s currently at without all those reps. We are lucky to have so much depth and experience in the secondary. Not to mention a HC that knows a thing or two about DB play.


  3. chopdawg

    Excellent post, Senator. As the week goes on, I’m starting to feel a little better about our chances in this game.



    It won’t be easy, that’s for sure.


  5. GruvenDawg

    Julian Rochester has only played in two games this year and should be fresh to add some interior pressure from the D line. This is definitely a more explosive offense than last year, I am worried that Burrow ate out lunch on the zone read and 4th and short calls. I think Orgeron will make the same calls this year given the chance. I think from the +50 on 4th and 1, 4th and 2 he’s going for it. If Connely is right and it’s a game where both teams are under 30 I really like our chances.


    • 79Dawg

      Am surprised I haven’t seen anyone make comparisons to last year’s game a whole lot. A couple of thoughts:
      1. I did see something this morning that noted one of the “pluses” for us was that we have been on this stage before, LSU has not. Don’t know that that makes a whole lot of difference. Similarly, location of game is negligibly in our favor.
      2. Totally agree with you that they rolled the dice a lot last year, especially early in the game on short yardage, and the D was unable to get set, much less get stops – really helped build momentum for them in that game.
      3. Momentum will be huge – last year, we were unable to capitalize early, they seized the momentum in the second quarter and we were playing from behind the whole game, and right when we were about to make a game of it, the wheels came off. If we can get some early stops and get a lead, it will be a different type of game for us (and them as well, where they have been huge frontrunners all season). It sounds crazy to say after Florida, Auburn and A&M, but I still worry about our ability to hold onto a lead in the fourth quarter and think at some point (bad memories of last two Bama games maybe!), that dam is going to have to break, just hopefully not Saturday (again)…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Atticus

    Nice Seinfeld reference

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Derek

    Tyrique and the walkers: quay and travon are HUGE for this game.

    We’re going to have to play a lot with 1 true ILB and two “tweeners” like Stevenson, grant and Q. Walker who can manhandle their receivers and leverage the run as need be.

    1 DT, 2 OLB’s, 1 true ILB, 5 DBs and then guys like tyrique, grant and quay that can play in space but also be a physical in run stop as necessary. 13, 11, 4, 52 and 44 have to make burrow wish he was riding pine up in Columbus, oh. Speed, speed, speed, everywhere speed.

    From that highlight you can see the keys for the slot receivers. Inside leverage, playing man underneath. No space. No free releases. Hands on them with eyes on the qb.

    We will be bringing exotic pressures and changing the picture constantly. Every thing you thought you knew at the snap Joe? Well, you’re wrong.

    We have to force them to go to the one on ones on the outside and then win those match ups. We lose those and we’re screwed.

    Love to see us line up 11 guys within 2 yards of the los and make them guess on who is dropping and who is coming.

    Huge key: do they let our dbs play physical with their receivers or are they going to be calling everything?

    The offense’s job is to hold on the damn ball and not do anything stupid. Just keep punching them in the mouth until they lay the fuck down.

    Then we celebrate….

    Btw: I’d fucking love to learn that they’d been practicing with a fb that we haven’t seen yet. That would be the type of belichick move that could really change things. LSU’s back seven is fast, but they’re not willing tacklers. That team is talented, but they’re soft.

    Make their offense uncomfortable with match up difficulties they haven’t experienced and bludgeon that defense with our ol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Down Island Way

      Should one on one be UGA’s play…open field tackles will be at a premium, UGA will play the field position game, don’t think lsu likes that play, may cause some uneasiness in their offense


  8. David K

    Dawgs win. Playoff seeds:
    1. Ohio State
    2. Clemson
    3. UGA
    4. LSU

    Dawgs vs Ohio State in the Justin Fields bowl for the championship


  9. Greg

    Crowd will be the 12th man, I like the dawgs in this one.


  10. RangerRuss

    The D scoring a couple TD’s on pick six or sack scoop and score would be nice. As dominant as they’ve been this D is due for a couple of scores. It’s time to roll out some of those exotic stunts as they did on Mayfield. Burrow? Sack his ass silly and keep a spy on him. Cut loose and Get After Their Ass!


  11. Brandon M

    It was only last year that Bama had an “unstoppable” offense that we absolutely shut down until Tua came out and D’andre Walker did as well. We can win this game folks. The question will be if we get a lead late in the 2nd half are we going to try to sit on it again and wind up subsequently blowing it again.


  12. Biggus Rickus

    I’m confident in the defense’s ability to contain LSU as much as is possible. The offense will still have to avoid turnovers, sustain some drives to limit opportunities and score TDs when they get opportunities. I don’t see a scenario where Georgia can win this thing comfortably (barring a sudden glut of turnovers from a defense that doesn’t force many). It would only take a few dominoes falling for LSU to win comfortably, though. Ultimately, I think Georgia will do enough to have a chance to win late. It’s just a matter of closing it out.


  13. Charlottedawg

    I still think the key to this game is our offenses ability to pick up first downs. do that and Burrow can’t score from the sidelines. captain obvious but The three and outs will kill our defense.


  14. Granthams replacement

    Georgia’s DL has improved all season and is the best part of the defense. The 3rd down passing personnel grouping is scary. My biggest concern is #23 in coverage. 1 or 7 needs to be the star and the dime IMO.


  15. UGA '97

    before this post was thinking 27 pts is our winning #. 27-26 dogs win via Hot Rod late FG and a late Burrow sack & 4th down stop. GATA


    • Kdawg

      Hopefully not. I personally don’t trust Hot Rod in that situation. I’ve seen him miss more than make. He’s made one in a pressure spot since OK in the Rose Bowl to my recollection.


  16. ugafidelis

    The more they sling it around, the more it has a chance to get picked. Reed, LeCounte, et al will be hawking all over the field.


  17. This isn’t the first breakdown I have seen pointing out how physical Tyrique Stevenson plays at the point of attack. One guy on you tube refers to him as “The Bully.”


  18. Gotta have complimentary football. It’s the only way this program has been successful under Smart. It’s the only way we were in a position to win in the last few championships.


  19. Will (the other one)

    The mismatch that jumps out to me that I hope Kirby and Lanning fix is success on 1st down. Dawgs have been middle of the SEC on that, and LSU is very good (despite giving up sacks). If they can be more aggressive early (similar to the Bama game plan last year) that should slow down that offense.


  20. Tony Barnfart

    I’d love a good 8 minute clock eating scoring drive or two. I’d love to see stats on how defensive success rates correlate to the amount of rest a defense gets in real-time. I know they scientifically monitor all those exertion metrics in practice but I wonder if there’s anything out there that translates to games.


  21. CB

    With regard to Stevenson. Dominating an undersized unproductive Will Hastings might be a nice warm up, but Justin Jefferson is a different animal at 6’3 200 and 1,000+ receiving yards.