It’s the SEC’s first game of the season matching top ten teams, and while I wasn’t overly impressed with Nix last Saturday, Auburn’s receiving corps was another story.
Auburn’s receivers were the difference in last Saturday’s 29-13 win over Kentucky, which had the experience edge up front on both sides of the ball. Stove, Schwartz and Williams combined on 13 receptions for 207 yards and three touchdowns, with Williams inflicting the most damage with six catches for 112 yards and two scores.
Stove and Schwartz — the 2018 Gatorade national boys’ track and field athlete of the year — provide the speed for sophomore quarterback Bo Nix, veteran coach Gus Malzahn and first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris, while the 6-foot-3, 211-pound Williams is often a physical mismatch for opponents.
“Those guys seem like they’ve been playing there forever,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Seth is one of the best there is. Stove has been there forever, and we know how fast Schwartz is. They’ve got a lot of good wideouts.”
Kentucky had no answer for Williams, in particular. That bunch will present a challenge for Georgia’s secondary. Fortunately, Georgia doesn’t lack for quality depth back there.
Georgia’s secondary was no match for LSU last December in the SEC championship game, but the Bulldogs did lead the nation last season in fewest points allowed (12.6 per game) and fewest yards per completion (9.88). Yards per completion was a factor in Georgia’s 21-14 win at Jordan-Hare Stadium last November as Schwartz, Stove and Williams combined on 23 receptions for 189 yards, which translated to 8.2 yards per catch.
Schwartz never got loose, totaling 48 receiving yards and averaging 6.9 a catch.
Chad Morris does know something about designing a competent passing attack, but even so, what I saw from Auburn last week didn’t exactly resemble the 2019 LSU offense.
Auburn rushed for less than 100 yards against Kentucky (3.03 ypc) and the Tigers’ offensive line wasn’t particularly strong in run blocking. On top of that, Nix was the leading rusher, with 5 carries for 34 yards. I would assume Job One for Smart and Lanning is making Auburn one-dimensional on offense.
Just like Kevin Steele intends to do. Which defensive coordinator does the better job of imposing his will Saturday?