Key to the UGA-UT game?

Bud Elliott thinks he’s found it.

The line gives them a shot in this game. I want to see how much of it can translate. So far Tennessee is No. 3 in the country at avoiding third-and-long. To what extent Tennessee can continue that will be crucial in this game. And they’ve played two SEC defenses, though not good ones, but it’s not like they’ve played a soft schedule. Seven out of ten third downs faced by Tennessee are not long downs. That’s awesome.

And as a result, QB Jarret Guarantano has not been asked to face many passing downs. They have run the ball, thrown the short pass, and stayed ahead of the chains.

I have questions about Guarantano and the Tennessee receivers. I don’t know if Tennessee has difference makers outside.

So can Tennessee continue its avoidance of long down and distance? And how well will Guarantano and the receivers play in those situations? That will be a major key in this game because I suspect Georgia’s awesome defense will force a lot of leverage situations.

So far, the Tennessee passing game has been bad on third and five plus. Guarantano has dropped back 11 times in that situation. Twice they converted for a first down, three times he was sacked, and four times the ball fell incomplete.

Or, to put it another way…

So, is Guarantano a case of a quarterback who’s grown and figured out how to play the position, or has Jim Chaney done a good job of leveraging his solid offensive line play and running game to protect Guarantano from his inconsistencies?  Either way, what can Georgia’s defense do about it?

Well, for one thing, there’s this:

And this…

And, finally, this.

Job One looks like what it always is for Smart and Lanning — stop the other guy’s running attack.  Not an easy thing to do this week.  As this tweet shows, it’s strength against strength.

Essentially, Jim Chaney is doing at UT what he did at UGA, albeit with less talent at the skill positions.  Can Georgia’s defense take him out of his comfort zone?  Or — and I know this is a somewhat weird thought — can Georgia’s offense be productive enough to accomplish the same ends?


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

55 responses to “Key to the UGA-UT game?

  1. gastr1

    Interesting that UF is at the top in havoc rate. Really shows how that stat can translate to risk-taking that results in overall weak defense. Or, sacks and pressures are more important than anything else…a core principle of 3rd & Grantham.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Off topic but: Mac Jones pressured that much and they’re still scoring how much? Define ‘pressured’?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Russ

      Same wit Florida and Kyle Trask. He’s been pressured that much but still putting up huge yards. I guess it depends on the type of pressure, blitz or straight DL pressure. Of course, having a freak like Pitts makes you look a lot better. Hopefully we get the Big 0 rolling like that some day.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. TN Dawg

    Being up here, I’ve had an eye on the Vowels.

    They are using Gray and Chandler a little bit like we did Nick and Sony.

    Gonna be important to get good linebacker play in the passing game covering those backs. They are both good players.

    In the end though, I think it’s about our offense, mostly because our defense is a given. If we get to 28, there are very few, if any, teams in college football that can beat us.

    That includes those bastards in Alabama.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Derek

    Consistently winning first down is the key for both teams.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. spur21

    Depth – our depth will wear them out in the second half. Tenn may make a game of it for a couple of quarters then wilt.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. munsonlarryfkajim

    Kinda concerned about this game. The UT people I know are quietly confident


    • Derek

      I’m a tad nervous because I know our offense is tenuous. If things don’t go well early, it could snowball like usc last year. I also don’t how many of these guys are like me with one eye on Tuscaloosa.

      One thing that cks has had a tendency to do is get cute. We don’t need that this week. We need simple, basic, wear them down with our roster and understand that 60 minutes is a long time for an inferior opponent to hold up under. Basically repeat what we did last week with the understanding that UT may not lie down as easily or quickly. But they will…

      Liked by 4 people

  7. You could argue that Tennessee hasn’t played a defense like this since … last year’s game in Knoxville.

    I guarantee you Kirby and Lanning have been reminding them how poorly they played in the first half. Dawgs roll in a game not as close as the final score indicates … 34-17.

    Liked by 6 people

    • “It’s not like they have played a soft schedule.”

      South Carolina and Missouri? 2 teams who haven’t won a game between them yet. They were lucky the kick at the end of the game bounced off a Gamecock player. Missouri wins at most 3 games this year because they play South Carolina, Vandy and Arkansas.

      Liked by 4 people

      • That line jumped out at me too. South Carolina’s been in both games they’ve played, so they’re probably better than they’ve looked so far (Boom’s inexplicable clock management notwithstanding), but Mizzou is basically in complete rebuild mode at this point. Georgia hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row either, but blowout wins over a clearly improved Arkansas squad (that handled Mike Leach’s Air Raid and then some) and a ranked Auburn team with a legit defense are worlds better, résumé-wise, than what Tennessee’s accomplished so far.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Doug, we’ve at least played a ranked opponent and 2 teams that have won a game. I don’t think anyone expects either of Tennessee’s opponents to be bowl eligible at the end of the season (not that Arky will either). We made Auburn’s line of scrimmage look bad on both sides. All of Handbag and Vowel fans thought we would lose to both Auburn & Alabama.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Russ

      I’m going with 30-13. Dawgs grind UT into the turf in the second half.


      • Down Island Way

        What do you get when you cross a hobnail boot with Bill bates….Damned if I know, feels like they’ve fallen and can’t get up…..GOOOOOO DAWGS….WOOF, WOOF, WOOF


  8. biggusrickus

    If Tennessee can consistently grind out yards with either runs or short passes, I would be shocked. I’m sure that will be their gameplan, since shortening the game and getting a couple of breaks is their best chance to win. Which is why I don’t think they have much of a chance. I expect Georgia to cover and turn it into a rout if breaks go Georgia’s way.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. GruvenDawg

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chaney implement a game plan similar to what he did in the Championship game vs Bama. Throw short early to try and open up the run. Running at the edge to try and tire out the D before he starts pounding the middle. The great thing about playing against Chaney is he’s not good at on the fly implementing a plan B. I think Kirby and Lanning are going to be ready for Chaney’s plan A, B, and C. It could get ugly for the Vols.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Teams that try to attack the edge in the run game typically stop very quickly. Our overall team speed and depth makes this a strategy that results in negative plays.

      I can see them try to hit us early with a big play (cough, cough … DJ Daniel … cough, cough).

      I imagine our line and linebackers are ready to punch Baby Mays in the mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed. The obscene depth of UGa’s Line & LB’s makes this a limited strategy. The lateral pursuit of this defense will break down the UT runners before it affects the D itself.

        Baby Mays best pack his big-boy pants and Daddy Mays should plop down in a different chair.

        Liked by 3 people

      • dawgman3000

        DJ Daniel appears to be the defense’s version of Matt Landers. Kid tries hard though, cant say the same about Landers.


        • akascuba

          #5’s total lack of effort as the ball was coming down shows nothing has changed in his head regarding personal effort. I’ve been waiting for the time he dove or just extended his arms to make a play. Hoping that would stick in his head and change his future. So far the arms only get extended for holding. I hope for his sake he makes a big play before his time runs out. One that he’ll be able to look back at later in life and find happiness with.


    • Russ

      It will be hard for them to tire out our 22 starters on defense.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Our defensive gameplan will be simple: Make guantanamo beat us with his arm. Roll a safety down first and second, bring in the animals on third. Disguise our coverages in the secondary.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Jack Klompus

    Stack the box. As I recall that our old friend struggled with what to do when that occurred.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. DawgFlan

    My thoughts:

    1) Smart & Co. is good at game-planning for the devils they know. They know they UT coaching staff and roster very well, and I don’t see any scheme/personnel surprises in this game.

    2) Just as no-one has beat Bama by mimicking them with lesser talent, UT is trying their hand at mimicking UGA – coaches, rosters, and philosophy – with lesser talent.

    3) UT is pretty well-coached and fundamentally sound. If Butch was their Goff, then Pruitt is their Donnan. The program has definitely improved and as the clear #3 in the East. But they lack the “elite” status of either UGA’s D or (arguably) UF’s O that creates game planning headaches. There is still a clear gap in their overall team athleticism, speed and aggressiveness.

    4) The rain is the X-factor, as it will increase chance of turnovers, missed tackles, and sloppy play. Still, I see UGA grinding out a 2-3 score lead before a late UT score against UGA’s 2nd-3rd teams to make the game seem close.

    Liked by 5 people

    • biggusrickus

      Dooley was their Goff. I’d say they’ve hired back-to-back Donnans to use your metaphor. It wasn’t that long ago that Tennessee went 9-4 back-to-back and squandered a golden opportunity to win the East.

      Liked by 3 people

    • 2) Just as no-one has beat Bama by mimicking them with lesser talent, UT is trying their hand at mimicking UGA – coaches, rosters, and philosophy – with lesser talent.

      That’s a point I’m going to make in tomorrow’s game day post. Needless to say, I agree with you.

      Liked by 5 people

  13. PTC DAWG

    UT rushes for less than 100…

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I believe UTK is better but there is no reason we shouldn’t win tomorrow, unless we turn the ball over. I’ve given them their due this week but some are going overboard imo. There is still a sizeable talent gap.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Just don’t play like we did against SC last year and certainly don’t let it come down to a FG. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate kickers?


  16. stoopnagle

    Maybe. On the bright side, if UT are up in the 4th quarter by multiple scores, I’m pretty sure they’ll try to take the air out of the ball and give us a chance to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. akascuba

    I’m hoping the rain stays away during the game. For me weather is the biggest wildcard. Rain could be UT’s best chance for an upset.

    Physicality and Composure is what Kirby is selling.
    In my best Major Payne voice “and business is good!“


  18. siskey

    I think Kirby will have the team focused and that we won’t over look Tennessee. I expect us to be aggressive until it is no longer necessary or if it blows up in our face.
    If we get up 2-3 scores we will rely on the stable of running backs. I won’t be shocked if the Defense or special teams scores a touchdown especially if Tennessee is forced to throw to keep up.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Down Island Way

    What do you get when you cross a hobnail boot with Bill bates….Damned if I know, feels like they’ve fallen and can’t get up…..GOOOOOO DAWGS….WOOF, WOOF, WOOF


  20. I see as fitting for Georgia that Georgia fans are nervous about this game. In fact I bumped into a guy in home depot today that had a Georgia mask and I said go Dawgs, and he said, well I guess we’ll see tomorrow. Very much a Georgia fan. But there’s absolutely no reason not to be excited and happy and thinking that we’re gonna kick their a** tomorrow. Any given Saturday we can loose. But this Georgia mentality that badd things are gonna happen is not necessary anymore. We have the better team, we have the better coach, we have the better players, we have the better rankings we have better recruits we have the better stats. It’s actually OK to be excited for your team.

    There’s no reason to be gun shy as a Georgia fan. And I would wager and argue that the players and the staff would be excited if you can get excited. I know as well as anyone how many close calls there have been… but that doesn’t change the reality that we’re gonna fucken knock the snot out of Tennessee tomorrow.

    I have traveled the world, thank you to the Air Force, and lived in almost every Southern state, and the one thing I’ve noticed is just how gun shy we are. It is OK to be a Georgia fan and a be loud and proud.

    I am tired of every opponentfan base talking shit to my face while we cower and hide.

    We are a great team in a great place. Own it

    Liked by 3 people