Throw the damned ball, Monken.

Jake Rowe has a good list of key matchups for Saturday’s game here.  It’s personnel oriented, and that’s why I think it’s missing what might be the biggest matchup of the day, Todd Monken versus Pete Golding.

I think that’s a face off that will have an even larger impact on which side comes out on top than will the Lanning/Sarkisian battle, simply because I expect ‘Bama will win some of those and Georgia will win some.  But after watching replays of Georgia’s and Alabama’s wins from last weekend, I think there’s a shortcoming in the ‘Bama defense that Monken has the opportunity to exploit all game.

I’ve already discussed aspects of it in other posts this week, but to sum it up:

  • Alabama’s pass defense is vulnerable to passes over the middle of the field.
  • Stetson Bennett likes throwing to the middle of the field, and, more importantly, has been successful doing so.

Add to that, Nick Saban’s bout with COVID means he’s leaving Pete Golding out on an island to defend Georgia’s passing attack, so to speak, and I think that puts Monken in a position to make some real hay in the passing game.

Spend a few minutes watching The Battle Hymnal’s Alabama preview, and I think you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I mean.

Monken doesn’t run a variant of Art Briles’ Baylor scheme, as Ole Miss does, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find creative ways besides lining up wideouts next to the sidelines to create open space to give Bennett some easy pitch and catch opportunities.  In fact, we’ve already seen plenty of that in Georgia’s first three games.  After watching those clips, it’s not exactly crazy to picture an open tight end running down the seam, playing pitch and catch with Stetson.

Now, I don’t expect Georgia to go all Air Raid Saturday.  Not that it needs to:  Ole Miss ran the ball almost twice as often (57 carries) as it threw (29 passing attempts) en route to gaining 647 yards against that vaunted (once-vaunted?) Tide defense.  Those are numbers that ought to warm the cockles of Kirby Smart’s stern heart.

And as far as pace goes, Kiffin got a lot of credit for going into hyperdrive last week, but if you look at the number of plays Ole Miss has run versus the number Georgia has, you might be a little surprised.  On the season,

  • Georgia:  239
  • Ole Miss:  231

Georgia ran more plays against Arkansas than Ole Miss ran against Alabama.

The opportunity is there.  In fact, I’ll go on record right now saying that if the Dawgs can generate an effective passing game, they’ll win.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

53 responses to “Throw the damned ball, Monken.

  1. Randy Adams

    Look for our tight ends (especially McKitty) to have a big night.


  2. RangerRuss

    The Dawgs will make Bama look quite pedestrian by the end of the game. Just as last week the D will sack their QB silly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. akascuba

    I hope Sabans test was a false positive like Stafford. Well know today. I don`t want any excuses from Bama if they lose.

    I think the number of plays run can be misleading like time of possession.. If you score fast or hit explosive plays a lot both numbers go down.

    I totally agree the middle of the field is there for the taking. I do expect Bama to attempt to correct that early. A couple of deep outs connecting could cure that quickly. For the good guys to win we need to hurt them deep over the middle and keep those linebackers from stacking the box. We need to win both lines of scrimmage and the rushing war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Biggen

      This. I’d rather cancel the game. We will have to hear the rest of the year how we beat them without Saban and how this game will have an asterisk by it if we win. If we lose, well then that is worse. Its a lose/lose for us.


    • Tony BarnFart

      To compliment what you’re suggesting, I think this could be a big day for play action bootlegs (maybe out of the pistol or at least PA rollouts). I casually watched the OM-Bama game…..did not realize until earlier this week how much Ole Miss ran the ball and the yards they put up. Given the (a) pride alabama has historically had in stopping the run, (b) the ass chewing they’ve received about the same and (c) what they expect from Georgia and Kirby……we’re gonna get some aggressive play out of that front 7 to not let that happen again. Delayed tight end backside drags off PA could be a nasty little number.


  4. MGW

    So if we do win, does the whole “hasn’t been beaten by a former assistant” thing get an asterisk?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. biggusrickus

    It’ll be interesting to see how much they try to work Cook and McIntosh on Angle routes and the like. Regardless, between Jackson and the tight ends, I do expect Georgia to have success over the middle. They’ll still need to have a reasonable amount of success in the run game.


  6. Yeah, but Georgia has averaged 35:29 TOP per game whereas Ole Miss has averaged 27:13 TOP per game. If you look at number of plays-per-minute-of-possession through each team’s first three games you get:

    Georgia: 2.24 plays per minute of possession
    Ole Miss: 2.83 plays per minute of possession

    That means Ole Miss is running 26% more plays than Georgia per minute of possession. Or another way to look at it is how many seconds, on average, do they take to get a play off?

    Georgia: 26.79 seconds per play
    Ole Miss: 21.20 seconds per play

    So Ole Miss gets plays off, on average, 5-1/2 seconds faster than Georgia this season.

    Liked by 3 people

    • biggusrickus

      Yeah, Georgia’s number of plays is caused by two things: 1) the defense allowing nothing so often. 2) the offense grinding out drives.


    • Chaser:

      Against Alabama Ole Miss was actually slower than their average, had 71 plays in 28:45 TOP so:

      2.47 plays per minute average
      24.29 seconds per play average


    • originaluglydawg

      Nevertheless, if Georgia is running more plays, it means there is longer pressure on the opposing defenses. Georgia has played teams without a lot of depth at defense and it’s worn them down some. Bama’s depth will negate that strategy unless you don’t let them off the field. Kiffen did that by going shockingly fast.
      The real outlier in making sense of these statistics is how quickly OMs was able to move the ball down the field. Their number of plays was held down by grabbing off huge chunks of yardage. That frustrates and wears down a D in it’s own dreadful way.
      That’s hard to corelate to Georgia’s method which has produced almost no explosive plays this whole year.
      Saban’s D is seemingly built to weather and eventually stop long, slow, multiple chain-moving drives. Kiff refused to give them that comfort.
      I expect both offenses to do a good bit of HUNH this game.
      If Monken can do this (to even a moderate degree), Dawgs should eat!


      • All good points. Speaking of which….

        My wife isn’t much of a football fan, but she sits down occasionally and watches some Georgia football with me. Last weekend she watched a few minutes because she wanted to see this Stetson Bennett guy I was talking about.

        After a bout five minutes of watching him work she said, “Well at least the offense isn’t standing up and looking over to the sideline every play trying to figure out what they’re doing. Like Aaron Murray.”

        Despite what a great QB he was for the Dawgs, that (evidently) is the lasting impression he (and Mark Richt) made on my wife. lol

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tony BarnFart

          Jim Donnan always says he used to tell his assistants to take their wives along to see a prospect’s high school game. Don’t reveal which player you are coming to scout, but rather ask your wife if she can figure it out on her own. If she can’t figure it out, the player isn’t worth an offer.

          Liked by 2 people

    • TN Dawg

      Was just about to post the same thing.


  7. Senator, you are filling my heart with too much positivity regarding this game!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. charlottedawg

    Just noticed something on the podcast, where do I get a FTMF hat like Josh hancher has? I want one!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Leggo5

    “The opportunity is there. In fact, I’ll go on record right now saying that if the Dawgs can generate an effective passing game, they’ll win.”

    What are your pre-game thoughts on what an “effective passing game” looks like statistically? 225 yards? 250? 300?


  10. TripleB

    Am I right that their best safety is out for the first half because of targeting? Maybe we need to pass early. Their beat writer on the AJC says that the secondary is their biggest weakness.


  11. FlyingPeakDawg

    Pitch and catch to a big TE. sniff… That brings a tear of joy. Could it be true? No…you’re just teasing, right?

    Our running attack is so different from OM. Not a lot of motion. Methodical. Between the tackles. OM was hyper fast and sprinting to the edges away from motion. If we’re successful it’s because we’ll grind them down Kirby’s way, not exhaust them through lack of substitution and chasing laterally.


  12. PTC DAWG

    I look for Bama to go after Pickens hard with a 2nd line player, trying to entice him into a punch or something. Or Pickens may just do something penalty worthy himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • originaluglydawg

      That’s a legit worry! I hope that Pickens is being “conditioned” to this possibility. He’s from Hoover so he’s going to want to leave an impression…lets just hope it’s one that benefits Georgia and not Bama.


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