‘Can anybody cover them dudes?’

Perhaps I overreacted a tad in my Observations post about Lanning’s game plan.  Perhaps not.  Either way, there’s been a fair amount of post-game chatter from folks that he called a decent game, only to find it rendered moot because Alabama’s receivers are so freaking good.

“I think the first big-picture thing, for me, is Alabama’s receivers. They’re different. They’re so deep, first-rounders, and on a field full of NFL guys, they’re elite. That ultimately is what made the difference, because they were able to get out front of Georgia and play how Georgia didn’t want to play.

“At the end of the second quarter, it looked like Georgia was getting into two-tight stuff and running it. I don’t know if they’ve got enough dudes at wideout to be a three-wideout team. They need to help Bennett by running the ball with him a young quarterback.

“Teams used to always spread out to run the ball, makes protections easy to run the ball and you displace people in such a way that you can cover down all the receivers. Only so many guys can be in the box. It’s a little bit more on the QB, but you can run the ball. Fifteen years ago that was true, hell 5 years ago that was true. But all these defensive guys have started going to this three-down Odd look, both Georgia and Bama base out of it, they match personnel, create line movements, false reads, Georgia gives lots of problems to other teams with its shifts. Tennessee still hasn’t figured that out.

“Now you’re aligned in that spread formation because you have chaos in coverage, but you’re also getting chaos in the box, stunting and moving and blitzing guys, so you get no help. It’s defeating the purpose of why you’re spread out. It’s happening late, changing and moving and it’s not easy on the OL. So you’re better off getting into two tight ends, and Georgia started doing it and ‘Bama has done it, they played a lot more two tight. Such a big deal that (tight end Miller) Forristal came back into the game because without him they were going to have to spread out more. The Metchie kid (Bama wideout John Metchie III) is going to be a freak, but he is still learning. Bama got into more two tight. They may take their other tight end and flex him out, motion him in, but what it does is that makes it simpler on the quarterback. When you align with big people, it’s the inverse of the reason you spread out. It forces accounting for people in the box and then there’s only so many ways they can align the coverages.

“Look, the NFL is THE ONLY league where you line up with two tights and they line up in 4-3 cover-2. That doesn’t happen in college ball. That’s when Georgia was on a run and scoring, because they were able to run the ball. They were able to get yards running it and play-action was easier. And that helps the young QB throw it on time, because he can look out and know they’re in man-to-man or Cover-3. They had to get away from that because they got behind. Then they had to spread out and it was chaos. We dealt with that last year, our team did. We weren’t good enough out wide to have multiple threats go the distance at receiver, and we were better off getting into two-tight and dictating coverage structures for the young QB.

Another interesting observation is that Georgia’s problem in the passing game is that the receivers aren’t good enough to elevate Bennett’s game.

The Bennett kid is a nice story, good player. He’s better than other teams’ quarterbacks in the SEC. But they’re not good enough at WR to overcome his limitations and play at a national championship level.

Not sure I agree with everything there, but it does make me wonder if there’s a fixed ceiling.  Or, is it more an issue that Georgia’s passing game needs more time to jell?

57 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

57 responses to “‘Can anybody cover them dudes?’

  1. Biggen

    As far as WR play goes, it’s not rocket science to see they didn’t help Bennett out much. Yes, Bennett made his share of boneheaded plays, but we had drops littered throughout the first half.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dawgman3000

      It would probably help if the WRs didn’t have to perform acrobatics to make routine catches. Bennett has to help the receivers by ocassionally hitting them in stride.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Agreed, he does not lead the receivers well for YAC. They are still having to slide/leap/stop to gather the catch much of the time. Sometimes that is necessary with tight windows, and you take what you can get. But you notice the bama receivers running for long TDs after the catch (And to be fair he did hit Cook in stride and it turned into a TD). People keep telling me this is a timing thing, but I have not seen much improvement over the last few weeks.

        Like

      • Bennett misssed throws and missed open guys way, way more than drops.

        Georgia fans always believe if the football is within a video game level of being caught, it should be caught. I’d like to have them run patterns and throw the balls in those areas and say “why didnt you catch it” Good QBs have better numbers because they make it easier. And upon occasion, a good WR does the incredible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Biggen

        I get that. But D1 scholarship WRs should be able to “make plays”. Anyone can catch balls if they are thrown exactly to them. These guys are supposed to be the best amateur athletes of the bunch. We had balls hitting receivers in the hands and they were still being dropped.

        Like

      • goose44ga

        It sure seems like hitting a receiver in stride should be one of the definitions of an explosive play. We have not been consistence at that for several years now.

        Like

  2. As far as having a chance against Bama, the pass rush has to get home. That’s is. Period. You can’t cover those dudes in this age of. It being able to touch the receivers.

    As for our WR? It baffles me. We were so good and so deep there in 2018, but that mass exodus seems to have broken something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • classiccitycanine

      There’s nothing wrong with the receivers. They’re open but Stet didn’t hit them.

      Like

      • Agreed they were open, but our receivers are not Clemson, Alabama, or Ohio State caliber. They just aren’t.

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        • milehighdawg

          Regarding WRs, it was apparent Sat that not all 5*s are created equal. Be it God-given talent or coaching, their guys made every play they needed. I’d like to see our guys come back to the ball sometimes the way theirs did – very difficult to defend.
          And absolutely, getting the passrush home is the lynchpin if you’re going to contend with the elite teams. We appear to be 1/2-1 sec late every. damn. time.

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        • dawg100

          Absolutely stunned about Robertson’s THREE year absence now. Clearly his window has closed. Burton got all the 3rd WR throws and the end around calls Robertson got his first game. It can;t just be his “blocking” as he has been “ok-good” in only a game or two in all this time.

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  3. Skeptic Dawg

    I believe that the large number of departures on offense in 2018 will be Kirby’s version of Richt’s 2013 recruiting class. We are still trying to fill holes on that side of the ball. Kirby will be able to overcome those departures due to his recruiting success, but it will take couple of years.

    As for our WR’s, Alabama was about to successfully take away Pickens and Jackson, and we saw what was left..not a lot. It appears as if the problem is that we have shortcomings at WR and QB.

    Like

    • Yup. Not for nothing, all of this receiver who left early LOVE Justin Fields. That’s not an insignificant thing. It’s pretty obvious that a lot that locker room was majorly divided.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawgman3000

        I also think that they weren’t overly enamored with the offense as well.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Skeptic Dawg

        I can’t speak to the live for Justin Fields, but I do think the change in OC (Chaney heading to Tennessee and Coley taking over) had a lot to do with the early departures. I also suspect that those kids had issues with the system/style we ran. Either way, it has created a massive void that will take time to fill. Speaking of Fields, how nice would it be to use him as our QB now? I honestly believe that Kirby’s biggest mistake was mismanaging our QB’s beginning with sitting Eason once returned from injury. That single move completely refigured our QB rotation by grad year and the ripple effect is still felt today. In short, Kirby backed the wrong QB in 2017 and beyond.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Your hindsight glasses are working very well this morning. I’m sure you were saying the same thing from October 2017-January 2019.

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          • Skeptic Dawg

            I completely understand how you can think that, however, it is not hindsight at all. I did in fact state several times during that period that I wanted Eason to play once he was healthy. I wanted to see what he could do behind a solid OL.

            Like

            • Everyone forgets how the offense was struggling in the App State game when Eason got hurt. I was in the stadium and the tension was real.

              Yanking Fromm after his good play through the Tennessee game would have been playing with fire.

              Like

    • theotherdoug

      I saw a lotta guys open in the second half of the Bama game.

      Liked by 3 people

      • spur21

        That’s what I saw as well. Blaming the WR group is simply wrong – Stetson played poorly – especially in the 2nd half. We had guys OPEN and he threw into double coverage or made poor throws.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Georgia fans love blaming receivers. Ive seen balls thrown behind and low and hard (hardest to adjust to at speed) “Should have caught that”!

          Like

        • Biggen

          This is only half the story. Drops were a problem. To ignore that ignores part of the issue.

          No, Bennett didn’t play very well. But he still made some throws that should have been caught. The pass to Burton that was tipped and lead to an interception could have been caught. It hit him in the hands.

          I’m not a Bennett apologist. I don’t care if he is our starter or not. But he was just part of the problem not the only problem.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Not much? just TEs and RBs standing there by their lonesome.

      Like

  4. akascuba

    Senator,
    I think both are true. We are not as good at receiver or QB. Those two don’t mean the team can’t play at a NC level. What is required if the first two are true is the defense as good as it may be must find a way to not allow elite QB’s time to drop dimes over our DB’s. To win we must create havoc in the backfield. If that happens the odds of turnovers goes up while also slowing down the running game.

    We’ll never know what could have been had Newnan stayed. I think we have an OC and talent capable with the right QB of reaching that 40+ points per game required in today’s game.

    Liked by 4 people

    • spur21

      This – “I think we have an OC and talent capable with the right QB of reaching that 40+ points per game required in today’s game.”

      Like

  5. munsonlarryfkajim

    Between this and LSU the blueprint to beat Georgia is out. All you need is a couple future first rounders at WR and heisman candidates at QB and RB

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Ace Harris

    Stetsons problem all night was not seeing the open receiver. Case in point when Cook had flared out of the backfield. He was as open as the barn door and it would have been a TD, instead he throws into double coverage to Burton in the end zone. He really had problem seeing the open receivers.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. theotherdoug

    Bama has better receivers but ours aren’t trash. I saw guys open all night.
    They’re top 3 WRs are better. Hell, they’re future first rounders! Pickens, Jackson, and Burton are still great and better than any other sec WR group not at Bama. Burton dropped some passes that killed us but we’ve all seen his potential.
    At TE we’re better. They’re solid but we have better guys
    I know the announcers were gushing about Harris as a receiver, but he’s not as good as Cook or McIntosh.
    Our problem was in the second half our QB struggled and their’s didn’t.

    Liked by 6 people

    • theotherdoug

      Does anyone think Bama wins if we switch QBs?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Experience has to be a factor too. Smith is an NFL pick who inexplicably came back for his senior year. Waddle’s a junior. Meanwhile Kearis is in his second year, but was injured most of last season, Pickens is in his second year, and Burton was in HS last year.

      Liked by 2 people

      • dawg100

        True, the UMASS Sr. WR showed us this in ’18. Experience counts.

        We lost to GT when Michel and Chubb BOTH fumbled at the goal line as freshman.

        I hate freshman! 🙂

        Like

      • ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

        smith came back because the R.E.C. dropped a shat load of money to his handlers – just like they did with Leatherwood – just like they do every year when saban tells them too.

        Like

  8. Ozam

    A couple of issues….1. Our number one receiver is anything but. Pickens not being targeted is not an accident. He runs a nice go pattern but think how few times we have seen him cross the middle. For whatever reason he has not developed yet. 2. Stetson is comfortable throwing to the middle of the field, but not outside. Stetson is the opposite of Fromm. Teams are now going to squeeze the middle and prevent the deep pass to Pickens.

    I suspect we will see a reversion to 2019 with a run heavy emphasis. It’s not good enough to beat the big boys but should win us the East.

    Like

    • I suspect we will see a reversion to 2019 with a run heavy emphasis. It’s not good enough to beat the big boys but should win us the East.

      That’s my biggest worry right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ozam

        Ditto. And, I wasn’t suggesting I was happy with that approach! But, Kirby will look at that game and those turnovers, all of which came in the passing game, will burn his soul.

        Aaron Murray, who knows a little about the QB position, has been saying for weeks on his podcast that the Dawgs needs to play there most talented QB and give them enough opportunity to be successful. He thought this was Mathis, and felt they pulled him way too early against Arkansas. The situation we are in now is now is not completely different than the Fromm/Fields issue. Are we going to play someone who is a competent game manager or someone who can stress the D, but isn’t quite as polished. It is a really tough dilemma for coaches because players are going to leave.

        Like

      • Derek

        If we get more efficiency out of the passing game along the way, I don’t mind. We probably do need to have a bit more bully in us to beat the big boys.

        We’re never going to match up at qb/wr with osu/clemson/bama in 2020. Do we need that aspiration? Maybe.

        When we got to the natty we were throwing 20 passes or less each game but our efficiency was outstanding.

        I’d rather see a 14 of 18 for 192 2tds and 0 int performance than 18 of 32 for 270 3 tds and 2 ints in the next six games.

        Bama isn’t so good on d that you have to throw first to run.

        I also think were holding back on d. I just don’t think we slowed Mayfield and Tua but can’t stop Jones. Could be wrong, but I think next time will be different.

        If we can beat on teams, hit a higher percentage of our passes and affect the qb at a better rate we’ve got a chance.

        Trying to be who we’re not isnt going to work.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Ozam

          I agree with everything you say. My concern is that if we stick with Stetson this year, what happens next year? The Fromm/Fields issue (coupled with the Newan departure) has really hurt us.

          Like

          • Derek

            Clearly there will be a competition in the spring. At least two of them will bolt.

            Then the best two will decide in late August to go on a buddhist pilgrimage to Nepal hand in hand together and Stetson will start vs. Clemson.

            But stetsons spring game qbr will give us the hope we need to be crushed in Charlotte.

            Sorry, I’m in a gallows humor mode.

            I don’t know about anyone else but I’d be far more frustrated had we lost with Newman Saturday. It would feel hopeless had Newman lit it up for three games and then we got beat. As far as what did happen its just part of this 40 year curse that we’ve endured.

            My advice to dawg fans? Try and stay healthy. We may need to hang in there for a while….

            Did Lewis go see the Chicken Man before the 1980 natty?

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Staten

            Can’t blame him….

            It WAS Notre Dame after all.

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        • 1smartdude

          The only knock on Mayfield or Tua, from my standpoint, is that they scrambled too quickly. Generally this cuts off the number of available receivers. Jones, from what I’ve seen, doesn’t do that. He’ll slide up, one step this way or that, and the open guy is always a possibility. I think it makes him harder to defend from a DB perspective.

          Like

          • Derek

            Yet Burrow’s mobility in keeping a play alive, did what?

            You can’t panic and bail, true.

            But being a stationary target helps pass rushers. It also means that your dbs have a time certain to be in coverage.

            All other things being equal, athleticism from a qb is a plus.

            Liked by 1 person

        • rigger92

          Agree. Also, the way to beat FL, MState, and maybe KY is to win TOP. As long as we have the ball they can’t get off as many plays as they would like. KY is the most extreme TOP offense themselves, so that could be a different matter, i dunno. TAMU hung around on FL through playing a pretty good keep away with the ball and then closing hard.

          Like

      • PTC DAWG

        After watching the game Saturday, it what I hope we do. With 4 at the QB spot, it is our only hope.

        Like

  9. ” That’s when Georgia was on a run and scoring, because they were able to run the ball. They were able to get yards running it and play-action was easier. And that helps the young QB throw it on time, because he can look out and know they’re in man-to-man or Cover-3. They had to get away from that because they got behind. Then they had to spread out and it was chaos.”

    Like

  10. DaveinAZ

    We have our share of issues like every team but SBIV is just not THE guy.

    Like

    • Derek

      But is he OUR for now?

      That’s the question. Until he plays like he did on Saturday again, I’m willing to go with him. Let’s see if he gets better.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. FlyingPeakDawg

    Pretty sure those may be Chizik’s comments. He said virtually the same think on Mark Packer’s XM show yesterday. And here’s a frightening stat they dropped: Bama has outscored us 68 – 17 in the second half of the last three meetings. Summed up as a coaching problem more than a talent problem. Not sure that’s entirely true, but we clearly need a better 2nd half gameplan in a SECCG rematch.

    Maybe Kirby did throw this game too, just like Auburn in 2018. I can live with that.

    Like

  12. Bay Area Dawg

    I do not think we have to go to a run heavy offense. The WR’s were open, especially the check downs. To beat Bama with SBIV Georgia will have to play ball control and drill into SBIV to take a check down or shorter route and DO NOT force a throw down field into double coverage. Georgia has the talent at WR and RB to let the playmakers make plays when they are 1v1 on the outside. They just need the ball in their hands

    Georgia has to win the time of position and keep the Bama offense off the field as much as possible.

    Like

  13. RangerRuss

    Some time in the next six games another QB needs to get some action. I ain’t talking about just mop up duty. I mean full on first string open playbook. It would be nice to have Mathis or Daniels capable to step in the second half of the SEC Championship game and do to Bama what Tua did to the Dawgs.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    The problem isn’t just Bennett, it’s the WRs and specifically the WR coach.

    Like