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?