If you haven’t had the chance to read or hear Daniels’ comments last night after the win, you should take the time to do so. Since we won’t hear from Monken until season’s end, this is the most illuminating stuff we’ll see on x’s and o’s until then.
Being able to go downfield so much? Did you think that was in the plan without the run game?
“In terms of the run game, first you have to give a lot of credit to Mississippi State. That front six, and really the D-Coordinator, they ran a bunch of stunts. They were doing a great job of playing right into it. Those guys are physical, tough dudes. On film we’ve been such a great run team, and I think we had to prove ourselves in the pass game a little bit. They played a little more Cover Zero with no safeties, they played a little more man. I think it was their emphasis to try to stop Zeus and Cook from taking it up on them. No, I did not think we would have to come out and be throwing the ball that much. But that’s football, you play the game, see what their game plan is and what they are trying to stop, and then you counter it.”
Confidence in pushing the ball downfield…
“It was definitely something I saw, they were trying o send more pressure. They were playing more one high and zero high than they had shown on film. If you have George Pickens and Jermaine Burton, if you’re not going to throw it up to them, don’t recruit them. George made me look good, Jermaine made me look good, Kearis makes me look really good when I under throw a deep ball down the middle and he makes a great play. If you are give one-on-one with George, Kearis and Jermaine, and all our guys, I’m probably going to try to make you show me you can stop it.”
Were you shocked to see cover zero (complete man-to-man coverage) on that 3rd and 20 touchdown to Kearis Jackson?
“I’m not going to say I was surprised. I’d seen Cover Zero; Mississippi State has shown it, but not only then. It’s something you see a decent amount. You’ll get cover zero trying to get you to just throw the ball out of your hands really quickly and get off the field. So it wasn’t too surprising. But when I knew what we had called and I saw the zero shell, I was real excited because I knew we were about to score.
How much latitude were you given within the offense?
“I’d like to say pretty much anything I want – within the system. So we have certain plays that are called checks, we have certain things where if you get this look, check to this. I think Coach Monken gives all of us freedom to put us in the right play. He’s all about having quarterbacks enhance the play. There’s only so much that he can do in calling a play before we see the defense. So he loves to have a quarterback that can see the defense and fix whatever needs to be fixed.”
As I posted yesterday, I didn’t expect the kind of blowout the line on the game anticipated. But I really didn’t expect Georgia to throw the ball 38 times to win the game.
The thing is, as Daniels explained, MSU’s defensive strategy left the Dawgs little choice. They could have continued beating their heads against the (8- and 9-man) wall and constant run blitzes on first down, or they could have taken what the MSU defense was giving them. Georgia chose the latter, as hard a decision as that might have been for Kirby Smart, and for that, he deserves much credit.
Last year’s SECCG may have been the first step on the path to wisdom when it comes to modern day offenses, but last night, with its relatively modest 31 points, seems to have been the moment when reality was really driven home. Good on Kirby for accepting that.