Jake Rowe compares position groups for tomorrow’s game and doesn’t find a single one where Auburn has the advantage. Final tally: Georgia 5, Push 4. Now that doesn’t fully paint the picture, as it’s a comparison of units as opposed to how the teams will actually face off, but, still, it adds up to a talent advantage for the visitors.
Looking at that, I’ve got two questions about Auburn’s game plan tomorrow. One is on offense, where Harsin knows what he’s up against, but still wants to test Georgia’s run defense.
“You’re going to have to win some of those one-on-one matchups,” Harsin said. “They do have very good depth, they’re very good up front. You still have to scheme for that, so you just can’t give up on that because they have good players, and they have depth. You’re going to scheme, you’re going to have a plan and then you’re going to work on the things that you have to do that week in order to make that play or that plan you have with your offense successful.”
“Everybody wants to try to run the football, and so you still want to be able to run it,” Harsin said. “You’ve got to be able to handle those guys up front. We’ve got to do a great job at O-line, tight ends being able to get up to those linebackers as well so you can run it. So that just in itself is a challenge.”
Run the damned ball, Bobo. Seriously, I get why Harsin’s saying that. Auburn’s basically averaging about the same yardage per run play as it is per pass attempt. He can’t just abandon that. (Of course, that’s the same thinking Sam Pittman had the week before, and look where that got him.)
On defense, Derek Mason’s got a choice. Does he sit back in coverage and make Georgia nibble down the field, or does he challenge the Dawgs’ offensive line, play man coverage and make Stetson Bennett beat him over the top? It’s a pick your poison scenario. Arkansas tried the former and Monken took the run all game long. UAB went the latter route and Bennett had a career game.
My personal feeling is that, given the talent disadvantage, Harsin knows he’s got to gamble and force the action somewhat, so I expect Auburn to be more aggressive on defense than Arky was. I do think he wants some traction from his running game, but even on offense, I expect he’ll want to take his share of shots and trick plays.