Understandably, Georgia’s quarterback situation is getting a lot of attention this week. I’ve teased that Smart is playing some mind games with Todd Grantham about it, but, honestly, Grantham’s probably got bigger fish to fry during the bye week than figuring out which QB trots out there to start the game.
Following an absolute disaster on run defense against one of the nation’s worst-ranked rushing attacks heading into the game, Florida has had a week to evaluate what went wrong against LSU and how to fix it.
The bad news?
Depending on who you ask there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus about what exactly went wrong. In a 49-42 loss to LSU on Oct. 16, Florida allowed 321 yards rushing. The Tigers had averaged just 83.3 yards per game going into the annual showdown.
If you read the rest of the piece, there’s a lot more finger pointing going on than solution proposing. For example, here’s Grantham’s take:
“Well obviously we didn’t do a good enough job on that, so we’ve worked on it and hopefully we’ll be able to play those plays as we move forward through the season, because we’ll see them again,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “Basically it gets down to, like I said before, the margins for error. And your ability to be exact can go from holding a team like Alabama to the lowest total in a long, long time to not playing the way we wanted to two weeks ago. So we understand that and we’re excited about the opportunity to go showcase it on Saturday.”
A coachspeak nothingburger there. Here’s what should trouble Grantham:
And maybe it does; no coach is going to come out and admit he’s too predictable in his scheming. But if LSU saw something, you can bet Todd Monken’s no dummy, either. And it’s not like he hasn’t shown before that he’s got a clue about how to exploit that.
So I’d expect Florida is spending an inordinate amount of time during these two weeks trying to fix what was broken. Jake Rowe feels the same way.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Gators spent the entire bye week working on playing the counter better. LSU ate them up with it. On one hand, that makes me think that Georgia will have to execute really, really well to have success with that play or any other run scheme. The level of focus there is bound to be very high.
But with that said, I noticed something when watching LSU use it. Georgia’s use of the shotgun toss play could come in big if it does decide to use that counter play heavily against the Gators.
– The lateral step taken by the running back for the toss play kind of mimics the counter step taken by the running back on the counter.
– Georgia runs the toss effectively and it has that play in its arsenal if the Gators over play the counter. We’ve documented how effective the toss action pass game is for UGA.
– UGA has been lethal with play action off of the toss play and it might be able to use some of the same route concepts off the counter.
That may all turn out to be true. But what if Florida’s intense focus on shoring up its run defense pays off? The Dawgs have been more respectable than dominant in running the ball in SEC games, but what they’ve really been successful at with the ground game is doing enough with it to sell play action, which is what Stetson Bennett’s made a living at so far this season. What happens if Florida schemes well enough to make Stetson beat them throwing, particularly on third down? (I’ve mentioned it before, but that down is not his strong suit.)
Now, I’m just asking, and if the Florida run D is just as bad Saturday as it was against LSU, then these questions are moot, and I’d expect Bennett to keep on keeping on. But… I’ve seen Daniels go in and take apart defenses that threw the kitchen sink at stopping the run, and that’s not nothing. Smart and Monken will have to ask themselves these same questions in making the call Saturday.