Defenders in disarray?

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.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

44 responses to “Defenders in disarray?

  1. Geezus

    I believe it will be a typical, Grantham-esque defensive effort. The gators will sell out to stop the counter and we will fake the counter and throw over the top of them for the explosives that CKS is always talking about. We will be able to do that for a half before Grantham realizes it.


    • miltondawg

      I heard Shane Matthews this morning on with Buck on 680. Shane’s take was that after watching the film a couple of times that a lot of what happened against LSU boiled down to poorly played fundamental defensive football. Effort. He said that what killed them was that the most basic thing that you are told as a defensive player wasn’t being done by the UF defense…getting off of blocks and keeping the offensive linemen from getting their hands on them.


  2. So far Monken takes what the opposing defense gives him…I think Monken will have a good read on them by the end of the 1st quarter, and then the Dawgs just keep pulling away up by at least 2 scores at the half.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. “I’ve seen Daniels go in and take apart defenses that threw the kitchen sink at stopping the run”
    Is your point that you think Stetson can’t do this or that the run game is stronger with him in there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stetson’s been asked to do it twice — last year against Alabama and Florida — and couldn’t do it. (Yeah, I know about the injury against UF.) This season, it hasn’t been an ask. So the kindest thing I can say is that nobody knows whether he can do it.

      I don’t think Stetson makes the run game stronger. I think a functional run game makes Stetson better.

      Liked by 5 people

      • “last year against Alabama and Florida”
        I believe without Stetson being injured we beat FL last year. He did not play well in the 2nd half against AL last year. But neither did much of the team. Stetson definitely makes us stronger in the run game because the end has to account for him where they do not with Daniels. Now it is true a good running game will help Stetson or Daniels also for that matter. But, I haven’t seen any reason this year (to me he is much improved over last)
        to think that he could not do it. In addition in the only game Daniels was asked to do it this year the offense scored 3 points. So neither one has really shown they could do it this year. As a side note I believe we would have dispatched of KY earlier if we would have thrown more in the 1st quarter especially on first down. But some of that may have been the shape the receiver room is in.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Cool that you’re giving Bennett slack for being injured against UF, but not JT for playing against Clemson with an injury.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Haven’t heard that he had an injury going into that game. I thought it was noticed after the game or the following week.


            • Google is your friend:

              Georgia QB JT Daniels started in the Bulldogs’ Week 1 victory over Clemson, but missed UGA’s Week 2 game against UAB due to an oblique injury. Daniels shared Wednesday that his oblique issues started well before the Clemson game.

              Per Seth Emerson of The Athletic, Daniels shared in a Wednesday media opportunity that his oblique issue began in preseason camp. Daniels detailed that after the Clemson game, the injury felt worse. He spent more rehabbing after the Clemson game, and then started doing a combination of throwing and rehabbing.


      • Russ

        Stetson certainly didn’t bring us roaring back with bomb after bomb, but I put those two losses on a defense that was run off the field with downfield passing. I don’t think this year’s defense gives those up. And Stetson has shown much better touch and command this year.

        Comparing anything from last year to this year is a stretch in my book.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I’m not comparing the two seasons. I’m pointing out that either he hasn’t been asked to carry the offense by throwing the ball all over the place (this season), or, when he has (last season), he wasn’t able to do so.

          I have no idea what he’s capable of this season if that becomes the scenario. On the other hand, I have a pretty good feeling about what JT is capable of, based on the MSU and Cinci games last season.

          And I hate to keep coming back to it, but the comparison between the two’s third down performance is telling. YMMV, of course.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      I’m more worried about a team that can limit our run WITHOUT throwing the kitchen sink at it. I don’t think that’s what bama did last fall.

      That’s where I think Daniels is a big difference maker. If they stop or slow the run game and put you in 3rd and distance situations who can throw it in tight spaces and move the chains?


      Liked by 5 people

  4. akascuba

    One of Monken’s greatest strengths has been adjusting on the fly to what the defense gives you. With an accurate QB he’s money all day.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. theotherdoug

    The counter is to the Gators this year as the wheel route was to UGA last year. It’s a gaping hole that gives the opposition easy first downs whenever they need one.

    It’s a problem and they’re going to have to change the scheme or personnel to be ready to handle the counter. That move is going to open something up for Monken to exploit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Texas Dawg

    Just run that toss sweep to Brenton Cox’s side and we’ll be fine

    Liked by 11 people

    • Down Island Way

      Will give you towel boy isn’t a dummie, working on tackling isn’t a bye week issue (usually addressed during spring/fall practice), correcting/adjusting scheme maybe, there will be no answer (maybe for a quarter) for what the UGA “OC” is gonna bring to the field, t.o.’s will be HUGE Saturday, should the FU o continue down that path, there will be points scored by UGA that the FU d can’t over come, hence that hole gets deeper, not defending lsu, FU d looked done in the 2nd half last week, two weeks isn’t going to cure all FU ills, FU hc is not a doctor for healing, fucking dick wad is a trophy he’ll win…#FTMF

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Derek

    Just a little reminder of how much can change in a short period of time:

    Can anyone name the DC whose unit sucked and then stepped up for the cocktail party?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Texas Dawg

      I’ll chalk that one up to the Blind Squirrel theory. That was an aberration that is unlikely to be repeated.


    • 79dawg

      Who always stepped up for the Cocktail Party – he knew where his bread was buttered….

      Liked by 1 person

    • charlottedawg

      If by “stepping up” you mean benefitted from playing the #104 ranked offense by total offense in 2012, then yes Grantham’s defense “stepped up”. Grantham’s Georgia units playing well in the Georgia Florida game was more a testament to how atrocious will muschamp’s offenses were than to Grantham being a decent coach.


      • Derek

        They did score 44 vs. South Carolina in 2012.

        Remember how much we managed?

        I don’t know why anyone would dawggrade the 2012 win over the then No. 3 ranked undefeated lizards.


        • charlottedawg

          That Florida team was decent but it was all due to their defense and special teams, the offense was still horrendous.

          In the south Carolina game you mentioned, they had 3 tds set up by turnovers within the SC 15 yard line. They gained 183 total yards that’s not good offense, it’s just being the beneficiary of a great defense.


          • Derek

            Well lets just hope CTG doesn’t run into any other teams that have relied upon defense and special teams to be undefeated anytime in say, the next 3 days or so.

            Liked by 1 person

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Gotta somewhat agree with Derek on this one. Grantham did get his players up for Jax. Or maybe a better way to say it is Grantham didn’t piss his pants in fear, as some of our other coaches did, when they stepped on the field in Jax.


    • Muttley

      Who stepped up in 2012 was Jarvis Jones…

      Liked by 3 people

  8. TripleB

    All this talk is making me nervous!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. ASEF

    I think it’s great Grantham spent his off week trying to go back and win the prior week’s game.

    And hopefully he spends the week after Georgia trying to go back and fix whatever Monken clowned him with.

    Bold prediction: Florida’s streak of outgaining their opponents ends. And they lose. Badly.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. fisheriesdawg

    No idea if the counter will be there, but I expect a lot of motion to discombobulate Grantham’s NFL-level complicated schemes. I think we may be in for a big day from the tight ends because they’re best positioned to exploit confusion in coverage.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. DawgFlan

    I see the LSU game as an aberration for UF’s defense. LSU’s particular wrinkle on the counter surprised more than exposed UF. I don’t think it will be there, at all, after the bye week.

    I see UF’s defense playing UGA tough and don’t expect UGA to dominate on the ground. We might get 150-175 running yards. They will make UGA pass to win. Monken will have his own wrinkles and answers, I am just nervous that either/both UGA QBs begin pressing to “win” QB1 and it leads to mental mistakes and turnovers.

    As the days roll on I am getting more nervous about this game. UF has kept it close against everyone. They have enough talent, sizzle, timing and luck to stay in every game.

    Like Bobo/AU and Coen/UK, Mullen will script a handful of plays that will be successful. The explosiveness of those new/gimmicky plays will be the biggest factor in the game, IMHO. Give up yards but not points, or FGs instead of TDs, and we should win comfortably. If they consistently hit on their “shot” plays, it will stay tight. I hope he remains one play away ̶R̶a̶y̶ Dan.

    This is still the most talented team UGA faces in the regular season, arguable aside from Clemson, and I expect UF’s athletes for play up to the level of competition. If nothing else, they have more pride than dopey Dan.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. D as in Dawg

    I’m worried about the deep ball. AR is talented and if he is accurate on Saturday we will be in trouble. We have to get pressure on him and bring him down when we have the chance. I believe he will get the start.

    Methodical is great, but this is a talented team that can score a lot if it gets in a rhythm. We need not play around with smash mouth up the middle if it isn’t working all in the hopes of wearing them down by the 4th quarter. Pass on early downs and run outside the tackles. Move the chains. Like the Senator says, JT is better on 3rd down. That may be the key.

    For goodness sakes I don’t want to lose this game!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. We have one of the most dominant defenses in CFB history. This is not a gator offense loaded with talent that can score a lot on us. First half might end 17 – 10 Dawgs, but we get up by three scores in the second half as the gators lay down. If Monken finds something that works early we might even get a blowout going. Grantham can fix the counter run game all he wants…we’re going to pick them apart and push their D line around in other ways that it won’t matter. Lack of discipline will also cost the gators some big penalties…PF, targeting, holding, etc. Gators need to be +3 in turnovers and hit a couple of gimmick plays to put us on the ropes. Really don’t see that happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. unionjackgin

    We will need to pass the ball efficiently to win on Saturday. Each week it has been the efficiency of the passing game that has opened up the ability to dominate with the run game.

    I don’t think the game plan changes too much if Bennett or Daniels is in the game except maybe fewer RPO plays where Stetson uses his running ability.

    Our TE platoon is a major advantage for us and I expect that Monked will call plays to exploit that advantage.

    The game may be closer than we have expected it to be given their result at LSU. I am hopeful that we will keep our 2021 formula of keeping the opponent off the scoreboard until our offense can build multi-score lead holds.


  15. uga97

    Grantham referring to the arly season Bama game at which point Saban’s offense had a new OC, a true Sophomore QB & hardly any run game established yet is quite the moral victory. When your offense can’t outscore the other team, you get exposed. That’s FU 2021, that’s Grantham every year. Best of luck to Todd not throwing out the lower back while moving.