Bill Connelly ($$) thinks it’s starting to look that way.
We long ago penciled in this game as the one that would tell us what we need to know about Bennett and the Georgia attack. Whether that remains the case will depend on whether Bama can actually give Young enough time to run the Tide offense. That’s increasingly been an issue. Opponents have done a good job of covering up Young’s quicker reads, forcing him to look downfield and, in the process, sacking him more frequently.
Forcing Young to look downfield is a double-edged sword, as he will complete some of these passes for big gains. But opponents have figured out how to create more negative plays, and the effects have been clear.
You can rest assured that Georgia’s coaches and a host of analysts have been pouring over the tape from those games. From what I saw in the Iron Bowl, Mason was very aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage and Young (until he wasn’t, but that’s another story).
The question is how far does Lanning have to go to produce similar issues. Bill suggests not so far.
Georgia manages to create constant pressure despite blitzing only 22% of the time (80th in FBS), and it let opponents fire short passes, swarming and gang-tackling for minimal gains. Perhaps screens and quick passes will gain just enough to allow Bama to stay on schedule and keep Young out of trouble. But against a defense that ranks first in success rate, first in explosive play rate and forces three-and-outs an incredible 50% of the time (also first), Alabama will either have to play by far its best offensive game of the season or force Bennett into mistakes he hasn’t made all season…
This only gets easier for Georgia’s defense if Alabama can’t run the ball effectively.