I, for one, do not think it takes an offensive genius to assume what the game plan against Georgia’s defense will be this week.

Remember all those screens and hitches that Kent State was hitting Georgia with Saturday? Hard to forget, right?

Now imagine them being called for Luther Burden. He’s Missouri’s five-star freshman wide receiver who spurned defending national champion Georgia to play for his nearby university. But he’s not even the Tigers’ main threat. That would be Dominic Lovett, a 5-foot-10 flanker who has 21 catches, leads the SEC with 376 receiving yards and is averaging 18 yards every time he touches the ball.

No, Missouri is not the great offensive juggernaut it has been in the past. But thanks to Kent State, the rest of college football now knows where the soft underbelly of the mighty Bulldogs defense is located.

It’s in the screen game.

That happens to be where Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz has earned his offensive reputation. Drinkwitz has conducted coaching clinics on a special breed of plays he calls “run constraints.” They’re actually not runs but quick-timed passes his offenses use to ensure that opponents can’t load up against their run game.

Now, “offensive reputation” may be doing a little heavy lifting there.  Missouri is currently twelfth in the conference in passer rating, so a passing juggernaut the Tigers aren’t exactly.  But it would be borderline coaching malpractice not to take note of plays like this…

… and not attempt to probe Georgia’s coverage in a similar way.

“We mis-fit one of them, the one really explosive one,” said Smart, referring to a 56-yard touchdown play by Devontez Walker on a simple wide receiver screen on the left sideline. “We just mis-fit it. Kid didn’t get outside leverage.”

That “kid” was sophomore cornerback Kamari Lassiter, a first-year starter. He and safety Christopher Smith were left alone outside the numbers against two Kent State receivers. A play-action fake to Cooper inside kept Georgia’s linebackers at home, Lassiter was defeated by a blocker, and the senior Smith was left to make a one-on-one, open-field tackle.

Smith never even got to try.

Designed for the cornerback to take “outside leverage,” meaning get to the boundary to turn the play inside, Lassiter never made it. And Smith took an early, overaggressive line to the inside. Catching the ball 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage, the fleet-footed Walker was left with nothing but green grass to negotiate. No Georgia defenders were in position to run him down.

“Football 101,” Smart sighed. “You turn the ball back into your defense, and if you don’t, you get outflanked. Didn’t do a good job of doing that. And the safety (Smith) was expecting him to come back inside, and he went outside, and it made for a big play. So, that was a good job by them, poor job by us.”

That wasn’t the only screen pass misplayed by Georgia defenders.  I’ve got the feeling I know what they’ll be working hard on in practice this week.

The good news is that this won’t be the coaches’ first rodeo.  ‘Bama killed the Dawgs defense with that trip formation/screen pass call in the SECCG.  It wasn’t nearly as successful in the rematch a month later.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

14 responses to “Screened

  1. Anon

    Wheel route—-we hardly knew ya

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Some of the giving up yards between the tackles to the run game is more disconcerting to me than the screens. Playing the screen can be coached. I’m more worried about the play of defensive tackles not named Jalen Carter, who has been banged up.

    Liked by 4 people

    • thelifeofthemind

      Thanks to superior MLB and interior line play, it’s been a lonnng time since an UGA team was soft up the middle. Not something I’m used to seeing.


  3. godawgs1701

    Georgia is going to get that cleaned up by Saturday, I’m sure. Look, I know Kent State has Kirby Smart’s respect and that he says they’re a good team and they probably are but I also don’t think they saw Georgia’s best SEC-game effort last weekend. I suspect that a more focused brand of defense can fix a lot of those mistakes.


  4. Dawglicious

    But, but Senator…Bammer in the rematch didn’t have Metchie and Williams waaah waaah waaaaaaaaaaaaah


    Liked by 1 person

  5. mdcgtp

    Burden is hurt and is questionable to play.


  6. As a Dawg fan, I have PTSD over screens and wheel routes but at least Kirby defends them a little better and we actually run them on offense now.

    Saturday night might be a screen-off.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. spur21

    We got this. I actually think we cover.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Salty Dawg

    I hope they work on recognizing fake punts!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. vidaliadawg

    We will have at least 1 pick 6. Kirby doesn’t have time for this shit.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. munsoning

    When the hell was Mizzou a “great offensive juggernaut”? Is this some alternate history where the Axis powers won WW2 and Marilyn Monroe was a dude?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. TripleB

    I heard we have some good defensive coaches…maybe they can adjust!