Daily Archives: November 4, 2022

In case you haven’t had enough keys to the game…

… here’s one more, from Bill Connelly ($$).

First, if Tennessee is able to hang a solid point total on the Dawgs’ defense, it could bring back some of the demons of 2020, when Georgia got forced into track meets by Alabama and Florida, and Bennett pressed and made some crippling errors trying to keep up. Second, the Vols could force him to throw more than he would prefer when behind schedule. Granted, the Dawgs rank first nationally in passing downs success rate — Bennett has some of the best “catch up to the chains” playmakers in college football. But in the three games in which he was pressured most often on dropbacks (Missouri, Florida and, strangely, Kent State), he went just 9-for-24 passing and took quite a few hits. Tennessee doesn’t sack the quarterback a ton, but ranks ninth in blitzes per dropback and 11th in pressure rate.

If Byron Young and the Vols’ pass rush can get to Bennett semi-frequently, the calculus of this game changes quite a bit. If Bennett can throw from a mostly clean pocket, however, the Dawgs will likely roll. His weapons are strong and unique, and even with last week’s dominance of Kentucky, Tennessee still ranks 87th in passing success rate allowed and 55th in raw QBR allowed.

I think there’s something to that.  If you’re Josh Heupel and you believe your offense is going to put points up, even if not as prolifically as it did against Alabama, why wouldn’t you be as aggressive on defense as Missouri was against Georgia?

Georgia’s offensive line has been playing its best football of the season at the right time.  They’ll sure need to keep on keeping on tomorrow.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Run the damned ball, Dawgs?

One more thing from that Pete Thamel article ($$):

“I just don’t know if they have anyone outside Brock Bowers that really, really scares you at the wide receiver position right now,” a coach said. “They have guys, but they are just guys. There’s better throughout the SEC. From that standpoint. If you can stop the run, I don’t think the issue is Stetson. It’s having enough weapons around him. There’s no George Pickens or Jermaine Burton and all those guys like last year.”

I hate to break it to that guy, but there was no George Pickens to speak of last year, either.  But I digress.

What I want to focus on in this post is his “If you can stop the run” hypothetical.  How do we know UT can?  Yes, there are all kinds of takes out there about why Tennessee’s offense this season is far better that last year’s (not that I would argue differently), but why are we supposed to think their run defense is as improved?  Well, for one thing, the stats say they are.  The Vols are ninth nationally in run defense and in defensive yards per rush, compared to 60th and 36th, respectively, in 2021.  They haven’t allowed an opponent to rush for over four yards a carry this season.

But here’s where it gets interesting.  Georgia has only failed to average at least four yards per rush in one game so far this season.  The Dawgs are averaging 5.65 ypc in 2022.  And they didn’t exactly have a problem carving up Tennessee’s run defense in 2021, when they rushed for 274 yards and averaged 6.68 ypc.

So, it’s gonna be interesting.  Everyone is going to be focused on watching Tennessee’s passing game, but if Georgia can establish the run, that may wind up having at least as big an impact on the game.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The key to the game you maybe weren’t expecting

Okay, fine($$)

ESPN spoke to a total of 15 head coaches, assistants, NFL scouts and staffers about Tennessee, UGA and Alabama as a way to break down both the season’s top game and handicap the SEC race. Perhaps a surprise to some, a majority of the coaches — but certainly not all — picked Tennessee to win at Georgia despite being an 8-point underdog.

Why should that bunch be any different?  I mean, UT’s offense is the shiny new toy this season.  Although, speaking of surprises…

“I won’t be surprised if Tennessee scores 50,” one coach said. “Georgia’s front is average. Their back end is below average. They really miss William Poole [who left the team early in September]. I don’t think their corners are special. The [Kelee] Ringo kid, he doesn’t run nearly as well as you’d expect. The others are just OK. They’re going to run right by those corners.”

William Poole, key to the game?  Look, he had a great, great game in the national championship meeting, one that I’ll be eternally grateful for, but he’s been gone for over a month and the defense hasn’t really missed a beat without him, one reason for that being that Javon  Bullard has played his ass off in Poole’s absence.   But what do I know?

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Filed under Georgia Football

Who’s interviewing who?

You know, after listening to Kirby discuss the circumstances surrounding his hire…

… it sounds like he had more questions and needed more assurances about the program than McGarity had about hiring him.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Red zone battle

It’s going to be interesting to see how that aspect of the game tomorrow plays out.  Both Georgia and Tennessee are among the national leaders in red zone scoring percentage, although the Vols boast a higher red zone touchdown percentage.

Defensively, though, it’s another story.

Over the course of the season, Georgia’s defense has been better and more consistent than Tennessee’s in the red zone.  Will that be the case tomorrow, or does UT’s performance against Kentucky suggest the Vols’ defense has stepped up?

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!