Saturday, September 10, 2011

Keys to the game - South Carolina edition

1. Rushing stalemate. I do not think that Georgia is going to be able to dominate the rushing game but they don't need to. Lattimore is great and has solid blocking. Georgia's running game is dependent on a shaky offensive line and a freshman running back. South Carolina however will most likely be keying on rushing the passer while at least early Georgia will be keying on the running game. If Georgia stands a chance to win the game they need to stay close in the running game. Say within about 50 yards or so of rushing totals.

2. Give Murray a chance. Carolina's defense is set up to rush the passer. Georgia gave up 6 sacks last week. Not a good combination. East Carolina did a good job of negating Carolina's pass rush last week by using a quick passing game. They did not try to hold onto the ball for very long. A combination of screens, slants and quick outs can help Murray stay upright and get Georgia out of big negative plays.

3. Expect the unexpected from Spurrier. Even with a freshman phenom last year I think most people still thought Spurrier would try to throw to beat the Dawgs. He came out from the start and pounded the ball with Lattimore. When he had success he continued to go back to it and played a ball control game and let his defense win the game for him. Georgia's defense will almost certainly remember the pounding they took last year and be jacked up to stop the run. Spurrier will try to use this against them by going play action early to go for the kill shot. Georgia will have to key on the running game but not so much so they get killed with play action and screens.

4. Field position. Georgia fans and coaches took for granted last week that our special teams would win the field position battle for us. Boise owned that department and it gave them a huge advantage as Georgia always had the longer field to drive. Special teams is Georgia's biggest strength and they need have to win that part of the game to win.

5. Fast start. Despite the fans displeasure with last week they know that the schedule gets much easier after this game and will be jacked up for the first true home game of the season. The problem is the fan base is on edge about where the program is headed and if Georgia gets off to a bad start the home crowd might not be much of an advantage at all. The faithful that show up every week to cheer on their Dawgs want nothing more than to help the team out by going crazy after a big Georgia score or stop by the defense. The problem is that while the fans will be loud at the start they will also be very nervous and if things go poorly to start the crowd could easily lose some of its energy.

The other part about getting off to a fast start is it helps the players to relax a bit. In my opinion a lot of the mistakes from last week were from the players feeling the pressure of the game. King dropping easy catches, offensive line getting false starts, Mitchell dropping the ball on his punt return, and Crowell slipping on his first carry can all be results of nerves. When things didn't go well for the offense early it snowballed and made them even tighter. Something as simple as getting a couple of first downs on the first drive can help them to relax and just play ball. I just feel like if things go bad early that the fans, players and coaches may altogether have a huge sigh and say "here we go again".

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