In order for the Bulldogs to overthrow the Crimson-wearing Goliaths this Saturday, there are phases of this game that they must win. Football is a game of 11-on-11, but creating individual mismatches and winning them with timely execution generates the game-deciding plays during a big game like this one. Discovering these breaches will not come easy with both rosters loaded with All-SEC talent and future draft picks, so Mark Richt and his staff must recognize their own potential weak points and fortes in order to take advantage of any favorable matchups. This includes making in-game adjustments especially at halftime, something the Bulldogs have struggled with in past big games. In 2012, they have done well in this department.
Similar to Alabama’s top ranked defense, Georgia’s defense matches up with any offense. Todd Grantham and his pack of junkyard dawgs will have to win this fight by taking advantage of their incredible team speed. With a defense as physical as Georgia’s that was able to flip Georgia Tech running backs upside down then violently slam them down for little to no gain, being physical is still second to the speed that they can play to. No offense can be more physically dominating than Alabama’s, who is led in the trenches by center Barrett Jones. The offensive line and size is the muscle of the Tide offense, and the Georgia defense must gang tackle in order to avoid big gains. The Tide’s inevitable yards-after-contact style has the tendency to wear down defenses.
It’s going to take another big performance out of Jarvis Jones as well as a lot of other help to get a pass rush going against them. Jones must receive help getting to A.J. McCarron in order to win this game. Nick Saban will likely take no chances with Jones and will keep a hat or two on him the whole game.
Grantham is a fiery leader and coordinates a defense that has been playing at the highest tempo. This unit must make sure it avoids any penalties that could move the chains and give second chances. If UGA can continue to play as it has in recent weeks and without costly penalties, the Bulldogs will win their matchup with the Alabama offense.
Offensively, it is up to Aaron Murray, who is making his return to the SEC Championship after another productive season. Murray’s numbers this year have been outstanding, and although many are still unsure how he will do on the big stage, we have to consider last year’s game. The Georgia receivers dropped the ball four times in the first half against LSU; all four were accurate passes by Murray. The LSU defense played airtight coverage from then on and no one could get open and help make the play.
Though he was named the SEC freshman of the year in 2011, Isaiah Crowell had little of the season-long impact that Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have had this year.
Georgia must know its identity and game plan going in. There is tremendous trust between Murray his corps of receivers to make plays and his spreading the ball out so well this season brings in a more dangerous offense. If he can stand in the pocket and the receivers are not dropping balls after getting open, there is no doubt that Murray will find them like he has all season leading this offense. Tavarres King has been a leader for the receivers and team while picking up the slack with a strand of devastating injuries to Marlon Brown and Michael Bennett. King is a big-play, deep threat and in an aggressive Mike Bobo game plan, expect TK’s number to be called upon.
To read Fletcher Proctor’s Why Alabama Will Beat UGA, CLICK HERE