Dawgs Surge Past the Vols
Cover Photo: ESPN Broadcast
As previously stated in #3 Georgia vs Tennessee Week #6 Prediction our 47-16 prediction was almost spot on as the Dawgs defeated the Volunteers 43-14
By: Joshua Grosh
Another true Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Dawgs it would seem. Georgia for the first quarter and some of the second seemed completely and utterly lost on defense. In fact, Georgia had given up 205 yards through the air to the freshman, first time starter Brian Maurer. Yet, while this was frustrating, Georgia finally sprung to life in the second quarter and didn’t look back – to the tune of 33 unanswered points and silenced what seemed like a storybook start for a Tennessee quarterback. Yet, even in victory, there are somethings to pick a part.
First and foremost, the offense is beginning to build on it’s already existing blemishes while also showing some major promise. Georgia is behaving so conservative that it can be a detriment to this team. For instance, Georgia seems to only run the ball in two manners: up the gut in traditional handoffs or to the outside with jet sweeps. There are no pitches to the outside or toss sweeps to attack the perimeter with blockers in front. There seems to be little variety with the running packages – and while yes I understand Georgia’s style is to wear you out until these body blows take effect; they simply will not work against quality opponents. Georgia has a bevy of talented backs and blockers so they should find unique ways to use them and not just bashing one’s head against a wall of defenders crowding the line. However, there is a bright side and this one needs to be explored FAR more often. Going hurry up and putting the offense even further into Fromm’s hands. During the two-minute offense (to close the first half), Fromm diced the Tennessee defense like Tom Brady in a 2 minute offense, it came so natural and easy. Fromm showed all the potential that everyone raves about and Georgia’s offense seems bent on avoiding going into his hands as much. Furthermore, Fromm threw it all over the yard, amassing 288 yards on 24 completions. In one of the few times in recent memory, Georgia actually threw more than it rushed. Georgia can build on this. If it can re-establish it’s run game while keeping this passing ability, Georgia may be a very formidable force.
Now, for the most frustrating part of the first half: the defense. There is no way to sugar coat it, Georgia’s passing defense was essentially picked apart by a true freshman quarterback in his first start. The secondary often looked out of place and didn’t tackle well at times. Multiple Tennessee receivers were able to break free or run pass the cornerbacks like they were standing still – and that is the worst issue that could hurt Georgia against more quality opponents (Florida or potentially the SEC West champion). Georgia’s secondary cannot let receivers get as open or past them like Tennessee did today in the future or it could spell major trouble down the road. While we could attribute this to a disinterested team against what was expected to be an easy win, we simply cannot afford for this to be repeated. However, on the positive side, Georgia did tighten it up and completely blanked Tennessee after that second touchdown. To add to this, Georgia was all over the backfield with pressure, sacks, and tackles for a loss. Georgia showed it can affect the quarterback when motivated enough and it became evident once the second half got underway. The defensive line really began to enforce their will as Tennessee couldn’t run the ball effectively. With that being said, the lack of a run game really put the the pressure on Tennessee later in the game. If Georgia can play like it did against Notre Dame in the future (its major potential), this will be a fearsome team.
Georgia returns home to face a struggling South Carolina team who will be coming in with a 2-3 record and fresh off a bye week (one of many Georgia opponents who get the benefit of such). Georgia will need to tight up on the passing defense as they will face one of the many promising young quarterbacks of the SEC in Ryan Hilinski.