Dogs vs. Eagles - With a birth to SEC championship secured, Georgia must remain focussed on Saturday
by Travis Ragsdale
photo by Rob Saye
Many people had in their minds that this past weekend would be a a letdown for Georgia; that perhaps the worst Auburn team of all time would be able to come out and ruin the Dawg’s season. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Georgia came out focused and determined with a keen eye on one of the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year. Now, a trip to the SEC Championship is once again set; that makes five trips in Coach Richt’s 12 years as head coach. There are other goals however. Being in the top 5 in the BCS rankings means that Georgia has a unique opportunity to do something special with the rest of the year. But first, they have to get through this week and Georgia Southern.
Fear the Flexbone
When Georgia Southern comes out next Saturday in Sanford
Stadium, you’ll notice something very familiar when their offense
takes the field. They run a flexbone/wing-t/option offense that is almost
identical to Georgia Tech’s. These type of offenses are very hard
to prepare for after you have been game planning all season for the
more traditional offense of the SEC. This week, the defense has a short amount of time
to get ready for the deception and trickery of an option offense. Perhaps the most difficult
thing is getting the defensive line ready to handle cut (and chop) blocks that
Southern will inevitably use. More over, the d-line needs to understand how to avoid
injury when taking these on (more on that later). Make no mistake, Georgia Southern
knows how to run this offense and run it well. To this point of the season, they have
almost 4,000 total yards rushing. But when you concentrate almost all of your resources
into that one element of the game, usually something else suffers. For Southern, that’s
their passing game with only 30 passing completions and four TD passes. They’ll come
out and run that ball and run the ball some more and when that’s not working, they’ll
run the ball again. Just like Tech, they have great confidence in this offense and it’s ability
to catch defenses off guard. The Dawgs better be ready to snuff it out.
A Little Help!
Kansas State plays Baylor. Oregon plays Stanford. Notre Dame plays Wake Forest.
It’s hard to imagine after that devastating loss in Columbia but Georgia still has a chance
to play for a national title and at least a BCS bowl. But in order for that to happen, they
need some help in front of them. With only two weeks left in the regular season it’s
coming down to the wire for the Dawgs and for the rest of the SEC. Right now, the conference’s
streak of six national titles in a row is in great jeopardy. Of the group previously
listed, the team that may be in the most danger this week is Oregon simply
because Stanford is a top-25 team whereas Baylor and Wake Forest are nowhere close
to Kansas State and Notre Dame respectfully. For Georgia fans though, this is a nice
change of pace. Usually, the Dawg’s are on the outside looking in, but now, they’re right
in the thick of things. With a little help, they could be back in business in talks of a trip
This is a tricky subject this week and next week for Georgia. Coach Richt needs to
find the perfect balance in keeping starters in long enough to win the game but not
long enough for one of them to get hurt. This is of particular importance along the defensive
line. With Abry Jones already out for the year with an ankle injury, that group
up there is in a very vulnerable spot as far as players go. Unfortunately, Georgia is facing
offenses in the next two weeks that are notorious for illegal chop blocks that cause
injury to defensive lineman (see DeAngelo Tyson last season). For the defensive line,
they have to shed blocks with their hands this week rather than bull rushing and trying
to over power lineman. This is really the only way to truly avoid the dreaded ankle
sprain from a chop block. For the rest of the team it’s pretty simple; play hard until the
game is out of reach, then sit your butt on the bench. The last thing Georgia fans need
is a key player going down against Georgia Southern and not being able to play in the
SEC championship. Likely, their opponent will be Alabama and the Dawgs will need all
of their horses to beat that behemoth that is the Crimson Tide.
Georgia Southern shouldn’t win this game. Heck, they shouldn’t even sniff victory.
Georgia is riding a pretty good wave of momentum after dismantling Ole Miss and
Auburn in back to back weeks. The caveat is always that the visiting team in a game like
this has nothing to lose but it really shouldn’t have affect on the outcome. This is the
first time that these two squads have hooked up in awhile so the crowd may be a factor
as well. These Georgia Southern kids are used to playing in front of 20,000 fans a
game. You better believe they’ll be a little shell-shocked when the run out between the
hedges and find 93,000 people waiting for them. Either way, it’s another chance for
Dawg fans to see their boys strap it up in Sanford en route to Atlanta.