Five keys for a Bulldog victory
by Jeff Dantzler
photo by Rob Saye
1. Stop the Fullback – When it comes to stopping the triple option, from the wishbone to the Eagles
and Tech’s flexbone (originally named the “Hambone” by the great icon Erk Russell for star quarterback Tracy
Ham), everything begins with the fullback. If the fullback is gashing the front, then the option pitch becomes
easy and the defense is flat out defeated. Remember, in that painful loss to Tech in ’08, Johnathan Dwyer set
the tone with a long touchdown run to start the second half. The Eagles have a standout fullback in Dominique
Swope. He’s one of the top runners in Division I-AA. To avoid the upset, the Dogs front can’t let him
2. Pressure the QB on the Pitch – It’s the next stage of defending the option. It start with limiting the effect of the fullback. When the quarterback decides to keep it and fakes to the fullback, he’s going wide right or left with a pitch man. If the quarterback is right handed and the ball is on the left hash, making the wide side the right side, this is when the next phase of the triple option can be its most dangerous. JeRick McKinnon is one of the dominant players in the country, and the other quarterback Ezayi Youyoutei s very dangerous as well. Georgia must be physical with the quarterback on the option. Hit them hard every time and don’t make it an option.
3. High Octane Offense – It is important for the Georgia offense to set the tone and put the pressure on the Eagles. This will far and away be the most talented offense that Georgia Southern has faced all year, and the Bulldogs ability to move the ball and strike for big plays on the ground and through the air should mean a big day on the scoreboard for the red and black. It would be nice to take some pressure off of the defense, since this will be the first of two straight games against the tough-to-defend triple option, and special tams. The Dogs will have the ability to come out fast, and keep the foot on the accelerator from start to finish.
4. Get Physical Up Front – Georgia’s offensive line is going to have to be tough and strong. The Eagles have a stellar defensive tackle in Brent Russell, who is on his way to becoming a three-time consensus All-American. He’s big and strong at 6-2, 300. But the Bulldogs offensive front has a size advantage and they can set the tone for a big day on offense, and be in a physical frame of mind against an underdog defense that will be flying around like it’s the Super Bowl. This week and next, Georgia’s offensive line can continue to grow, improve and make their mark as a standout up-and-coming unit.
5. Sound Special Teams – Turnovers and kicking game blunders, more than any other issues, tend to open the door for major upsets. Georgia must be solid here and not lose the game on special teams. There have been issues on special teams – primarily in place-kicking and the return game. For the most part, Georgia’s kick coverage has been outstanding, and punter Collin Barber has had a couple of excellent games here in the second half of the season. It would be a big plus if the Bulldogs could get a quick strike on special teams with a big return or a blocked punt.