Family matters prevented me from helping you get to know the opposing team's coach this week, but nothing will prevent me from bringing you the five things i think you'll see this evening when the 'Dawgs take on the ASU Sun Devils.
1) Dry Heat: Just kidding. I'm so tired of hearing about the weather I can't stand it. Let's start over . . .
1) 60/40: That will be the rough ratio of passing plays to running plays in Mike Bobo's 1st half gameplan. The reason? ASU's defensive line is a stout group, and they'll be keyed up to stop Knowshon Moreno. I think that will open up holes in the secondary, which outside of safety Troy Nolan, has some vulnerabilities.
2) The first 300 yard passing effort of Matt Stafford's career: In the same way that a broken clock is right twice a day, a broke blogger is bound to be right eventually if he consistently predicts the same things. I really think this could be the day for Stafford to break the 300 yard mark, for 3 reasons. First, as noted above, I think we've got a shot to take advantage of the ASU secondary. Second (and I know, this seems tautological), he's just due. Last week, despite 4 really painful drops, Staff still completed better than 60% of his passes. Third, Rudy Carpenter and the ASU offense are going to put points on the board. We'll need to make things happen in the passing game if we're going to keep pace.
3) Ben Jones: Coach Richt has talked all week about making some changes on the O-line after last week's underwhelming performance. I think that any changes would involve Clint Boling and/or Chris Davis moving to the guard spots where they were so effective during the second half of 2007. That probably requires Ben Jones moving into the starting lineup. He's already played significant snaps backing up Davis, but this may be the week Jones gets the starting call.
4) Vance Cuff. And Brandon Boykin, and John Knox, and Andrew Williams: This ASU offense will be the stoutest challenge our secondary has faced so far. It may be the stoutest test of the season. We're going to play nickel and dime packages most of the night. The nightmare scenario for me involves our defense just not being able to get off the field in a repeat of last week's performance. But for a heads up play by Rennie Curran at the goalline and a Smelley throw into the waiting arms of Reshad Jones, we lose that game. It was an unsettling flashback to the worst moments of the Willie Martinez defense circa 2006. I still think the pass rush from the front four is key. But that's almost cliched at this point. The fact remains that we're not going to have three guys in the backfield on every snap. Somewhere along the line our secondary is just going to have to stop their receivers mano-y-mano. Frankly, that worries me a little.
5) UGA 31, ASU 24: This one is not going to be easy. And if the score was reversed I cannot say I would be surprised. Disappointed, yes. But not surprised. ASU is a team that matches up well against the Georgia Bulldogs, and they're coming off a tough loss that will provide motivation beyond what they would have had by virtue of a visit from the #3 team in the country. If we want to really make a national level statement, we have to take care of business in the desert. I think we will, but it won't be easy.