Another internal dialogue with a split personality. Did this offseason drive us all mad?
1) Line play, baby. Nothing about the Southern Miss game, which I watched with voyeuristic avidity, showed me anything to make me believe that Sakerlina has the ability to dominate on the offensive line to the extent required to keep the new, collected Garcia in existence. To be precise, I expect Houston and Washington to converge on his happy-footed, goatee-bearing little self all afternoon. This treatment should bring out the “OMG PASS RUSH RUN RUN RUN” Steve Garcia that we all know and love, and possibly even get Connor Shaw in the game by the second half. On the other hand, Georgia’s pass protection combined with Murray’s mobility should be adequate against a Cock pass rush that is missing Clifton Geathers and Eric Norwood. The run blocking is a concern after the ULL game, but with Washaun Ealey’s return UGA should be able to do just enough on the ground to keep the defense off the field and the sticks moving.
Rebuttal: HAHA! You as good as admit that the Dawgs will have trouble running the ball on Saturday. That means that your RFr QB is going to be tasked with throwing against Akeem Auguste and Stephon Gilmore, who probably will not drop balls thrown directly to them in the endzone. I’m calling a three-pick game for the kid.
2) Experience in the running game. Todd Grantham’s linebackers are looking up to be ferocious gang-tackling machines, and the Cocks are gonna be running a true freshman into that front seven. Lattimore is a tough kid and will get his yards, but he will be getting them a couple at a time and might just turn it over in there. I’ve already confessed that I’m not confident about the Dawgs’ run blocking against the Inevitable Eight-Man Front (tm), meaning that I don’t think we’ll be able to get 4ypc consistently; but I believe we have the talent to break a few long runs if we stick with the ground game. In a tight game like this one surely will be, those plays will likely be the difference.
Rebuttal: Um...okay...so you think Lattimore will turn it over because he’s a freshman. Well, maybe. But I can think of a running back who has lots of “experience” with turnovers, and his name rhymes with Schmaleb King. And if you’re counting on big running plays to be the difference-maker, I’m betting that the defense which just totally changed scheme is going to allow more.
3) Special Teams. Georgia probably has the premier special teams unit in the nation at this point. Seriously. A kicker who makes 50+ yard FGs look easy, a punter who does the same with 60-yard punts, and a record-setting kick return man. Add this to the new and dangerous threat of Branden Smith at PR, Georgia’s traditionally aggressive punt block unit, and the revitalization of our kick coverage under Warren Belin, and there is no way the Dawgs don’t have a serious edge here. I also look for the Ogletree Bros. to have a huge game here now that Alec is back, after Zander’s huge special-teams tackle against ULL.
Rebuttal: Crap. You’re probably right. Well, that’s still no replacement for having a QB who knows what he’s doing.
4) The secondary. What I saw from Sakerlina was receivers pushing off and being aggressive with their man, and generating space in this way. That’s how Scott Lakatos rolls, though, and it will be no new thing for the Georgia DBs. (Remember Scott Lakatos? You’ve seen him before in a bowl game. How’d that work out for you?) Furthermore, Branden Smith and Sanders Commings have the size to match up with Alshon Jeffrey, which the overmatched corners of Southern Miss so conspicuously lacked. Combined with Bacarri Rambo and Jakar Hamilton over the top, Garcia’s going to have to work for his passing yards on Saturday.
Rebuttal: There’s some truth to this too, but Alshon is an NFL receiver in waiting...and thanks, because he’s going to be the only one on the field on Saturday. He’ll haul in a few big ones, and that’s all we’ll need.
5) You are South Carolina, and you will never win the East. Ever. Y’all have a real nice day now, and enjoy the Citrus Bowl. Bring me back a fruit basket.
I hate you.