I had a weird feeling the entire South Carolina game. Something I had never really experienced before as a Dawg fan. I was so nervous after a bit of a sloppy/slow start. Not nervous that we weren’t good enough to beat South Carolina. But nervous that if we kept playing poorly, we wouldn’t have enough time to take control. The game feels shorter as the #1 team in the country. It was a really odd feeling, especially in a game that turned out to be a two touchdown victory. We were easily a superior team, we just weren’t playing up to the standard we had grown accustomed to this year. How spoiled have I been 9 games in to already claim that sort of mentality?
It did feel like we were pressing a bit to start the game. The coaches must have seen an opportunity on the opening kick but the onside attempt really put the defense in a tough spot to start out a division matchup. The defense responded really well as they often have. Our first offensive play was a vertical shot. Again, likely another well researched possible opportunity from a coaching perspective. We settled down as the game wore on and started to wear down Carolina with size and depth. It probably means nothing, but I am glad whatever distraction week 1 as #1 may have brought is dealt with and less significant moving forward. In the end, we beat what is probably the 2nd best team in the East and did so with relative ease. Hopefully a running trend for the next few years.
3 Auburn Players That Worry Me
These three guys are some of Auburn’s most dangerous playmakers. I remember our staff heavily recruiting each of them and engaging in a heavy recruiting battle with Auburn. It is cool to see talented players live up to their potential and become great college players. A lot more exciting when those players decide to be Dawgs.
· Darius Slayton
Coach Pruitt really wanted to Slayton to be a Dawg. I heard multiple times in a thick country accent, “that Darius Slayton from GAC is gonna be a first round pick if he plays corner”. Well he has settled into a WR role at Auburn and is starting to emerge. He’s not their leading receiver and he probably isn’t their most consistent play maker. But he can break the game open in the vertical passing game. He is averaging 31 yards per catch. He is a long strider and can break away from defensive backs quickly. He has a long frame which really worries me against some of our midget corners.
· Jeff Holland
Has Georgia really faced an elite or even above average OLB yet? Maybe the best OLB the Dawgs have faced thus far has been DJ Wonnum from South Carolina. He was able to rack up 9 tackles and a sack in a loss. Well they will face an elite edge rusher and play maker on Saturday. Jeff Holland has 7.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Isaiah Wynn has been really good in pass protection all year and Andrew Thomas has been very quiet (everything you could ask for from a true freshman OT in the SEC). Can they hold up against Holland and give Fromm time to get the ball down field? I think this one makes me the most nervous.
· Eli Stove
Stove is Auburn’s most versatile offensive weapon. He’s a good receiver but really shines in some of the wrinkles in Malzahn’s offense. #12 will see a ton of motion into the formation all night. Some of it will be eye candy to slow an aggressive defense and setup future play calls. But when Stove finally gets the ball in his hands off motion, he can get to the edge and take it the distance. Staying disciplined on the perimeter could shut down his big play threat. He is an extremely fast player but Georgia’s sideline to sideline defensive team speed should negate his advantage if the Dawgs can remain disciplined on motion responsibility.
Chaney Cooking Something Up
It felt like the coaches knew that we would beat South Carolina. Obviously we had to go out and take care of business. But once we had control of the game, Chaney was looking to give Auburn a few extra looks. Here are a few examples of the extra looks Auburn has to prepare for this week
· Unbalanced line: Jim Chaney introduced a new personnel group last week when he sent in 3 TEs and 6 offensive linemen. The formation was unbalanced with Wynn outside of Andrew Thomas and Ben Cleveland outside of Wynn. What was so great about this play call is the fact that it was a misdirection toss to the weak side of the line (only 1 offensive lineman on the backside with two TEs). If that personnel grouping and formation reappear against Auburn, be assured that a backside toss is on their mind, opening up a strong side power run play.
· Short Yardage Fullback Run: Christian Payne added two more short yardage carries to bring his season total to 6 carries. Auburn keying on the Fullback in short yardage allows some freedom for Chubb and Sony when we need a first down run.
· Toss reverse to Ridley: Small little wrinkle off a toss play as Ridley sprinted back across the formation and “intercepted” the toss to the back. Just something extra for Auburn to think about as receivers motion in towards the formation.
I am sure Jim Chaney and the coaching staff have to be preparing for the possibility of a very close game. I would not be surprised if Chaney takes advantage of some of the wrinkles he showed against South Carolina. But I also expect to see a few plays we have not yet witnessed this season to keep the Tigers on their heels.
The ability to control the game and control the clock will determine the winner of this top 10 matchup. Big plays are great but this one will come down to who can do it more consistently and for a longer period of time. Really no way to control this, but I would love to see Georgia play defense first in this one. I really believe our fresh defense will test Auburn early. If Auburn’s offense gets in a groove, it can quickly become very dangerous. If they are held at bay initially, we have often seen this offense go off the rails completely (see Georgia vs Auburn 2016). I also really like Georgia’s ability to make adjustments at the half. I think that really helps our offense in the second half along with ridiculously fresh backs. You could give me just about any box score (other than Auburn blowing us out) and I would likely be able to rationalize it. In the end, I think it’s something like Dawgs 24 Auburn 20
Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
Overall Record: 49-48-1
Last Week: 0-5 Worst week in BEMOTW History (When you miss two games by a hook, bad things happen)
Holy crap last week was awful. 0-5 has never happened in BEMOTW until last week. Two of the games were missed by a hook, but hey no excuses over here. I understand if you’re gun shy this week. Up to me to earn your sweet trust back. I think the longer I do this, the faster I will move back to .500 as is the goal of every line producer in Vegas. Overall, still making money but that 0fer hurt me.