Here is what I’m NOT worried about for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party:
1) Running quarterbacks relying heavily on the pass. We’ve done that. And Florida has two athletic quarterbacks with great arms but so far with not very accurate results. Georgia has two quarterbacks that are mobile enough, Bennett obviously possessing a decent pair of wheels, but he isn’t a running quarterback in the strict sense. So the quarterback in the red helmet will run sparingly because that makes the most sense, and the quarterback in the orange (or white or blue) helmet will be running 25-30% of the time because that also makes the most sense. Neither coach will take his signal caller out of their particular element.
2) Wheel routes. The Georgia defense is playing with a lot of discipline, and there’s just no way a) Mullen tries to go back to that well very often and b) this defense allows it to result in a successful play. On the flip side, I’d love to see James Cook catch one in stride, juice one defender, and run James run into the end zone.
3) Unsportsmanlike penalties on the Georgia sideline. Since yesterday was the 14th (!!!) anniversary of the Georgia bench running onto the field to celebrate Knowshon Moreno’s opening drive touchdown, this “totally spontaneous and not in any way designed by Mark Richt in the pre-game speech” display does strike home. Then again, just what if Kirby sewed an oat or two in some vocal senior leaders, and it just kinda happened? Would Coach Smart ever actually do that? If so, when the game was well in hand or more of a FTMF-esque opening statement? These are the things I prefer to debate instead of playoff committee resume’ rankings.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about the game versus the Sunshine State Saurians:
1) We’ve faced potent running games before, but maybe not one this “complete”. If you have perused dawg_stat’s column this week and/or the Dawg Sports Live WLOCP preview, you know that Florida is very successful at running the ball. The numbers that jumped out for me were the results when UF goes inside zone read. Emory Jones(QB) 10 attempts at 12.2 ypc; Anthony Richardson (QB) 6 attempts at 30.3 ypc; and Malik Davis (RB1) 10 attempts at 6.0 ypc. They have found a way to gash the opposing DL and use shifty feet and bursts by their athletes to get into the 2nd level.
Georgia has had success containing mobile quarterbacks: DJ U for Clemson was mostly avoiding sacks and they didn’t call many designed QB runs; KJ Jefferson for Arkansas ran it only 4 times for 27 yards; and Bo Nix of Auburn 6 runs for 30 yards. I hazard to say either Jones or Richardson are more pure runners than anyone we’ve seen so far. Add in some talented running backs, and we’ve got our work cut out for us.
The smart money says running up the middle on Georgia is a fruitless endeavor. Does that mean Mullen will purposefully emphasize getting outside? We’ve
2) What’s in a name? We’ve got Dan Lanning’s Bulldog defense against Dan Mullen’s Gator offense. And we’ve got Todd Monken’s Bulldog offense versus Todd Grantham’s Gator defense. Dan v Dan, Todd v Todd.
The Alligators of Alachua have 3 losses on the season, and are 8-6 since the 2020 Cocktail Party. By contrast UGA is 11-0 over that same span (Vandy screwed us out of Senior Night and UF had the SECCG as extra games we didn’t). Mullen is definitely feeling the heat, and in press conferences has all but thrown Grantham under the bus. Both have surely had late night conversations with their agents about new horizons and current openings, but does their Dan get the edge Saturday against our Dan with nothing to lose? There’s also no way Grantham stays in Gainesville after the steady decline, all his recruits are decommitting faster than Steve Spurrier when he sees the Arby’s neon sign… so does their Todd sell out and call the game of his life (finally) against a Georgia team, besting our Todd who might be fielding some agent calls himself?
3) Which Gator team will show up? This isn’t exactly akin to Jekyll and Hyde, but the Florida Gators have not perfomed up to expectations in 2021. You knew they would take a step back after losing Kyle Trask, Kadavious Toney, and Kyle Pits – heck, any team would. Yet they still have good talent on both sides of the ball. And they can still score. They’ve been held to less than 35 points only twice this season: the 13 pt aberration against Kentucky, and the 29 points they put on Alabama.
And both of those games showed very poor discipline by Cousin Eddie’s lackeys. They committed 7 penalties against the Tide, and a whopping 15 infractions at UK. IF, and I grant you the if is of unusual size, the Gators can get their s*** together, they can do some damage on either side of the scrimmage line. I just don’t want that day to be this Saturday.
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comments below what worries you about the annual trip to Jacksonville between the Bulldogs of Georgia and the Gators of Florida. And as always…