We’re back and ready for this weekend’s matchup on Rocky Top. Josh and I have been hard at work breaking down every angle of this matchup, and there’s definitely some interesting tendencies the Dawgs can exploit. Let’s get into the data and predictions with Josh’s graphics and Graham’s breakdown.
Georgia can get pressure off of LT Darnell Wright and RG Javontez Spraggins. Center Jerome Cavin hasn’t allowed a sack all year, but he has given up a good bit of pressures and I expect UGA to try and press him with their talented group of DT’S. UT has been called for a lot of penalties up front this year, and I think UGA’s presnap motion will catch them at some point on Saturday.
Georgia will get consistent pressure in the passing game, and nobody is running up the middle on this UGA defense. I do have concerns about UGA’s ability to set the left edge versus Cade Mays in the space where Adam Anderson has played most of the year.
I see the Dawgs losing contain on Hooker or not setting an edge in the run game at a couple junctures, resulting in a chunk run off of a cutback or Hooker scrambling right and finding a pass play downfield from a UT receiver working back towards the ball. If Beal struggles to set that edge on the first few drives don’t be shocked to see some younger talent step into the fold. Georgia has too many elite athletes to bang its head against the wall if something isn’t working from a personnel standpoint.
Tennessee has relied on coverage busts on the outside to produce points against the better teams they’ve faced this year. The Dawgs have been good on the boundaries with Kelee Ringo and Derion Kendrick giving up next to nothing week after week. I think that Georgia may give up a play, but I don’t think that Tennessee will be able to hit Kendrick or Ringo on double moves over and over.
Tennessee’s tempo is relied upon to create big plays, but save for the occasional curveball from Heupel they aren’t going to shock Georgia with anything from a scheme standpoint. The system is what it is, and this veteran UGA defense is good at recognizing tendencies. I think they will create some havoc against the WR screens UT runs, and we might see one of those long sideline throws picked by Georgia.
I’m fascinated to see what route Tennessee takes on defense. It’s not a very good unit and they’ve played things pretty softly all year. They have tried to bend but not break, and this may be a game for UGA that’s more like Arkansas was. That being said, the Vols brought heat early against Kentucky’s running game. This is really a question of whether or not UT wants to give up long drives or big plays. Either way, I think Georgia is moving the ball on this unit.
The offensive line got embarrassed last week, and I think they will come out on Saturday with an aggressive mentality at the line of scrimmage.
Tennessee’s defense is a poor tackling unit. I think Georgia’s RB’s can do a ton of damage against this back end if UGA’s offensive line is able to create enough room for them to get to the 2nd level. If they can’t do it the conventional way, I expect Monken to uses these backs in the passing game with screens, angle routes, and checkdowns.
If and when Georgia can get a RB or TE matched up on LB Aaron Beasley they are going to feast. Beasley is poor in coverage, and Monken will be looking for ways to take advantage of him. Beasley is the worst, but this entire LB corps struggles in coverage.
Look for Jackson, Burton, McConkey and Mitchell to take some chunks out of this defense. If UGA finds itself in man coverage then whoever gets matched up with Safety Jaylen McCullough and CB Warren Burrell will be where Bennett should be looking to go with the ball.
Tennessee struggles to defend rub and switch variations and UGA has excelled with them. That’s a spot where the Dawgs should produce some big plays. Lookout for the Wheel+Post/Dig combo in particular.
This UGA defense doesn’t make many mental mistakes, and I think it will be difficult for UT to just drive the ball on Georgia. They will deliver a couple shots, but this defense has been great once teams get into scoring range and I expect that to continue. I expect Heupel to roll the dice on some 4th downs as opposed to trying to kick FG’s. At the end of the day I see UT putting up 14-17 points.
On offense, I think Georgia will have a bounce back day on the ground and this might get ugly as this Vols defense starts to tire in the second half. They played 99 snaps a week ago in Lexington. At the end of the day, I like the Dawgs to start quick for the first time in a month.
Georgia 45 - Tennessee 17
Bonus: Keep an eye out for a blocked FG by UGA on Saturday. There’s some things in Tennessee’s FG unit I think Georgia can take advantage of, particularly if the Vols are in the center of the field or the right hash.