Boise State – 12 – 1 in 2010, beat Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl
Georgia – 6 – 7 in 2010, lost to UCF in the Liberty Bowl
The Boise State offense doesn’t provide offensive tendencies—ever. Run left. Throw right. And, the Broncos will do it out of every formation possible. But, with Kellen Moore under center, it’s a must that the Broncos be able to run the ball to the right side. That being said, Boise is starting two sophomores on the right side – Charles Leno and Jake Broyles – making that a little more difficult. The two have made a handful of appearances, but never started. Those two are entrusted to protect Moore’s backside but also to open holes on that right side.
The Broncos have used play action and bootleg with Moore, but like to have him roll to his left. That being said, Leno and Broyles must get some movement on that right side to keep that backside of the formation honest, allowing Moore to boot back out to the left.
Now, the Broncos won’t get away from running to the left behind All-American Nate Potter, but hammering Doug Martin and company on that right side can open up so much for Moore in play action and bootleg. Plus, the play action and bootleg can keep Georgia’s fast defense from flying to the LOS on run plays.
This isn’t supposed to happen at the University of Georgia. Not the home of Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst, Robert Edwards and Knowshon Moreno. The running backs are gone. All of them. Washaun Ealey, gone. Caleb King, gone. Richard Samuel, well he’s still there, thankfully. He transitioned over to outside linebacker with Ealey and King on campus, but then moved back over when the Dawgs lost those two players.
So, he wasn’t even in the team’s plans at running back for the 2011 season. He has experience at that position, even if he had been moved to the defensive side of the ball. However, the Georgia faithful want to see true freshman Isaiah Crowell, but he’s been banged up in summer camp.
Georgia has rarely completed a 10+ win season without having a top notch running game, so the pressure is on Samuel, a 243 pound hammer and the young pup star Crowell to provide QB Aaron Murray the perfect running game complement.
Boise State front six is quick as a hiccup and disruptive as can be. This group stymied Oregon’s speedy attack to start 2009 and shut down Ryan Williams and Virginia Tech’s run game in 2010, so the Dawgs run game will have to work for all it gets in this one.
In the WAC and soon to be in the MWC, Boise State’s offense has faced plenty of exotic defensive looks over the past few seasons, but what it has rarely faced is a 3-4 scheme with this many athletes like Georgia is bringing to the Georgia Dome. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham lost some major players from his 2010 defense, but it’s also the second year in the scheme and he’ll be able to open up more of his playbook for 2011. With his 3-4 scheme, Grantham can throw a multitude of different looks at QB Kellen Moore and it needs to do that, and then some.
The key for the Bulldogs may actually be inside over the nose where Kwame Geathers, a 350 lb. redshirt sophomore, can tie up the middle of the Boise State offensive line. With him clogging up the middle, Grantham has the opportunity to bring different zone dogs and pressures off the edge to rattle a senior who has seemingly seen it all. Moore will just be seeing it from a group that is faster and more physical than any unit he’s faced in four years as a starter.
Let’s be frank here: The season is on the line for the Bulldogs in these first two weeks. Sure, this one isn’t a conference game. But, this is the opener for a program that had a sub-500 2010 season, endured a rough off-season and faced major questions about the direction of the program.
Now, 2011 can be a completely different story. Knock off one of the top teams in the nation, one week before the biggest conference game of the year upcoming in Athens against South Carolina, and this season has endless possibilities. Lose this one and there’s a good chance that the Georgia season goes down the toilet quickly. Start 0-2 and there may be no rebound. For that reason, Georgia better hunker down and win one to surprise the football world.