South Carolina (1 – 0), beat East Carolina 56-37
Georgia (0 – 1), lost to Boise State 35-21
The Bulldogs couldn’t stop Marcus Lattimore last year. It was that simple.
Georgia defenders were in position all game long to make plays on the true freshman star and couldn’t get him to the ground. He ran for 182 yards against the Dawgs and perhaps 65% of those yards or more came after first contact. It was tackling at its worst and that tackling hasn’t improved much for Georgia.
Lattimore has added 10 to 15 pounds and still presents THE major problem for the Bulldogs; it took him a while to get rolling against East Carolina but he did have a strong second half, finishing with 23 carries for 112 yards. South Carolina doesn’t have much in the way of run game diversity. Lead draw and a handful of other run type actions in the backfield and that’s about it. Stopping the USC run game is about “fitting” into the defense and being gap responsible.
Oh yeah, then tackling a beast like a beast. Gang tackle and fly to the football, that’s the only chance that Georgia has.
The tricky aspect for the Dawgs is that if it sells out with six or seven guys to stop Lattimore, USC QB Stephen Garcia showed last week that he has a learned a thing or two about running the football and hurting teams with his legs. Luckily, Georgia didn’t have to stop Kellen Moore running the football, but it’ll have to stop Garcia. Most importantly, it must slow down Lattimore and get the Gamecocks in third and long throwing situations as much as possible. If not, expect Lattimore... a lot of Lattimore.
Throughout Saturday night’s game against Boise State, the Georgia inside linebacking corps had little success in pass coverage. QB Kellen Moore riddled the Dawgs in the middle of the field as the UGA defense got no pressure and allowed Moore to sit in the pocket and let routes develop across the middle. And, did they develop.
The UGA inside linebackers were consistently staring at the one receiver that would cross their face, without having their head on a swivel, knowing that a second receiver would then occupy that open space.
The first Boise State touchdown was a perfect example of what I described above. On 2nd and goal from the 17-yard line. The Broncos came out in Y Trips to the field—a tight end with two receivers to that side. The tight end blew down the seam and the middle linebacker locked on him and ran with him down the field, as it appeared UGA was in some sort of Tampa 2 goal line alignment.
But, the mistake the UGA LB made was that he did have safety help, especially on a short field. He never got his head back to Moore, but if he had, he would’ve seen everything developing just in front of him. As such, the inside receiver then used that TE route as a pick, essentially.
With the UGA LB with his back to the play, Matt Miller, the Boise State receiver trailed behind the play wide open and caught Moore’s pass for a touchdown. It was easy pickings. It then happened in the second half as well. Then, it happened again.
If there’s someone who can find open areas on the field, it’s Steve Spurrier and knowing how deficient UGA is at linebacker (and now banged up), don’t be surprised if he utilizes Lattimore on circle routes out of the backfield or a similar receiver pattern to expose the UGA interior players on similar pass routes.
When Georgia’s offense came out on the field on Saturday night, it was... Man, what’s the word? Not sure I have one, but when the Georgia offensive line trotted out on the field—WOW, that’s one big line. Massive. The five starters average 329 lbs. That’s right, 329 lbs.
Here’s the problem: bigger isn’t always better. Boise State’s quickness up front really gave the Bulldogs OL problems, especially against the run, and South Carolina is going to be equally talented up front. The problem for Georgia is that South Carolina is probably a bit more dynamic and powerful than Boise State—and that’s a bad matchup for this huge offensive line.
I’m not completely sure why anyone would feel like have a bunch of giants up front would work well with an explosive talent like Isaiah Crowell in the backfield, but the Dawgs front had better find a way to put a hat on a hat and move South Carolina consistently enough to give Richard Samuel and Crowell some room to run. Sure, UGA got a long 80-yard run from Brandon Boykin and it would behoove the Georgia offensive staff to find some way to get its backs out on the perimeter and away from the “clog” created by this massive quintet.
To say I was completely unimpressed with Georgia might be the understatement of the year. Having the ball down by 14 with a little over 2 minutes to go might be good for some, but I can’t believe UGA fans were all that happy with that developments last Saturday night.
In all honesty, neither team played exceptionally well against non-BCS foes, but South Carolina went to Stephen Garcia down 17 and he delivered. Georgia is banged up, especially at middle linebacker and that’s going to be the Achilles heel for the Dawgs against the Gamecocks running game and Lattimore. There wasn’t one positive I could take out of the loss to Boise State to make me believe that Georgia can bounce back, even at home.