Ok, I know that the game isn’t for another two weeks, but seeing as how it’s the start of SEC play and a huge chance for Tennessee to make some noise in the Eastern Division to start the season, I figured it’s never to early to scout the Bulldogs. Georgia is coming off of an insane 38-35 loss to South Carolina in Columbia this past weekend and will host Troy this Saturday before welcoming the Vols on the 27th of September.
We’ll break down Georgia again heading into next week’s game, but wanted to show you some plays from a game against a better opponent than the one they’ll see this weekend. Here are some things that stood out in Georgia’s loss to South Carolina:
3:10: Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason isn’t as talented of a passer as Aaron Murray but, as you can see here, if given time he is certainly capable of finding the open man and delivering a catchable ball. Here, Georgia’s offensove line does a good job of fighting off the South Carolina blitz and Mason is able to find Isaiah McKenzie for a big play on their opening drive. Tennessee will have to apply pressure on Mason in passing situations in order to be successful.
3:19: This is just a tremendously designed play to freshman running back Sony Michel. Georgia’s talent on offense rests in their stable of running backs, and here you can see that they have multiple ways of getting them the ball. Michel is lined up as the outside receiver and runs an underneath screen (basically an extended handoff). The Georgia offensive line does an outstanding job of getting out in front of Michel and it is an easy throw for Mason that results in a touchdown. This is a simple play that allows Georgia to get the ball in the hands of their most talented players. Georgia fakes the flare pass to Todd Gurley and Michel walks in for an easy touchdown.
8:56: This is a great example of something that Tennessee will try to run to take advantage of Georgia’s aggressive defense. Carolina fakes the fly sweep to Cooper (something Tennessee has already done with Pig Howard and Von Pearson this season), and then fakes the handoff to the back. Georgia’s defense forgets about Cooper after he didn’t get the ball on the sweep and the Dylan Thompson flips it out to him on an easy pass. Cooper makes one man miss and then walks in for the score.
15:17: You can see here that Georgia’s team speed on defense is very good. Carolina runs the jet sweep to Cooper after faking it earlier for the touchdown. On this play, the outside receiver misses his block and the defensive back is able to fly into the backfield and take down Cooper for a big loss on the play. This is why having receivers who can block on the outside is so critical. Tennessee had some success running this play to Pig Howard last year against Georgia, so it will be interesting to see if they go back to it this season.
16:43: At this point in the second quarter, Georgia has had very little success in blitzing Dylan Thompson so they decide to rush four here and drop into a zone coverage. The four lineman fail to reach Thompson and Damiere Byrd runs free through the middle of the Bulldog zone unguarded. For as well as they played against Clemson, Georgia’s defensive line and secondary struggled mightily against South Carolina. Tennessee should be able to have some success against the dogs on offense.
22:50 It took him a while to get rolling in this game, but this is what scares you the most about Georgia’s offense if you’re Tennessee. Here, Todd Gurley breaks four tackles on his way to a 40-yard run that should have gone for about five yards. Gurley torched Tennessee for 130 yards and three touchdowns two years ago in Athens, so the Vols have to make sure they don’t allow him to get rolling at home. He is arguably the best player in the country and tends to play better between the hedges.
31:07: This is Georgia’s first sack of the game and it comes on a very nicely designed blitz by defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt sends both linebackers up the middle and neither are touched on their way to the quarterback. It took Georgia some time to figure out how to fool South Carolina and apply some strong pressure to Thompson, but this play is a good example of how fearless Pruitt can be at times when it comes to his blitz packages.
33:02: Not that you needed a reminder, but this type of play shouldn’t happen when two SEC teams are playing each other. Todd Gurley is on another level when it comes to talented running backs.
36:13: Georgia sends six rushers here and South Carolina is still able to open a huge hole on the left side of the line for Mike Davis to run through for the score. Tennessee should be able to run the football behind the tackles. Now don’t get me wrong, South Carolina has a very good offensive line, but every Georgia player is blocked completely out of the play here and Davis has a nice lane all the way to the end zone.
38:59: I just can’t stress enough how strong and talented Todd Gurley is and how solid Tennessee will have be in the tackling department next Saturday if they are to have a shot in this one. On this play, Gurley is first touched four yards behind the line of scrimmage. He then breaks five tackles to turn a four-yard loss into a nine yard gain. As good as he is at breaking long runs for touchdowns, it’s plays like this that will break the spirit of a defense if it happens too often.
42:50: South Carolina beat Georgia over the middle of the field all night long until this play. It was almost as if Georgia was baiting the Gamecocks into going to the well one too many times and forced the interception here.
48:09: Just watch this five minute stretch to see how close Georgia was to having one last shot to tie or beat the Gamecocks. As Butch Jones says, “It’s a game of inches.”