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RTI Film Study: Upsetting Georgia

Stopping Nick Chubb

Stopping Nick Chubb and Sony Michel isn’t going to be easy. Honestly, it may not be possible for a Vols’ run defense that has struggled this season.

The focus needs to be on slowing them down.

The fullback does a perfect job picking up the middle linebacker here, who tries to cut at his legs in order to stop Chubb. This is a similar look to what Tennessee saw against Georgia Tech. There will be a lot of lead blockers getting downfield ahead of Chubb to cut down the UT linebackers.

And when Chubb breaks free, it’s going to be hard to stop him.

He has excellent vision here, waiting for his blocks to set up before he bursts to the outside.

This is where Tennesse needs to have an attacking mentality. Instead of waiting for Chubb to get past the line of scrimmage to make a tackle four or five yards downfield, you have to slow him down at the line.

Even then, he’ll still sometimes drag you for a few yards. But if you can stop the momentum early, he can’t rumble to the endzone like he does here.

Mississippi State’s defensive tackle nearly does a perfect job getting in the backfield to stop Chubb on this play. But there’s just enough strength on that Georgia offensive line to spring the senior back for six. Like the last play on the goal line, this scheme relies a lot on blockers pulling around the corner and hitting players downfield. You can see the left tackle pulling straight off the line to seal the defense, giving Chubb the corner.

You’ll likely see a lot of zone coverage from the Vols on Saturday in order to avoid these one-on-one situations in the running game. They’ll also use zone to account for sophomore tight end Isaac Nauta, who scored a long touchdown against the Vols last year.

Notre Dame did a good job containing Nauta’s big play ability. Tennessee’s linebackers will have to be excellent in zone against the Bulldogs.

The linebacker reads this play perfectly, making sure he’s on the inside shoulder of the sophomore tight end. Jake Fromm is a very talented quarterback, but taking the primary receiver away will make the freshman much more uncomfortable.

This job will fall to Quart’e Sapp, who’s likely the fastest linebacker Tennessee has. He’ll be assigned to Nauta in these situations, and Sapp will have to break up a few passes to get UT off the field in third down situations.

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