Georgia: The Good, The Bad and The Noteworthy
(Check out notes from LSJ’s Joe Rexrode from the Mark Dantonio presser this afternoon. This is the first time Dantonio has spoken to the media since the loss in the Big Ten Championship Game.)
As the Spartans begin their bowl preparation, I opened up a bit of my own prep and spent time watching the Georgia Bulldogs games against LSU and Georgia Tech to see them for myself.
Here are my observations:
Quarterback Aaron Murray. He is easily as good as advertised. His release is quick and he is accurate. He also is mobile and can run for good yardage. Georgia’s gameplan supposedly will center on airing it out, and it makes sense.
Tight end Orson Charles is freaky good…like, really freaky good. He is a major weapon and will cause trouble for the MSU secondary and linebackers. Murray constantly looks his way off play-action passes down the seams between the safeties.
Georgia runs the 3-4 defense and runs it well. The 3-4 formation is rare in college football because it requires a real defensive tackle, not just a gap-stopping tackle, and that is hard to find for college coaches. Alabama is another team that runs it…and for MSU fans, that is a bad sign. It is worth noting that the three top defenses in the nation all use 3-4 defenses often (LSU, Alabama, Georgia). I think the fact most teams don’t see much of this defense has a lot to do with the Bulldogs’ high number of interceptions and sacks, but it doesn’t take away the fact they are very sound defensively.
Justin Anderson doesn’t block very well and gets beat by athletic defensive ends…Gholston and Rush should do very well against him. Georgia will have to allocate tight ends and running backs to help him block on pass plays.
The wide receiving core is okay, not great. They will catch some passes, but aren’t dynamic and aren’t too scary.
Without Isaiah Crowell and Richard Samuel, the rushing attack is mediocre. They both are supposed to be back to full health for the bowl game, but if they aren’t, Georgia will have trouble running the ball.
The secondary doesn’t do a great job of wrapping up a running back or receiver, they frequently use arm tackles and don’t look hard for contact. They are strong and large for a secondary, but that might contribute to their desire to just crash into a player opposed to wrapping them up.
Because of Murray’s mobility, the Bulldogs occasionally run some option-read plays.
They LOVE the play-action pass. It is more common than straight pass plays.