In 2005 I was 13 years old. I was near the top of the Georgia dome beaming down on a championship team that was not supposed to be there. In many ways this team is very similar. It’s only year two under Kirby Smart and yet we are leagues ahead of where we thought we would be in only 23 months. To see Kirby beam and celebrate as if he himself was one of the starved Georgia fans gave me the same immense sense of pride I had 12 years ago. After so many years of under performing expectations, it felt so good to watch Georgia exceeded this year’s expectations. And the best part is that it is not over yet. In fact, it may just be beginning for this year and years to come.
I really hope this is a road game for Oklahoma. We are hungry and Georgia is quickly gaining a national reputation as a fan base that will follow their team anywhere. That is such a cool thing to be able to claim and it certainly makes our coaches’ job a lot easier on the recruiting trail. If you are on the fence, take the dive, join the sea of red that will fill the Rose Bowl and hit me up for a beer in Venice, Santa Monica or Pasadena. As my friends often say, “It’s just money, you’ll make more later” (*whispers to self as inner panic sets in while looking at credit card statement)
How to beat Auburn (Done)
Let’s run through the “beat Auburn checklist” I threw out before the Auburn game to see how the game was won
- Be Unpredictable
I actually didn’t think we were super unpredictable. I thought there was continued variance in the run game with different formations and two back run game. But for the most part, we lined up with a will to run the ball and work the intermediate passing game. Flea flicker didn’t work for the second straight game against Auburn
- Slow the defense down/Screen Game
A ton of short RB routes. Some brought defenders up and setup the intermediate outside passing game. Others were check downs on long third downs. And others were 3-5 yard routes that turned into 35 yard gains (see the greatness of Sony Michel in the 2nd quarter)
- TE Chip
Not only was there some TE chip but the Nauta TD was a beauty. Slightly delayed slip route after a heavy toss look. Chaney you sweet beautiful prince.
- Get Some Push
238 yards rushing. That’s all that needs to be said here. Great work by Andrew Thomas, Ben Cleveland, Wynn
- Dictate the run game/Set the edge
The Dawgs limited Eli Stove to 19 yards rushing vs 55 in the first meeting. You cannot let the Auburn motion man gain that many yards as it opens up interior run game, allowing Kerryon Johnson to go for 167 (gew)
- Don’t get beat over the top
Auburn took a few shots, non successful. I hate to pick on Malkom Parrish, but we were better without him. I think the other 5 DBs see the bulk of the snaps moving forward. No big plays allows you to bend without breaking (ie: blocked FG, Redzone fumble)
- Change the damn play
We still didn’t change the blitz plays that much if Auburn checked to the sideline. But they were so damn bad at interior blitz blocking that it really didn’t matter. The dawgs found a OL weakness up the middle and exploited it all night long. I loved it.
How to Beat Oklahoma
The “How to beat Auburn” section seemed to prove pretty successful prior to the SEC championship. Maybe Kirby is an avid reader. Probably not. Anywho, if for nothing else, the ‘How to beat” section has good juju so here it is for Oklahoma.
We have to start on defense as the Dawgs look to defend the #1 scoring offense in the country and the Heisman trophy winner. Bend don’t break
- Limit Big Plays
I really respect Oklahoma’s offense. They have tremendous balance and big play ability. Even with Mayfield’s gaudy numbers this year, they have actually run the ball more than they’ve thrown. While a lot of that may have more to do with score than gameplan, it’s still odd to hear. With that being said, this offense relies on chunk plays. Deep vertical shots are crucial to the offense. I really don’t think this is a game for Malkom Parrish. I think you’ll see a lot more of Aaron Davis, Baker, Tyrique McGee, Reed and Sanders in at the 4 DBs. Limit plays over the top and Oklahoma will struggle to score on a bend don’t break defense
- Stone the Run
Not only does Georgia have to stop the Oklahoma run game, they need to stone it. If Oklahoma has over 125 yards rushing, they win this game and it probably won’t be close. The dawgs are very capable of this. Without a reliance on the run game, I think we give Baker Mayfield enough opportunities to force play downfield and be careless with the ball.
- Spy Mayfield
As usual, Roquan Smith will be the best player on the field. I really don’t give a damn that the other guy won the Hesiman, you will not convince me that he influences the game more than Roquan. Roquan and D’andre Walker will spy Mayfield all night. If Roquan Smith and Baker Mayfield are one on one in the open field, Roquan will not miss the tackle and has the speed to limit Mayfield’s post snap creativity. It will fluster the Heisman winner and he will force it.
- Control Clock with Power Run Game
Chaney has a hell of a run game momentum working right now. He doesn’t need to change a thing. If the Dawgs had success in the run game against an Auburn front, I expect them to gash Oklahoma’s defense. The obviously need to control the clock and be strategic with play selection. Strong run game and continuous intermediate passing game will open up the occasional vertical shot. Can’t miss it when you get it.
- Play to Fromm’s Strengths
Fromm is really really good at buying time with footwork and delivering confident balls in the intermediate outside passing game. He really struggles throwing across the middle. Simple slants have become the most nerve racking pass plays we run. It seems there is still a bit too much to process over the middle for Fromm with more bodies crowding the area. The outside reads come easy to him and he has seen a ton of success in 10-15 yard chunks. Keep it up.
I actually feel good about this matchup. I really do not believe Oklahoma has seen this type of team speed on defense. It will shock them and they will make a few mistakes that they would typically get away with against a big 12 team. Baker Mayfield will make big plays at a few times throughout the game. If the Dawgs can maintain composure and bend without breaking, there is enough run game fire power on our offense to keep Mayfield’s big play opportunities limited. Georgia has got to improve on penalty discipline. The margin in this game will be razor thin. Kirby preaches physicality and toughness all year long and I think that is what wins Georgia the Rose Bowl and provides an opportunity to play for a National Championship at home in Atlanta. Dawgs 30 Oklahoma 27
See y’all in LA and Go Dawgs