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November 22, 2006

UGA vs. GT -- The Match-Ups

Our passing offense vs. their pass defense is a pretty good match-up as long as Stafford can get rid of the ball quickly. Auburn's Muschamp blitzed us straight up darn near every down. Stafford had a chance to read and react to the blitz and the man coverage behind it. Tenuta will hide his blitzes better, and they'll be harder to read zone blitzes. We have to catch the ball to make them pay, and the OL has to give him some time. Some song different verse. I'm expecting to see tons of shotgun with 1 TE and 1 RB staying in to block on passing downs.

(Image: Keep catching the ball)

Our rushing offense vs. their rush defense is not a favorable match-up. I think Dawg fans want to see us run right at them like Clemson did. We don't have Clemson's backs, and I don't think our OL scheme looks anything like theirs. But what do I know. I'm eager to see what we do to free Lumpkin up. The OL is healthier for this one than they've been for any game this year. So we've got that going for us.

Their rushing offense vs. our rushing defense. I think this is the worst match-up of the day. They run the ball fairly effectively, and we have been gutted at times via the run right up the middle. UK and Auburn both had tremendous success when they ran it.

Their passing offense vs. our passing defense. Last year Calvin had 1 catch for 2 yards and a TD. Otherwise, he was neutralized. Minter had him in man coverage last year, but Minter is gone. Everyone knows what Calvin is. Big, strong, fast and talented. We have to put pressure on Reggie, and let him lose the game for Tech before the ball makes it to Calvin. Clemson laid a wonderful blueprint for this. If we put the sort of pressure on Reggie that we put on Brandon Cox, we're fine. If not, they're going to have their chances. Luckily, GT doesn't have a stud Tight End.

Charles Johnson had an excellent game last year

The Wildcards
Mobile QB -- We've struggled with mobile QBs this year. We'll see a ton of the stretch play / bootleg / play action sets from under center, and we'll see a ton of the draw from the gun. How we handle Reggie's mobility is critical. Will our DBs and LBs maintain containment on the edges or get sucked in on the bootleg / play action? Moses and Johnson have to play much more disciplined than they did against Colorado and Ole Miss.

Punt Returns -- Last year Thomas Flowers had a huge game. Mikey Henderson is in the Top 5 nationally in punt returns. Tech's special teams are improved vs. last year, but this is still an area where we could break the game wide open.

GT wants it bad, but all the pressure is on them. With us taking 12 of the past 15, we're in their heads as badly as UF is in ours. Does anyone really think that GT wins the ACC pouting their way into the game after a loss to Georgia?

A truck load of pressure was lifted off the Dawgs with the win over Auburn. I think the intangible edge goes to least partially because of the whole Reggie thing.

(Image: Reggie's game film)

Bottom line:
If we turn the ball over three times, we will struggle MIGHTLY to win. If we protect the ball, pressure the QB, block, catch and tackle we win. But isn't that the key to every game ever played?

If we play our best game and they play their best game, I think we win.

If we give them the game that we gave SC, we win a squeaker. If we show 'em the AU effort, we win. If we give them the 2nd half we gave UF and the first half against UT, we win massive. If we give then the UK, Ole Miss, Vandy or MSU games, we lose.

Personally, I'm expecting a win. They've got Chan Gailey and Reggie Ball. We've got Mark Richt and Matt Stafford. I prefer that match-up over all others. But no outcome would shock me.



Nathan said...

I would disagree on the "best v. best" part - Tech's best is really darn good this year (see: first half in Blacksburg).

This is a deeper, more talented, more experienced Tech team than the one Georgia will put on the field. Tech is better at probably 15-16 of the 22 positions on the field, for the first time I can really remember.

End the end in this series, the better team almost always wins. In this case, Tech has that better team for the first time in a while - and I think we take a competitive game.

SmoothJimmyApollo said...

I don't know that breaking the game down position vs. position is the best way to pick a winner.
I think the biggest factor here is what will Reggie Ball do. He has been better than in the past, this year, I suppose. If he can do the Carson Palmer thing where he puts years of mediocrity behind him and steps up to the plate, the Bulldogs will be in a world of trouble. Otherwise, I have no idea what happens Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Nathan. I believe IF we play our best game (which IMO we have yet to play) and they play their best...We win. Across the board we DO have better players per position. Believe it or not...but don't take my word for it...tune into CBS on Sat. or go watch it for yourself.

Darth Scooter said...

I think Tech fans are forgetting one thing. They still have Reggie Ball and they still have Chan Gailey which means they are long over due for a meltdown against somebody they should beat on paper. Plus 9-5 is the new 7-5. Actually I guess technically it would be 8-6, so good job Tech you've finally broken the 7-5 barrier.

Nathan said...

Across the board we DO have better players per position.

Do you really believe that? Which UGa WR would play for GT (James Johnson would easily be your #1). Which defensive tackle would play over Anoai and Richard? You have 1 defensive end that would crack our 2 deep. Gardner is the best LT on both rosters, and lets not even look at the LB's - I'm not sure if UGa has a single LB that would start for GT (certainly not over Hall and Wheeler). Georgia has better talent in the secondary and in the return game, that's about it.

There have been many years (as recently as just last year even) where UGa would have had 18-19 spots on the field with superior talent. That's reversed this year, and I think Tech has the superior player at 15-16 (maybe more) positions - just a symptom of Tech's experience, better than aknowledged recruiting and youth and some recruiting on UGa's part that hasn't panned out as expected.

IBDawgfan82 said...

You have GOT to be kidding me Nathan...typical Tech delusion. One defensive end that would crack your two deep? I beg to differ. BOTH of our DE's would start for Tech. If you think Im wrong, watch where they are drafted.

And about the LBers...if you don't think Tony Taylor would start for Tech, you are crazy. The guy ONLY has 81 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, 5 interceptions, and 3 sacks on the year.

You are correct on a few things though. Calvin is obviously better than any WR we have, and James Johnson is up there with our #1 WR, so you are better there. But luckily, we have serious talent in the secondary to neutralize this, and lest we forget that last year when Minter was not on Calvin, Oliver was, and shut him down.

Gardner is probably the best OT on the field as well, but our DEs are hell luckily. And your DT starters are probably better RIGHT NOW from experience, but ours have more talent. It's not even an argument that we are deeper there anyway. Gant, Dixson, Weston, and Owens is a SOLID rotation.

Nathan, the thing is, and luckily for us, your strengths play to our strengths. The game is all about matchups, not comparing OTs. Gardner won't go head to head against Dan Inman to see who the best OT is. He will be getting whipped by Charles Johnson or Quentin Moses. You have great WRs, we have a great secondary. We win almost every matchup in this game, and that is why we will win. We might have a tough time running with you LBers, but I like Stafford vs. your secondary all day long. Enjoy!!

all school said...

Nathan, Nathan, Nathan....your optimism warms my heart. Let me say right at the top that you all do, in fact, have your best chance to beat us since the Skipper was rolling out academically ineligible key contributors by the buttload. It wont shock any of us if you actually win one this year. That said....

You may have dented your credibility as a talent scout when you opined that UGA only has one DE that would crack your two deep. As the kids say these days, say WHAT?

I grant you Moses and Johnson havent had the dominant years many of us expected, but unless you're starting Claude Humphrey and Mike Strahan over there on Saturday, that's kind of a reach, dont you think?

Also, if you know anyone in America, including Billy Bob Gailey, that would take Reggie Ball over Stafford (or Joe Cox. Maybe Blake Barnes and Joe T, as well), please get them to check the dosage on their meds. Ditto your TB and FB over Lumpkin and Southerland. Ditto your TE over Milner. I agree CJ is better than anyone UGA (or anyone else) can roll out there, but I'm not seeing the rest of your guys at WR as the next Michael Irvin. Or even the next Kerry Watkins.

For a program that we've pretty much owned since JFK was in the White House, you guys are demonstrating a considerable amount of, dare I say, hubris this week. I guess with all that clearly superior talent you all have accumulated over there, all you need to beware of this week is overconfidence.

Let me just ask you this: what happens if the unthinkable occurs, and GTU blows its best shot since the academic fraud that let you to NCAA probation in the Skipper's era? It may be another 10 years before you all get a good shot at us.

dont say that's impossible, either. Perhaps you recall 1990, when all of you assumed that GTU had it figured out, and you'd dominate us for a decade, minimum. That decade lasted until...well...1991, which was the beginning of SIAR,B.

Doug said...

I've tried not to let my trash-talking get out of hand this week, but I just can't let that "You have 1 defensive end that would crack our 2 deep" comment stand. Charles Johnson and Q-Mo may not have been quite as dominant this season as people predicted they would be, but they would both start at Tech and it wouldn't even be close. As would Tony Taylor.

And as much as Stafford has struggled this season, his best game easily trumps Reggie's best game, and that's without an all-world WR like Calvin Johnson to make him look good. I'm interested to see whether the progress he appeared to make in the Auburn game continues into this weekend.

ruteger said...

Let's assume for a minute that Reggie Ball is better than Stafford is right now. And let's assume that GT's two WRs are better than any we have.

According to PWD's statistics, we still have the better pass offense and the better pass defense, statistically at least.

Now we just have to worry about those backup DEs that can play better than play better than either QMo or CJ.

Anonymous said...

all this crap talk about "i'll take stafford over gt's secondary all day"!!!!!!are you kidding me!!!! lets remember the three games prior the auburn game!?????he through 8 pics in three games!!! and against stellar teams i might add! kentucky, vandy, and florida! yeah he'll do wonderfull against kenny scott!

Nathan said...

Laugh about the defensive end comment all you want, but Michael Johnson (6'7" of freak) comes off the bench for us - despite being possibly the best pure pass rusher in the entire ACC. Part of the reason we have such a good run defense is that our defensive ends (particularly Oliver) are so stout at the point of attack.

Frankly, from what I've seen this year (and I've watched most of UGa's games) - the DE's have been fairly dissapointing. Moses is a heck of a talent, but he hasn't played at that level all season.

I realise that it's very difficult for a program that's won 5 in a row over a rival to admit that anything about the rivals team, and I wouldn't expect that most Georgia fans would see anyone on the GT roster as being that good (heck, why would they - you've won 5 IAR). But when Michael Johnson is coming off the bench and putting an absolute clown suit on Inman during the game - at least you'll remember that someone told you he was pretty good.

Oh,and James Johnson is way better than MoMass. That's not even question. Lastly to the guy listing LB stats ... Philip Wheeler has 12.5 TFL and 8 sacks, and KaMike has 8 TFL and 3 sacks. Our 3rd LB (Gary Guyton) has 6.5 TFL. Tony Taylor "MIGHT" be better than Guyton, but he's not in the same class as Hall and Wheeler.

GT has really upraded the talent level the past couple of years. We'll see how it plays out Saturday.

(p.s - I'm not the only one who thinks this Southern Pigskin sees only the secondary as an area where Georgia has the advantage over GT. This could very eye opening for Bulldog fans this weekend.

Dawg 05 said...

It is very easy for GT's linebackers to rack up sacks and TFL's when they are blitzing EVERY SINGLE PLAY! Tony Taylor has blitzed about as many times this season as one of GT's guys blitzes in a game. That makes TT's stats a little more impressive than anything Wheeler or Hall have done.

As for the whole DE thing, great sarcasm! I guess no else here caught on to that.

Doug said...

Look, I'm the last person who's going to claim that GT's roster is talent-free. I've seen them play; I know they're good. But you seem to be dismissing a lot of our marquee players every bit as offhandedly as you claim we're doing. I've heard from quite a lot of Tech fans who seem to think losses to Vandy and UK automatically = loss to Georgia Tech; I'm sure there were plenty of people in Jordan-Hare Stadium a week and a half ago who had similar thoughts.

Nathan said...

I do think UGa's talent level is down. I don't think it's an automatic win (you're return teams scare the crap out of me).

I'll be very dissapointed if Tech can't beat a UGa team that I think is less talented and less experienced than GT right now. The last 5 years you could make a pretty solid case for Georgia just being a flatout better football team every year - but this year that is not so. We gotta win the years you guys aren't better than us.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there's even a debate as to which team's respective units are superior tells me that GaTech has improved and/or UGA isn't as good as years past. Over the last 5 years, UGA has been clearly superior in the majority of categories and the last 2 games have been scary-close. Here's hoping for a score closer to '02

LumberDawg said...

Nice write up, Paul.

Other than the turnovers, the key in my mind is the same thing it has been since Richt got here--we must have solid DT play to win.

All of the focus has been on the LB this year, and they have played poorly. But great DT play makes average LBs good and good LB great, and it allows our ends to get pressure without the need for over-blitzing which takes pressure off of the secondary.

DT play always has been, always is, and always will be the key to the conservative 4-3 that we run. If the DT step up Saturday like they did on the plains, then we will be fine. If not...

Joey D. said...

Nathan and the rest of the NATS crowd better hope their team can back up their bravado or we might see massive Tech suicides on Saturday evening.

Anonymous said...

well guys...if the Jackets don't win this year,they may be in for another long wait.This Georgia team is plainly down a little and fewer turnovers would have made a big difference(as Richt noted).

Let's just let 'em settle it on the field and the loser acknowledge he just plain got beat.I hope there is no controversial plays that lead to years of whining.

later,old dawg

Nathan said...

Come on now, what kind of rivalry would it be without controversial plays so that people could whine for years? That would take half the fun out of it.

(as long as the calls go against UGa, that is)

SSB Charley said...

or we might see massive Tech suicides on Saturday evening.

Don't get our hopes up.

SSB Charley said...

And so you don't think I'm a complete arsehole, that post was supposed to have a ;-) next to it. Happy Thanksgiving and to hell with Georgia Tech!

GOD said...

i hate georgia tech

Anonymous said...

What you mean to say is homicide of Tech students, not suicide, by angry Georgia students/want-to-be Georgia students.

Tech is back on an upswing, especially after the Duke game and the prospect of the ACC championship Dec. 2. A win or loss here is irrelevant for Tech, they have bigger fish to fry, and so I think there is much less pressure on Tech than the article assumes. Conversely, if UGA topples Tech, it would make a bleak season look alright (8-4 instead of 7-5), and so I believe there is more pressure on UGA than Tech to win.

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