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July 17, 2009

Ok State OL: Matchup to Watch

Most folks want to focus on the broad picture of the Ok State offense (great in '08) vs. the UGA defense (shaky in '08), and for good reason. According to Sportsline.com, of the 530 points scored by Oklahoma State in 2008, 512 were by players who return in 2009.

However, I don't think it's as simple as "Them good: Us Bad." Their offensive line vs. the Georgia Bulldog defensive line is a very curious match-up. Let's take a look.

Let's look at their OL:
  • OT -- Russell Okung (Sr.) Potential Top 5 pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Okung, the Big 12's top returning tackle, has started the past 34 consecutive games. Without Justin Houston at DE for UGA, we will definitely be facing a mismatch at this position. (Image above)

  • OT -- Brady Bond (RSr.) 30+ starts for the Cowboys. If you're looking for a comparison, I'd say he's something like Chester Adams with more agility. An experienced, smart player with enough talent to be an NFL free agent. He's a kid that would be vulnerable to a big pass rusher if we had one.

  • C -- Andrew Lewis (RSr.) 26 straight starts. He has played a little guard, and a lot of Center. Comparison...he's somewhere between Fernando Velasco and Nick Jones in terms of ability. Solid, savvy college veteran, but he's not a dominator.

  • Guards -- This is where the Cowboys have issues. They aren't short on warm, big bodies, but none of them has seen a lot of action. A couple of JUCO guys and younger players highlight the list. It's always a treat to put experience DTs against inexperienced OGs.

I think Georgia is at a big match-up disadvantage on paper for OT vs. DE. However, we've got the horses up the middle this year to cause real problems for the men in Orange. Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins have vibrant NFL futures, and they are backed up by Kade Weston. Weston wasn't healthy enough to make much of an impact, but he'll be the best back-up DT the Pokes see all year.


Good to have the big fella back (Image: Hipple)

If we get competent play from the middle linebacker spot beside Rennie, we're definitely going to stop the run up the middle. We simply have better personnel. Our DTs should push back the middle of the line and eat up the zone read option, inside counters and draws from the shotgun. Owens, Atkins and Weston should draw double teams and free Curran and the MLB to make some plays.

Rennie is also so outrageously good in sideline pursuit on his side of the formation that the outside runs should be manageable. To shorten all of this...we don't need our MLB to play like Odell Thurman or Tony Gilbert to stop them from running the ball. He can play like Ellerbe pre-injury or Tony Taylor in '05 before he injured his arm. (I didn't discuss SLB because who knows if we're going to play 4-2-5 or 4-3 vs. these guys).

The question is...can we stop the pass. Martinez's scheme has never needed a 5 star alpha-male to stop a rock star WR like Des Bryant. Kelly Washington, Calvin Johnson, Percy Harvin, Robert Meachem, etc. None of them ever had a 100 yard receiving game vs. the Dawgs. The scheme needs DEs who can put pressure on the quarterback. Period.

Jon Fabris has faults. But as a DE coach, he has produced the most productive and consistent unit on the field for the past eight years. Last year, his only healthy kids were Justin Houston (RFr.) and Demarcus Dobbs (2 biscuits shy of 300 lbs last season). Everyone else spent more time on the training table than the practice field. Particularly Battle and Lomax. He had extremely little to work with and as Bear Bryant famously said, "You can't make chicken salad without chicken."

My point -- history suggests that Fabris will have the DE position figured out if he has something to work with. Battle should be healthy and productive this year. Against Ok State in 2007, he played possibly the best game of his career. Dobbs says that he's lost around 20 pounds. Cornelius Washington and Montez Robinson provide exceptional speed (although inexperienced). There are options.

The question is...will the DEs be ready to step up in Game 1...or a few weeks later? Because that's the entire ball game for the Dawgs defensively. Can we stop the pass? Because I really believe we're stopping their run.

Thoughts?

PWD
Georgia Sports Blog

20 comments:

Brad said...

Pretty good assessment and a good read. Our tackles may even get enough of a push on the line to disrupt some of the 3 step drop and quick passes the Pokes seem to favor.

Any recommendations on what to do for tickets for the game?

Paul Westerdawg said...

brad - yeah. I'll have something up soon.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Just a quick shout out THANK YOU for making this blog. It has a cornerstone of my office down time for 2 years now.

That is all.

-Clint Massey

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments. If our DE's get slightly more of the production of last year, it will be a quantum achievement. The thing about this is that our coaches are sorely aware of the lack of production last season and the causes of it. It is too much to assume that they won't focus their efforts on the DE's and defense in general. No one really knows how the younger players who are healed will perform, and for that matter a slimmer DeMarcus Dobbs or healthy Rod Battle.

Andy said...

Now Hiring: AJC. Westerdawg and Quinton need not apply; they're much too worthy.

Dawgnoxious, it's your turn.

Good stuff. Why did you say it would suck?

I won't say it, and I hate to say it, but it's out there: OK State is another Boise State or Hawaii, much too overrated. I think OSU is a much different beast than either, but some of that could be true. I've heard enough about the high-powered Cowboy offense to last a lunch time.

If we get pressure, that ole-fashioned GATA pressure from the defensive end side of things, I think - or, I know, we all know - the Cowboys won't know what hit 'em.

"I'm a man, I'm 40, come after me." Yes, we aim on coming, from all corners, so much so that you'll wake-up and see the red and black spewin' from your million-dollar oil rigs.

You might as well close the comments now, because Gundy is going to blow this blog sky-high come 8 PM, September 5th.

It won't be long now. . .

NRBQ said...

I wish I had Andy's confidence.

We're facing a bonafide high-scoring offense.

Our defense last year allowed a bajillion points.

I'd like to blow my chest out and say "We're taking you down!"

But I'm too nervous about this game to type that.

We have no proven running back, a quarterback with about one quarter's experience, one proven receiver (best in the land), no DE's we're sure of, and a young secondary.

I may throw up right about the kick-off.

Hobnail_Boot said...

What I'll be curious to see is how we do against their mid-range passing game.. the slants, screens, curls, etc.

Much like PWD, I think we'll stonewall their inside run. I also think that Robinson and Bryant are good enough to hit a couple deep routes. What I worry about is the in-between stuff.

Think Alabama in 2008 running Julio Jones on 12-yard outs ALL. GAME. LONG.

mitch said...

Lol, off topic but Garrison Smith is a Dawg!!! Rivals leaked out his commitment video and now they are trying to cover it up. Garrison will be a dawg this weekend. Welcome to the Dawg Nation Garrison!!!!

William said...

Jesus, is everybody down on Joey C? It's not like he's ever even lost a game. We forget before Stafford, he was the big thing. I'm not saying he's #1 pick good, but give the guy some credit, it wasn't like we were taking a flyer on the guy.

The Watch Dawg said...

Nice read. I don't know if we can stop the Cowboys offnese. But I don't think we need to. If we can just slow it down, I think we can outscore them.

Jason said...

I thought Bear Bryant said you can't make chicken salad with chicken s###?

Great blog Love your stuff.

Anonymous said...

I agree with hobnail boot. IF geno and jeff create enough pressure inside, they may command double teams that free up the d-ends. The problem is that if we play our corners off the recievers, which they'll have to do because of the match up problems, they're going to beat us to death with underneath routes to these big recievers.

In the past the dawgs have done more to create turnovers by getting pressure on the qb and forcing them to make quick, typically poor, decisions with the ball. The problem is the three step drop will nuetralize that and the game is going to come down to tackling in the secondary and getting critical stops on first down to leave okie state in long yardage situations.

I feel we can outscore them if we tackle well in the secondary. If not, it could be a long game.

John From Texas said...

Perfect assesment from Westie. Dominant DTs were a big reason Georgia sacked Tebow six times in 2007, and to me that's still the way to beat Tebow, by applying pressure up the middle and containing the outside.

Anonymous said...

Great post PWD

Anonymous said...

The secondary play will be the key to this game.

JasonC said...

I'm watching the replay of 08 Holiday Bowl with Okie St and Oregon. I know most Dog fans have faith in Joe, but after watching this game, Bobo might be wise to add a little zone read wrinkle with Gray.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hunkering Hank said...

Re: Okung - from your lips to the ears of God, Ryan the Lineman.

I would see it as another Boise State / ASU - out of conference - overhyped - Dawgs win 42-12 type game if we didn't have to go out there. I don't think any of us have any idea how difficult it is going to be to go out there and play. That place is going to be nuts. We would do well to take the crowd out early.

Having said that, I think the DAWGS win because our O-Line is going to mash them.

corey.byrd said...

cant wait untill the season starts i think we could be the alabama of last season GO DAWGS

Andy said...

I wish we/they/whoever would change that UGA/UFL logo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ee/FLGA-2009.jpg

Every time I see that, I want to puke. It reeks of 2002 and that was just murder to watch.

Anyone with me on that?

 
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