Wednesday, September 21, 2011
THE PACKING LIST: OLE MISS
So the DAWGS hit the road this week headed for Oxford looking for a win in their SEC road opener. When you take a trip, nothing’s worse than getting where you’re going and looking for some thing you just KNEW you had packed, only to find that somehow you have left it at home. I know, right? Insert expletive here, quickly followed by hassle and headache. Well, Georgia can’t afford that kind of goof up this week against the Rebels or this season could quickly combust into a “flaming ball of WTF?” for everyone in DAWG Nation. We know traveling can get a little hectic and it can be tough to always remember everything, so we humbly offer up this week’s packing list.
Road games in the SEC are never a walk-over, regardless of the opponent, but one of the time-tested tempers for the heat of an opponent’s stadium full of rabid fans is being able to rush the football. For Georgia, that means good fullback play. Bruce Figgins and Zander Ogletree need to do their part to help lighten the load on the O-line and clear the road for the DAWGS feature backs. Isaiah Crowell and a returning Richard Samuel should look to have a big day against a Rebs defense that allowed 281 rushing yards and three TDs on the ground to Vanderbilt last week. Since Samuel is just getting back into things this week, look for Crowell to get his first 20 carry game for the DAWGS and that could result in some big numbers.
*ISAIAH’S FLAK JACKET*
After Crowell got dinged for a second straight week after not wearing his rib protection on Saturday versus Coastal Carolina, Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon made it known this week that the talented freshman won’t make that mistake again saying, "The bottom line is he's got to wear it until I tell him he doesn't have to." When you’re running hard it certainly helps to be able to breathe, so for goodness sake let’s make sure this piece of equipment makes its way onto the truck this week.
Before the DAWGS can beat Ole Miss, they must first be sure to not beat themselves. Clearly, this was a lesson that should have been painfully learned against the Chickens two weeks ago. Secure the football, make good decisions in the passing game and the production on offense should take care of itself.
*PRESSURE FROM THE DEFENSE*
There has been a lot of talk this week about Georgia’s sack total up to this point in the season and you can count me among those that would certainly like to see the other team’s quarterback in the dirt on every play. I believe in a dictating defense and (as a Raiders fan) I completely agree with Al Davis when he says “The other team’s quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.” With that said, sacks aren’t everything and I’m not talking strictly about rushing the passer. What the DAWGS really need to do this week is apply pressure to the Rebs O across the board with an in-your-face physical presence and an aggressive attitude that will disrupt their timing and force errors which will hopefully lead to turnovers. Force mistakes from a mistake prone team. Ole Miss threw FIVE interceptions last week in Nashville, so create your own luck DAWGS and GATA.
*PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE*
The last thing the DAWGS need to do on Saturday is get all schizophrenic in their game plan. I’m looking at you offense. We’ve already mentioned that we see a clear opportunity to run the football against the Rebs, and that should open up the play-action passing game and shots down the field, but the key is that the DAWGS stick with the plan. Ole Miss is at home, their coach is under attack and they will come out playing hard. The Rebels have SEC caliber players too and early on the sledding may not be so easy, but if the DAWGS just keep pounding the rock it will break and Georgia should be able to take control of the game.
This is probably the situation where Coach Richt is hoping he was right for playing Boise State in the season opener. He wanted to get his team used to playing in a big time environment with a high level of intensity and the nation watching. Well that may not be the case with an early kick in Oxford Saturday, but the idea is…basically…the same. Richt wanted to find out who his leaders are and who can keep their head and make plays when it matters. This is where your upper classmen and players with experience must take control when things get tough and lead the way. As we said above, road games inside the conference are never easy. If Georgia is going to begin to reclaim control of this season, and there is still plenty out there to be claimed for the DAWGS, it must start on the road this week in Oxford. With a team that is counting on production and explosive plays from a long list of young players it is imperative that the guys that have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and then returned it because it didn’t fit show the young pups how to get it done away from home.
So, I guess that’s it. Make sure these bags here in the front get on the trucks first, don’t forget your wallet and for goodness sake…hit the bathroom before we leave. Safe travels, Nation.