I remember sitting in a class in Connor Hall before the 2005 SEC Championship game. I was reading an article in the Red and Black. The gist of it was that since 2001, LSU and Georgia have played in every SEC Championship game minus one. This was the second time in three years the two teams have faced off in this game, and the fourth time overall since 2003. It was saying how these two teams were the class of the SEC and would continue this rivalry throughout the rest of the decade.
We know what happened from there. LSU continued to be very good, getting to the Sugar Bowl in 2006 and winning the BCS title in 2007. Though having some very good seasons, Georgia went on a hiatus from the SEC Championship game until 2011, where they were dismantled by the Bayou Bengals.
I guess meeting three times in nine years for the SEC Championship is still pretty good, but in the early to mid 2000s, UGA and LSU were the two best teams in the conference and it seemed like they were on a path like Florida and Alabama were in the early days of the SEC Championship Game. UGA did not hold up their end of the deal to keep this “rivalry” alive.
Tomorrow, we should expect a hard hitting, physical, classic SEC game.
I watched most of the LSU-Auburn game. I took away one thing: make Mettenberger under pressure, and you can slow down their attack. I mean, if you put Peyton Manning under pressure, you are going to slow down the Broncos. I get that.
But where Georgia is traditionally weak at defensively is a spread offense. More pro-style offenses (aside from Alabama last year), Grantham is usually better equipped for. The last four games against real competition, the defense has struggled. Three of those teams ran some sort of a spread offense with a mobile quarterback.
Mettenberger is like a Wheeler County pine tree. He can’t tuck it and run like Connor Shaw or Taylor Martinez. He doesn’t have great feet like Tajh Boyd.
Reflect back on the South Carolina game. I thought the pass rush made it to Shaw several times, but he was able to be elusive. Shaw had 16 carries for 75 yards (4.7). Mike Davis had 16 carries and 149 yards (9.3!). South Carolina ran for 226 yards. If you take out, and just go along with me, if you take out Shaw’s number and the one long sweep play that gave Carolina 75 yards, Carolina only had 76 yards on 19 carries.
LSU won’t run their QB like South Carolina. That will help the Georgia defense stop the run. It isn’t misdirection plays-the line up in an I formation and pound you. The defensive line is undersized compared to years past, but they don’t offer the challenges that we saw against the Gamecocks.
I think that if Georgia can make Mettenberger escape the pocket and have to throw, the defense will be moderately successful.
Offensively, UGA can mix it up and is as diverse as any team in the country. We can go power with a full back, we can go 4 or 5 wide. We have tailbacks who can bruise you up the middle and we have a tailback who can fly out in space. Both can catch it out of the backfield. Give it Gurley, set up the play action, throw it to one of our many talented receivers.
For all the ridiculous talk of Murray not able to win a big game, this type of stage is no stranger to him. And certainly not this season.
I hate making war analogies to a football game, but Dawgs are battle tested.
Plus, they have the Mad Hatter. But it appears we have Evil Richt. Good Richt is a top ten coach in America. Evil Richt gives Saban a run for his money.
I like the Dawgs to win on Saturday.