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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Those Who Don't Study History...

I have a story in today's Telegraph on the importance of the linebackers for Georgia this week.

In doing the reporting for the story, I didn't exactly get the warm fuzzies from the Bulldogs' comments about stopping the Gators. The keys to the game, they say, are many of the same things that they have struggled with the most this year -- stopping play-action, gap discipline, tackling.

And here's reason No. 1 for concern, and try not to throw up in your mouth after reading it:

Looking at Florida's offense -- a strong run game and a short passing attack that focuses on its tight end -- and wondered if the Gators might not end up looking a lot like South Carolina did earlier this season. As it turned out, Darryl Gamble had another analogy, and it's not one that offers tons of encouragement.

“Florida, they’ll try to give you a lot of misdirectional stuff," he said. "It’s more of playing like a Georgia Tech team. You’ve got to play your thing, what you’ve got to do. If you’ve got to stay in this gap, stay in this gap. It’s just more misdirectional stuff, so if your eyes are good, you should be good.”

Yikes. Um, that Georgia Tech game last year didn't go so well. And playing with your eyes? I felt like I had heard that before, so I went back to some comments made by Rennie Curran a few weeks ago and found what I was looking for.

“That’s another thing that comes from watching film. It’s eye progression and being disciplined. There are certain keys that give away that play-action, and those keys, you only know them if you study film, watch tendencies and know down and distance. Play-action is all about discipline in where your eyes go and knowing what you’re seeing.”

That's what Curran said after the Tennessee game when he complained that perhaps his teammates weren't spending enough time in the film room. Using their eyes has hardly been a strength this year.

The good news is, they've had an extra week to get in the film room for this game, so perhaps it will be a better overall effort that Georgia has seen previously. But Curran isn't arguing with Gamble's analysis. Regardless of Florida's struggles, this is a tough team to play -- not just physically, but mentally.

“They’re going to try to beat you deep, do different things to get you out of position, especially with having Tebow," Curran said. "They’re going to go to that spread and then Tebow’s going to try to run it. It just puts you on your heels a little bit more as far as not making mistakes and executing, making plays.”

Having said that, the road to success might not be as arduous as it used to be against Florida, and the key to stopping the Gators' offense, Curran said, isn't what most commentators will tell you. The key for Georgia's D? Make Tebow beat you.

“You want to put pressure on the quarterback to where he feels like he needs to make that extra play, make those extra yards," Curran said. "That’s pretty much what I’ve seen teams that have gotten Tebow to do – when he feels like he has to put the team on his back, he’s more prone to make a mistake.”

That's what Curran has learned from the past few weeks of watching the Gators. But how about defensive coordinator Willie Martinez? Here's a bit of what he had to say about this week's matchup…

On whether there is anything he can take, scheme-wise, from the success that Arkansas and Mississippi State had against Florida...

“Not really. They just played really well, really hard – the same things you say each and every week. The thing those guys did was they executed really well, they played really hard, they had those turnovers. Any time you’re turning the ball over, your opponent is going to have a good chance of winning. Arkansas played really hard, really well. Their defensive line played really well in the game. That’s what I saw. So you’re going into the ballgame, it’s the same thing. You want to try to control the line of scrimmage because that’s where it starts. They run the football. They set up the play-action pass really well. They have tremendous speed. They have great talent on the offensive side of the ball. You’ve just got to be patient and force them to execute and force them into third down-and-long situations, then once you get them into third down, you need to be successful.”

On working more this week to try to stop the play-action after struggling so badly against it in weeks past…

“We do that every week and it didn’t just start this week. You work on the things that hurt you in the previous game or throughout the season, and obviously build on the things you do really well. That’s no different. Prior to the Tennessee game, we did that. So we just have to play solid defense from the standpoint of lining up, fitting up right, making plays, forcing them into long yardage, and that means you have to do a really good job on first and second down and play-action. That’s always been part of their offense and why they’re so effective.”

On stopping Tim Tebow in the red zone this year after allowing him to rush for five touchdowns in the past two seasons…

“We’ve got to tackle better. We know he’s going to get the ball at those times, and you just have to make plays. He’s a very good player. If he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be talking about him every week. So you have to give him credit – he’s very talented and very tough. Our guys are looking forward to playing him, and you’ve just got to execute, play with an edge and play with a physicality that you need, especially in a game like this.”

On whether Florida's struggles in the vertical game mean he might challenge the Gators more, similar to what Mississippi State did by running a cover-zero last week…

“I don’t want to speak schematically, but the people that have had success and even our success when we beat them in ’07, it’s really the style that you play, the mentality you play with, the attitude you bring on every play. You’ve got to play physical. They’re a very talented football team, but we try not to make it about them. It’s really more about us and what we can do to help our team win. We know they’re tremendously talented on offense, but Mississippi State and Arkansas, they’re just playing hard, playing fast, making plays, forcing the quarterback to make poor decisions, whether it’s a breakdown in protection or just playing harder and faster. They just played really hard and really fast. That’s the key for us is to play that style, play that fast, play that hard and force the offense to get negative plays or keep them in long yardage.”

12 comments:

Steve said...

Oy...Willie...

BillyD said...

lol @ Willie saying "I don't want to speak schematically."

I know what he's trying to say but at this point that just sounds funny.

Anonymous said...

Interesting about CWM comments. He said that, "I don’t want to speak schematically, but the people that have had success and even our success when we beat them in ’07, it’s really the style that you play, the mentality you play with, the attitude you bring on every play."

Really? So all the problems we have been having with style, as in scheme, is going to matter after all.

It baffles me that a coach that has been in the position of DC can't see the forest for the trees. It baffles me even more when all the other coaches around him can't see it either.

I try to give CWM the benefit of the doubt but I can't anymore.

I hope we beat UF this week but if CWM uses the same style of play we have seen him use the past 3 years we won't.

Anonymous said...

CWM is really trying to rely upon that '07 win to get him through these rough times.

Will Q said...

So Mississippi State didn't do anything schematically different against Florida? Then what's all this Cover Zero business that was in every article after the UF/MSU game?

Sometimes, I think that Martinez would be better off if he had Searels's policy about speaking to the press.

rbubp said...

You know CWM just isn't going to really change anything. The tight end will catch the ball in the seams just like he always does and the cover 2 will be used that way it's hypothetically supposed to be used...except that our players are not really good enough to execute it the way it should be.

It will look like South Carolina, yes, but hopefully without 37 points. It would be nice if we would mix in different looks to confuse Tebow, as it's so easy to do that. We'll see if CWM could us the two weeks to mix it up a bit.

We might try stunt blitzes from somewhere other than up the middle now and then too, since UT kinda locked into that tendency and shut it totally down. The bottom line is that our defense only works if everyone plays their role really well, as it is a blanket defense rather than a pressure defense, and we clearly do not have the right mix of something.

rbubp said...

Ultimately, too, the Cover 2 we use won't force Tebow to take the game on his shoulders unless we can shut down his favorite target, the TE. How we gonna do that in that same defense. CWM? Please don't speak schematically, but we're waiting.

jferg said...

stamp it guaranteed we see WAY MORE Cover Zero and Walked-down RJ this weekend....and our defense will look a lot more like the defesnes of old. i'm going out on a limb and saying we hold the gators to under 200 yards TOTAL offense. Statement game.

BCDawg97 said...

jferg,

You been dipping into MaconDawg's cocktail Thursday a little early?

I'm about as optimistic as one can be and have a good feeling about the game. I do think this is the game where it all comes together, but I don't know about holding them200 yds.

But I will be happy to eat all the crow I can get on Saturday night.

godawg said...

I just hope I hope can keep the throw-up confined to my mouth...

rbubp said...

I'll tell you what, I wouldn't play Cover 0 very much right after last week--UF is not so stupid that they won't have figured out how to attack that. A couple of screens over the middle or TE post routes and you've given up 21 pts really fast. Isn't that what Arkansas was trying to do to us?

Husky Jeans said...

I want to see us come out in a 2-3 zone and press off of made free throws.