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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits: Georgia Tech Week

There was virtually nothing newsworthy to come out of Mark Richt's news conference today outside of injury updates. Most of the questions surrounded Paul Johnson and the triple-option, which should probably illustrate how much more interest there is in Tech right now than Georgia. In any case, here are the handful of tidbits you'll want to know...

-- On Bacarri Rambo and A.J. Green, here's the prognosis from Richt: "Bacarri won't go full speed today, but we hope by tomorrow he will. A.J. is less likely I'd say right now than Bacarri. We're pretty confident Bacarri will (play). We're a little less confident in A.J."

-- A.J. still does not have full range of motion in his shoulder, and Richt said if that is not better by Thursday, there's virtually no chance he'll play.

-- I asked Richt what, specifically, he had seen from the defense in recent weeks that would lead him to believe that UGA has a better shot at stopping Tech than it did a year ago. Here's what he said: "We've been playing very fast, playing hard, getting a lot of hats to the ball. When you watch the film and see five, six, seven guys getting to the ball carrier, that's a great sign of hustle. Guys containing plays -- not to say we always contained because we had some issues, and we did let them get outside of us in the Kentucky game -- but I think living through it one time around, hopefully will help them understand some things a little bit better, help them understand the things they have to accomplish to slow the thing down."

-- Good quote from Rennie on why he didn't consider Georgia Tech: "I just got a bad feeling from Tech. I didn't really like their coach. I never saw myself going to that rival school of Georgia. It'd be strange to be in that yellow."

-- One more good quote from Rennie -- asked about what he could do, should Georgia win, to get revenge for Tech's players tearing apart the hedges last season, Rennie's answer: Hijack the Ramblin' Wreck.

-- Richt downplayed the recruiting implications of this game, saying that a.) there were plenty of recruits in Georgia for both programs and b.) most Georgia high schoolers grew up already wanting to play at one school or the other.

-- Richt also talked about his recruitment of Jonathan Dwyer, saying he thought Dwyer chose Tech over UGA because he would have a better chance to play and said he was surprised by how big Dwyer got after getting to college while maintaining the same speed.

-- Talked to Shaun Chapas about the Washaun Ealey fumbled pitch. He said that, had the play gone off properly, it would have gone for a touchdown. Chapas was the lead blocker on the play, and he said that there was no confusion that he was aware of over what play was called.

-- And leave it to Joe Cox to offer the most stinging critique of Willie Martinez's defensive scheme.

I asked Cox why Georgia stopped running the bootleg pass to Orson Charles in the second half last week. Here's what he said:

"Their ends started playing more disciplined. You can't just run nakeds the whole game because sooner or later the end isn't going to chase you down the line of scrimmage like he was in the first half. They're going to start being in your face so you can't throw that ball. It's something that worked a few times early, but once you kill people on that type of play, they're going to start playing it better. So it was something that we couldn't just keep lining up and running."

Um, think Cox watched Georgia's D against Tennessee?

Actually, here's what Willie said right after the Tennessee game...

“(The bootleg) kept us off balance. We were trying to bring pressure at times, but it seems like they were doing a great job of mixing it up. We weren’t able to get off the field and make plays. They out-executed us, out-coached us and out-played us, bottom line. We weren’t going to allow them to run the ball, and they did a nice job of running the nakeds and the boots.”

So defenses will always adjust, says Cox. Unless that defense is Georgia's apparently.

Also, re-reading that quote from Cox, he stops short of specifically saying Kentucky showed an ability to stop the play. It reads much more like he's saying Georgia simply stopped running it assuming Kentucky would figure it out. Given that the only time the play didn't work came when Cox slightly overthrew Charles, that seems like the better explanation.


Kathleen said...

I honestly think that if Dwyer had come to Georgia, he wouldn't be doing as well as he's doing. How sad is that?

Rob said...

The funny thing about Richt's reply regarding our defense's ability to stop Georgia Tech's offense is that it seems to be completely off-base. Granted, I haven't been in the arena (buzzword!), but Tech's offense is the type of offense that thrives when teams are very fast and gang tackle.

The entire point of the offense is to use ball fakes, misdirection, and uncertainty to keep the defense guessing who has the ball. You can't gang tackle, you have to play assignment football and tackle your man. It requires solid fundamentals from everyone on the defense to stay in position, keep containment, not overpursue, and wrap up the ball carrier. Solo tackles are going to be crucial if we plan on stopping the Jackets, and I simply don't see it happening. If there is any time where too much hustle can actually hurt a team, it's against this offense.

This game is going to come down to our defense being able to execute. We need the defensive line to shut down the dive play, the linebackers to handle the sweep, and the defensive backs to control the pitch man. If we can't succeed in doing that and playing solid fundamentals, it will be a long night.

That being said, I do think our offense can move the ball with a decent amount of success against Tech. Their defense has been marginal at best, and they haven't exactly played the most prolific offenses. If we can simply take care of the ball and make open field tackles (which is a huge if), I think we have a pretty even game. That said, I still think we lose.

doofusdawg said...

what happened to the joe cox shotgun stance question... is the program so down that yall were afraid to bring that up... honestly... does anybody really think that bringing it up might tip off tech to our tendencies... was their a private pre press conference press conference...

David Hale said...

Doofus -- I wasn't able to get that question in with Joe due to time. I plan on posing it to Bobo tonight. Stand by.

doofusdawg said...

thanks... you are doing some phenomenal research and writing... you have combined sarcasm with sports reporting in a way that makes me think of a more serious lewis grizzard... you need to admit your dawg allegiance and i hope to one day read more than just your columns... and as far as the bootlegs... i think the bigger question is why did we wait till auburn to run one.