Georgia Preview

The Walking Dead come to life this Saturday in Jacksonville right after Halloween, as both team limp in with disappointing records, disgruntled (to put it mildly) fan bases, one offense that’s DOA, and enough players shelved for the season with injuries that I would bet could field a competitive team.

After a week off, we’ll see right away if Will Muschamp backs up his comments about changing things across the board in order to jump start the offense and give the Gators a fair shot at winning.  Sadly, the team is only playing for pride going forward as any significant team goal will not be achieved.

Again, it all starts with the O-Line.  Hopefully some changes in position and/or players themselves allows Tyler Murphy and the passing game some shot at making enough plays to balance out the offense and actually score some points……a novel concept this season.  The week off should have allowed some guys the chance to heal some nagging injuries.  The main thing, though, is the scheme……have the coaches actually given the players a better chance at success?  Kelvin Taylor hopefully gets a full share of carries, and it sure as hell would be nice to take some chances down the field with some intermediate and deep throws, even if the WRs are covered……give them the chance to make a play on the ball.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Another turnover?  Another punt?  And what happened to the supposed throws to the RBs?  Screen passes?  UGA’s DEs are undersized, and can be pushed around – quit leaving the OTs exposed to pass rush specialists, help them with some TEs, and make something happen.

There’s nothing to lose now, and it’s time to be more aggressive and even start planning ahead for 2014.  Brent Pease is the Dead Man Walking right now……

The defense certainly had it’s pride wounded at Missouri with a combination of tiring of bailing out an inept offense and simply playing poorly.  Even with all of the injuries to the Puppy offensive skill players, their attack will challenge all levels of the field, and will require a great effort to slow then down enough to have a chance at winning.  If the pass rush would ever materialize, Aaron Murray has always shown the propensity for erratic throws and turnovers.  I expect a healthier Todd Gurley is gonna get a lot of carries to simply try and wear down the Gator defense as long as the game is not seriously in doubt for Georgia.  The Florida secondary should match up well with the Puppy WRs, and should have at least a few chances at interceptions.  It’s the run defense that worries me – it started to show cracks as far back as the Arkansas game, as the D-Line and LBs have been pushed around too easily.  In addition, all of the injuries to the UGA WRs have meant a lot more throws to the RBs and TEs – let’s hope the coaches plan for this and the LBs are ready.  I expect a lot of nickel and dime packages (not the Halloween or other side of the tracks kind of packages, kiddies), daring UGA to stay with the run.  I hope to see a lot of blitzing as well, both against the run and pass.

Florida may have an edge in special teams again this year.  It looks like the KO return game has stepped up with Solomon Patton.  Frankie Velez has been solid on FGs, and the coverage units have played well.  The Puppies have struggled in giving up big returns for a decade now, and that could swing things Florida’s way……the Gator offense needs all the help it can get right now.

At this point, I think Gator Nation just wants to see some changes – any changes – on offense to try and jump start things, and, while hating a 3rd straight loss to Georgia, would be OK with a competitive game.  How sad is that?

In the end, I see Georgia’s offense having too many possessions that will eventually lead to scoring opportunities later in the game.  Even with the Puppy defense struggling mightily this year, Florida doesn’t have the players and hasn’t shown the coaching capable of exploiting it the entire season to date.  It looks like the Resident Evil and Red Queen (Coach Helen Hunt of the Puppies) live on for a 3rd straight year……I sure hope I’m wrong.

Prediction:  Georgia 31        Florida 17