Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Impossible? Have another cocktail.

Saturday October 28, 2006

Florida is averaging 23 PPG in five SEC games to date. They haven’t broken 30 once. Most, if not all, of their SEC games have been within reach of either team in the fourth quarter.

I’m not saying that Florida’s offense sucks. They have two very good quarterbacks, a fleet of playmakers at receiver, and a difficult scheme to defend. I just wouldn’t describe them as explosive. Their style is power and force, very much like a passing version of the 2004 Auburn team. Auburn scored 24 against Georgia that year, but it was as complete and overwhelming a defeat as any 40-point beatdown.

Would I be surprised if Florida puts up 30+ on Georgia? No, because Georgia continues to be generous with the ball, and Florida has an opportunistic defense. If the offense and special teams can limit the mistakes that have cost them over the past month, Florida won’t score by the bucketful. That kind of efficient mistake-free play hasn’t been in Georgia’s character this season.

To come through, though, Georgia will have to reverse not one but two patterns. The Bulldogs started the season 5-0 and had given up a total of 14 points in the second halves of those games. They outscored opponents 72-14 in the second half and, other than the South Carolina game, scored at least 14 points in each second half. Since, the bottom has fallen out on both sides of the ball. In the last three games, Georgia has been outscored 71-24 in the second half. They haven’t scored more than nine points in a single second half and have given up no fewer than 17 points each time.

Many Georgia fans have long since thrown in the towel (Rep. Murtha would be proud), but is this really an impossible task? Georgia’s job #1 is not to give Florida any help. No turnovers, and no short-field situations. That alone would be a big turnaround. Then Georgia must attack Florida with the short passing game. Reggie Nelson is back there to slurp up errant deep passes, but teams have been able to move the ball with short ball-control passes.

While some are predicting a blowout and a game that will be over by halftime, I think it’s just as likely, if not moreso, that this could be a game well into the second half. We forget that Georgia led Tennessee going into the fourth quarter. If Georgia can get the first half advantage again and if Florida’s relatively deliberate offensive buildup continues, the stage will be set. That point in the game will be key – Georgia has flopped in the second half while Florida typically has put teams away with late scores or interceptions. Georgia might have the opportunity to reverse those fortunes in this game, but it will be a true test of leadership, talent, and especially coaching.

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