3 & OUT REPORT - SEC CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION
During game week the staff at Dawg News Daily previews the match up between the Bulldogs and their opponent. We focus in on 3 key positions or players that will be the difference makers in Saturdays game..
DAWG NEWS DAILY'S 3 & OUT REPORT:
1) Eric Stokes/Tyson Campbell/etc.: This should be listed as whoever is opposite of Deandre Baker. Baker is arguably the best defensive back in the nation and is sure to be a 1st round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. As UGA witnessed against LSU, Whoever is on the other side of Baker is sure to be targeted a lot! Tyson Campbell fell victim that day and although his stat line read 11 tackles, He was picked on a lot! He's a very very talented freshman and will soon be the reason opponents shy away from him...but not this year or this game! Eric Stokes recently earned his way into the starting spot over Campbell. Both will play this weekend but both Richard Lecounte and JR Reed will need to trend their coverage over their way for help. Recall the national championship game as Malkom Parrish was targeted for much of the 2nd half and it was safety Dominick Sanders who was out of position on the 2 deep who gave up the game ending touchdown. This year's Alabama team likes to run crossing routes and get their talented wide receivers in space. The Bulldog secondary will need to mix up their coverage and look to confuse Tug Tagovailoa similar to what UGA did with Missouri and Drew Locke. The Bama receivers are very good and are going to catch some balls, UGA will just need to limit the run YAC yards.
2) D'Andre Walker/Natrez Patrick: I could of put linebackers down for this category but heck, I feel like we do this each week. This position group is a weakness for the young Bulldogs and with Monty Rice being doubtful this week, it doesn't help matters. These 2 linebackers will need to have great games in order for the Bulldogs to be compete in this game. D'Andre Walker has made a career at UGA harassing quarterbacks and with Tua Tagovailoa having a probable Heisman winning season, the last thing the Bulldogs need is for him to have a comfortable pocket. Expect some dynamic blitzes drawn up from Mel Tucker and company to try and get the Alabama QB pressured. The real key here is the inside linebackers. Natrez Patrick and company are facing their stiffest challenge yet at Running back with Damian Harris, Najee Harris, & Josh Jacobs. They will need to be sure tacklers in the open field and be physical at the point of attack.
3) 3rd Quarter "Blitz"- We all know games are 4 quarters... But I believe this game comes down to one important time for the Georgia Bulldogs. Its the 3rd Quarter! Stay with me here, Alabama has scored 27 and 21 points in the 3rd quarter alone in the last 2 games. In each game they were either tied (against Citadel) and up 3 (against Auburn). On the otherside, UGA has separated themselves in the 2nd qtr & 3rd quarter this season. 2nd Quarter: Tech, Florida, and Auburn games and in the 3rd quarter: South Carolina and Kentucky. UGA's 2nd half adjustments will be important and I imagine a lot of the 1st quarter being a feel out for both teams and the 2nd half being when the game really starts. The more UGA can keep this a close game the more doubt sets in with Alabama (who's closest game this year is 24 points) and the more confidence builds with the Dawgs!
When this week started, I wasn't sure how UGA could win this game. This is Alabama's best offense in the Nick Saban era. They are averaging 49 points a game and over 330+ yards passing along with 205 yards rushing. They have overwhelmed every team they have played. UGA only has the one blemish on the schedule but is playing its best ball of the year right now! Georgia will need to run the ball on offense. The Dawgs are leading the SEC in rushing with averaging 259 yards. The offensive line will need to open holes and give the 1-2 punch of Holyfield & Swift some room to run. This also might be UGA's best defense against Bama's offense and keep them off the field. Expect The Tide to focus in on the run and make Fromm beat them, similar to what LSU did. If the coaches don't abandon the run, expect this one to be closer then Vegas thinks. UGA will need to score at least 30+ points to win this game. At the end of the day, I think this is a very physical matchup and UGA just doesn't have the experience and DUDES on defense to stop the offensive firepower of Tua and company.
Score Prediction: Alabama 40-31