During game week, the staff at Dawg News Daily reviews the matchup between the Bulldogs and their opponent and finds 3 key positions or players that will be difference makers in Saturdays game.
The Georgia Bulldogs came back down to earth last Saturday as they had a lackluster performance on the road against Missouri. The Bulldogs offense only mustard two Rodrigo Blankenship field goals in the 1st half. Thank goodness for a strip fumble return for a touchdown by freshman and the punt block for a touchdown by Eric Stokes OR this game could of been a lot closer!
The Bulldogs had 4 starters (Rice, Thomas, Cleveland, and Campbell) go down during the game and overcame a slew of penalties to come away with a 14 point road win. Now we are on to a home rivalry game against a reeling Tennessee team that turned the ball over 6 times against Florida last week.
DAWG NEWS DAILY'S 3 & OUT
1) Interior Defense Georgia's interior defense in the redzone was shown to be a weakness against Missouri. The Dawgs gave up 4 rushing touchdowns in short yardage situations. Not all of it can be put on the the interior defense, because a questionable defensive calls to only have 3 defensive lineman when in the redzone. UGA was obviously more worried about Mizzou's passing attack then their rushing. But still this is a cause for concern. WE are looking for the the interior defense to step up against Tennessee who will be a little more run heavy than last weeks opponent and players like David Marshall, Natrez Patrick, and Michal Barnett are already commenting on the defense feeling like "they lost" last week as to how the defense played. A bounce back this week would go a long way to show it being more of a scheme thing against Missouri and not a possible season long problem. Florida got a ton of push up front against Tennessee last week and didn't have to blitz much because of their penetration. The return of Monty Rice will be a boost as well!
2) D'Andre Swift
Swift came out this week and admitted he's been dealing with a nagging groin injury and receiving daily treatments to work through it. Against Missouri, D'Andre had a career high 16 carries but hasn't gotten the big highlight runs that fans were accustom to last year. He know believes he is 100% and should share the majority of the snaps with Elijah Holyfield the rest of the season alas Chubb/Sony. We want to see Swift come out this week with a 2018 breakout game and get those runs we are used to seeing. If not, Elijah may start sneaking more and more of those carries as the season continues.
3) 1st Half Offense
Georgia has scored a total of 1 touchdown on offense in the 1st half in the 2 SEC games they've played. That is a cause for concern. UGA has been a little vanilla on offense so far this season as we have only seen the Wild Dawg package 2 or 3 times at most. In 2017, on the opening drive of games you would see Fromm throw the ball around a little more since teams were so focused on the run and it lead to defenses having to respect both. Fromm likes to work from the hash marks out which may by by design to lower the chances of tipped balls being intercepted or overthrows just going out of bounds. Pruitt will load up the defense to stop the run and force Fromm to pass. Look for UGA to utilize their speed and attack the edges with jet sweeps and mix in runs up the middle with Holyfield. UGA needs to get off to a good start on offense and put the pressure on Tennessee to try and keep up which will play to Georgia's strength which is their pass defense.
This should be a physical game as both head coaches love to use the word "physicality". UGA is coming off a disappointing game on defense against Mizzou and looking to get back on track. Tennessee is in full on rebuild mode (since 2007) and Pruitt is doing his best to put his stamp on this team. 6 turnovers last week and a Linebacker supposedly quitting during the game may be the low point...maybe not. UGA is favored by 32.5 points which is a huge number for a rivalry game. Georgia's Offensive line wears down the Vols in the 2nd half and the Dawgs pull away as UT doesn't have enough offense to make it a contest.