Friday, September 30, 2011

Mississippi State Preview

Mitchell with the catch (Image:Hipple)
Here we are, another game that we have more talent than the team coming to Sanford Stadium, but not confident we have enough of the other stuff that it'll take to win.  Last year, Mississippi State was, well, Mississippi State.  They came into the game at 1-2 (0-2) in the conference with a close loss to Auburn and getting dominated by LSU.  Mullen had his team ready to play and they donkey punched Georgia, 24-12.

They would go on to reel off 6 straight wins, with the only really big win coming against the Florida team that looked terrible in their worse home game in years, 10-7.

Mullen will have his team ready to play again. On paper, this is a simple win for Georgia. If being a Georgia fan has taught me anything, there rarely is such a thing as a simple win the past few years.

The biggest source of concern is the one drive that the defense allowed a TD last week. Two misdirection plays that allowed receivers to be open way behind our D backs and bam! Touchdown.  Maybe it because I still get the shakes when someone mentions a wheel route, or maybe it is because Relf is a very dangerous misdirection weapon, but I am worried about how we handle those plays.  Bacarri Rambo was the source of many of those very plays I am worried about, and he is a big key in this game.

I didn't trust him at the beginning of the season.  I was wrong. He is leading the nation in interceptions and is sixth in passes defended.  His play is notably improved and he plays like the guy we thought we'd see based on his Freshman year.  It isn't an overstatement to say Bacarri is very much the biggest defensive surprise of this team.  Between the edge rushing threat of Relf and Ballard, and the ability of Relf to force defenses to decide early to stop a run or a pass, Rambo's new mindset and approach will be put to the test.  Getting CRob back to provide run support and edge contain will help, as the Dbacks will have to respect Chad Bumphis' ability to get separation and Relf's ability to plant and throw to him at nearly any time.

On offense, it is simple: Four yards at a time.  Runs or passes.  Murray needs to be sharp.  Orson, White, Figgins, Crowell, and Samuel need to catch what is thrown to them.  Crowell, Thomas and Samuel should focus on extra yards, not the home run.  Louisiana Tech wore Mississippi State out with its short passing game.  The 17 year old starting QB for Tech was 29/40, averaging just over 5 yards per pass.  Tech was effective enough neutralizing the Bizzaro Dawg's speed.  Add in the Mitchell/King/Brown deep threat and that is a pretty good recipe.  That and scoring TDs anytime we can, instead of running three times and settling for the FG inside the 20.

Finally, we are going to see a fake punt, onside kick attempted and/or some other trickeration.  Count on that.  Hopefully, the 'extra focus' on special teams will pay off this week.

In the end, I am far more hopeful about this game than I was sweltering on the Marta platform for an hour after the Boise State game.  Georgia isn't quite the super team we've seen the past two weeks.  Mississippi State isn't the slogging mess we've seen the last two weeks. We'll have a good idea which team Georgia is by about 4pm on Saturday. I think we win, but don't pull away until late because we don't do anything easy.


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