Electric Sanford Stadium – Unfortunately it’s a noon kickoff for the fourth straight meeting between the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets. The Georgia faithful, just a day and a few hours removed from Thanksgiving must answer the bell, and give the Bulldogs the kind of raucous environment that played such a huge role in the win over Auburn. Between the Senior Day festivities and later arriving crowds, the atmosphere certainly hasn’t helped in those crushing losses to the enemy the last two times these two played in Athens. The message to the Georgia people, the Dogs need that 12th man in a bad way for the full 60 minutes, and maybe more.
Stop that Fullback – Anytime a defense faces the triple option, this is where it all begins. The front has to get penetration and slow down that fullback, or ‘B-Back,” in Paul Johnson’s scheme. It’s a huge challenge for any defensive line with the way Tech blocks. Georgia’s big uglies must be up to the challenge and the linebackers have to play disciplined, strike hard and not over pursue. Penetrate, and keep the B-Back under three yards a pop, and the defense is off to a good start.
Harass the Quarterback – This is the second part of slowing down Tech’s high-powered option attack. The Yellow Jackets have two very dangerous talents in TaQuon Marshall and Tobias Oliver, who have been absolutely gnashing defenses. The quarterback must be punished. Cleanly of course. But hit consistently. Playing on your heels on the corner with option experts like Marshall and Oliver is a recipe for a long day. Forcing the pitch or decision, even though Tech might hit the occasional big play, is a big part of the diagnosis. Getting Tech behind the chains is essential. These guys get a lot of big runs, and the Georgia stop unit will have its toughest test.
Capitalize but Stay Patient – When Tech is moving the ball, putting up points and eating up clock, the opposing offense can really feel the pressure. It’s vital to score, score, score. Put the pressure on Tech, and exploit the weaknesses in the Yellow Jackets defense. But that must be balanced with patience. If Tech puts together one of its patented seven to eight minute scoring drives, a three and out response means trouble. Trying to answer with a quick strike can get teams behind the chains, then the mental game really comes into play.
Gotta Have It – When Kirby Smart arrived at Georgia, the obvious two steps towards achieving greatness were winning the state and winning in Sanford Stadium. Well since the 28-27 heartbreaker of 2016, the Bulldogs have been perfect between the hedges and are in search of a 15th win in the last 18 meetings against the Jackets. They are flat out gunning for Georgia, hoping to catch a team and fan base apathetic towards its threat and looking ahead to Alabama. The great Erk Russell always said he wanted guys with “a bad case of the wants.” Georgia has to want this one more, and absolutely deny the Jacket players and fans a third straight trip to Sanford Stadium to rip up the hedges and drown Georgia’s playoff dreams.