Georgia was beaten by Alabama in Tuscaloosa Saturday night. There is no soft-peddling that the Tide out-executed the Bulldogs. Execution is the direct result of coaching, and Kirby Smart himself said after the game, “They out-coached us.” Kirby is right. Nick Saban and his staff had a better plan Saturday, and Alabama beat Georgia.
What did not happen in Western Alabama last weekend was a beatdown. Alabama did not just walk onto the field and dominate UGA. That statement is especially true when one looks at line play.
Alabama knew that the Dawgs would bring lots of speedy guys to rush their very accurate but relatively immobile quarterback. Everyone that Georgia plays knows the same thing. The trick is to either block Georgia’s onrushing linemen, linebacker(s), and possibly a defensive back, or as Mac Jones did all night, get his passes off before the rush got to him. Yes, the guys in white hurried Jones often, but the slants and other relatively short patterns allowed him to get the ball to his playmakers in space consistently.
Bama’s offensive line did not blow the Dawgs off the ball. However, Alabama’s excellent offensive line was able to fight off Georgia’s defense long enough for Mr. Jones to place the ball downfield accurately. No mean feat when one considers the speed and athleticism of the personnel that Kirby employed against them.
This article’s scope is line play, so we must ask what the offensive or defensive lines might have changed that would have reversed the game’s outcome. Of course, one can insist that those groups might have played harder or executed better, but I think the source of the loss in Tuscaloosa lies outside the lines – the offensive and defensive lines, that is. Not that line play gets a pass, just that UGA might have won with similar execution along the lines of scrimmage.
Beatdown then is not my choice of descriptive terms for that game. Coach-down (to coin a phrase) might be a better fit. Alabama correctly anticipated Georgia’s attack and successfully employed their resources to blunt the Bulldog attack on both sides of the ball. Blunt, not destroy.
The foundation of a football team is the line of scrimmage. Big guys on both sides of the ball make it possible for smaller guys to score and defend. The foundation is in place for Georgia to play with anyone in the country.