It feels like I have written the same piece after every game this season. To summarize every 2020 ‘Trenches’ article in one sentence: Georgia’s offensive and defensive lines have played well enough to win every game, with the possible exception of Alabama (emphasizing “possible exception”).
Thanks to the combination of the noon start and a later Sunday deadline, I had time to do a film review of the Mizzou game and look at one portion of the game in-depth – the second quarter.
The quarter began with Missouri running an old school double pass that completely fooled the Dawgs’ secondary, taking the ball to Georgia’s one-yard line. The Tigers scored on the next play to cut Georgia’s lead to seven points. Later, a blocked punt led to the Tiger’s point total for the day by giving Mizzou the ball on Georgia’s one-yard line.
The Bulldogs had dominated the first quarter with Mizzou sticking to a standard defensive four or five-man defensive front that Georgia’s offensive line manhandled. The touchdown pass mentioned above resulted from a trick-play and was the only big play that Missouri could muster in the first half.
After JT Daniels connected with George Pickens for a huge first-down on the first UGA possession of the second quarter, an incompletion and a 2-yard loss on a sweep brought a third and twelve. At that point, Missouri’s defensive coordinator, Ryan Walters, changed tactics. He put seven in the box (seven defensive players opposite Georgia’s five offensive linemen) and rushed six. A sack resulted. Georgia had kept James Cook in to block, but Warren McClendon chose to help the back while a Missouri defender ran outside McLendon to record the sack. Another problem for Daniels was that he did not appear to have a quick unload (hot) route to defeat the blitz.
After that success with loading the box, Mizzou returned on the Bulldog’s next possession with as many as eight defenders along the line of scrimmage or immediately behind it. Five linemen will never overcome those numbers without help from the offensive coordinator’s play-calls to flank the rush. Roll-outs, little flares in the flat to running backs – countermeasures like that to negate the Mizzou blitz-game and allow the quarterback to escape the blitz. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken began to employ those tactics as the second quarter wound down. The game was quickly put out of reach when Georgia took the second-half opening possession and marched to a 14 point lead. Todd Monken’s offense could have scored seventy points if Coach Smart had not begun substituting liberally in the late third quarter.
By the way, the defensive line had another great day. They completely shut down the Tigers’ run-game and ate up blockers in the pass game allowing the Dawgs’ linebackers to harass Missouri’s passers all day.