The Texas A&M’s offense will bring something to Sanford Stadium Saturday that could potentially cause Georgia’s defense some trouble if they aren’t ready to defend it.
The Aggies’ offense runs out a split-back pro set meaning that they frequently use two running backs in the backfield at once.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the formation is hard to defend because Aggies’ head coach Jimbo Fisher makes it hard for opponents’ defenses to adjust to it.
“It’s like the triple option of today, when you have two backs in the backfield because nobody knows really how to defend it anymore,” Smart said at his Monday press conference. “Coach (Vince) Dooley is back there, he could probably tell you how to defend it, because you toss the ball and you run a sweep, and nobody knows how to handle a lead blocker.”
Texas A&M’s split-back set didn’t seem to phase Georgia senior inside linebacker Tae Crowder.
“Whatever they do, we’ve just got to come out and prepare for it,” said Crowder. “They do it a good bit, but I don’t think it’s too serious and it shouldn’t be a problem for us if we’re ready for it.”
For redshirt freshman linebacker Azeez Ojulari it will be brand new for him.
“I’ve never seen it, to be honest,” Ojulari said. “It will be different this week, for sure.”
This year, Georgia’s run defense has been pretty stout, but Texas A&M brings in two backs that have had pretty productive seasons thus far. Isaiah Spiller and Cordarrian Richardson have run for a combined total of 1,028 rushing yards this year, and both average more than six yards per carry. This past Saturday against South Carolina, the duo rushed for a combined total of 259 yards.
“They’re very different runners, but Jimbo did some of the similar same things at FSU when he had Dalvin,” said Smart. “He uses some different plays to really highlight the two backs he has. And they’re running the ball more and more efficiently as the season goes on — like you can see how they’ve gotten better and better and better at running the ball every game, and it really came to fruition against South Carolina.”
The Bulldogs’ defense not only has to worry about them but Aggies’ quarterback Kellen Mond as well, who is a true dual threat. Mond needs just 83 more passing yards to join former Texas A&M quarterback as the only two quarterbacks to pass for 7,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a career.
Mond is having a pretty good year. He has completed 210 of 328 passes for 2,436 yards and 18 touchdowns. Mond is also the teams’ second-leading rusher with 400 yards and seven touchdowns as he is averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
“He’s a very mobile quarterback. He can run, he can throw. He’s very mobile so it’s going to be a very different type of game plan this week for sure,” said Ojulari.
Smart’s opinion on Mond was about the same as Ojulari’s, but also noted that his defense is going to have to step up big if Georgia wants to continue winning.
“This kid has a tremendous arm talent, and we know the athlete he is,” said Smart. “We know he can run. But it’s not like you say this guy is a runner first. He’s a really good passer, and the beauty of it he plays in a pro-style offense and throws to some really good weapons and checks things, moves things around, but is extremely athletic. And when I say athletic, I don’t mean, oh, he’s going to scramble for a first down. When he takes off running, he continues running. And there’s guys out there that just can’t catch him. He doesn’t always look to do that, but when he does, it’s extremely dangerous. Makes you play him a different kind of way, so we’ve got a tough charge in front of us.”