Jeff Dantzler’s five keys for a Dawg’s victory as Georgia opens their 2017 college football season today, hosting Appalachian State in The Classic City at Sanford Stadium.
1. LIMIT MOORE
Jalin Jerry Lee Moore Jr. is one of the top tailbacks in college football. An understudy to senior Marcus Cox, he stepped to the forefront when his senior teammate went down with an injury last season, rushing for 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns. Moore and quarterback Taylor Lamb are amongst the most accomplished backfield duos in the country. Georgia’s highly touted defensive front must bottle up Moore or the Bulldogs are in big trouble.
2. MAKE LAMB UNCOMFORTABLE
The aforementioned quarterback out of Calhoun, Ga. has had a stellar career in Boone. On the run, Lamb is dangerous – chalking up 505 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 5.7 per pop in 2016. Lamb completed 60 percent of is passes a year ago, amassing 2,281 yards and 15 touchdowns against eight picks. If that Bulldog front seven doesn’t harass Lamb, he can hurt Georgia in a variety of ways. In short, the Georgia defense must win the battle up front. If Moore and Lamb get a defense on its heels, the Mountaineers offense is capable of putting up big numbers.
3. SOUND SPECIAL TEAMS
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart pointed to the kicking game as Georgia’s top priority for preseason camp. With good reason. For over a decade, Georgia’s special teams have been an Achilles heel in a slew of gut-wrenching losses. While the offense develops, the Bulldogs will ride the defense – and for that to work, the stop unit must be complemented by strong special teams play. Often in season-openers, the kicking game is the difference. Smart’s aim is to make Georgia’s special teams amongst the very best in college football. Saturday’s opener would be a great place to start.
4. RUN IT STRONG
Back to the days of Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi, when Georgia has been great, the Bulldogs have been powerful on the ground. That’s the Smart plan and that’s the path to Georgia’s offense having a big season and beating Appalachian State between the hedges. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are a stellar duo, with Brian Herrien and DeAndre Swift the next in line with Tailback U. Of course, the development of the O-Line will be vital to Georgia’s success. But the Bulldogs have the backs!
5. EASON ACCURACY
While the ground game is the centerpiece of Georgia’s offense, the Dogs must get much better, more consistent and more threatening in the passing game. Protection from the line is where it starts. And you can bet teams will stack the front to try and stymie the running game. Jacob Eason must get the Bulldogs in the right looks, avoid the catastrophic turnover and complete a higher percentage of passes – of all varieties.
Recent Articles by Jeff Dantzler