September 21, 2012

Gameplan predictions



Vanderbilt offense vs. Georgia defense

It is hard to believe that the Commodores will put the game on the shoulders of either Austyn Carta-Samuels or Jordan Rodgers in this game. It appears as if Carta-Samuels will get the start, but both signal-callers will likely play, and Vandy will need to stick to its strength and run the football. Expect James Franklin's crew to get creative in the run game and maybe employ some "Wildcat" packages with Zac Stacey and Brian Kimbrow in the game at the same time. They will need to be on or ahead of schedule on offense to move the football and score, and their best chance of doing that is on the ground. If they can establish the run game, expect them to take their shots to their big receivers, Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd, on second and medium or second and short. This will give them an opportunity to bite off huge chunks of yardage and give them a chance to put the ball in the end zone multiple times. If they can't get the run game going, it will be very tough for them to rely on either quarterbacks' arm.

Vanderbilt defense vs. Georgia offense

Vandy is deep and quick up front, so expect them to use that to their advantage. The Commodores won't just sit still and let Georgia block them. They will be slanting and stunting, especially on first down, in an effort to create negative plays for the Georgia offense. If this is successful, they will try and lean on their solid pass defense to handle long yardage situations. Defensive tackle Rob Lohr and defensive end Walker May are two guys to keep an eye on because they are the playmakers up front for the Commodores. Vandy will rely on these two to spend a great deal of time in the UGA offensive back field, and if they succeed, Georgia will be in a situation where they are allowing Vandy to play with their dominant hand. Vanderbilt wants to play pass defense. Their defensive backs take great angles, and they have great ball skills. If the Commodores can't stop Georgia from getting their run game going, then expect them to commit one of their safeties to help slow it down. This will loosen them up as a pass defense, but they can ill afford to let the Bulldogs' ground game to beat them.

Georgia defense vs. Vanderbilt offense

Through three games, Georgia has made mental mistakes against the run and the pass. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, Georgia's biggest struggle has been against the intermediate passing game, and that isn't a strength of the Commodores. The Bulldogs know that there is little chance that the Vandy quarterbacks can beat them with their arm, so expect their focus to be stopping the run. If Georgia can do this with their front four, they could be in for a big night. The Commodores need to win on first down, and Georgia's focus should and most likely will be forcing second and third and longs. If they are successful in this area, expect the Georgia defensive backs to be flying around and going after the football. Also expect Todd Grantham and company to dial up more pressure than they have in the first three weeks in an effort to force mistakes from the Vandy offense.

Georgia offense vs. Vanderbilt defense

There have been a few games in Mark Richt's tenure where Georgia has come out with an obviously run-heavy game plan. Saturday could be one of those games, but expect Georgia to come out with their normal, balanced attack. Vanderbilt plays a lot of "off" coverage, so expect Mike Bobo to dial up a few quick screens to his wide receivers to force the Commodores to run sideline to sideline. Also expect a healthy does of the power run game between the tackles early and often, as Georgia will want to take advantage of their size advantage on the inside. Don't be surprised to see more "I" formation in this game, or at least more plays from under center than you have seen in recent weeks. The four wide receiver sets have been effective for the Bulldogs during the first three games, but it doesn't give them the mismatch against Vandy that it has other teams on the schedule. Whether they spend more time in the shotgun or under center, expect for Georgia to reach for a few big plays from the play action passing game, and you could see an offensive wrinkle or two such as the pistol formation Bobo employed last week. If the Commodores put Georgia in third and long situations, expect several checks at the line for Murray to go with the run game on that down and distance. Georgia likes to play the numbers game on the inside and if they have the advantage, expect them to try and exploit it.

Overall

Vanderbilt is one of the fastest team on UGA's schedule. Franklin and company have done a great job recruiting excellent athletes, and many of them are on the defensive side of the ball. The Commodores are solid up front and will create some negative plays for Georgia. The Commodores, however, haven't faced a passing offense or the receiver personnel that they will face from Georgia this season. Georgia would like to win first down offensively, but they aren't as reliant on it as Vanderbilt is, and this will be the difference in the game. Vanderbilt has a glaring tendency to keep the ball on the ground on early downs, and this is something Georgia should be able to exploit. It may not happen early, but Georgia should be in good shape by the end of the first half. Expect the defense to force multiple turnovers, and the Bulldogs should pull away in the second half. Prediction: Georgia 41 Vandy 13

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