Proof that 'Dawgs and 'Cocks can get along: here's another Q & A, this time with UGA luminary T. Kyle King of Dawg Sports. My answer to his questions should be up soon.
1. After a promising first drive, the Georgia offense floundered throughout most of the game against Oklahoma State. What does Georgia need to do to produce more points against South Carolina, and how successful do you think they will be against a Gamecocks defense that completely dominated N. C. State?
The key is to get the passing game in synch. In Stillwater, Joe Cox and his receivers rarely were on the same page. Either Cox waited too long to get rid of the ball and put it in the wrong spot or the receivers dropped passes that hit them on the hands. Against South Carolina’s secondary, it will be tough to generate offense over the top, but a credible aerial threat is essential to enabling the Georgia forward wall to open up holes for the running game. While the Classic City Canines certainly should prove to be better than N.C. State, the likelihood of Georgia producing a heap of points is slim.
2. The Georgia defense struggled a bit late last season but played well against a prolific Oklahoma State offense. What was the difference and what do you expect Georgia's approach will be against South Carolina?
First and foremost, the Bulldogs have more healthy bodies. Secondly, the Georgia D is tackling better and, for the most part, avoiding foolish penalties (the occasional questionable call when a defensive back dares to tackle a receiver whose hands are touching the ball aside). Willie Martinez is a firm believer in his scheme, so he is unlikely to vary his approach against the Gamecocks. The Red and Black will try to get pressure with four down linemen with a minimum of blitzing, plug the middle with the linebackers, and avoid giving up the big play in the secondary.
The latest reports I’ve seen from David Hale suggest that Caleb King will see the field if he’s 100 per cent and he won’t if he isn’t, so he is likely to play either a lot or not at all. Seeing as how he failed to make the job his own when he was healthy, I don’t know how huge his presence will be. Last weekend, Richard Samuel was one high-step away from breaking several big ones, so the key to the running game isn’t the ballcarrier as much as it is the offensive line.
4. Prediction. Who will win and what type of game will it be?
Let me answer the second part first, because that’s the part that appears most certain. Georgia and South Carolina have a long history of close games, especially during the Mark Richt era. Low-scoring defensive struggles are very much the norm, and the offensive and defensive performances by both teams in their openers strongly suggest that the series will hold true to form. The fact that it’s a night game in Athens should help the Bulldogs, though not as much as I would like to hope. My heart says Georgia by a 13-10 margin. We’ll see if that’s what my head says when I break down the numbers on Friday.
A hearty thanks to Kyle for taking part in this Q & A.