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Georgia Bulldogs at South Carolina Gamecocks: Quick Thoughts on Georgia's Defense

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A few quick ponderings on Todd Grantham's defense:

--Georgia currently ranks 55th in total defense, including 57th in rushing defense. The rushing numbers are what stand out to me right now. Georgia gave up almost 200 yards rushing to Tennessee last weekend, including a 100+ game for Vols tailback Raijon Neal. Some of those total yards came from Cordarelle Patterson, who the Vols like to give the ball to on reverses and end-arounds, but plenty of them came the old-fashioned way. By comparison, the Vols rushed for less than 100 yards against Florida. Tennessee averaged almost two YPC less against Florida, too. This is all to say that while the Vols do have a solid offensive line that's capable of generating a strong running game, it's not yet clear that UT is an offensive juggernaut, despite what UGA fans might have you believe.

--Given that it appears that UGA is susceptible to a strong power-running game, it's worth remembering that USC proved that it still have that game in its arsenal late in the game against Kentucky last week. Particularly when running out of the I-formation, USC created decent holes for Marcus Lattimore and Kenny Miles last week. I wouldn't be surprised if this is what we come out in this weekend, perhaps in some power, two-TE looks. The best way to win this game, I think, is to find ways to pound Georgia throughout the first three quarters. Then, if the game is still close, we can really lay the wood by totally committing to power late in the game.

--Of course, we'll probably also see plenty of zone-read this week, and while many USC fans have expressed their belief that we should abandon the zone-read and move towards power running and the fun-n-gun, I think we need to keep the zone-read available. Much of our personnel, including our QB and RB, are suited to this approach, and we've proven over and over again that we can win games using it. I wouldn't mind, though, seeing us use the zone-read formations with Gilchrist in at FB, though. I think Gilchrist adds a lot of value to our blocking scheme, and he's proving to be a nice check-down option.

--One of the things to watch out for with Georgia is the play of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree, who have recently returned from suspensions. Last week, their return didn't enable UGA to get back to the level of play they showed in 2011. If anything, things got worse. Usually, I would say that's because what we're seeing is what we have--a talented defense with playmakers, but one that's going to give up big plays and lots of yardage. We are, after all, five games into the season. However, I'm withholding judgment for now. Maybe UGA settles in as the returning players get their feet back under them.