Win First Down
First down is critical for both teams. On offense, Georgia must gain positive yardage on first down plays. If the Dawgs find themselves in 2nd or 3rd & long situations, it allows LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis to become much more aggressive with his blitz packages and LSU’s athleticism will create serious problems for the UGA offensive line. On defense, stopping LSU on first down is the primary key in slowing down the Tigers offense. LSU loves to rely on its power running game on 3rd & short opportunities. It would be ideal if Georgia can force Zach Mettenberger to make difficult 3rd down throws.
Pressure Zach Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger has been playing like the most improved player in the country this season. He’s clearly grown a great deal under new LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and he’s showing the potential that has intrigued many NFL scouts since he was in high school. However, he’s still not particularly nimble in the pocket. He’s at his best when he has time to stand in the pocket and use his strong arm to spread the ball around. If UGA can put pressure on him and make him leave the pocket, he becomes much less efficient. He’s also not much of a threat to beat a defense with his legs. This would be a great time for Todd Grantham to come up with some creative ways to unleash Jordan Jenkins.
Solid Special Teams
Georgia’s special teams unit doesn’t appear to be a group that will make any plays that can win the game for the Dawgs. Unfortunately, they appear to be a unit that could quickly lose a game for the team. When playing against the best teams in the country, Georgia can’t afford to make any stupid mistakes in the kicking game. No more botched extra points or easy field goals. No more missed snaps in the punting game. No more blown coverage assignments on kicks. Only solid fundamentals this Saturday.
Commit to the Run
I’m typically a big Mike Bobo supporter. He gets criticized all the time for his play calling, but the numbers prove he’s become one of the best offensive coordinators in college football. That said, I think there are times when he gets away from Georgia’s power running game. He becomes focused on draw plays and screens and doesn’t give the running game time to take its effect. LSU always has a strong front seven, but I hope Bobo doesn’t abandon the running game if he doesn’t have immediate success with it. Todd Gurley has the ability to wear down the Tigers over the course of the game. He just needs a steady dose of touches to be able to do it.
Speed Up the Tempo
Defensive depth has been one of the staples of LSU’s defense under Les Miles. He always recruits talented athletes and they play a physical, punishing style of defense. This doesn’t appear to be an elite group loaded with NFL talent like the Tigers have had in recent years, but they still have plenty of playmakers. Georgia needs to test those playmakers and their strength by pushing the tempo on offense. Going no huddle and preventing the defensive line from making regular substitutions should give the Dawgs a significant advantage as the game progresses.
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