Georgia has had one of the most explosive offenses in the country over the past few years, and you can’t complain much about an offense that puts up tons of points, but it would benefit the Dawgs on Saturday if the offense could generate some long, sustained drives that use the clock and keep Auburn’s offense off the field.
Gus Malzahn is known for using a no-huddle, fast-paced approach that wears defenses down because of the high volume of plays he runs. If the UGA offense can put together some 6-8 minute drives and keep Auburn’s offense on the sideline, it will help keep the vulnerable UGA defense fresh and hopefully prevent the Tigers from getting into an offensive rhythm.
Finish in the Red Zone
Along with having some lengthy, time-consuming drives, Georgia needs to convert when reaching the red zone. This means coming away with touchdowns. Not field goals. Auburn is a team that can score points in a hurry, and I doubt anyone has much confidence in the Dawgs’ defense shutting them down, so this means the offense will need to take advantage of the opportunities to score. A heavy dose of Todd Gurley inside the 20-yard line should give them a great chance to come away with more than field goals on those trips.
Make Nick Marshall a Pocket Passer
The Georgia coaching staff should be very familiar with Nick Marshall. He started his career in Athens before being kicked off the team due to disciplinary issues. Marshall has done an outstanding job as the quarterback for the Tigers this season and his ability to make plays with his arms and legs makes him very difficult to stop. He’s currently averaging 7.1 yards per carry, and Georgia has struggled to stop running quarterbacks.
If Marshall is able to get outside the pocket and has the option to run or throw, the defense is in trouble. It will be important for Ray Drew to continue to get pressure and guys like Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins to be disciplined and keep Marshall from escaping the pocket.
Don’t Play From Behind
I think Aaron Murray and the rest of the offense will be able to score on Saturday, but they need to avoid getting behind and having to play catch-up with the Tigers. It puts pressure on Murray and it could also be a recipe for disaster on the road. Allowing Auburn to get an early lead also plays perfectly into Malzahn’s gameplan with his rushing attack where he overwhelms teams on the ground. If Georgia can be the team that plays with the lead, it could be Auburn that starts to crumble under the pressure.