Monday, September 13, 2010

If Arkansas Brings a Mallett, Dawgs Need a Sledge Hammer

In our SEC opener, the Dawgs got "outphysicaled" by South Carolina in a big way. The angry masses have condemned the UGA strength and conditioning program and called far another head to roll. This week, the Dawgs and their questioned "physicality" will be tested by the most finesse-oriented team in the conference. That is to say, Petrino's Arkansas squad is not known for a smash-mouth, knock your dick in the dirt brand of football. So it should be safe to say that the Dawgs won't get "outphysicaled" this week in Sanford Stadium. However, now we must answer the other question... How will our new 3-4 defense handle a spread 'em, stretch 'em, fling it all over the place finesse air attack under the direction of Ryan "Stretch" Mallett and his missile launching right arm.

Assuming that we will not have AJ Green, I don't think we want to get into a track meet with the Hawgs like we did last year when Joe Cox played unconsciously in a 52-41 victory that featured over 1000 yards of total offense. However, we do need to open the offensive playbook a lot more than we have and let Aaron Murray play. Still, the Dawgs need to take this opportunity to get their balls back and answer the Hawg's Mallett with a sledge hammer.

If you want to see a good example of what I mean by a sledge hammer, see Alabama's dismantling of Penn State. Maybe we can't do it, but if we can, we need to do it this week. We need to get back to run blocking like we were at the end of 2009. We have all the same personnel, so the problem has to be a combination of the injuries and illnesses that kept half our starting o-line from practicing for a month of preseason and a lack of conditioning and effort. I am hopeful that the poor run blocking in the first two games is fixable and that it is getting fixed this week. The second part of the equation is that our running backs need to use running back skills to gain yards. Sounds simple right? Well, apparently we have reverted back to our running woes from the first half of 2009 in which we could neither run away from the defender or break a tackle. The same backs we have now were able to show these skills in the final games of 2009, so I am guessing that they are capable of recapturing that determination and effectiveness and this is the game in which to do it.

The best way to limit the damage done by Mallett's arm is to keep him on the sideline. We can do that if we will get mean on the offensive line and run the ball like our hair is on fire. I honestly believe that we will need over 200 yards rushing to win this football game. (Again, assuming AJ is still getting screwed by the NCAA) Keep that number in mind Dawg fans. We need 200 yards on the ground. We need to grind the Hawgs defense into sausage and control the clock. We can do it, but only if a maximum effort is given by every player on every play. Again, see Alabama - or for that matter, see South Carolina.

Let's go Dawgs, time to let your balls drop.

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