Thursday, August 28, 2008

UGA Preview: Georgia Southern

Every 4 years our little brother comes to town to catch up. And, inevitably, we get together for a little game of football. Not many large programs are willing to do that for their in-state bretheren. Do you see Alabama playing Troy? Of course not for fear that Troy might hold up 6 fingers one day too. But, at least Bama helps out LSU's in-state bretheren every once in a while. They even gave UL-Monroe enough money to buy a nice, big billboard.

Onto the game at hand...This year's Georgia Southern isn't the same Georgia Southern we've all come to know and cheer for over the years in 1-AA (I refuse to call it FBS or FCS or whatever). When Chris Hatcher showed up from Valdosta State, he was Southern's 3rd coach in 13 months, thanks to our former defensive coordinator. Hatcher has installed a form of the spread offense that is sweeping the college football landscape. On top of the continuing transition from the years and years of option football to the spread, Southern has suspended 8 players for the Georgia game, including 4 starters. Expect Georgia to cover the 31-point or so line in this one, even though we all know that the Dawgs have a hard time covering these kinds of lines.

What to watch for...with inexperience streaming across the Dawgs' offensive line, look for Southern to try to confuse Georgia with their base 3-3-5 defense. The key recognition by Georgia's offensive line pre-snap will be how many Southern defenders are actually in the box. Southern will constantly use its Rover and Bandit positions (Chris Covington and Chris Rogers), formerly the safeties, to roam in and out of the box depending on what kind of offensive look Georgia is giving them.

Georgia couldn't ask for anything better in the opener than a team it can easily handle with a confusing defense. It will give the Dawgs' offensive line plenty of different looks to go up against. But, expect Southern to jam the box with 8 or 9 defenders early trying to create the big play through turnovers.

Offensively, Southern will use two quarterbacks, Lee Chapple, who played high school ball at Greater Atlanta Christian and handed off to Caleb King, and Ohio State transfer, and a Peach County product, Antonio Henton. It will be a spread offense look that will help the Dawgs prepare for other spread attacks they will see this season.

In the end, there's not too much to break down here as Georgia just has too many athletes for Southern to hang around. Hatcher will eventually have Southern back to what it once was in 1-AA, but this isn't the year.

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