Friday, September 26, 2008

Aint's No Mountain High Enough: The Alabama Preview

This Saturday's Blackout game vs. Alabama could be more appropriately be called "The Back to Reality Bowl". In 2007, Alabama came in riding high with their new savior, Nick Saban, a perfect record, and a load of confidence. Georgia dominated much of the game only to see Alabama come back and tie it in the waning seconds. But in overtime, Mikey Henderson hauled in a touchdown that sent Alabama on a downward spiral, including a loss to Louisiana-Monroe and a disappointed 6 loss season.

Mikey Henderson's first career touchdown couldn't have come at a better time.

So we find our selves in a similar situation in 2008, with Bama riding an opening weekend win over Clemson to a 4-0 record and a number 8 national ranking. Georgia, while undefeated and rated number 3, finds themselves once again on the defensive after failing to impress voters and falling from their preseason #1 ranking. As in 2008, Richt and the boys have chosen to blackout the visiting school from our Western border state and it should be an electric environment. Hell, even the hated World Wide Leader has decided to bring its show to Athens for the first time in 10 years. This should be one hell of fight.

Who are these guys?
In it's second year under "S the Coach", the Red Elephants have established themselves as a power running team with solid defense capable of scoring points. The offense is directed by 11th year senior John "Pah-kuh" Wilson, who is Alabama's single season record holder for yards passing. Wilson has proven to be a solid game manager, however I wouldn't exactly call him scary. He does however have the services of the best freshman receiver in the country not named AJ Green, one Julio Jones. Jones has all the tools but has yet to have a break out performance. The Dawgs must not let them be the first to be burned by Julio.

Alabama's offensive strength lies in their running game, where Nick Saban has a stable of capable rushers in Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram, Roy Upchurch, and Terry Grant. The bunch is carrying the offense, averaging nearly 250 yards on the ground per game (while averaging 150 yards passing each game). Making holes for this bunch is Alabama's mammoth offensive line, considered by many to be the best in the country.

Defensively, the Crimson Tide bring a defense that is allowing only 9 points a game. Backed by a solid secondary, the Alabama defensive line has wreaked havoc on opposing teams runners and quarterbacks all season. Led the by the huge Terence "Mount" Cody in the middle (look him up on YouTube, it's funny), the d-line shut down Clemson's prized tandem of James Davis and CJ Spiller to open the season and haven't looked back since.

Who does Terance Cody think he is? Only proven fat guys get cool nicknames like "The Fridge"

What is Georgia Going to Do?

Breakout those black jerseys!!! The Dawgs and their fans are going to bring everything they've got to push back the second coming of the Bear. Some people have complained that the Blackout has become cliche', but look at how excited everyone gets. It works and in the end that is all that matters.

Knowshon and Stafford like playing at night!

On offense, I expect Georgia to try and break Knowshon to the outside as much as possible. Cody creates a huge gap to block in the middle, but the quickness of the Georgia line should allow us to cut around the corners and rack up yards in space. If there is a weak point in the Bama D, it is their linebacking crew. As opposed to last week where we threw the ball down towards AJ Green, I look for Bobo to call more screen and quick hitters and let the receivers create yards. The second Bama starts to shut down the outsides for Knowshon, we'll hit passes over the middle or roll out our tight ends.

On defense, we need to continue to bring blitzes when necessary (like we did against ASU, not against SC) and focus on cutting down Bama's ground attack. Make Wilson beat us through the air, not rolling out where he seems to be at his best. If we can control the running game and keep Wilson in the pocket, we should be able to force some bad throws and keep points off the board.

What is Going to Happen?

Like the blackout against Auburn, Georgia will come out full of emotion. Unlike last year, I think Saban may try to use that emotion against us. I look for both teams to try and establish their running games early, but the size and strength of Bama's line will hold us in check early. Bama will most likely take an early lead but by the second quarter Knowshon and Stafford will start picking them apart.

Look for the crowd to get really crazy in the third quarter and help to "Turn the Tide". Georgia will finish strong and win in a close but convincing fashion.

Gameplan: At the end, be celebrating like this.

Georgia 27, Alabama 17


In honor of Tourette's Guy:

Tonight on Unsolved Mysteries, we try to figure out why Georgia lost it's number 1 ranking to USC....


USC just got their asses handed to them by Oregon State. A big win this weekend could mean regaining of the top spot in the polls. GATA. GO DAWGS!!!

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