Thursday, September 17, 2009
"I'm fussy about my barbecue. If it's not pork, it's not barbecue." - Lewis Grizzard
THE ARKANSAS PREVIEW
After one of the craziest and hard fought victories for Georgia in recent memory last week against South Carolina, the Dawgs hit the road headed for Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks for the first time since 2005. Georgia leads the all-time series between the two teams, 8-3, including the 30-3 victory in the 2002 SEC Championship Game. Here is the Bubba N' Earl preview of the 2009 match up between the Dawgs and the Hogs.
Who are these guys?
Arkansas comes into the game with a record of 1-0 after defeating Missouri State on September. Quarterback Ryan Mallett, finally eligbile after sitting out the 2008 season after transferring from Michigan, had a career day throwing for 309 yards in the 48-10 victory. Arkansas finished the 2008 season 5-7 under Bobby Petrino and are poised to perform better in '09. They have a quality runningback in Michael Smith, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2008, and one of the best tight ends in the country, DJ Williams. They have a number of other quality receivers, giving Mallet a number of targets to throw at. Mallett, who started a few games at Michigan his freshman year, is a tall, stand still quarterback. Unlike our last two opponents, the Georgia D should not have too worry about Mallett running the ball too much. Their offensive line allowed the most sacks in the SEC in '08, so look for the Dawgs to try and get to Mallett early and often.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Razorbacks defensive line looks to be the strength of young, but talented group. They also return all three starters at linebacker. The secondary is the weak point and Georgia should look to exploit some mismatches.
What are the Dawgs going to do?
The key word for Georgia in this game is RUSH. This will be the key for both the offense and the defense. On defense, if Georgia can utilize a similar game plan from the South Carolina game, they should be able to get hits on Mallet much easier than they were able to get to Stephen Garcia. If Mallett struggles early, look for Arkansas to rely on its run game, an area where the Georgia advantage on the line will be key. Also, look for a lot of pressure from DE Justin Houston, who returns after missing the first two games. Houston's return allows for Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens to resume their normal roles in the middle of the Georgia defensive from. I don't expect too much blitzing from the linebackers this week, as Arkansas will try to spread the field with multiple receiver sets. If Georgia can cut down on the short passes to the tight end, they will make a major stride in winning the battle on defense.
Offensively, the return of Caleb King could not come at a better time. The performance of Richard Samuel last week proves that he is willing to run straight at opponents and try to gain yards after contact. The 'slash and dash' style of King should provide a little balance and hopefully allow the offense to establish the running game early. If the running game clicks, look for Bobo to call some play action in the second quarter and try to take advantage of AJ Green's downfield ability. Once again, Brandedn Smith and Orson Charles may have large roles in the success of the offense, though I also expect Brown and Wooten to get their first receptions this week.
What is going to happen?
Unlike last week, expect the first quarter of the game to go by quickly as Georgia will attempt to establsih the running game. Georgia pressure on Mallett will either force some errant throw or sacks and will allow Georgia to control the field position game. I expect Georgia to have strong second and third quarters and open up a comfortable lead. The Arkansas passign attack will lead the Hogs back in the fourth, but it will be too little, too late.
Georgia 34, Arkansas 20