Georgia Versus LSU – September 28, 2013

les_milesThe Face of LSU Football
Les Miles has been the head football coach at LSU since January of 2005.  The grass eating Michigan man has had his fair share of critics during his time in Baton Rouge, and the NCAA is currently investigating his old team, (Oklahoma State) but Les Miles continues to find ways to win.

The Dawgs Will Have Home Field Advantage
SB Nation reports that ESPN College GameDay will be in Athens this weekend.  The hedges will come alive with the national television spotlight squarely on Athens, Georgia.  This stage offers a great opportunity for Georgia to regain the momentum they lost on opening night in Clemson, South Carolina.

The LSU Tigers have let the good times roll to four straight victories to begin 2013.  Conversely, the young Georgia team  has had trouble stopping the opposition on a consistent basis. The Bulldogs pass defense is a particular concern heading into this weekend, having  given up 238 yards through the air to North Texas.

Welcome Home, Zach Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger is likely salivating at the thought of playing the inexperienced Dawg secondary.  Mettenberger has inserted himself into early Heisman chatter by tossing ten touchdowns and only one interception this season.  In addition, he has thrown for 1,026 yards.

CBS Sports is reporting that UGA head coach Mark Richt has given Zach Mettenberger’s mother the week off to “Enjoy this time of year.”  If the Bulldog defense does not shore things up, Mrs. Mettenberger will be one of the only Georgia residents who delights in Saturday’s presentation.

The Georgia Defense Must Grow Up Now
Georgia cannot afford to get into another game of who has the ball last with a top-tier Southeastern Conference opponent.  The Bulldogs need to be able to make occasional stops on defense in order to take some of the burden away from the offense.  Failure to get the Tigers off the field will result in a long afternoon in Athens.

This is the Litmus test for Georgia football
Georgia came into 2013 with sky-high expectations.  If the Bulldogs can manage to overcome LSU, the path to Atlanta will become very clear.  If they come up short, the Dawgs will fall back to the pack in a messy SEC East.

Bulldog Nation possess the talent to beat LSU, but UGA will need to have their best outing of the season to turn back the Tigers. The Advocate reports that Louisiana State University’s defense may be peaking at the wrong time for Georgia fans. The Tigers gave up 49 total yards in the first 17 and a half minutes of the game against Auburn.  LSU also forced three turnovers against those other Tigers.

Georgia has been telling everyone who will listen they are primed to win a championship.   If that statement is accurate, losing to the Bayou Bengals is not an option.

Todd Grantham Holds Georgia’s Key to Success in 2013

Coach Grantham Dealing With High Expectations
When Todd Grantham was named associate head coach of Georgia last summer, Bulldog Nation rejoiced.  The new title meant that, at the very least, coach Grantham would be the defensive coordinator in Athens for another few years.  Now, the Dawgs find themselves rebuilding on defense during a time when expectations could not get any higher between the hedges.
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Upon his arrival in Athens to help put the bite back into the Bulldog’s defense in 2010, Todd Grantham  brought with him an impressive resume.  Fresh off an NFL stint, most UGA fans were eager to see how Grantham’s aggressive style would translate to the college game.  After three years in Athens, it is fair to say that Bulldog Nation is largely pleased with the result.

Is The Bloom Off Of The Grantham?
Following a banner year in 2011, the Georgia defense could not meet the lofty expectations that accompanied 2012.  According to Georgia Dogs, UGA’s 2012 defense had seven defensive starters that would eventually be drafted during the 2013 NFL Draft.  With all of that talent, the Georgia Bulldog defense was not good enough to hold an eleven point lead that would have allowed them to play for a national title at the end of last year.

In 2013, Defense Balance Wins Championships
To be blunt, the days of shut down defense are a thing of the past.  College football has become more about getting key stops as opposed to shutting down the opposition. This is a trait that Georgia had some trouble with last year. UGA gave up 24 points to a Kentucky Wildcat squad that only won two games all season.

Dawg Defense Neutered In Big Games
Georgia has lost a total of six games in the past two years (including bowl games). In those six loses, the opponent has put at least 30 points on the Bulldogs.  Three of Georgia’s first four games are against highly ranked opponents with experienced quarterbacks. If Georgia cannot find their defensive footing very quickly, the championship dreams of Dawg fans everywhere will be turned into a nightmare.

Todd Grantham – K.Y.P.
K.Y.P. is a popular term in the sports world, specifically on the gridiron.  K.Y.P. stands for know your personnel, and that is a must for Todd Grantham if Georgia is to contend for a national title during the upcoming season.  Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera has shown flashes of brilliance in his Bulldog career, but coach Grantham needs to ensure that Herrera is positioned to succeed in a more prominent role this year.  The same can be said for defensive end Ray Drew.

A Few Drives Will Make The Difference
Bulldog Nation was so close to a championship last year that UGA fans were forced to watch as it was pried from our paws.  Georgia head coach Mark Richt’s mantra has always been to finish the drill.  If that philosophy is followed, it is hard not to think about Pasadena, and confetti falling from the sky.