Georgia Vs Tennessee: Time To Squeeze The Big Orange
This just in... The SEC has picked up the flag, and the excessive celebration penalty has been waved off. Only, symbolically of course.
So Georgia must now move on. They must move on from one of the toughest emotional defeats they have faced in quite some time.
Can they do it? Can they travel to Knoxville, take on the Vols in front of 100,00 people, and put last weekend's tough loss behind them?
If they want to win this coming Saturday in Neyland Stadium, they certainly better.
To put it mildly, the Dawgs have been very inconsistent this season.
A Jekyll and Hyde defense, and an offense that lacks a running game can make for a very long season. However, all is not lost.
Much of the inconsistency comes from the youth that we see at many of the positions we are struggling at. Experience gained this year will be big next season. The Dawgs still have much to play for. A win this week and a win next week at Vanderbilt sets up a showdown in Jacksonville against the Gators.
Stranger things have happened, so don't laugh.
But, first things first.
Can we go to Knoxville and win? Here are three things I believe the Dawgs must focus on if they are to be successful on Saturday.
1) We must find our running game
Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas, and Caleb King have all had enough playing time to prove themselves. Samuel is young and seems tentative at times. Thomas, while fast, does not seem to possess the power needed to consistently succeed in the SEC. King has been injured, and now we find that he cracked his lower jaw in the game against LSU.
While I still believe Samuel can be productive, it appears that King may spend his career at Georgia injured.
That leaves us with one choice.
Washaun Ealey ran with purpose against LSU. He hit the hole hard and continued to drive his legs until he hit the turf. He looked strong and fast. He seems to have great vision on the field.
So is he the answer?
As a kid, I can remember listening to Larry Munson call a game one Saturday night in Knoxville. He told us of a freshman that was "running over people." It only seems fitting that Ealey have a break out game against the Vols in Knoxville.
Of course, I'm not saying that Ealey is the next Herschel Walker. But after looking at our rushing stats from the past two weeks, I see no reason to not give him a chance.
So I say, do it. Give Ealey a chance, and do it now.
2) Michael Moore and Tavarres King need to be more involved
With Eric Berry lurking over AJ Green's shoulder, it will be extremely important that Joe Cox look for, and find, other targets.
Orson Charles should be one of them. But I want to see Michael Moore involved in the offense, again. He has basically vanished for the past two weeks.
AJ Green is without a doubt one of the greatest receivers to ever play at the University of Georgia, and he is just a sophomore. The Vols will focus on AJ and try to limit his catches. They may succeed, but we all know that with AJ that can be easier said than done.
So, Bobo and Cox will need to find a way to get Moore and yes, Tavarres King back into the mix. If Cox continues to throw into double and triple coverage, trying to get the ball to AJ, someone will make us pay.
With Eric Berry on the field, the Vols could very well be that team.
3) Get to Crompton early and often
Driving home from Athens on Saturday night, I listened to the Vols play Auburn on my XM radio. With each errant throw, with each dropped pass, the tension in the voice of those "homer" announcers became more pronounced.
Vol bulletin boards and talk shows have been ringing for weeks with the talk of Crompton becoming Land Kiffen's scape goat for this season.
Most chuckle at such talk, but the fact of the matter is, Crompton may be the worst quarterback in the SEC this season.
Georgia at times has made bad quarterbacks look really, really good.
If Georgia is to win Saturday, they must make life miserable for Crompton. He needs to get hit every time he throws the ball. He needs to get planted into the Neyland Stadium turf five or six times.
We need to make him cry.
The Vols have weapons and they are very capable of winning this game. Their defense will keep it close, but they win or lose on what Georgia allows Jonathon Crompton to do.
So the stage is set. Both teams come into this one unranked. That has not been the case in this series since the 1930's.
Relegated to the SEC network and a 12:30 kickoff, the Dawgs and Vols will renew what has become a great southern rivalry.
I hope my ride home from Knoxville is more enjoyable than last week's ride home from Athens.
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