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Weighing The Matchups: How Georgia Tech and Georgia Stack Up

Zachary OstermanCorrespondent INovember 25, 2009

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets gives instructions to Embry Peeples #24 during the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In case you were wondering, I've been writing a little bit more this week in honor of/in preparation for the Hate game on Saturday. Can't let you boys and girls go into Bobby Dodd Stadium unprepared.

For more (read: better) coverage and analysis than mine, I encourage you to check out the AJC's online sports page.

As cliche as this particular exercise might be, I thought a position-by-position comparison of the two teams might be in order on a Wednesday.

So here we go.

Quarterback

A lot of experience in this matchup. Eight years of it, to be precise. But when Paul Johnson's coaching one team, comparing signal-callers will likely be a tough task.

The key here isn't in statistics, though. Cox has 21 touchdowns, yes, and Nesbitt's closing in on 1,000 rushing yards for the season.

But while Cox has an obvious effect on his team's offense, Nesbitt is the clear and obvious driving force behind the triple option. And, where Cox often makes mistakes that hurt the Bulldogs, Nesbitt corrects mistakes that others have made.

Advantage: Georgia Tech

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Running Backs

Another weird comparison, since Tech sort of uses a lot more of them, but this one's still a no-brainer.

Georgia is 68th in the country in rushing, and has no clear No. 1 back. Georgia Tech has a quarterback and running back duo (Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer) that have more combined yards than Georgia's entire rushing attack.

And, Dwyer's probably the best all-around player on the field Saturday, assuming A.J. Green doesn't play.

Advantage: Georgia Tech

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

This one is tough to call, simply because of A.J. Green's uncertainty. The prolific sophomore sprained his AC joint against Auburn, and didn't play in the Kentucky game. He's questionable for Saturday night.

Even with Green, Georgia Tech matches up well with Demaryius Thomas, the ACC's leading receiver.

Thomas isn't just window dressing. He's the perfect receiver for his offense, because in a one-on-one matchup, he rarely loses.  He gets lots of those with teams selling out to stop the option.

He's averaging just south of 25 yards per reception, has six touchdowns, and is only 50 yards away from 1,000 for the year.

Still, if Green plays, I think the edge would have to go to Georgia. If he's 100 percent.

Advantage: Georgia if Green if Green plays; Tech if he doesn't play

Offensive Line

Another close call. Tech's offensive line is very good at what it does, and it's paved the way for a rushing attack ranked No. 2 in the country. But Georgia, in its pro-style offense, has allowed just 11 sacks in 11 games, good for—you guessed it—11th in the country in sacks allowed.

Georgia has had issues with the run, but frankly, that's probably as much the lack of an obvious No. 1 at that position. Georgia Tech is fourth in the country in sacks allowed (both squads are locked in ties with other teams, full disclosure), but let's face it, the Jackets barely qualify for that statistic.

All things equal, Georgia gets the edge here, if only because Tech's pass rush is its greatest defensive weapon.

Advantage: Georgia, slightly

Defensive line

Another tough call that illustrates that these teams might closer than their records. Georgia's sacked the quarterback more, but Georgia Tech has a slim advantage in run defense, and they've got Derrick Morgan up front.

The advantage here comes down to the pass rush. I think Tech will be able to get points on the board, and I don't think Georgia will be able to establish a good enough running game, meaning the Bulldogs will have to pass.

I know Georgia's offensive line is good, but Derrick Morgan has looked plain unstoppable in the second half of the season.

Advantage: Georgia Tech, but the difference is razor-thin

Linebackers

This one's pretty easy. Georgia's got Akeem Dent and Rennie Curran, two guys with prodigious talent. Curran might be the best defensive player on the field Saturday.

Tech's linebacker corps has been strong, especially lately and against the run. To be fair, injuries have hit that particular spot on the depth chart hard. But, the choice here is obvious.

Advantage: Georgia

Defensive Backs

It's a case of "what have you done for me lately" here. Bacarri Rambo is still in doubt with a concussion suffered against Auburn, but Reshad Jones is still back deep. Watching Jones and Morgan go head-to-head from their respective positions will be a treat.

Tech's corners leave a lot to be desired, but the heaviest onus might be on Prince Miller and Brandon Boykin at Georgia, who at 5'8" and 5'10" give up significant height to two Jackets' wideouts (Stephen Hill, 6'4" and Demaryius Thomas, 6'3") that are already really good in the air.

Georgia Tech can afford to give away some yards through the air, even if A.J. Green plays, as long as the offense is humming (and if it's not, they have bigger problems). But, against the triple option, the last thing Georgia wants is for Tech to get going through the air as well as on the ground.

Advantage: Georgia, but their day will be much tougher too

Special Teams

You're kidding right? Drew Butler is currently punting the game balls from Athens to Atlanta to test durability.

In all seriousness, Tech is dangerous in both return games (punt and kickoff). But, so is Georgia, and the Bulldogs have the added benefit of having a very, very good placekicker and punter, too.

Tech's kickoff coverage could be its most dangerous weakness this weekend.

Advantage: Georgia, all the way

Coaching

Toughest call here. Mark Richt is a fine Xs-and-Os man, perhaps one of the finest. Paul Johnson has been called the best coaching hire of the last 30 years, and he's easily one of the top tacticians in the southeast (Notice I didn't just say ACC?).

For me, this one is decided at the next level.

Georgia Tech has strong support personnel, and while Dave Wommack's defense has been plain atrocious at times this season, they have improved significantly. And, whether it's Wommack or Johnson pulling the strings, the Jackets make great halftime adjustments on defense.

Any Georgia fan want to step up and make the case for Willie Martinez?

Advantage: Georgia Tech, but it's even if we're only talking head coaches

So that's my take. Tell me why I'm wrong.

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