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Friday, September 18, 2009

Five Players to Watch: Arkansas Edition

I'm hitting the road for Arkansas -- woo hoo! -- so I'm limited on posts for today. But in advance of this week's SEC showdown, here's my thoughts on five players who will be the difference for Georgia on Saturday.

1.) Prince Miller. The senior cornerback didn't officially get burned against South Carolina, but he sure didn't have his best day. The Gamecocks had two touchdown passes against Miller, but both were called back due to penalties. He'll need to improve in coverage against a far more potent Arkansas team that enjoys lulling an opponent to sleep with a controlled passing game, then going deep for the big play at just the right time.

2.) Akeem Dent. South Carolina burned Georgia over and over by dumping off passes to the tight end over the middle. Dent didn't play particularly well, and with Darius Dewberry out and Nick Williams questionable for the game, he'll be back to work at the Sam linebacker spot on Saturday. That's going to be a concern, as Arkansas has one of the conference's top tight ends and the Razorbacks will no doubt be looking to exploit the same weaknesses South Carolina did.

3.) The Brand(on/en)s. Man, we really need a better nickname for these two. And as a fan of a non-Houston NL Central team, I can't endorse "The Killer Bs." Plus, as one reader pointed out, no true Georgia Tech hater can give his players a bee-related nickname.

Anyway, to the main point: Arkansas' special teams aren't exactly the best the SEC has to offer. Smith and Boykin were monsters in the return game last week, setting up Georgia with good field position on offense (or in Boykin's case, taking it to the house). They'll have a chance at a repeat performance this week, and against the Hogs' high-octane offense, every yard is important.

4.) Justin Houston. With Rod Battle out, Georgia's depth at defensive end isn't getting any better now that Houston is back from a two-game suspension. But that doesn't mean the results can't be improved. Houston had a huge spring and continued to earn praise for his work this fall despite the two-game absence. That should match up well with the less-than-mobile Ryan Mallett, who won't give the defensive line the same trouble Garcia did a week ago by moving around in the pocket and making plays with his feet.

5.) Mike Bobo. Two games into the season, and we really don't have any better understanding of what Georgia's offensive identity is. Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten still have hardly seen the field. Orson Charles has looked impressive but has been underutilized. Richard Samuel appeared on the verge of a breakout game last week, then disappeared from the game plan for 15 minutes. The playcalling improved last week from the opener, but there were still plenty of curious decisions. Arkansas' defense should't require a rocket scientist to solve, but the problem for Bobo has really seemed to be his overthinking of the game plan. Bobo needs to find the right mix of diversifying the offense enough to keep the Hogs guessing while not abandoning the Bulldogs' bread and butter for long stretches of the game. In other words, find an identity and go with it.

So… what do you think? What are your keys to this game? What matchup has you the most worried?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

maybe Richt should hire an ex nfl offensive coordinator to help Bobo

Matt said...

Honestly, if the bulldogs can run the ball and eat up the clock while on offense, and force turnovers, then we should do well. I just want to make sure our d isn't always on the field. If they are, then the Razorbacks will be scoring on us.

Sam said...

I've been waiting for the O-Line to dominate and the defense to be suffocating ... preferably in the same game, and we really haven't seen either, although the O-Line played well last game.
I like the "run it down their throat" approach. Once they've had enough, see Mr. Green and Mr. Charles. If not, Serenity Now! Serenity Now! (Season 9 was the best.)

Anonymous said...

Seems like Prince hasn't been drawing the interference flags this year. Based on the USC game, it appears le Dauphin can't stay close enough to an assignment to lay hands on him...

Anonymous said...

Vitamin B

Zach said...

Branden Smith is number 1
Brandon Boykin is number 2

we've got the 1,2 punch

brandon check, 1,2..brandon check 1,2

speed freak 1, speed freak 2

William said...

I vote for "Stop & Go." You can get who's which.

HamDawg11 said...

I kinda like "Stop and Go", but technically they're both DB's on the roster, so that probably doesn't work. Then again, they both return kicks, so maybe it does!

Maybe the "Brand Names"?

OK, I'm reaching.

Jeremiah said...

fire and dice

Anonymous said...

I think the second TD was on Vance Cuff that was called back...not Prince.

Anonymous said...

I am partial to "The Brand(on/en)s."

Anonymous said...

The B Sharps?

100% Bran?

BigMuddyDawg said...

Boy 1ders?

Wow, that's bad.

Will Q said...

How about the Brand'n Irons?

Why?

'Cause they'll burn ya!

UGAHAWK said...

Little Smooth (Smith) and the Beast (Boykin)?

Anonymous said...

B.B. and the man from Booker T.

Anonymous said...

Where the live blog, yo?*