Behind Enemy Lines: 5 Questions For SI's Bulldog Maven

Matthew McGavic

For Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate, it's a new chapter in the historic rivalry. Transitioning from the triple-option days of Paul Johnson, first year Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins heads into the rivalry at the pinnacle of coaching for the first time in his career.

SI's Jackets Maven sat down with SI's Bulldog Maven's Brooks Austin to find out more about the #4 Georgia Bulldogs.

1. How is Georgia so good at stopping the run?

Georgia's defense isn't predicated on any specific player, in fact there really isn't the typical "star" you'd typically find on a defense this good. However, they play extremely fundamental, gap sound defense that simply doesn't give up big plays. They have a dominant run stopper at every level of there defense. Upfront it's Jordan Davis the big, 6'6 340 Lbs nose tackle that simply doesn't get moved at the line of scrimmage. Then there's Monty Rice at second level who is the team's leading tackler despite being off the field on the majority of third downs this season, which goes to show you how good he is against the run. Then there's Richard LeCounte at the safety position who's constantly downhill, almost to his downfall at times.

2. What makes D'Andre Swift so good as a runner?

It's the his ability to make the first defender miss. Look, teams have dedicated themselves to stopping the run against Georgia this season. Which means Swift is often staring down 7, even sometimes 8 man boxes. Despite how good the offensive line is for UGA, they can't block them all. Just last week D'Andre made several defenders miss on the final drive to run out the clock against Texas A&M. The bottom line is he rarely has negative plays and you don't always have to block everybody in order for him to get loose. That's the definition of a great back.

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Georgia RB D'Andre SwiftBrett Davis-USA TODAY Sport

3. Why has Jake Fromm been throwing under 50% in his last 3 games?

He's missed some throws, that's really all there is to it. Now, don't get it twisted they've played some pretty darn good defenses as of late. Say what you want about the Missouri Tigers, they were leading the SEC in passing defense headed into that matchup three weeks ago. Auburn's defensive front gets after the passer as well as anybody in the country, and last week they played in a downpour in the first half. All excuses, but all relatively good ones. Look, he's still made some really good throws over the past three weeks, but has he been lights out? Absolutely not.

4. What did South Carolina do well against Georgia to get the win?

Turned Georgia over 4 times. In 11 games this season Jake Fromm has thrown three interceptions, they were all in that game. Oh, and the Lou Groza Award Semifinalist, Rodrigo Blankenship, who's a career 84.4% field goal kicker, missed two field goals. It was in every way an outlier performance from the Georgia Bulldogs under Kirby Smart. You can't expect to win an SEC football game with 4 turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and give away 6 more points from your field goal kicker who rarely misses. Even if you are at home and playing a now (4-7) football team.

5. Is there any concern with concentrating on the SEC Championship and overlooking this game?

Kirby Smart preaches the one game at a time mentality, as does every other coach in this business. But, surely there is a slight sense of fear in that. Especially when you consider the South Carolina loss and the fact that Geoff Collins has gotten his team up and ready to fight in a handful of underdog scenarios this season. However, it's going to take so much for Georgia Tech to manage to score points against this Georgia defense. So, even if it's a 13-6 win from Georgia because Tech plays out of their minds defensively Georgia will win. 

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Matthew McGavic
Matthew McGavic

Editor

What concerns you the most about Georgia?