Georgia coach Kirby Smart concerned with pass protection, LSU evaluating defensive rotation
BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU coach Ed Orgeron says he expects a “chess match” against Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney on Saturday.
The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs (6-0 4-0) have a number of personnel groupings, able to draw from several skilled receivers, a handful of versatile backs and even three different tight ends that caught passes last week.
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For that matter, Georgia has two different quarterbacks that the No. 13-ranked Tigers (5-1, 2-1) have had to prepare for, sophomore starter Jake Fromm and talented freshman Justin Fields.
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“We have to keep our guys fresh, but we have to make sure that the guys that we rotate can handle the player that they’re playing against,” Orgeron said. “We just can’t rotate to rotate. We have to look at the matchup, see if we put some guys in.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart talks often about “chopping wood,” a reference to pounding the run game.
But the Bulldogs have also been explosive in the run and pass game, capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.
“We feel that we have three corners that can go in at any time, that’s going to be important to us,” Orgeron said, referring to the Bulldogs’ multi-receiver sets. “We have some defensive linemen that have done a good job, not a great job but they can go in. We are thin at linebacker we’re thin at outside linebacker. So it all depends on what position you’re talking about.
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“We’re going to have to mix and match the things that we do on defense to match their personnel the whole game. It’s going to be another chess match.”
Smart indicated his concern is with Georgia’s ability to protect quarterback Jake Fromm, who two weeks ago against Tennessee was sacked three times, fumbling twice.
“Dave Aranda is one of the premier defensive coordinators in the country …. we’ve got to keep our quarterbacks upright,” Smart said. “We’ve got to keep them in the pocket. Can’t get our offensive line confused. And at the end of the day there’s about a six to seven foot square foot area there you’ve got to keep people out of. And we’ve got to have a nice pocket.
“Sometimes it’s stepping up in the pocket, sometimes it’s moving up in the pocket, but they are very disruptive defensively, and they do a great job of disrupting the pocket, and we’ve got to protect him.”
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