D.J.’S KEYS TO VICTORY
1. Confident quarterback play. Last week’s showing from Georgia’s quarterback versus the Crimson Tide opened everybody’s eyes about what makes the Bulldogs’ offense tick. As good as Nick Chubb is, even great backs need a passing game to offset the pressure from a good front seven. If I’m coach Brian Schottenheimer, I stick with Greyson Lambert and show him exactly on film the plays that were left on the field last week. There were times Lambert did not trust what he saw, nor did he deliver the football with confidence like we saw against South Carolina. In 2005, we played at Tennessee and I remember a key moment in the game where I had just thrown an interception that was run back to the 1-yard line. The very next offensive play when we got the ball back Coach Richt called a deep post route and I hit it for a big play. That was the confidence I needed going forward. Bottom line, there was no time to sulk about the INT. I had to pick myself back up and play ball for my team with a loud stadium going crazy. For quarterbacks, instincts are everything, along with believing every time the football leaves your hand. Never second guess your decision. Against Tennessee, I expect Schotty to call high-percentage throws such as slants, hitches and screens. Lambert needs to play with poise, confidence and the belief he can make the plays when the time calls for it.
2. Let it go! In 2005, we lost one of the toughest games of my career to Auburn off a late touchdown by them on fourth-and-15. We were getting ripped by anybody who could write or speak about giving up a late lead and losing the game. As one of the leaders of that team, we challenged each player to find a way to get better that week before we played Kentucky. Ultimately with a win would lead to a berth in the Dome. This team is in the same situation where some soul-searching has to happen. But before that you must forget the heartache from last week and make a conscious decision as an individual to make this team better. We were able to refocus our minds and put all our efforts into the next week in beating Kentucky for a chance to play for an SEC Championship. I think this team has similar leadership. They need to decide to be better than they were last week and decide what they want the legacy of this team to look like. That’s either to be a group that fell apart after one loss or one that picked itself up to accomplish more, starting with Tennessee.
3. Find Jalen Reeves-Maybin. In every game there are key matchups, key positions battles that could be the difference in the ball game. Tennessee has Jalen Reeves-Maybinm who plays weak side linebacker and leads the team in sacks (3), tackles (51), and tackles for loss (8). This will be a huge task for Georgia’s offensive line and tackles Kolton Houston and John Theus primarily. Last week, Theus struggled some against a very athletic defense from Alabama. Maybin is long, athletic, and very quick with his decision-making. Georgia must understand where he is at all times because he can really create havoc rushing the passer or in space. The best way to slow him down is to force him to cover in space by spreading the formation and making him one-dimensional. Do not allow Maybin to be a force in the run game with penetration and this Georgia offense has a great chance of moving the football.
Shockley played quarterback for Georgia from 2002-05 and led the Bulldogs to the SEC championship in 2005. After a stint in the NFL, Shockley now provides football analysis and commentary for WSB-TV on “SportsZone” (Fridays, 11:15 p.m.) and “Bulldogs GameDay” (Saturdays, 10 p.m.) and on CW69 for “Falcons Playback” (Mondays, 6 p.m.) and “Rise up Weekly” (Saturdays at 11 p.m.). He’ll also be providing analysis for DawgNation.com this fall.