D.J.’S KEYS TO VICTORY
Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley tell us what the Georgia Bulldogs (5-3, 3-3 SEC) must do to get back on track and beat Kentucky (4-4, 2-4) on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
1. How to get back on track. I’ve been on plenty of offenses where we have struggled to move the chains and score points at times. Georgia’s offense has taken the word struggle to a new level over the past few games with the inconsistency and lack of big plays. Last weekend against Florida, quarterback Faton Bauta got his shot to try and right the ship but the outcome was not what the Dawgs wanted. As a quarterback if I was not playing my best what I focused on were the details of getting better. Watching more film, extra work after practice or making sure the other 10 guys around me we are all on the same page by game time. Every player on this Georgia offense must take a long look in the mirror and decide: What do you want to be remembered for during this 2015 season? Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer must gut-check this offense and make sure he puts them in the best position to be successful by utilizing every playmaker available that fits there skill set. I’m sure he is doing that but now I put the responsibility on the players to step to the plate and answer the challenge.
2. The right QB for Georgia is … In my personal opinion I believe the quarterback for the Dawgs should be Bauta going forward. Since spring football I was impressed with Faton’s ability to throw and use his mobility as an added weapon. Not only does he have the physical skill-set to lead this team, but mentally I know he prepares for the game like no other. What I like about Faton is his ability to feel pressure and have the ability to move within the pocket. The only thing that is working against Faton is the lack of experience in live game action. Even though I played pretty well in my first career start I really did not feel completely comfortable till my second start. It takes time to adapt to game speed versus practice speed and I believe the next game for Faton will show his talents to the Bulldog nation. Many quarterbacks are talented but do not have the pocket awareness within the pocket to feel defenders around them and this is why some are not as successful as they could be. Faton is similar to myself in that when he steps on the field he feels he is the best player on the field and plays with that type of confidence. Between last year as well as this year Greyson and Brice have had there opportunity to lead this team but now I feel Faton gives this offense the best chance going forward.
3. Mindset of the offensive line. Coming Into this season without a doubt the strength of this Georgia offense was perceived to be the offensive line. Early in the season the run game was putting up big numbers. Yes Nick Chubb was a part of that, but the offensive line was playing with a different mentality. In the three losses along with the Missouri game it was evident to me some of the small things were lacking, such as good hat placement, proper footwork, and just the mentality to knock the guy backwards that stands in front of you. As an offensive lineman your mindset is different from some other positions because it’s man-on-man almost every play and if you do not play with that edge you can be exposed. This Georgia offensive line is not getting the push upfront they need to have to be successful in the run game, especially on short yardage plays. Georgia is ranked 125th in the nation on third down plays of 1-3 yards to go, which is down ight unacceptable for a squad that has played so many games together. The leaders upfront must take there intensity to a new degree this weekend against Kentucky. There may be a little shakeup in the rotation on Saturday but regardless of who is in the game the mindset and attitude should never change. They must dominate Kentucky in the run game to regain the confidence they they played with early in the season.
D.J. 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.