D.J.’S KEYS TO VICTORY
Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley tells us what the Bulldogs (4-2, 2-2 SEC) need to do to take care of business against Missouri (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday.
1 . Trust to the end. When a quarterback or a receiver go through a stretch where they do not play particularly well, the trust between the positions sometimes may come into question. Last week there was a critical play in which receiver Reggie Davis had an unfortunate drop toward the end of the game. I felt bad for Davis. This happened to me at UGA as well but, in my case, it turned into an interception. The best advice I would give to Greyson Lambert would be to encourage Davis and demonstrate that he believes in him and his abilities. In my situation, on the next series that same receiver caught the winning touchdown to win the game vs Georgia Tech. My trust and belief in him never wavered and he rewarded it. Davis is a good receiver for Georgia. This was a minor setback and I predict a major play from him will come soon because I know Lambert will keep trusting this special play-maker.
2. Deal with the edges. I believe this game could be decided on the perimeter and I don’t mean in the secondary. I mean on the edges for Georgia’s offensive tackles. Missouri has always been strong in the pass rush department with guys such as Michael Sam, Kony Ealy and Shane Ray coming through in recent year. This year is no different. Defensive ends Walter Brady (6-3, 255, RFr.) and Charles Harris (6-3, 255, So.) have combined for 10 sacks on the season already. Not surprisingly, Missouri has the No. 1 pass defense in the league (163.2 ypg). UGA tackles John Theus and Kolton Houston are athletic enough to match up against the talented rushers but will have their work cut out for them. When facing elite pass-rushers, it’s really important to study up on their rush habits and specific moves. Another ploy to change up the snap count and not let them get a jump. Screens and draws also slow down good pass rushers. Georgia will have to use everything they can to their advantage as Missouri’s front four is as good as it gets.
3. Make ’em one-dimensional. Playing against an offense that is as balanced as Missouri’s can create a lot of issues for a defense, and Georgia’s has struggled the past two weeks. I have not seen the same edge and intensity I saw earlier in the season from this defense. There have been too many missed tackles and poor gap fits up front. That has resulted in some big plays from opposing offenses. Missouri has two sets of running backs that run hard and get yardage after impact. Their leading rusher, Ish Witter, has only 324 yards but has the ability to be destructive if given a seam. Georgia needs all 11 hats flying to the football and playing with great effort against a Missouri offense that is going to be very patient. Quarterback Drew Lock will be making the first SEC road start of his career, so getting pressure on him could get the UGA defense back to its old ways and give them the swagger they had to start the season. Lock comes in with as many TDs (3) as interceptions. The Bulldogs need to play aggressive for four quarters but with no letdowns and stay assignment perfect.
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.