ATHENS — Alabama coach Nick Saban turned the question over in his mind on Wednesday, asked what Georgia does well offensively on the SEC Coaches teleconference.
“I think they do everything pretty well,” Saban said. “They have great balance, which I think is always an indicator of whether you have a really good offensive team. They can run the ball effectively, they have really good backs, the quarterback is very efficient and effective in what he does, they’ve got really good skill players outside, and the offensive line does an outstanding job, they are very physical.
“I’m trying to sit here and think if you asked the question, a different way …what don’t they do well? I’d have a hard time answering that.”
Ultimately, Saban said, Georgia “does a good job executing it, and that’s why they keep the ball 34 1/2 minutes a game, which is the best in the (SEC).”
Time of possession, no doubt, could prove to be a key factor in Saturday night’s showdown between No. 3 Georgia (3-0) and No. 2 Alabama (3-0) at 8 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium (TV: CBS).
If the Bulldogs No. 1-ranked defense can keep the Tide’s No. 1-ranked scoring offense off the field, Alabama obviously can’t score.
UGA coach Kirby Smart said Wednesday the Bulldogs continue to work on getting their young offensive to evolve, as Georgia has struggled at times.
The Bulldogs failed to score touchdowns in two of the six halves of football they have played, and against Tennessee, they gift-wrapped a touchdown via a poor snap and botched recovery attempt.
“In terms of strengths offensively, right now the biggest thing is getting continuity and being able to execute,” Smart said, asked what his offense does well. “We feel like we’ve got good backs, and good wideouts and our offensive line is growing and getting better.
“Stetson (Bennett) is getting more and more experience, and you want to play to his strengths, which is being able to distribute the ball to a lot of people.”
Bennett ranks sixth in the SEC in passing efficiency and sixth in yards per completion (13.0) through the first three games. Bennett’s 63.1 completion rate ranks seventh in the SEC, enabling Georgia to rank seventh in the league in third down conversion percentage (.460).
To Smart’s point on Bennett’s point guard skills, 16 different Georgia football receivers have already caught the ball this season.
Bennett, who is 10th in the SEC with 151.63 yards passing per game, is also the only starting quarterback in the SEC not to throw an interception.
Smart made it clear that will be very important for the Bulldogs moving forward.
“He’s got to protect the ball, that’s a big part for him is giving our defense a chance to go out there and play by protecting it,” Smart said.
“But hey, I’m proud of his growth, I’m proud of his execution, his ability to get us lined up, and distribute the ball. Because one thing he has done is spray it around a little bit.”
Top 10 SEC passers
Smart sad junior receiver Matt Landers has been in a black (no-contact) practice jersey this week and he looks to return from what appeared to be a hand or wrist injury suffered against Tennessee.
Matt Landers (hand/wrist), probable
Jermaine Johnson (shoulder) probable
James Cook (shoulder) probable
Netori Johnson (academics) out
Arian Smith (knee) out
Dominick Blaylock (knee) out
Kelee Ringo (labrum) out