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Recent history says Georgia won’t cover the spread Saturday
Georgia is a 14 1/2-point favorite against Appalachian State, but some pundits and fans believe the game will be much closer than that. Between the Mountaineers decade-old reputation as college football’s giant slayers and the general uncertainty that surrounding any team that hasn’t yet played a down, there are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical that the Bulldogs can win by more than two touchdowns. Another good reason is Georgia’s recent history.
The good Senator Blutarsky of Get The Picture pointed out this Tweet from Brian Edwards of Vegas Insider in which he notes that the Bulldogs haven’t won by more than 14 points in its last 17 games. That includes games against powerhouses Nicholls and UL-Lafayette. It’s also worth noting Georgia was 6-7 against the spread last season.
Georgia is currently a 14.5-point favorite vs App St. UGA hasn't won by more than 14 pts. in 17 consecutive games.
— Brian Edwards Sports (@vegasbedwards) August 30, 2017
There’s also the matter of App State’s recent history. The Mountaineers lost only three games last season, only one of which was by more than a touchdown — a 45-10 defeat to Mark Richt’s Miami Hurricanes. The season before, they lost just twice, only one of which was by more than two touchdowns. They have trouble with Power 5 schools to say the least — they haven’t beaten one since that legendary Michigan upset — but make no mistake, they have the ability to keep any game close.
One presumable reason ESPN saw fit to pick the UGA-Appalachian State for a primetime game is the Mountaineers aforementioned reputation as upset specialists, created by the upset of Michigan to open 2007, the biggest upset in the history of the sport, and their near-upset of Tennessee in last season’s opener. Fans will tune in to an App State opener against a Power 5 school because the Mountaineers have shown an ability to play these top schools close.
If Appalachian State’s and Georgia’s recent histories are any indication, another close contest is on the cards for Saturday.
How will the secondary line up on Saturday?
With Malkom Parrish likely to miss the season opener, there are still questions surrounding how the secondary will look on Saturday. But Seth Emerson of DawgNation got a look at how Kirby Smart lined up his players in the defensive backfield at practice Wednesday that gives us a general idea of the lineup in different schemes.
J.R. Reed, the Tulsa transfer who has alternated between safety and nickel back, was with the safety in what appeared to be the team’s 3-4 alignment. Aaron Davis and Deandre Baker were the cornerbacks.
Senior Lorenzo Carter, normally an outside linebacker, also appeared to be getting some work at the star (nickel back). Carter has gotten that look before this preseason.
Generally in the nickel defense, freshman Richard LeCounte has also been working at safety, with Reed moving down to star. …
When the apparent second team went in, it was freshman-heavy: William Poole and Eric Stokes were at cornerback, DeAngelo Gibbs at star, and Tray Bishop at safety. Junior Jarvis Wilson was also at safety.
Legendary Georgia kicker warns against switching between kickers
I made this point about Georgia’s starting kicker, but it carries a bit more weight coming from legendary Georgia kicker Rex Robinson. Robinson spoke to Chip Towers of DawgNation and stated that Smart needs to pick a starter — which he did earlier this week, handing the gig to Rodrigo Blankenship — and stick with him.
“Once they choose a guy, he needs to be the guy,” Robinson told me. “You don’t want to go back and forth. You don’t want to do that at any position, particularly at quarterback and kicker. You don’t want that in the back of his mind: ‘Hey, if I miss a kick I might get pulled, or if I throw an interception I might get pulled.’ They need to have confidence that they’re going to be the guy. However that plays out, whoever wins the job, I hope they stick with them for a while.”
Of course, this is good in theory, but could be trickier in practice. Competition between Blankenship and gradate transfer David Marvin was neck-and-neck throughout the preseason. If Blankenship struggles early, it will be hard to justify not handing Marvin a shot.
Jacob Eason offers praise for Ahkil Crumpton
Seth Emerson gathered the thoughts of three of Georgia’s best offensive players — Nick Chubb, Isaiah Wynn, and Jacob Eason — on the state of the Bulldog offense heading into this season. There’s lots of interesting stuff from all three players, but I found one of the most interesting part to be this quote from Eason on JUCO transfer Ahkil Crumtpon stepping into the shoes left by Isaiah McKenzie.
“What I’ve seen in Ahkil is a lot of what Isaiah was. Isaiah was a great receiver to throw to, and I think Ahkil is going to be the same. They’re both fast, they’re both small, and they even wear No. 16. It’s kind of crazy. It’s like we never lost Isaiah.”
Check out the rest of the post for the trios thoughts on Eason’s progression from freshman to sophomore, the offensive line, and playmakers on the offense.
A look at UGA-Appalachian State from across the field
Chip Towers spoke with David Ware of AppStateMania.com to get a Mountaineers’ perspective on the season-opener. It includes lots of good info about App State that you might not have known, so check out the whole thing. But I this this quote about App State’s defense is something fans should keep in mind heading into the opener.
“Over the past two seasons App State’s defense allowed just 18.5 points per game, eighth best in FBS, and had the nation’s top performing red-zone defense. The first thing most notice is that the Mountaineer front seven is small, especially relative to SEC standards. It’s completely by design, as App State values suddenness and speed over bulk and length up front. They will force offensive linemen to move and make decisions quickly. They are also one of the few programs running a true 3-4 scheme, so offenses can struggle to identify match-ups and blitzes out of the set. The Mountaineer defense is fast from front to back and relies on a swarming gang-tackle mentality.”
Considering he’s been preparing for the Mountaineers all offseason, Smart know what to expect from their defense. He indicated preventing 1-on-1 situations would be key to breaking down the defense.
“You’ve got to be careful about putting them in 1-on-1 situations, those guys use quickness,” Smart said, according to Jake Rill of DawgNation. “Those guys do a tremendous job, and it creates a little bit of a disadvantage sometimes for your offensive line. … They slash, they tackle for a loss, they’re very disruptive in what they do.”
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) August 30, 2017
Before the #Dawgs take the field vs. Appalachian State, take a look back at UGA Camp Life.
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) August 31, 2017
— Georgia Gymnastics (@UGAGymnastics) August 30, 2017
Someone tell Mark Fox to sign this little dude.
Klay vs. K9 pic.twitter.com/11lJUNcn5Y
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 30, 2017
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