By this point in the season, we have all seen, read and heard so much about the Auburn Tigers, that it would be a near impossibility to offer anything of substance as far as "10 Things To Know..."
Who doesn't know about Cam Newton, that powerful offense, that ridiculously good front seven and the undefeated record, right?
So, with that in mind, this article will touch on the things that Georgia does not need to do if they expect to have a chance at winning this Saturday.
Let's just jump right into it, shall we?
1. Come Out Flat
Georgia should have come out firing against the Bengals last week, but as they have often done this season, the offense came out looking mediocre and out of sync. If they do that against Auburn this weekend, they will find themselves in a hole very quickly.
They cannot come out looking dazed and confused like they did last week or the week prior against the Gators. The Tigers will bury them early if they do.
2. Concentrate too Much On Cam Newton
Cam Newton might be the most recognizable and talked about weapon on the field for Auburn, but he's not the ONLY weapon for the Tigers.
Michael Dyer leads the SEC in rushing—for a freshman. He has more yards than Marcus Lattimore and he's been a perfect compliment to Newton this season. Add to that, both Darvin Adams (WR) and the emerging Terrell Zachery (WR), are every bit the playmakers they appear to be.
Georgia cannot allow No. 2 to occupy so much of their mental and physical attention that they leave the other guys on the field free to beat them.
3. Forget How to Pass Protect—Again
Nick Fairley is a beast and, if left unattended, he will feast on Aaron Murray.
For all the chatter about how poised and steady Murray has been this season, he has yet to truly face a defense as athletic, tough and fierce as this Auburn front seven. He's going to need a competent line, giving their best effort, if he hopes to have a shot at picking apart Auburn's secondary.
4. Turn the Ball Over
This is obvious, but it had to be said.
Georgia has both lost and gained momentum on turnovers this season. They need to be stingy with the football this weekend. No bobbles, no bad snaps, no forgetting how to secure the ball on long-gainers, etc.
Hold onto the football and be purposeful on every pass.
5. Blitz too Early and/or too Often
While the "attacking style" defense of the 3-4 has been effective at points this season, Newton isn't going to crumble under the pressure of whatever Georgia has to offer. He's got a passer efficiency rating of 258.4 and a completion percentage of better than 70 percent against the blitz.
In other words, it hasn't worked on him.
The best thing Georgia can do is neutralize the running game and concentrate on jamming the routes of the Auburn receivers. If they can do that, they will flush Newton out of the pocket.
While that may seem like a poor option—given the fact that he's tallied more than 1,100 yards on the ground this season—it's the one that offers Georgia (which is currently No. 2 in the conference against the run) the best chance at disrupting the Tigers offense.
6. Over-commit To Their Running Game
If Auburn's pass defense is shaky, then their rush defense is the steadying force that evens things out.
The Tigers are third in the SEC in rush defense (114.0 ypg). More to the point, Auburn has been deadly against the run this year and the three-headed monster of Caleb King, Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas isn't likely to leave them with nightmares.
The most important players on the field for Georgia will be Kris Durham, A.J. Green, Tavarres King and Orson Charles.
Should they abandon the run? No, but if they see it's not effective, they shouldn't remain so committed to it, that they fail to consider other play calling options.
7. Allow Auburn To Set the Tempo
Auburn hasn't been the kind of team that grinds out plays. They have, for the most part, been quick to strike and quick to score. Georgia cannot allow the Tigers to control the tempo of this game. They don't run the kind of offense that would allow them to go toe-to-toe with Auburn for 60 minutes and if they have to get into a shout-out with Cam Newton and his trusty brigade, the defense could be sucking wind before halftime.
Georgia has to find a way to control the clock, keep the Auburn offense off the field and slow the game down enough that Auburn has to adjust to them—not the other way around.
8. Get too Caught Up In This Being the "Best Team In The Nation"
Part of Murray's problem against the Gators was he let his emotions control his play for the better part of 30 minutes. He was too pumped, too anxious and too embedded in it being "Georgia-Florida". He cannot do that on Saturday if he expects to run an efficient, focused and productive offense.
Ditto that for the defense. They need to play this game like it's just another opponent—don't let the ranking or "what this win means for the program" come onto the field of play.
Finish the Drill.
9. Fail to Maintain Defensive Intensity On Third Down
All season it has seemed that Georgia goes full-out on first and second downs, then completely falls apart on third downs—no better example of this than against the Kentucky Wildcats a few weeks back.
Georgia needs to maintain a consistent level of intensity on every single. down.
Defensive lapses have killed them all season and, more often than not, have led to momentum-changing plays.
10. Tighten Up If the Game Is Close
Cam Newton has proven that he only gets more resolved, more focused and more calm as the game winds down. He's ready to play for all 60 and he's willing to take the team on his back if he has to.
By contrast, Georgia hasn't found their formula for doing the same. The tighter the game, the more prone to mistakes they become.
If they find themselves in a position to win on Saturday, they need to play like they both deserve and CAN win. If they don't believe it, their play on the field will reflect it, and they will have already lost.
What say you, do you like the Bulldog's chances to make a game of it this weekend?
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