Football how it's supposed to be played

No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia are pretty evenly matched when it comes to physicality, strength, size and speed. Saturday's SEC Championship game will be a battle, or as defensive end Damion Square said, "It's football the way it's supposed to be played."

The last time Alabama played Georgia was in Athens in 2008. The Bulldogs did a blackout and the Crimson Tide responded by beating them 41-30.

Tight end Michael Williams wasn't at that game—it was his redshirt freshman year and he didn't travel—but he remembers the week leading up to the matchup.

"Our team was very confident," he said. "We knew there was something about a blackout and that was a big motivational factor for us and that team went out there and handled business. We're trying to do the same thing."

This time when the teams meet, it will be in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship and a bid to the national championship game in Miami. No pressure, right?

Right. Like they do every week, the players are treating this game like any other, as to not get too ahead of themselves.

"I played in games like this before, big games during my time at the university," said defensive end Damion Square. "It's just another one."

Alabama struggled defensively against LSU and Texas A&M, giving up over 300 yards rushing in those games combined. Now that the Tide has had two weeks of active recovery, playing against and shutting out Western Carolina and Auburn, Square said his unit has learned from its mistakes by recording every missed tackle in practices and games and going back and watching what went wrong on film.

"You've got to get more physical," he said. "You've got to make plays in the backfield and tackle better. You've got to fit the gaps right. It's going to come down to physicality. Who hits who first. That's what matters."

Like Alabama, Georgia boasts a talented tandem in its backfield in two true freshmen, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who together are averaging 154.8 yards per game. And they'll be extra speedy on the Georgia Dome turf, which is naturally faster than playing on grass.

"I know they got some big-time guys there," Square said. "Those guys run hard. They're going to make you pay when you make mistakes."

Aside from stopping the run, which is probably the No. 1 key in this game as whoever gets more rushing yards could win, another crucial component is getting to quarterback Aaron Murray, who leads the nation with a 177.15 pass efficiency rating.

"In big games, period, a sack is a very, very moment-changing play," Square said. "It can set a team back with what they're trying to do on second-and-long, third-and-long, things like that. It helps our secondary out tremendously. With us up front, we're trying to get pressure on the quarterback so that guy can't sit in the pocket and pick us apart on the back end."

Both of these teams share a lot of similarities—pro-style offenses, efficient quarterbacks, 3-4 defenses, running back tandems—and Square said that after watching film, he thinks that Georgia's offense reminds him of the one he sees every day in practice, if nothing else because of the size, power and physicality.

"It's football the way it's supposed to be played."


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