Auburn's Strategy Impresses Bulldogs

Georgia's players and head coaches discuss what makes the Tigers difficult to deal with this season.

Auburn, Ala.--While the Auburn offense scored 24 points and ran up 404 yards against one of the best defenses in the country, the Tiger defense stole the show against Georgia with a near shutout against a team that averaged 31.8 points per game entering the contest.

"Six points is not a lot," says Georgia quarterback David Greene. "As far as being productive, it wasn't good at all. We did some good things, but we need to go back and look at what we did wrong. They just doubled Fred and Reggie. They were making us take the underneath stuff. We figured they were going to do it."

Georgia scored its only points on a six-yard fourth-down pass from Greene to tight end Leonard Pope with 2:13 remaining in the game.

"There wasn't any way we could go deep on them," Greene adds. "You look at their defensive ends and they're leading the league in sacks. They were double-covering our guys and there's really no time to take a seven-step drop and throw it 60 yards down the field."

Greene was sacked three times for 20 yards and was constantly hurried on his passes throughout the game.

Georgia had 194 yards passing--159 by Greene and 35 by D.J. Shockley--down from a 258-yard season average. The Bulldogs were also held to 85 yards rushing, compared to a 174.1-yard season average.

Senior receiver Fred Gibson attributes the Bulldogs lackluster offensive performance to the Auburn coaches.

"We couldn't throw deep," he says. "They had a game plan and I'll tell you, the Auburn coaches did a great job of stopping us. We haven't had anybody able to stop us like that, but they did a great job and they had a great game plan.

"They disguised a whole lot of things tonight," Gibson adds. "They played cover two and a lot of other things, and our offense couldn't get going. They just played great and didn't do anything wrong. They marched the ball up and down the field. Jason Campbell did an outstanding job. Cadillac and Ronnie Brown were like usual--nothing changed. They did a great job."

Carnell Williams was a triple-threat as a runner, passer and returner.

Senior fullback Jeremy Thomas notes that while two red-zone turnovers hampered the Bulldogs, Auburn stepped up and when it had to. "We did some things that hurt us, but they made plays," he says. "They had the pick down there in the end zone (by Carlos Rogers) on kind of a jump-ball situation. Their guy went up and made the play. They were tackling well and bringing some blitzes that were giving us problems. We hurt ourselves, but it was mostly Auburn.

"They're good," he adds. "We did some things to hurt ourselves tonight. Things could have been a lot different, but they whipped us, man. I say we need someone from the SEC in the national championship game, so put them in there."

The Auburn offense had its usual balanced attack working against the Bulldogs Saturday. The Tigers had 218 yards passing and 186 yards rushing.

Jason Campbell completed 18 of 22 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The senior tailback duo of Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown combined for 260 yards offense--152 rushing and 108 receiving. Williams also added 77 yards on four punt returns.

"I knew we were playing a very good football team," says Coach Mark Richt. "They pretty much looked like they did on film. They did everything that they've been doing all year long. We didn't give much resistance at all really. They just beat us.

"They definitely had a hat on everybody. They blocked well and when you add some great runners to it, it's not all that shocking that they ran the ball well. They did a beautiful job of their play-action pass and keeping us off balance."

Potential first-round draft pick Thomas Davis, a junior free safety, was impressed with what he saw from the Tigers, and wishes them well for the rest of the season.

"We came out and we fought hard and we fought to the end, but they did a good job," Davis says. "I wouldn't say that they're the best team we've faced in my career, but they're definitely as good. Auburn is a good team, and let's hope that they can go on and accomplish their goals since we couldn't stop them.

"They're just as good as we expected them to be," he adds. "We knew that they were going to be good coming in and we knew we had to come in and execute defensively, offensively and on special teams. They came out and got the job done and we didn't."


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