Georgia Offense A Tough Test For Tiger D

Auburn's Paul Rhoads talks about the Georgia offense and the challenges it presents.

Auburn, Ala.--When you look at the Georgia Bulldogs this season much like Auburn there is some good and bad. Expected to be in the national championship hunt, instead the Bulldogs have lost two games and are already out of the SEC title chase. There are many reasons why, but one of those is not the offense.

Led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Knowshon Moreno and wide receivers A.J. Green and Mohamed Massaquoi, the Bulldogs have been a juggernaut on offense in 2008. Averaging 32.6 points per game and 436.8 yards, Georgia is a big-play team that has scored 22 times on drives of less than three minutes.

The challenge of stopping that offense falls in the hands of Auburn defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads. He said that watching Georgia on offense this week has shown him exactly why they are putting up the stats they are this season.

"They are outstanding," Rhoads said. "They are walking wounded on the offensive line just like we've been on the defensive line and they still manage to put up tremendous numbers with that being the case, with guys going in and out at those five positions. They've got weapons at every skill position. They are outstanding at tailback. The quarterback is just a sensational player. He's got the biggest arm we've seen all season, but he's smart. He does things that people don't see. He looks and waits and sets up a completely big picture for him to throw through and he's got the patience to do that.

"The freshman receiver is as good as anybody we've seen all season. He can make the big catch and go over the top. He can take it the distance if he gets it. Massaquoi is a tremendous football player that has had a lot of success. I could go on and on through numbers and players. Their numbers and what they are doing reflect the talent they have."

With all of the weapons they possess it's not surprise the Bulldogs can strike very quickly on the field. This season Georgia has 56 plays of more than 25 yards, something Rhoads said the Tigers must do a good job of avoiding on Saturday.

"I think we've got to limit or eliminate big plays," Rhoads said. "You would like to make a bold statement and say we've got to eliminate them. They can't have one big play all game, but that's a good football team. They've gotten big plays against everybody and chances are they'll get one Saturday afternoon. We've got to limit them to a minimum number of plays for us to have a chance for success.

"Then you've got to stop the run game," he added. "Their play-action is built around being able to be successful running the football. If they can't be successful running the football then the play-action shouldn't be as effective. Those are the two primary objectives we've got to accomplish."

Even if you cut down the number of big plays in the passing game Georgia still has the ability to grind out drives with Moreno. Eight times this season the Bulldogs have scored on drives lasting more than four minutes. The key to that Rhoads said is Moreno.

"He doesn't go down very easy," Rhoads said. "You think you've got him wrapped up and you think he's down and he slips away. He's falling down and plants a hand and keeps his balance and comes back out of there. I think he's got a heavyweight fighter mentality where he's coming at you every round. He shows that by how fast he bounces up and runs back to the huddle.

"That sends a message. That's an attitude that he sends to you that says ‘you've got to bring more than that because I'm here for 60 minutes'. If that gets to you with his success then that can wear you down. We've got to wrap up and gang tackle and we can't be satisfied until he's on the ground."

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