GAMEDAY: Florida vs. Georgia Picks In-Depth

Gator Country's Mark McLeod and DawgPost's Dean Legge put their heads together for an in-depth look at each position on the team and pick who has the edge in the battle for supremacy in Jacksonville.

Florida vs Georgia Picks

Georgia offensive line vs Florida defensive front

Dean’s Analysis: Georgia’s offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage in its most important early games of the season against Boise State, South Carolina and Tennessee. But in the last few weeks the line has given a lackluster effort. Breaking in a new quarterback means Georgia’s line needs to protect Joe Tereshinski. Pass protection will be key against a Florida team that get after the quarterback, but Georgia’s offensive line needs to provide a steady running game in order to have success this season.

Converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns without Shockley will also be a challenge. Run blocking will be critical against Florida.

Mark’s Analysis: Georgia struggled after their initial drive in the third quarter to run the ball effectively against Vanderbilt. The ‘Dawgs followed that up with a miserable performance on the ground against Arkansas. Thomas Brown had a long run of 14 yards, after ripping Vandy for a long run of 42 yards one game earlier. He would finish with only 39 net yards rushing.

This was the same squad who managed 198 yards against what was thought to be a very good Tennessee defensive front. Furthermore, this group has given up six sacks over the past two weeks, including four last weekend against Arkansas. There is no doubt that defensive coordinators have found a crack in the armor of the Georgia offensive line.

If anybody in the SEC East can further exploit those deficiencies, it’s the Florida defensive front under Greg Mattison and Charlie Strong. That, of course is provided the Gators can avoid giving up the big play. LSU running back Joseph Addai ran for 156 yards on 32 carries. The Tigers had the ball for 20:06 in the second half, yet still could only manage seven points. Florida sacked LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell five times.

Edge according to Dean: Even

Edge according to Mark: Florida

Georgia skills positions vs Florida secondary

Dean’s Analysis: With Shockley in the game Georgia would have more in its arsenal. But with him out, the running game struggling and wide receivers that don’t seem to scare too many opponents, Georgia’s skill people need to step up their efforts this week. Thomas Brown, Danny Ware and Kregg Lumpkin are all capable running backs that can have 100-yard days. However, they won’t be able to do that without blocking and a passing game. Georgia’s tight ends are studs, but a wide receiver must step up and make plays down the field.

Mark’s Analysis: Florida has focused hard on figuring out a way to stop Georgia’s 6-7 250 tight end Leonard Pope. How about using former 7-0 Florida basketball star Dwayne Schintzius with a tennis racket? Pope had four receptions for 70 yards against the Vols three weeks ago. He torched the Gators for a pair of scores last season.

Joe Tereschinski is not a backup quarterback who will have the deer in the headlights look about him. Floridawill have to earn it the hard way. They must keep the Bulldogs running game in check, while finding ways to pressure Tereschinski. One way is to blanket the Georgia receivers. Pope is their most dangerous weapon in the passing game and Florida has to keep him from opening things up for the Bulldogs offense. They can’t afford for Tereschinski to gain confidence.

The Florida secondary has been very good since the Alabama debacle. They gave up a big pass play to LSU, when safety Kyle Jackson failed to get over in zone coverage. Reggie Nelson gets the start at free safety. Nelson is a proven playmaker. He should team well with Vernell Brown, Dee Webb, and Jarvis Herring.

Edge according to Dean: Florida

Edge according to Mark: Florida

Florida offensive line vs Georgia defensive front

Dean’s Analysis: Georgia might not have perennial starter Kedric Golston back from injury yet, but the rest of the defensive line seems to be back in place. The return of Gerald Anderson will yank Georgia’s rushing yards allowed back down, and Ray Gant is a warrior inside. Florida should be most concerned with stopping defensive ends Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson. Both are tearing up the opposition and their quarterbacks. Pressuring Chris Leak and keeping him off balance will be Johnson and Moses’ job all day. This group won’t allow another big rushing day with all the players that have returned.

Mark’s Analysis: Georgia began a revolving door at defensive tackle. Dean assures me that Anderson is back, while Kedric Golston is now out. We don’t know much about Golston’s replacement, Ray Gant. Georgia defensive ends Quentin Moses and Will Thompson. The pair have combined for 17.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

The Gators have struggled to consistently open holes for the backs. The Gators have averaged 115 yards over the past three games.

Keeping Chris Leak off of the turf has been an even greater challenge. He has been sacked 23 times this season. Some say the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Sure it could have, before the loss to LSU.

Edge according to Dean: Georgia

Edge according to Mark: Georgia

Florida skills positions vs Georgia secondary

Dean’s Analysis: Florida’s skill players are always some of the best in the SEC. But Georgia’s secondary has good coverage skills, is hard hitting and is very opportunistic. Georgia’s secondary is the team’s leader in forcing turnovers. The Bulldogs’ offense is averaging four points per turnover received this season – not bad. Tim Jennings and Demario Minter are two of the best corners in the SEC. Greg Blue and Tra Battle are hard-hitting safeties that have both made game-altering plays against Boise State, Tennessee and South Carolina. This group is eager to make its first ever interception of Chris Leak.

Mark’s Analysis: This sets up as yet another great match-up. The Georgia secondary is a veteran group that is playing better than many projected. Greg Blue is an obvious All-SEC player, who had some problems wrapping up last week against Arkansas. Still, he leads the Bulldogs in tackles.

Vanderbilt’s Jay Cutler completed only 15 of 28 for 174 yards and one touchdown. The Bulldogs rank fifth in the conference in pass defense. They have allowed only four touchdowns through the air this season.

Florida’s receivers have struggled to get open the past three weeks The fact that it wasn’t so easy against Mississippi State, a tenth ranked pass defense is rather telling. Certainly, the Gators worked to get this corrected. But, until we see it…

Edge according to Dean: Georgia

Edge according to Mark: Georgia

Final Analysis:

Dean: If the Bulldogs’ defense allows more than 14 points the Dawgs, and their undefeated season are in trouble; allowing Chris Leak to go crazy in the pocket spells doom. Georgia must force at least two Florida turnovers to win. Look for Georgia’s offense to pick it spots to be effective – like after turnovers. Georgia’s special teams need to remain steady, and help play a field position game that will lead to underdog Georgia and their backup quarterback to an upset of Florida.

Mark: Offensively, I expect the Bulldogs to possibly take a chance on making a big play through the air and getting Joe T some confidence. And why not, as Florida has been susceptible to giving up the big play? There is no doubt that Mark Richt will challenge his offensive line to lead the offense to victory. They will try to establish a run and beat down the Gators in the time of possession game, much like LSU did two weeks ago. Defense, turnovers, and special teams will win this one.

Dean’s Pick: Georgia 17 Florida 10

Mark’s Pick: UPSET SPECIAL…Florida

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