1. This is Georgia’s third and final touchdown of the day. The Dawgs have it second-and-8 from the 10. 1. Georgia has three wide, a tight end and Keith Marshall in the backfield. Freshman Michael Chigbu is the slot receiver on this play. Kolton Houston is lined up at left guard (a move that has worked out decently well after he struggled at right tackle much of the year). Malcolm Mitchell is the wideout on the bottom of the frame. Those three players, along with Marshall’s speed and athleticism are what makes this play score. 2. This crack screen play has been a staple of Georgia’s for years under Richt, and they run it as well as anyone in the college game. In this one, Chigbu is assigned the crack block on Marshall’s man (the linebacker in the middle of the field). Because Kentucky is playing man, Chigbu will subsequently take his defender out of the play by running the crack block because it looks similar to a shallow cross/drag route. 3. As you can see, Chigbu is set up to take away Marshall’s defender and his own defender (who shadows him in anticipation of a drag/cross). Meanwhile, Marshall is coming out of the backfield, and Houston, who was uncovered, releases to the outside to pick up the most dangerous defender. 4. Houston moves into position to take the first defender out of the play. 5. Houston executes a perfect open field block and Marshall has green grass in front of him. Notice Chigbu’s original man is still struggling to rotate over after getting caught inside defending the cross, AND Chigbu is still carrying out his block on Marshall’s man. At this point, you can see Malcolm Mitchell in the corner of the frame blocking his defender. 6. This is where Marshall’s skills come in to play. Chigbu’s original man is now Marshall’s main danger. Mitchell has hands on his man and can block him to the boundary if needed. It’s up to Marshall to decide how to get through. And I’m just going to continue throwing love to Chigbu for continuing to block the Kentucky linebacker downfield. 7. Marshall stutters before realizing he can use his speed and Mitchell’s body to get by the remaining white jerseys. He lets Mitchell essentially pick (or screen, if we’re sticking with the theme on this play) the dangerous defender. Marshall takes his chances with the cornerback coming off Mitchell’s block to the sideline. Sidenote: (top of the screen) CHIGBU, GET YOU SOME! 8. Let’s just say, it didn’t end very well for the cornerback. Touchdown Dawgs. Let’s take a look at Dom Sanders’ first INT of the game (yes, the one that ended with a fumble and Kentucky regaining possession). I’m doing this to highlight Sanders’ instincts and ability to read the quarterback from his free safety position. I’ve often joked since Sanders’ joined the team last year that if I see a Georgia defender running with the ball, I just assume it’s Sanders. He’s an all-SEC type player that, to me, is still learning the nuances of playing safety in this league. 1. Holding a 10-0 lead, Georgia’s defense takes the field on Kentucky’s first possession of the second quarter. Kentucky comes out with 3 receivers, a tight end and a back. Georgia is playing a Cover-3 look out of its nickel package. Reggie Wilkerson (nickel) is playing the boundary flat, Jake Ganus and Tim Kimbrough take the middle zones underneath. Notice Kentucky QB Patrick Towles takes the snap while looking at his receiver to the left side (field side) of the play. 2. Now enter Sanders. He’s in a deep safety position with the assignment to cover the deep middle zone. Based on Towles glance left, Sanders drifts a little that way, but locks on to Towles’ head/eyes. In sideline view, we can see that Kentucky has two receivers that are running routes upfield and by the initial zone defenders (Ganus, Wilkerson). 3. Based on Towles’ eyes, Sanders realizes the quarterback wants to go to this right, where he should have two receivers deep to split against Aaron Davis, who is assigned the deep right zone. 4. Towles lets the ball go to the inside receiver splitting Davis, throwing it away from Davis and towards the middle of the field…only Sanders hasn’t taken his eyes off Towles and the ball the entire time. 5. As you can see, without good eye discipline by Sanders, the route Towles is throwing is open, and if Sanders is a step late, it’s a first down play. 6. The throw wasn’t perfect, but was plenty good enough for Conrad to make a play on it. But Sanders is there and cuts the route perfectly before returning it inside the Kentucky 15 and fumbling the ball back to Kentucky’s JoJo Kemp.
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