Below is a Q&A conducted with Dean Legge – Publisher of DawgPost.com – where he answers questions on Saturday’s game.
TSD Subscribers: Everyone assumes that Georgia is going to stack the box and dare Jordan Jefferson to throw the ball. Does that appear to be the defensive scheme for playing LSU?
Georgia Publisher: I would think Georgia would think about doing that, and force the young signal caller to beat them. They did the same thing this past weekend, and it worked. But Jefferson has more talent than the Arizona State quarterback, so it will be more difficult.
TSD Subscribers: Mississippi State players were pointing to where LSU was going to run the ball. In your opinion and from the feeling you get from the Georgia side, has LSU’s offense become that predictable?
Georgia Publisher: That’s hard for me to know because I don’t watch LSU each week. I saw the State game and was surprised LSU struggled like they did.
TSD Subscribers: Is there much of a fear factor on the Georgia side when Russell Sheppard is in the game?
Georgia Publisher: Obviously he’s talented and young, but I don’t know how much Georgia will change if he comes into the game – probably will blitz a little more than stay in base defense.
TSD Subscribers: Who has stepped up as the number two receiver next to A.J. Green? Also, do you think Orson Charles presents matchup problems for LSU’s linebackers?
Georgia Publisher: Orson Charles is going to be a problem for LSU at times, but Georgia has not used him too much so far this season. I expect the Bulldogs to use him more as time goes on. Mike Moore, who had a great day against South Carolina, has stepped up to some degree. Rantavious Wooten is coming on, too. It really is the A.J. Show.
TSD Subscribers: Which Joe Cox do you expect to show up on Saturday?
Georgia Publisher: Who knows? Hopefully the one that doesn’t throw pick sixes. Joe has played up and down this season. The turnovers are the down, and they have to stop. If he doesn’t have them he’s a heck of a quarterback.
TSD Subscribers: What do you think of the matchup between A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson, and how would you defend Green if you were an opposing defensive coordinator?
Georgia Publisher: I don’t know how you defend A.J to be honest. Well, I guess you defend him with a safety over the top at all times and make Georgia beat you with the run or something else. Arkansas’ mistake was getting out of heavy coverage on A.J. Still, the other offensive skill guys and Georgia were thrashing the Hogs. Arkansas tried to stop that and Cox started throwing touchdowns to Green again. He’s difficult to deal with.
TSD Subscribers: What are the strengths of the UGA defense and how do you feel it matches up against LSU’s offense? Same thing on the other side of the ball?
Georgia Publisher: Georgia’s defense finishes strong. They don’t get turnovers, which is poor, and they give up yards, but they are firm in the fourth quarter. I think it will have to deal with Brandon LaFell first and go from there.
As far as the offense is concerned, what Georgia doesn’t do well is hold onto the ball. Twelve turnovers in four games makes the Dawgs one of the worst teams in the country in turnover ratio. Sure, they can score… at times, but they are not consistent. I think they will try to run the ball a lot against LSU. If they can finally get a run game going they should be in good shape… but that’s not really something they’ve had consistently all season.
TSD Subscribers: LSU fans have been very disappointed with the Tigers despite being 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the country. Are Georgia fans pleased with the product that they’ve seen from their Bulldogs early on?
Georgia Publisher: Not really pleased. Happy to be 3-1, because it could be much, much worse, but Georgia fans, like LSU’s, expect greatness, and that’s not what they are getting right now. They are getting wins, but they are no thing of beauty.
TSD Subscribers: Does the mood around Athens and the Georgia program reflect that this is a big-time matchup with the No. 4 team in the country coming to town? Also, would you say that the majority of people you interact with expect Georgia to win this one because they feel that LSU is overrated?
Georgia Publisher: I think people do think LSU is overrated, but that they are going to be a difficult team to play. I think folks think this is a winnable game to be sure, but that Georgia can not continue to turn the ball over if they expect to win big ball games, of which this is one. Florida is Georgia’s biggest rival… Georgia Tech is hated, too. Tennessee, South Carolina and Auburn are also huge, huge games, so the Dawgs are used to big ones. But the LSU-Georgia fights of late have been slugfests, and this one should be no different.
TSD Subscribers: What do you feel are the keys to the game for Georgia to win? How about for LSU if the Tigers are going to win on the road?
Georgia Publisher: Georgia can’t turn the ball over. That’s the only key this week. I don’t want to make it too complicated. Spotting the other team an average of 14 points on turnovers a game is unacceptable. Unless LSU is blowing Georgia out, they are going to have to score in the fourth quarter to win. Georgia has been very stingy in the fourth – LSU will need to change that to win.
Also, Georgia has done a good job of making people stall just before the red zone – scoring touchdowns rather than attempting field goals would have caused Arizona State and South Carolina to be undefeated… they didn’t and they both have a loss thanks to Georgia because of it.