Scouting The Bulldogs

The Cowboys went through a brisk two-hour practice Tuesday in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads. During the workout the players worked as a huge Kicker sound system with four speakers blared the alma mater, fight song, and spirit songs played by the Georgia band. The sound is being used to challenge and prepare the players to deal with noise expected at Sanford Stadium on Saturday in Athens.

The workout also featured for the first time scout team players dressed in opposing team colors as they wore bright red jerseys with numbers corresponding to the starters for Georgia on offense and defense. Defensive coordinator Tim Beckman asked for that as it was something they did at Ohio State. Equipment manager Wes Edwards and his staff made it happen.

Head coach Mike Gundy was pleased with the practice. "We still need the next two practices but I felt the players were moving around quicker than they have in the past couple of weeks," said Gundy. "They know that game day is coming and they are eager. They are sick of hitting each other.

"Our offense knows our defensive calls, blitzes, and stunts. Our defense knows our offense and their calls. I think with those last two practices we will be ready to go and be prepared for Georgia."

Gundy said he will continue to make practice brisk and allow the players to get their legs fresh and ready for Saturday.

Weather for Saturday
Cowboy fans going to Georgia may want to pack some rain gear. The chance for rain is greater earlier in the day on Saturday. For game time there is a 25 percent chance of rain. The temperature is expected to be around 88 to 90 degrees at kickoff which is 6:45 p.m. (EDT) and 5:45 p.m. (CDT).

Scouting Report - Georgia
Georgia is one of the most tradition-rich and successful programs in all of college football. I don't need to tell you that. During the Mark Richt era (last 6 seasons) the Bulldogs have gone 61-17 overall with SEC championships in 2002 and 2005.

The Bulldogs won the Eastern Division of the SEC in 2002, 2003 (tie), and 2005. Up until late last season Richt served as his own game planner and play caller on offense. He believes in multiple offense with a balance of running and passing, lots of play-action passing.

On defense he brought with him Willie Martinez and the defensive philosophy has stayed much the same in the six seasons with a multiple 4-3 defense that varies its aggression depending on the opponent and their offensive style and quality of personnel. The atmosphere is awesome, like most places in the upper SEC, and Georgia has made the most of it with a home record under Richt of 32-6.

The straw that stirs the offense is sophomore quarterback Matt Stafford. The 6-3, 237-pounder has modest mobility and a powerful arm. He went through many of the stages of progression of a college quarterback last season and was much improved late in the season while guiding Georgia to wins over fifth-ranked Auburn, 16th-ranked Georgia Tech, and 14th-ranked Virginia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Still at the end of the season he had just 7 TD passes versus 13 interceptions. If the Cowboys can do a decent job defending the run and mount some pressure then Stafford could still be forced into mistakes. However, he is a dangerous passer.

The running game is solid with Thomas Brown (5-8, 200) and Kregg Lumpkin (6-1, 229) running first and second. Brown can be compared to former Cowboy Mike Hamilton and Lumpkin is similar to Julius Crosslin. They are both good, but not great. Both average 4.9-yards per carry in their UGA careers. Be careful of redshirt freshman speedster Knowshon Moreno (5-11, 207), who reminds us of Vernand Morency. He may be really good. The fullback is a stand-up guy that does what it takes in Brannan Southerland. He blocks, scores on the ground, and is a reliable receiver.

Sean Bailey returns from a knee injury at wide receiver and is potentially a game breaker. Mohammed Massaquoi had two of the four touchdown receptions made by wide receivers last season and he has speed. Look out for little speedster Mikey Henderson too. The tight ends are young and don't figure to be a major threat.

The offensive line is rebuilt, but has an excellent architect is former LSU offensive line coach Stacy Searels. Yes, they are young in spots like left tackle with true freshman Trinton Sturdivant (6-5, 290). But you have to remember all of these offensive linemen, new and veterans, were heavily recruited and have ability.

The offensive coordinator is former Georgia QB Mike Bobo. He will stick with Richt's philosophy, but expect some nuances and maybe a little more trickery than is customary from a Richt coached team.

The best building block to a defense, and Georgia features eight new starters on defense, is defensive tackle Jeff Owens (6-3, 292) with his 26 tackles and 19 QB pressure is back. He is a relentless player and the rest of the defensive line, including fellow tackle Geno Atkins (6-1, 275), will feed off of him. The new defensive ends, replacing two players in the NFL, are undersized in Roderick Battle (6-4, 256) and Marcus Howard (6-2, 220). They likely have good speed and will be a chore for Brady Bond and Russell Okung to move their feet and keep up with.

Linebacker is a potential strength of the defense with Brandon Miller (6-4, 257) at strong, Dannell Ellerbe (6-1, 232) in the middle, and Darius Dewberry (6-3, 230) at weak. All three can run and will get better each week. This trio will be a load in October, but hopefully will be getting their feet wet on Saturday.

Senior safety Kelin Johnson is the defensive leader and had 60 tackles and two interceptions last season. C.J. Byrd is a junior that has ample playing time and will be the free safety. One corner is Thomas Flowers, Georgia's top punt and kick returner, while sophomore Bryan Evans could be the guy teams would be most apt to pick on.

Again, Georgia varies the aggression on defense. I think they will try to put pressure on Reid and company early, see what shakes loose, and if it is OSU's playmakers, take a step back and be more conservative. UGA defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and OSU offensive coordinator Larry Fedora have played the football chess game before and this could be interesting.

Special Teams
One of the best kickers in the country in Brandon Coutu and he can hit from 60 yards and in. He is a spark plug for this football team as they feed off his long distance abilities. The new punter will be Brian Mimbs, but freshman Drew Butler may get a chance as well as the punting has been erratic in fall camp. Mikey Henderson and Thomas Flowers are both excellent on returns and will have to be respected and dealt with efficiently.

Important Numbers to Remember
All of these numbers are during the Mark Richt era at Georgia:
1) Georgia is 46-5 when holding opponents to under 20 points
2) Georgia is 15-9 when holding opponents to 20-29 points
3) Georgia is 0-4 when allowing 30 points or more
4) Georgia is 9-9 when an opposing running back gains 100 yards or more
If the Cowboys can score 30 or more points with Savage or Toston getting 100 yards or more and it looks good.

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