Red-Zone radicals

Oh, sure, the Georgia Bulldogs are good in the Red Zone but, hey, it's not like they're perfect. Right?

No, Mark Richt's Dawgs are not perfect in the Red Zone but they're awfully close. Georgia has scored on 16 of 17 forays inside the opponent's 20-yard line this fall. What's even more impressive is that 13 of the 16 scores were touchdowns, with only three being field goals.

In other words, on 17 visits to the Red Zone this fall, Georgia has scored 100 points out of a possible 119.

The obvious question: What makes the Bulldogs so tough when they approach the goal line?

"When you've got big, physical receivers, then you can run the football," said Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis, who faces the imposing task of keeping Georgia out of the end zone this Saturday in Athens. "That's the key to being really good in the Red Zone – being able to run it. That's what you fear the most."

Georgia has big, physical receivers, all right. Starters Mohamed Massaquoi (6-2, 205) and A.J. Green (6-4, 200) are backed by Kris Durham (6-5, 208), Kenneth Harris (6-3, 215) and Michael Moore (6-2, 200). The Dawgs also are bigger than most teams at tight end, thanks to Tripp Chandler (6-6, 257) and Bruce Figgins (6-4, 253).

Tennessee's No. 1 defensive goal in each game is to stop the run and force the opponent to be pass-happy. Accomplishing that goal is especially important this weekend against the high-scoring Bulldogs.

"If we can get them in a one-dimensional game, you can afford to play pass coverage and then you've got a better chance to stop them," Chavis said. "That doesn't mean you're going to stop them, but you've got a better chance of matching up and creating those situations. The fact they are a very balanced football team that can run it and throw it equally well makes them a lot tougher to defend anywhere on the field, but particularly in the Red Zone."

Georgia is probably the most balanced offense in college football. Matthew Stafford might be NCAA's premier passer. The arrival of Green, coupled with the improvement of Massaquoi, has significantly upgraded Georgia's passing attack. Then there's Knowshon Moreno, regarded by many as the NCAA's finest runner.

"He's a very talented back," Chavis conceded. "He plays with a lot of spirit, a lot of confidence. He's a physical runner. He certainly has the speed of any SEC back but he probably runs as physical as most of them, if not more so. I love the way he plays the game."

Although Florida has 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow at quarterback and a trio of 4.3 speedsters on offense, even the Gators can't match Georgia in terms of world-class weaponry.

"We've seen a lot of weapons," Chavis noted. "But, as far as a polished drop-back quarterback like we'll see this week, that will be a different style. The pro-style offense they run will be a little bit different than the Spread we saw at Florida."

Although Stafford rarely runs the football, he is mobile enough to give the Bulldogs another scoring threat inside the Red Zone.

"Matt Stafford is making some plays running the football," Chavis noted. "One of the biggest plays he made this year was the run he made against South Carolina to get it down there for them to punch it in and win that game.

"He's capable of running the football. They're not going to run him as much as some of the other teams (run their QBs) but he's capable of making plays with his legs, also."

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