Another chess match on Monday night
Between the Alabama football roster and the Georgia Bulldogs, neither team has a decisive advantage when it comes to talent. The Crimson Tide is slightly weaker than it would be from injuries, especially with losses to John Metchie III, Josh Jobe, and possibly Jalyn Armor-Davis. Even without these key injuries, some national college football pundits believe the Bulldogs have a slight talent advantage. Kirby Smart’s talent pool over the previous three hiring cycles has paid off.
If talent will not be a major determinant in the outcome of the game, what is left? Preparation is always a key element. Both teams will have prepared well. Luck can often tip the scales in a close game, but it’s impossible to predict. What remains is the execution. The players decide the games. The players who have been prepared with the best game plan and the coaches making the best adjustments in the game will most likely determine the next National College Football Championship.
Call it a chess match, if you will, although the only proper comparison is the “quick chess” version of the game. Coaching teams have had plenty of time to prepare. First, both teams played a month ago. But, both teams have spotted Monday’s opponent all season. Alabama Football may have a little advantage in game preparation. Much of the Crimson’s Tide time leading up to the semifinal game was not spent in Cincinnati.
As in every season, Nick Saban and his coaches took the opportunity to find their way around. Pre-play analysis and play planning were also carried out on Michigan and Georgia. The Bulldogs, after being shocked in the SEC Championship game, arguably also self-scrutinized. But their semi-final game needed more attention than Tide’s semi-final.
More changes will be needed for Bulldogs than for Crimson Tide. Georgia’s rushed eight quarters weren’t enough in Game 1. Even without any sacks, that rush might have been enough if Bryce Young hadn’t made frequently correct pre-hook readings and post-hook creative decisions. If the Bulldogs can’t exert enough pressure to keep Young unstable, the Tide offense will thrive again. If Bryce has time to put his feet down and get into his throws, the Tide will light up the Dawgs in the air.
Keeping Alabama Football Offensive off the field
One way to help the Dawgs’ defense is to reduce the risk of them getting tired in the second half. Extending their offensive possessions with a more effective rush attack could shorten the game. The Bulldogs’ backers ran for 97 yards in the last game but had just 22 carries from their line. Georgia won the possession time battle in the last game, but that was canceled out by Tide’s explosive plays. In order to save time Monday night, Georgia must improve its efficiency on the third down (3 for 12).
Kirby Smart and his team need to know that they can’t afford to fall behind. If the Tide gets a two point lead early on, it will be very difficult for the Dawgs to overcome it. That being the case, whatever changes Georgia makes in pressuring Bryce Young, they will be seen early.