GA News: OnlineAthens - Georgia vs. Vanderbilt: Matchup to watch

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From OnlineAthens.com
October 14th, 2016 01:26 PM

Vanderbilt’s rushing numbers don’t jump off the page, but the way the Commodores run the ball presents a challenge to Georgia this week.
The Commodores average 147.2 yards rushing — which ranks 13th in the SEC — but instead of running predominately out of spread looks with four wide receivers, the Commodores incorporate more I-formation and use multiple tight ends more than most teams these days.
“Vanderbilt is a little different,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “They’re very good at running the ball and they’re very physical. The biggest problem for us right now is we’ve got a short week and we’re almost having to play a completely different offense. The last couple of weeks, it’s been a lot of carry over, carry over, carry over, with a lot of the same personnel groupings. It’s not that way this week.”
Georgia and Vanderbilt both are more old-school in how they run the ball with a pro-style attack.
“It’s going to be a more nitty-gritty game, in between the tackles type of running scheme,” said Chuks Amaechi, who plays outside linebacker and defensive end for Georgia. “We do like that.”
Inside linebacker Natrez Patrick agrees: “I’m excited to be in the (tackle) box a little bit more this week.”
Patrick relishes going up against a downhill power running team.
“It’s completely foreign, other than our offense, which we go against a little big in practice. It’s completely foreign to our kids,” Smart said. “That’s the struggle that we’re having defensively is these guys are doing different stuff than we play week-to-week. You can’t say, ‘Oh, I can rely on last week.’ No, you can’t rely on last week. You’ve got to go put a completely new package together.”
Vanderbilt junior Ralph Webb is a workhorse who has 682 rushing yards and five touchdowns and is the SEC’s second-leading rusher. His 22.7 carries per game ranks fourth nationally, but he’s coming off an ankle injury that forced him to miss most of the fourth quarter a week ago.
“Everyone asks questions about Ralph Webb and whether or not he’ll play but he’s looking good, he’s going through rehab and hopefully we fully expect him to play for us on Saturday,” coach Derek Mason said Wednesday.
Redshirt sophomore Khari Blassingame (184 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries) would be counted on more if Webb can’t go or is limited. Blassingame was a reserve linebacker last season.
Georgia is 25th nationally in rushing defense and fourth in the SEC, averaging 119.3 yards per game.
South Carolina was held to 30 yards on 26 carries and the Bulldogs longest run given up the past two games is 17 against Tennessee.
Inside linebackers Patrick and Roquan Smith lead the Bulldogs with 36 and 33 tackles, respectively, and defensive tackle Trenton Thompson has 27 tackles, including a team-leading five for loss.
Georgia is relying heavily on freshmen Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester on the defensive line along with David Marshall and Michail Carter.
“I’ve seen them starting to like spread their wings and play a lot more freely,” Amaechi said.


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