Monday, December 29, 2014

Belk Bowl preview

As I pack for Charlotte, (actually, while the family and I help fee the local homeless today) here's some predictions for Tuesday evening. Not sure I'll have much more before the game as things are pretty busy right up til kickoff, so please add to this in the comments.
Gonna miss these guys.
  • First, don't be surprised if Keith Mrshall plays. Not saying he'll definitely play, especially since there are a couple of backs that may be ahead of him on the depth chart. But word is Marshall has practiced very well this week and really wants just one more year in Athens. Yes, we heard similar things about Marshall back in August, and really before then, about his progression after knee injury. But if he's healthy (and I think he should be) and he truly only wants just one more year of eligibility, then he should be a good change of pace to Chubb.
  • All that being said, I think Sony Michel will have an explosive play. Maybe two. He's just the kind of player that we grew accustomed to Grantham defenses overlooking. And #1 can play many positions in a Bobo game plan.
  • Also, that being said, how well does Lilly execute Bobo's game plan? It's one thing to have the same plays designed and highlighted as would've been had the offensive coordinator stayed. It's another to call based on instincts and hunches. And experience.
  • How big of a deal is Michael Dyer not making the trip gonna be? He's not even their leading rusher. But my guess is he would have factored heavily in Petrino's gameplan. Plus, this is an offnse used to having more than one running back and then figuring out which is the hot hand. Now all that is changed.
  • While we're talking about folks not making it to the Queen City, how big of a deal is it that Isaiah McKenzie is in absentia? Sounds like Malcolm Mitchell has taken his reps at punt return. My guess is Mitchell gets more looks (or at least the first look) at punt returner over Reggie Davis. Georgia has options to replace McKenzie, but no one has that kid's play making abilities in the return game. Could be a factor, albeit a subtle one.
  • Can the defense play with discipline? It's one thing to not let Grantham get in their heads during media interviews. It's another to allow Pruitt to show he's the better overall communicator that we know he is already.
  • Senior leadership. Bowl game wins are almost dependent on it. If you have a group of good ones that really, really want to go out on top, then you have a better chance of seeing a team focused on winning.
Otherwise, it's really just a means to an end. 

Go Dawgs!