Here we are just about 24 hours away from a pivotal matchup between Florida and Georgia, a game that will most likely decide who will take control of the SEC East.
Earlier this week I covered a preview of the Florida/Georgia game and now I wanted to get into depth about why Florida’s secondary has an opportunity against Jake Fromm and his passing game.
First off, I give Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm a lot of credit. Not only is he a smart quarterback, he’s super athletic and has the capability of doing a lot of great things. In Fromm’s two plus years at Georgia, he’s 2-0 against the Gators, has been to a national championship and back-to-back SEC title games. Last year against the Gators, Fromm totaled for 240 passing yards, 10 first downs, five completions over 20 plus yards and three touchdowns. Theres no doubt what so ever that Fromm can’t play ball. That’s not the issue. The issue is Fromm being able to connect with his receivers downfield. The further Fromm throws the ball downfield, the lower the numbers have produced. To this date, Fromm has not recorded a single touchdown more than 15 yards down field. 143 players in FBS have at least two touchdowns.
Georgia fans knew going into the season they’d be thin on the receiving end. They lost their top five pass catchers from the previous year. Three underclassmen went pro, one kicked off of the team, and four other guys who have been battling injuries. So the Dawgs are relying on some inexperienced guys who have missed opportunities and not developing the way Georgia hoped.
Now looking at the other side, Florida’s secondary hasn’t been all that great this year. Injuries have been a huge issue for the Gators defensively. Of course the absence of Greenard and Zuniga have been a factor, but CJ Henderson hasn’t played up to his standards the past couple of games, certainly against LSU. Against LSU, Henderson and Marco Wilson allowed eight catches for 128 yards combined, both touchdowns given up by Henderson. These guys know how big this game is against Georgia and what’s at stake.
“I don’t think we’ll make those mistakes again,” Henderson said.
Florida’s cornerbacks have played their best defense while playing up on receivers, so I would expect Grantham to do the same against Georgia’s younger guys. Putting pressure close to the line of scrimmage will give Florida’s secondary better chances to get their hands on the ball and to create turnovers.
Georgia has just 31 snaps this season with a gain of 20 plus yards this season, ranking them at 94th in FBS. Last season, Georgia finished 10th in FBS in the same category.
If Florida can keep Fromm away from his targets down the field and defend the pass, the Gators will be in good shape.