3. Cornerbacks for Georgia can’t cover Vols receivers.
Stop with this whole notion that Georgia has a better pass defense than Alabama. The data doesn’t bear that out. Georgia is No. 4 in fewest yards per attempt allowed, but Alabama is No. 6, and if not for their game against Tennessee football, they’d be ahead of the Dawgs.
Football Outsiders has Alabama No. 2, just behind Georgia, with its defensive efficiency ratings, and again, that comes after they faced the Vols. If Alabama’s cornerbacks can’t cover them, UGA can’t cover them. Now, Alabama struggles more with speedy guys like Jalin Hyatt, but Georgia struggles more with wideouts.
Two 6’3″ receivers have already gone for over 100 yards on them, and the Vols have guys of similar profile who are better in Cedric Tillman, Bru McCoy and Ramel Keyton. Then they have Hendon Hooker, who has a quick release and can get them the ball. Most importantly, is their style, which Joel Klatt breaks down here perfectly.
By using the sidelines so heavily, Hooker can neutralize Georgia’s safeties, the strength of their secondary. He’ll be able to see if they’re cheating up or playing soft over the top, which will let him know whether to run it, go for the jugular or take the underneath route. The latter two puts pressure on UGA’s cornerbacks, and they won’t handle it.