Fred Gibson was one of the players frustrated by with the lack of big plays in Georgia’s offense, particularly with the wide receiver’s lack of big plays.
He rattled off the names of several players: himself, Reggie Brown, Danny Ware, David Greene, and Thomas Brown. He was confused. How was it that Georgia, with the one of the most explosive offenses on paper, was struggling to score points?
“I knew he was holding back,” said a smiling Gibson Saturday of Mark Richt’s play calling. It was as if Richt waived a magic wand and the Dawgs’ problems went away. But it wasn’t quite like that.
“Ah Gibson…,” said Richt laughing. “We weren’t holding back anything.”
The receiving corps took advantage of LSU’s man-to-man defensive scheme and made big plays. Gibson and Brown punished the Tigers with a combined eight catches for 166 yards, and, most importantly, four touchdowns.
“There’s no doubt,” said wide receiver coach John Eason, “they stepped up against LSU. We have talked for the last two weeks about how we could determine the outcome by making plays.”
Eason praised his receiving unit, particularly Brown.
“I think he is living up to the billing, finally. The kinds of catches you saw him make against LSU are the kinds he has been making in practice,” said Eason.
Quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo was also impressed with Brown and Gibson’s big play day.
“Against LSU we made plays – sometimes it’s just about making plays. The receivers did a nice job of going up and making plays,” said Bobo.
The Bulldogs had many chances for big plays against the Tigers’ man-to-man coverage. Georgia has been forced to deal with two-deep coverage nearly all season. Richt explained the difficulty of making the big play against the defenses they saw before LSU’s.
“You can call bombs all you want to, but if you are getting doubled out there you are asking for trouble,” said Richt.
But because of LSU’s tactics, Georgia was essentially forced to explore the possibilities of the big play.
“The fade is a low percentage pass, but we knew we were going to have to complete those,” said Bobo. LSU’s physical style was another challenge for the receivers.
“One of the things we have been talking about is being physical,” said Eason. “When a defense plays you press man their job is to knock off track mentally as well as physically.”
Quarterback David Greene completed only 10 of his 19 passes, but five of them were touchdowns. “There defense has a lot of one-on-one and we took advantage of it,” said Greene.
“With as much man-to-man as they played we knew we would have shots on the outside,” said Eason. “Their eyes lit up all week because we knew we had to take advantage of the opportunity.”