Georgia's Knowshon Moreno answered questions from the media before Thursday's practice.
Georgia offensive coodinator is wary of the Warriors’ defense
NEW ORLEANS» Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had heard so much about the high-powered Hawaii attack, he wasn't sure what he would see when he put the game film in to watch the Warriors defense.
He expected to watch a group of guys giving up points like most of the teams in the WAC do, but what he saw surprised him.
"Colt Brennan and the receivers are really all you hear about when you watch the news," Bobo said. "But when you turn on the tape you get a different view. They play extremely hard and physical and create a lot of turnovers. Hawaii is 12-0 for a reason. In several games this year they have had to come back and win, and while the offense scored, the defense made the stops needed.
"They will play with a tremendous amount of pride, just like we will and we look forward to the challenge. However, it's like any other game you play, it's going to come down to how we execute offensively. We need to take care of the ball while also taking advantage of our opportunities when we have a chance to make some plays."
After a slow 4-2 start, the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs made a lot of plays in winning their final six games of the season. Freshman Knowshon Moreno and senior Thomas Brown provided a one-two punch at tailback most SEC teams had trouble defending.
Brown carried the football 129 times for 706 yards and nine touchdowns. Moreno countered with 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns on 239 attempts. If you start to creep in to stop the run, sophomore quarterback Matthew Stafford can hurt you through the air. He threw for 2,348 yards and nine touchdowns as Georgia finished the season 10-2.
Senior wideout Sean Bailey caught 37 passes for 597 yards and four scores after missing 2006 with a knee injury. Compared to the WAC, the passing numbers aren't overwhelming. But remember, a lot of these numbers came against some of the better defenses in the country.
However, will the long layoff have an effect on a team that was hot in winning the last six games of the season.
"The key for us is execution when it comes to offensive continuity," Bobo said. "Time off definitely concerns you. But Coach (Mark) Richt has done a good job of planning our practices. We were able to get a number of practices in at our campus in Athens.
"We've had three very competitive practices so far here in New Orleans. You want to practice against speed and you want to practice good-on-good and we've done that a lot here at Georgia. I just don't think rust sets in because we are competing on a daily basis. Anytime we step on the field we are ready to compete and have some fun."
Moreno and Co. are having a lot of fun this season at other team's expense.
"I can't wait to get back on the field," Moreno said. "We know Hawaii is going to play hard and physical football. We have to do the same. Our goal is to move the football on the ground consistently. And be balanced by throwing the football when we need to. We've had a great season, but we want to close out with a win this year to set us up for next season."
Stafford believes the Hawaii defense is going to gamble by blitzing in certain situations. He feels the key for the Bulldogs is to stay out of third-and-long downs so as to counter the Warriors' penchant for coming after the quarterback.
"They do some strange things on third down," Stafford said. "The only team that blitzes as much as them is Georgia Tech, and they come after you on every down. I think if we can stay out of those third-down situations by moving the ball on the first two downs, we should be all right. They have a great offense, but their defense is good, too."
Stafford also said that Georgia needs to stay aggressive because Hawaii can score quickly. He doesn't want to rely solely on the run. He wants to go deep if the opportunity arises.
"We can't get complacent and just try to do one phase of the offense," Stafford said. "One of the reasons we were so successful this year was our offensive balance. If the long ball is there, we have to take it. They force a lot of turnovers, so we have to take care of the football as well."