Film study: Why Sony Michel had a field day running over Florida
Georgia Bulldogs running back Sony Michel only had six carries against the Florida Gators in Saturday’s Cocktail Party rivalry game, but they went for 137 yards (22.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He might as well have been chasing Jim McElwain out of town on those runs because Florida is now collapsing within itself and has said farewell to its head coach.
On those six plays you can see something close to the full dismantling of a Florida football team facing the external pressure of the now No. 2-ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the internal pressure of a head coach under fire from the administration.
Run No. 1
Things started innocuously enough. Michel came in for a red-zone carry that went badly when the offensive line didn’t pick up a stunt from the Florida linebackers.
Georgia has been killing teams on the same play all season, with a double team on the weak side and the running back going downhill, but the line just missed an assignment here.
Run No. 2
The next run was more or less the end of the game. The Dawgs lined up in a spread 2×2 set before motioning the tight end into the backfield. Florida was predictably playing man coverage early and dropping a safety down to account for the TE and free up the LBs to crash against the run.
Georgia hit Florida with the same blocking scheme — but this time they kicked out the DE with the tackle and had the TE lead through the hole created by the kickout and the weak-side double team.
The Gators goof up their run fits with the middle linebacker crashing to take on the lead. Neither the other linebacker nor the overlapping safety make the stop after the ball is funneled back inside to them.
Run No. 3
From this point on it was basically more of the same from Georgia for the Gators.
Michel comes in again to spell Nick Chubb and the Bulldogs use the same formation, the same motion, and run the same play. This time Florida is in a two-deep coverage and asking the nickel to get over to make the stop after the middle linebacker spills the ball. But this time, the middle linebacker takes on the lead block rather unenthusiastically and instead Michel cuts between that block and the double team for a cool 14-yard gain before the safeties corral him.
Run No. 4
On the next snap Georgia ran it again:
Finally the Gators pinch in a defensive end and try to make a call to stop this scheme from further obliterating them. The Dawgs still pick up 4 yards from the sheer push of the double team.
Run No. 5
When Georgia went back to the same well which had already produced 92 yards on four carries one more time, Florida was finally ready for it.
The defensive end pinches inside again and wrecks the play. The tight end tried to wrap around and lead on the edge, which might have produced another huge gain, but Michel took it straight ahead for no gain.
Two of Michel’s six carries went for no gain or negative yardage, yet he still gashed Florida. He got one more run in the third quarter before the Dawgs shut him down.
Run No. 6
Georgia was just looking to run the ball and run out the clock. The Dawgs lined up in an “Aces” double tight end set from which they ran … the same concept.
The nice detail in this run is the double team by the tight end and star left tackle Isaiah Wynn that Michel sets up to reach the safety. Georgia’s No. 1 heads downhill behind the wall of double teams initially, which also draws the safety inside and buys time for the tight end, before bouncing outside. In the time he wasted heading toward the middle, the safety gets himself picked off by the tight end and then there’s no one left to account for Michel.
Georgia this season is just double-teaming the point of attack and firing Nick Chubb and Sony Michel through the resulting holes all day, every day. They’ll run the same play a variety of different ways and use extra blockers or pass options for quarterback Jake Fromm to account for opposing defenders but at the end of the day, this is what you’re getting.
Florida wasn’t up for it, so Saturday wasn’t a very entertaining party for the Gators.