Implications of Georgia Suspension of Starting Safety
So much of the chess game within the game of football involves the safeties. Do you play them deep or bring them close to the line? Will they bite on play action? When they have to make a tackle in space, can they bring their man down? With Georgia suspending starting strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons along with reserve cornerback Sheldon Dawson, we may see a greater opportunity for Nebraska to make big plays.
Harvey-Clemons was third on his team in tackles with 66. He managed 5.5 tackles for loss, forced a pair of fumbles, recovered a trio of fumbles, picked off a pass and tipped away five more. Dawson was often featured as a nickel back for the Bulldogs and was also the team's top kick returner.
The damage their absence does to Georgia may have a lot to do with the health of Nebraska. Towards the end of the season, NU's receivers were the walking wounded. But if NU wideouts Quincy Enunwa, Kenny Bell, Jamal Turner, and Jordan Westerkamp are all at something approaching full health, they are sure to create mismatches against less experienced defensive backs for UGA. Healthier tight ends in Jake Long, Sam Cotton, and Cethan Carter could also create problems for the secondary.
All of this assumes that Nebraska's quarterback can deliver the football to an open receiver, which might be a bit of an open question at this point. Defensive backs also have responsibilities in the run game and particularly on option plays. Even if Georgia has depth in the secondary, it can't be good news from their perspective to lose a starter and a regular contributor. The suspension probably will add yards and perhaps points to Nebraska's output in the Gator Bowl.