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What coaches, analysts and more say about ‘tremendous’ defense, Bennett over Daniels, and more – The Athletic

An SEC running backs coach tuned in last Friday night to the Orange Bowl and had a sneaky suspicion he was about to watch a mauling. Michigan had come to South Florida as the Big Ten champions powered by what was celebrated as the nation’s best offensive line, complete with a bronze trophy that weighs more than 800 pounds.

The SEC assistant had seen a version of this movie before, and as an offensive coach, it wasn’t pretty.

“Michigan came in with this unbelievable offensive line and they never had a chance,” the running backs coach from the SEC East told The Athletic. “UGA had that bad taste in its mouth from the SEC title game.”

The domination by the Bulldogs front seven was eye-popping, holding the Big Ten’s top rushing attack to under 100 yards for the first time all season in a 34-11 romp.

“It was so impressive how that defensive line was re-establishing the line of scrimmage,” the coach said. “Michigan was running counter and power and the pullers were getting no movement. Georgia did such an unbelievable job of playing with leverage and being so physical at the point of attack, and then you’ve got all those downhill ‘backers who are just such physical dudes. When they’re attacking their gaps, they’re trying to bull-rush you and run right through you. They love contact. It’s something, man. From a size, athleticism, and strength perspective, they’re just not even close to anyone else we play in the SEC.”

Over the past week, The Athletic talked to 16 coaches who faced Georgia; the overwhelming theme with all of them who coach on the offensive side of the ball is how different the Bulldogs front seven is from everyone else they’ve ever faced. And yet, in the first meeting between Alabama and Georgia, that Georgia vaunted defense was neutralized. We’ll get back to that part in a bit.

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