Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson described watching upcoming opponent Georgia play as, "like watching Big Ten football. It's old man football." It made for the first trash-talking of the year, other than that stuff Kentucky and Louisville players are doing at all hours no matter the month, and has spiced up what was already one of the biggest games in Mizzou's history and perhaps the biggest of Georgia's season.
But what is old man football, anyway?
The Big Ten part surely cuts deeper to the heart of the Georgia fan than the part about being old (Mark Richt kinda likes that part), but it still leaves one wondering exactly what Richardson meant by that. (Besides the whole not-blowing-out-Buffalo-at-the-time thing.) Perhaps we can define old man football by determining what makes for young man football.
If it's airing the ball out, then both these teams are quite aged. Last year, UGA passed 75 percent as often as it ran, while Missouri put up only 65 percent as many passes as runs. By comparison, Houston passed 162 percent more often than it ran, despite having an eleventeenth-year senior quarterback -- we're not getting anywhere here.
If it's spreading the ball around, Georgia would have the youthful edge based on pass targets. In 2011, 19 Georgia players were the subject of multiple pass attempts. Only 13 Mizzou players were targeted more than once.
Maybe he's referring to defense? Georgia uses a gigantic 3-4 front similar to Alabama's or Florida's and not all that alike very many teams in either the Big Ten or Big 12. I don't know. Richardson himself is 6'4 and 295 pounds, so a little size shouldn't appear all that out of style.
But if it's moving quickly, these teams are both pretty young. The Dawgs also run an offense that's just about as fast-paced as Missouri's, based on offensive snaps per game. Last year, in fact, Georgia ran the ninth-busiest offense in the country. There's a whole lot more to offensive pace than that, as it also depends both on defenses faced and the speeds opposing offenses work at, but unless Richardson tuned in while the Bulldogs were taking a snooze (as did apparently happen often against Buffalo), he should've seen a pretty bustling offense.
But based on just a few minutes of Georgia-Buffalo, Richardson's point stands. The Dawgs looked very, very decrepit at times during that game, leading the MAC's potential worst team (which was without its best player) by only a touchdown at the half.
Verdict: I dunno, man. But we'll continue treating every bit of smack talked all throughout the season with the highest degree of diligence.
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