Much of the dialogue leading up to Saturday’s SEC Championship Game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Georgia has been about quarterbacks.
Not debate, mind you, but dialogue. What’s the debate when it comes to Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm?
What has been a topic, however, is how much Georgia’s Justin Fields plays for Kirby Smart.
Former Georgia quarterback Huston Mason joined me and Lee Shirvanian on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 on Friday.
Mason, who does radio for 680 The Fan, said Fields has been a hot topic all week.
“I don’t think you’ll see much of him between the 20s, but it would not shock me to see him (in the red zone.)”
There’s a reason for that, Mason said. It’s where Georgia has been at its worse.
“Georgia’s really good,” he explained. “If you compare them to Alabama, they are very similar between the 20s. Both teams are very elite. Both teams score a lot of points. When Georgia gets closer to the goal line, they become one of the worst teams in the country – not the SEC, but the country.”
According to NCAA.com, the Bulldogs are ranked No. 13 in the country in red-zone offense, hardly the worse.
“It gets worse the closer they get,” said Mason, who cited a young offensive line. “Inside the 3, they’re ranked 127th in the country in scoring points.”
Cue Justin Fields.
“When you have a quarterback who can run, you feel like you have a bit of a competitive advantage against the defense in the red zone.”
Still, Mason knows it’s a tall order.
“This year, Alabama’s going to be Alabama,” former Crimson Tide quarterback Jacob Coker said. “I feel sorry for coach Smart. Where do you attack? There’s no weakness. You just hope those guys show up. One (assignment) bust is really going to mess you up.”
Coker has nothing by compliments for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who surpassed Coker on Alabama’s list of single-season passing leaders last week against Auburn.
“Tua’s got all the tools,” Coker said. “His footwork, he is so comfortable in the pocket, the way he steps up and maneuvers away. The way he resets his feet, acquires his target so quickly and gets the ball out. He’s got everything.”
As far as a prediction, Coker “thinks it’ll be 13 or 16 points.”
“Most people understand the challenge,” Mason said. “It’s going to be tough to take down this team. I don’t think they win. My hope is for Georgia to keep it close and compete.”
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter@Mark_Heim.