ATLANTA (AP) — Alabama and Georgia should know a lot about each other when they meet in the College Football Playoff national championship game Monday night, even though the teams have not played in a few years.
With Nick Saban on one side and his former defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, leading the Bulldogs, the teams competing in the national championship game have a lot in common, especially the way they play defense, using a 3-4 scheme that often looks like a 4-3 with outside linebackers providing pass rush like defensive ends. Tight coverage on outside receivers and a mix of well-disguised blitzes can be hard to decipher for a quarterback.
Some of the matchups that could decide the national title.
Alabama QB Jalen Hurts vs. Georgia LB Roquan Smith
A case can be made that Smith has been the best defensive player in the country this season. He is an instinctive linebacker and Georgia will move him around in the tackle box to free him to run to the ball. Even in a wild Rose Bowl with more than 1,000 yards of offense, the All-American Smith was a force against Oklahoma, making several pivotal third-down stops.
“He doesn’t miss many tackles,” said Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield, whose team lost to the Bulldogs to open the 20017 season.
Satterfield said Georgia’s length on the edges with outside linebackers Davin Bellamy (6-foot-5) and Lorenzo Carter (6-6) makes it difficult to attack the edges against the Bulldogs.