Georgia is unlikely to have its top defensive lineman in Jalen Carter as he deals with an MCL injury. That appears to have emboldened Auburn heading into Saturday’s game.
Related: Jalen Carter unlikely to play against Auburn following MCL injury
Auburn center Brandon Council spoke to reporters on Wednesday at Auburn and made it clear how the Tigers could go about beating Georgia in Athens for the first time since the 2005 season.
“I believe just them being able to, like, their third-down package,” Council said. “They got some interior stunts the kind of hinders the run game but we’re going to start off fast. If you start off fast, run the ball on them and keep them out of their third-down packages, really, we could demolish them, I believe personally, up front.”
Council added that the plan is for Auburn to start fast on Saturday against Georgia. Auburn has held double-digit leads in each of its past two SEC games, only for the Tigers to cough both of those leads up. Auburn lost 21-17 last week at home against LSU.
“Our goal is to go in there like a SWAT team,” Council said. “Get in, quiet the noise, get out.”
Auburn is a 30-point underdog against the No. 2 Bulldogs. Even without Carter, Georgia’s defensive line has still performed well so far this season. An ankle injury limited Carter to just 36 snaps in the past four games prior to him injuring his knee against Missouri. The Bulldogs have the No. 12 rush defense in the country to this point in the season.
Georgia will lean more on Zion Logue, Warren Brinson, Nazir Stackhouse and Bill Norton this week without Carter. Georgia is also likely to use freshman Bear Alexander more often in Carter’s role.
“When he knows what he’s doing he can be as disruptive as Jalen sometimes,” defensive lineman Zion Logue said. “When he finds out and learns the defense a little bit more he’s going to be really good.”
Related: With Jalen Carter injured, Georgia football is going to see what Bear Alexander has learned
Georgia coach Kirby Smart knows this rivalry game brings out a lot of passion, given his time as a player at Georgia. He mentioned the intensity of the rivalry in his opening comments to the media this week.
“The tradition and history of this game is pretty incredible,” Smart said. “I think when you talk about one of the oldest rivalries in college football, it’s always been a game that I know, as a player, I looked forward to playing in. It’s been some tremendous games between the two teams, and our guys are looking forward to getting to play at home in front of a raucous crowd, great atmosphere.
“I’m expecting our fans to turn out and give us an electric atmosphere to play in against a good Auburn football team.”
This isn’t the first time under Smart that Auburn has said something provocative about Georgia, with Gus Malzahn famously quipping that Auburn “whipped the dog crap out of them” after the 2017 regular season meeting. Georgia got revenge in the SEC championship game in that same season and has not lost to Auburn since Malzahn uttered those words.
Georgia beat Auburn 34-10 last season. Saturday’s game is set for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS.
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