Georgia had to play SEC powerhouse Alabama twice en route to winning the CFP Championship last season, and it’s a good bet the Tide will stand in the Bulldogs’ path again in 2022.
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This time around, Alabama figures to be running an offense featuring one of Georgia’s most explosive players the past two seasons in the form of Jermaine Burton.
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“He made a couple of big plays today, and I think it’s really important,” Tide coach Nick Saban said on Saturday, addressing the Alabama media after the team’s second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.
“I think he’s had a really good spring, he’s been very productive, he was productive again today. I think he had like seven catches and a couple of big plays.”
Burton, of course, transferred from Georgia to Alabama after last season.
It’s hard to imagine the rivalry getting any hotter after last year.
The Crimson Tide put a 41-24 smackdown on Georgia in the SEC Championship Game playing as an underdog, the Bulldogs having a complete team loss despite dominating the attendance.
The Georgia defense bounced back in the CFP title game, holding Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young in check and scoring on a Pick-6 to clinch the 33-18 win.
The Bulldogs, who held their second scrimmage on Saturday, have a crop of talented receivers, but Kirby Smart has said he’d like more depth there.
Saban, who suspended Alabama receiver Agiye Hall and has since seen him enter the portal, said he needs more consistency from the Tide’s targets.
“We need for everyone else (other than Burton) to sort of play with a little more consistency,” Saba said. “(Burton) has been a good addition for us, and hopefully we can continue to improve around him.”
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Saban said there were good plays, but “there were some plays that need to be cleaned up,” and, “probably too many penalties.”
Even with Young, Saban stressed the inconsistency he witnessed.
“We made some really good plays running the ball, we made some really good plays in the passing game, but we also were inconsistent at times,” Saban said.
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“We had too much pressure in the pocket …. people have to throw the ball accurately, and when we throw the ball accurately, we have to catch it, and we had too many dropped balls.
“So I would say inconsistent would be the way I could categorize both of those areas.