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Deandre Baker and Deebo Samuel are going to be a lot of fun
Deebo Samuel is a very good college football player. Just about everyone recognizes his talent, and on Monday, Georgia coach Kirby Smart called him the most underrated player in college football.
“He’s probably the most underrated player in all of college football. I don’t know that everyone in the country knows what the SEC knows about Deebo Samuel. The guy is phenomenal,” Smart said at his Monday press conference. “Even two years ago he gave us fits in that game and then you turn around and say he has a tough injury he has to deal with, but before he had that injury he had some of the most electric kickoff returns in the country.”
While Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is good enough to kick touchback after touchback on Saturday, when Samuel is on offense it’ll be a little bit more difficult to keep the ball away from him. But Georgia does have a guy it could have shadow Samuel for the entire game.
His name is Deandre Baker and there’s no doubt he could bottle up Samuel. He did it to Calvin Ridley in the national championship game last year. Like Samuel, he was voted First Team All-SEC and will likely be a first round pick in next year’s NFL draft.
But with all of that said, we’re probably not going to see Baker shadow Samuel. In fact, there’s a chance we don’t see the two face-off at all.
Baker, and Georgia, doesn’t switch sides of the fields when he plays cornerback. This isn’t uncommon, as Richard Sherman, the NFL’s best cornerback for about the past half-decade, never switched sides of the field when he was in Seattle. In the opening game Austin Peay, Baker manned the same side of the field and he was rarely tested.
So Smart will have a decision to make. Does he fundamentally change the way his defense is run to shut down South Carolina’s best player? Or does he leave Baker on an island, where he’s no doubt comfortable, and leave Samuel matched up with the likes of Tyson Campbell, Richard LeCounte and DeAngelo Gibbs? All three players were talented recruits but none have faced a player as good as Samuel.
Smart spoke about the young players in the secondary and it sounds like he knows he’s going to need them to help keep Samuel in check. He was talking about Campbell in particular, but the quote applies to Georgia’s entire secondary.
“He hasn’t been in the environment he’s going to be in Saturday,” Smart said of Campbell. “But, I mean, a lot of teams across the country have young DBs, and the only way they grow up is to go play. So he needs to go play. And we’ve got other guys that can roll in and play.
South Carolina’s Will Muschamp will also have to decide whether or not to put Samuel on Baker’s side of the field and risk tempting one of college football’s best cornerbacks.
Either way, it’ll be fun to see how Smart tries to use Baker, who is normally a rook in Georgia’s defense, against South Carolina’s queen in Samuel.
Make sure to come out to Marlow’s on Wednesday
We know it’s a big game for Georgia this week. So we’re bringing the analysis and DawgNation team to you on Wednesday. DawgNations’s Brandon Adams will be at the Marlow’s in Dunwoody(1317 Dunwoody Village Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30338) answering all of your questions about Georgia and its big game against South Carolina.
Jeff and Brandon will also be joined by former Georgia center Brandon Kublanow, who was a multi-year starter at Georgia and played under Smart. The event starts at 6 p.m. so come by, hang out with the DawgNation experts and have a great time talking Georgia football.
Georgia wins big but SEC Championship numbers take a bigger drop
In a new age of analytics and numbers, you can use statistics to say just about anything. But after Georgia cruised to an easy win over Austin Peay, ESPN’s FPI dropped the Bulldogs chances of winning the SEC from 42 percent to 27 percent.
Yes Alabama looked impressive against Louisville, but did anyone doubt that they would? The Crimson Tide were a 24-point favorite. and while Auburn and LSU both picked up impressive wins, you know who else has to play at LSU and hosts Auburn? Alabama.
Sure you could knock Georgia for playing an FCS school, but did the week 1 results change anyones mind about either Georgia or Alabama? Both sides are still the favorites to win their respective divisions. Auburn will be a tough out for both. LSU is a tricky road trip. Both schools will pound Tennessee.
All in all this isn’t something Georgia fans should get bent out of shape about. Games aren’t decided on stat sheets or on computers. And neither is the SEC Championship.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) September 3, 2018
Best stories from around DawgNation
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- Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart challenges young UGA players to ‘grow up fast’
- Georgia football coach Kirby Smart calmly handles two-QB discussion
- WATCH: Georgia football coach Kirby Smart says Bulldogs largely untested
- National championship coach suggests Georgia add to Justin Fields’ package this week
Dawgs on Twitter
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) September 3, 2018
Today, #UGA formally unveiled a major enhancement to the west end zone at a ceremony to highlight the updated facilities, which includes a new locker room, hospitality lounge, larger video board and new upper and lower plazas. pic.twitter.com/iVPYfxbd8x
— UGA (@universityofga) August 31, 2018
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 3, 2018
— Glenn Schumann (@CoachSchuUGA) September 2, 2018
Saw @GamecockFB in opener. They want to run ball better w/ best OL under Muschamp & prob last 10+yrs at SCar. Dowdle is an every-down back & best ballcarrier. Deebo is a weapon but he’s not alone. Likely held back week 1, but expect more downfield shots this week vs @FootballUGA
— matt stinchcomb (@mstinch79) September 3, 2018
Good Dog of the Day
Hopefully your Labor Day was as good as this good boy’s.
— Chris l Live 5 News (@ChrisObarski) September 3, 2018
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