ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs will need to raise the intensity and level of physicality on Saturday.
“Last year’s game was one of the most physical games we played in,” Smart said at his Monday press conference at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. “It’s a whole new ball game this week. We’ll be playing bigger and more physical guys.”
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs (1-0) play at South Carolina (1-0) at 3:30 p.m. in a nationally televised CBS game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C.
Georgia is a 9 1/2-point favorite, but the Gamecocks have been the more vocal team, perhaps gaining confidence from Tori Gurley’s guarantee they would beat the Bulldogs.
Georgia players said after their 45-0 win over Austin Peay that they’ll need a more physical approach against the Gamecocks.
“We need to get more physical and get back to what we do,” said Bulldogs’ tailback Elijah Holyfield, who other than his 17-yard TD run was bottled up for 17 yards on four other carries.
D’Andre Swift, who had eight carries for 43 yards, agreed.
“I don’ think we were as physical as we need to be, that’s the whole team,” Swift said. “We just have to be physical with [South Carolina] and create a great game plan and prepare.”
Smart had said much of the same following the win over the Governors.
“I hope that we can grow and learn from the mistakes because you get to coach off the first tape,” Smart said. “There are a lot of things that we can improve on and a lot of starts with tackling and blocking and getting more movement.
“Some of those plays that were two or three yards might be lost-yardage plays against somebody else. We can’t have those negative plays offensively. Then, defensively, we were soft on a couple of runs where they got four or five yards. We can’t do that on second-and-medium and second-and-short in our conference.”
South Carolina held Coastal Carolina to 131 yards on 38 carries in the Gamecocks 49-15 win on Saturday — an average of 3.4 yards per carry.