ATHENS — Georgia did indeed return to the practice field Monday, preparing for Kentucky rather than dwelling on Auburn. And if you go by jersey numbers assigned to scout-teamers, the Bulldogs are really focusing on a few Kentucky players.
Three different Georgia players are wearing No. 35, which for Kentucky is defensive end Denzil Ware, who has 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss this season. (Although it is Josh Allen who leads the Wildcats with seven sacks.)
Three other Georgia players were wearing No. 95. Kentucky freshman defensive lineman Quentin Bohanna wears that number. He had his first career start against Ole Miss two weeks ago.
And Georgia freshman receiver Matt Landers, who usually scouts the other team’s tallest/best receiver, was wearing No. 11. Kentucky sophomore receiver Tavin Richardson wears that number and is the team’s fourth-leading receiver, but like Landers is tall (6-foot-3.)
Georgia has turned attention to Kentucky, a game in which the Bulldogs are 22-point favorites. But the 23-point loss to Auburn exposed a number of problems for the Bulldogs, which coach Kirby Smart would be getting immediate attention.
Tackling problems prominent among them. For all Georgia’s defensive success this year, Smart said he’s been concerned with that before Auburn.
“You measure tackling by how many one-on-one situations you get in and how many of those you win,” Smart said. “Typically, our ratio has been the same all year. It has not been real good.”
That’s of particular concern this week with Kentucky running back Benny Snell, who enters the game with 1,013 rushing yards this year and racked up 114 yards and two touchdowns last year against Georgia.
“We lost a lot of one-on-one situations (at Auburn) but we lost a lot of one-on-one situations throughout the year,” Smart said. “When you go to tackle a back like Snell and King and these back they have — they have some good backs, so we have to improve in that area. That has been the case all year long.”
Georgia’s offensive line also struggled immensely at Auburn. But there were no apparent changes in the lineup at Monday’s practice, and would have been a surprise if there were, considering the line’s success through nine games.
Georgia hosts Kentucky at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on CBS.