ATHENS — Georgia’s biggest advantage over Florida will be when Kirby Smart’s defense is on the field, according to ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
“If there’s a clear advantage, I would give it to Georgia’s defense against Felipe Franks and Florida’s offense,” Herbstreit told DawgNation earlier this week. “Dan Mullen has done a heck of a job his first year considering what he’s working with offensively. To his credit, he’s had to tweak things and adjust to the talent he has inherited and give him credit for doing what they needed to do to win games.
‘But I think it will be a challenge for them to move the ball consistently against Georgia in this game.”
The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) play the No. 9-ranked Gators (6-1, 4-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Jacksonville (TV: CBS, Radio: WSB 750 AM, 95.5 FM).
“There’s more to Georgia than just Xs and Os, I think it’s as much between their ears, when you get so many pats on the back, it’s easy to lose your edge,” Herbstreit said. “A loss like they experienced at Baton Rouge, because it’s still a young program learning this new Kirby Smart way, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see them come out and look like the Georgia team we’re expecting them to be.
“I think it’s more about an approach and an attitude than Xs and Os, rotating receivers and what’s going on with Fromm, I think you’re gonna see a different Georgia team on Saturday.”
Herbstreit said Bulldogs junior tailback Elijah Holyfield has been “a pleasant surprise,” but the run game doesn’t measure up to last season.
“They’re just not the backs we’re used to seeing in that offense, and we know (D’Andre) Swift has the talent to be that guy, but he’s not been up to this point,” Herbstreit said. “I haven’t spoken to him recently about his health, but you have to get those backs going to really get the offense going.
“I keep waiting for Swift to get back to being 100 percent, and I’m sure Jim Chaney is waiting on it more than me, but if they can get Swift and Holyfield going together, then it can be reminiscent of what they’ve had the last couple years with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in terms of the structure of what they are trying to do.”
Georgia also has a talent in freshman James Cook, but Smart has appeared reluctant to use the young star in marquee matchups to this point.
Georgia football vs. Florida, DawgNation