5 things about Georgia football against ‘really physical’ LSU
Is Georgia football in for its first four quarter game of the season?
The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs (6-0 4-0 SEC) have won all of their games by two touchdowns or more, and no team has managed to stay within single digits of Georgia in the second halves of games this season.
That could change here at No. 13 LSU (5-1, 2-1) at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.
“They have a big offensive line, they have big fullbacks, they have big tight ends, they have big backs,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said this week. “They have big people, and that’s the way LSU is built.”
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) October 11, 2018
Smart has challenged his defense to rise to the challenge LSU’s offense figures to bring with its running attack.
“They have some signs of being the old, really physical LSU, come downhill, hit you right in the mouth,” Smart said. “We’re a physical football team, but we’ve got to play physical., (and) I haven’t seen this team play with physicality, at least defensively, that it needs to.
“As far as questions about our defense or our defensive line, they’ll be answered this week. They better knuckle up, because it’s going to be a physical, tough, hard-nosed football game.”
Georgia players ares embracing the challenge.
“I like that (Smart) said that, he’s basically putting the game in our hands, and we just need to come out and be physical,” senior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said. “It’s going to be a tough game, it’s definitely going to be a four-quarter game.
“We’ve had some physical games, but we haven’t been battle-tested, and I think we’re actually excited to have a situation where that’s going to happen.”
The Bulldogs could be down three defensive linemen for the game.
Junior end David Marshall (foot) and senior nose guard DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle (undisclosed) are out for the game, and sophomore nose guard Devonte Wyatt (lower body) is doubtful.
Georgia got a spark from nose guard Jordan Davis in its 41-13 win over Vanderbilt last Saturday. Davis, a freshman from Charlotte, N.C, stepped up in places of Wyatt and made a fourth down stop at the Bulldogs’ 14.
“But of all our kids that I’m most proud of, he’s worked the hardest to get where he is,” Smart said. “Where a lot of guys as freshman got to come in and they were 2 on the depth chart, or 3 or they got to play, or they played on special teams, this kid has grinded.”
Smart said sophomore Malik Herring and Notre Dame graduate transfer Jay Hayes will be called upon to get the 15 to 20 snaps Marshall was playing each game.
The Bulldogs have had a chameleon-like identity on offense, changing from game to game and even series to series, depending on the matchups and game circumstances.
The Georgia quarterback situation has remained fluid, with Smart sticking with sophomore Jake Fromm as the starter, and using talented freshman Justin Fields in relief.
Fromm, 18-2 as a starter, provides the Bulldogs with a veteran pre-snap read and the ability to change protections and plays at the line of scrimmage. Fields has appeared in each of Georgia’s six games this season, improving, but nowhere close to where most project he will end up.
Fields’ presence in games complicates issues for defenses, which to this point have not been as prone to apply pressure or blitz for fear the freshman quarterback will tear off a big run.
“(Fields) continues to grow as a player, he gives us an element we don’t have, and certainly has done a good job with the snaps he’s gotten,” Smart said.
Traveling Georgia fans
LSU has been one of the toughest tickets for Georgia fans — even tougher than last year’s ticket for the road game at Notre Dame.
The demand for seats at Tiger stadium to the extent that the cut-off score for UGA donors to qualify to buy LSU tickets was 99,000 points, according to a DawgNation report citing athletic director Greg McGarity. The Bulldogs got 6,000 tickets in 102,321-seat Tiger Stadium in its ticket swap with LSU.
“It’ll be interesting to see how much red and black gets inside the stadium,” McGarity said. “Our fans are very creative. They find a way to get it done.”
Smart, who had a 12-tackle effort in a 28-27 win at LSU in 1998, said the Tigers have a great stadium environment.
“Their fanbase is really second to none in their atmosphere they create from the time you pull in on the buses,” Smart said. “It’s an awesome opportunity for our team to play on a national stage.”
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) October 13, 2018
About LSU Tigers
Coach Ed Orgeron’s Tigers are coming off their first loss of the season, a 27-19 setback at Florida last Saturday. The Tigers turned the ball over three times, likely the difference in the hard-fought game at The Swamp.
“We felt that we beat ourselves in a lot of areas,” Orgeron said at his press conference this week. “Three turnovers on offense, too many negative plays. Our third down conversions on offense were not good enough. On defense we gave up 215 yards rushing. Caused more turnovers, sacks and negative plays, not enough. “
LSU’s offense has gotten a lift from Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow, a 6-foot-4, 216-pounder with a strong arm and decent mobility.
Orgeron said he’ll challenge his offensive line to do a better job protecting Burrow.
“We have to eliminate the negative plays, protect the quarterback better, sustain drives, and not have penalties that end the drive,” he said.
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