Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley tells us what the No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (3-0, 2-0 SEC) need to do to take care of business against Southern University (2-1, 2-0 SWAC) on Saturday.
1. Details, details, details. Playing against an opponent everybody believes you will dominate can be tougher if you do not take care of the small things. The fundamentals of blocking, tackling and taking care of the football are paramount in this game. My senior year we played against a Louisiana-Monroe team we knew we should beat but lost some focus early in the game, had 11 penalties and led only 17-7 in the third quarter. We went on to win, but it was a lot harder than it should have been. Prepare, envision and then execute the game plan the coaches put forth and the Bulldogs should get the dominating win everybody expects.
2. Clean special teams play. The fastest way for a team to gain confidence in thru making plays on special teams. In that Louisiana-Monroe game, an onsides kick to start the second half led to a touchdown that made it a 10-point game. You must do your individual job, whether it’s staying in your lane on kickoff or making the open-field tackle on punt return. Momentum often starts with a big special teams play, and that excites an offense or defense. Make sure the game is changed for the good with your special-teams play so there is no chance of a confidence builder in an area that can really change the tide of a game.
3. Stay in the moment. Yes, Georgia does have some major games on the horizon. Yes, the Bulldogs have the upper hand in the East right now with a big win over South Carolina. But if you lose focus and listen to outsiders who are looking forward to other showdowns, teams like Southern can slip up on you and ruin something special. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the game. It’s like the old saying goes, one play at a time, one game at a time. In 05′ our mantra was, “be great today and tomorrow will take care of itself.” The Bulldogs need just to be great today.
D.J. Shockley played quarterback for Georgia from 2002-05 and led the Bulldogs to the SEC championship in 2005. After a stint in the NFL, Shockley now provides football analysis and commentary for WSB-TV on “SportsZone” (Fridays, 11:15 p.m.) and “Bulldogs GameDay” (Saturdays, 10 p.m.) and on CW69 for “Falcons Playback” (Mondays, 6 p.m.) and “Rise up Weekly” (Saturdays at 11 p.m.). He’ll also be providing analysis for DawgNation.com this fall.