CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Georgia football Hall of Fame David Pollack says the Bulldogs might have to get back to the “roots” of the offense with a handful of their top weapons out for the Saturday night clash with Clemson.
“We were going to go with Darnell Washington, and we were going to go with George Pickens, and we were going to go with Arik Gilbert,” Pollack said, citing the injured tight end, go-to receiver and transfer from LSU. “Those guys ain’t there, so I think you’ve got to get a little bit back to the roots of what you are.”
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs play No. 3-ranked Clemson at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Pollack believes the run game will be a factor, and while he said Zamir White would “have to lay the physicality and be the hammer in the backfield,” the Bulldogs have also seen second-year back Kendall Milton have a strong offseason.
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Senior tailback James Cook is one of three game captains for Georgia, along with JT Daniels and Nakobe Dean. Cook is expected to start, as UGA might still have a pass-first approach against the Tigers’ formidable front.
Pollack is hoping for big plays at receiver from speed merchants Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton, who ran 40-yard dash times this summer of 4.23 seconds and 4.43 seconds, respectively.
“Arian Smith, by the way, 10.1-(second) 100-meter. ... I mean, my gosh, you talk about just blow-by-you speed,” Pollack said on ESPN College GameDay on Saturday. “I think Jermaine Burton is the weapon. He can go up and get the ball. He can make plays. I think he’s their go-to receiver this season on the outside.”
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“JT Daniels needs guys to make plays on the perimeter. These are the guys that I think will do it for him Week One.”
Pollack and ESPN College GameDay host Lee Corso both picked Georgia to win the College Football Playoff Championship Game this season.
Corso, who picked Georgia to win on the Saturday telecast, said Daniels will need pass protection.
The Tigers tied Pitt for most sacks in the nation last season, and Daniels was sacked 10 times in the four games he played for Georgia last season.
The Bulldogs are expected to have two first-time starters on their offensive line in the game, with Sedrick Van Pran at center and Tate Ratledge at right guard.