This weekend has been on the calendars of the Georgia faithful since the day it was announced.
The Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide are finally going to meet between the hedges during the regular season. The last time this occurred was the infamous black out game of 2008. Georgia’s performance was dismissal. The next encounter with the Tide came in the SEC Championship game at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Georgia fell just short of the needed yardage and the clock expired ending any hopes of clinching the SEC title. Coming so close to the prize and hearing the final whistle before the final play could be snapped was heartbreaking for the team and their fans.
Now, the scheduled 3:30 kickoff has been set and the clock is about to expire again in preparation for the clash between the East and West powerhouses of the SEC.
The meeting with the Tide will be the first for many UGA players, but a few seniors still remember that last heartbreaking loss. Marshall Morgan, Jay Rome, John Theus, Malcolm Mitchell, Keith Marshall, and Jordan Jenkins were all underclassmen in 2012 and will look to flip the script on the Tide.
Both Georgia and Alabama are coming off easier playing weeks as both teams easily handled their non-conference opponents. Meanwhile, The University of Georgia and head coach Richt are seeing that Devon Gales is properly taken care of and shown the utmost care after sustaining a spinal cord injury against a kick-off return in the late third quarter. Georgia has flown Gales’ family out to Athens to be present for the SU Jaguars’ procedure and recovery.
Georgia’s Marshall Morgan, went to visit the injured player and his family earlier this week. Morgan was involved on the hit that left Gales still on the field- a the hit that was determined to be not excessive. The impact from helmet to shoulder pad ultimately caused the neck injury
Alabama will come into Athens 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the SEC after their battle with Ole Miss. Georgia will meet the Tide at Sanford undefeated 4-0, and 2-0 in the conference. Overall, both teams are looking to make huge week 5 statement in their schedule.
The big factors to the SEC clash will come down to each team performing on all gears during the entire 60-minute competition. Both teams have faced opponents from their own side of the SEC but have yet to cross into neighboring territory. In addition, both teams have inherited a poised quarterback who have faced their share of highs and lows in their new program.
Jacob Coker hails from the Florida State Seminole and served as the backup for Jameis Winston while Greyson Lambert waited for his opportunity to play at Virginia even though he was a home state player from Jesup, GA.
Both QBs have had their shaky moments which Lambert showed his during the road game with Vanderbilt. He did however redeem himself and broke records the following week against South Carolina. Coker is a great QB, but doesn’t seem seasoned enough. When faced with the sped-up defensive and shifting lines, he is prone to fall out of sync and make errant throws.
Georgia has a power-house on their defensive line to the likes of Lorenzo Carter, Jordan Jenkins, Floyd, and Davin Bellamy. These four create high pressure situations for the opposing QB. However, the Tide’s Coker will not have Carter to worry about since he is out this week with a shoulder injury.
Georgia’s own Lambert is one of the best O-lines around – just under LSU’s – John Theus (LT), Isaiah Wynn (left guard), Brandon Kublanow (C), Greg Pyke (right guard) and Kolton Houston (right tackle). These players set the wall up for Lambert to get the play off the ground.
Both teams have a variety of options when it comes to run game and the long ball. Georgia’s defense will have to keep close tabs on Derrick Henry. With his ability to move the ball (and anyone who stands in his way), the Dawgs will need to do their job and finish the drill every play.
Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will be primed for their first meeting with Alabama. Chubb will look to surpasses Hershel Walker’s 12 regular season game record of 100- plus yards this Saturday. Michel will be in there to assist with pushing the Dawgs downfield. Keep eyes out for Isaiah McKenzie on the kick and punt return game. He’s earned his nickname of “Joystick” and lives up to it every time he has the ball.
In addition to the men on the field, the minds behind the men are just as crafty.
Bama has the workings of Nick Saban, long time and National Championship head coach, and Lane Kiffin who was inherited from USC when they wouldn’t let him back on the bus after losing one too many games. Needless to say, he’s back on the bus now with the Tide in the Offensive Coordinator position. Kiffin has spent time up in Knoxville and is a huge proponent of the passing game.
Lastly, keep your eye downfield. There’s no telling what type of stops these two teams will pull out of their magic bag. Especially considering that a potential loss for the Tide would give them their second loss in both the season and the conference. Scary thought, right? Nothing is off limits when the Dawgs and Tide tee it up between the hedges on Saturday.