This weekend the Georgia Bulldogs return to the familiar confines of Sanford Stadium to continue non-conference play against the fellow bulldogs of Samford University. Samford is a football team that comes from Birmingham, Alabama with a 2-0 record: wins against Kennesaw State 28-23 & West Alabama 49-41 (CBS Sports). They are most known for Bobby Bowden playing there, though current Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher played for Samford as well.
Samford is led by head coach Chris Hatcher, a man in his third year with the Bulldogs after stints that included Valdosta State & Georgia Southern. In fact, Dawgnation wrote an article alluding to Kirby Smart starting his coaching career under Hatcher at Valdosta State in 2000. The article also notes how Kirby was referred for the job by former teammate Will Muschamp, receiving a salary of $8,000, compared to making over $8,000 per day at UGA now.
Given that Georgia is playing a FCS program, there are not any areas you look at and say Georgia must win this battle to win the game. Instead, most fans and the coaches view today’s game as an opportunity to clean up areas that are struggling. First, not having 127 yards in penalties like last week against Notre Dame is a start. I’ve never seen six hands to face/facemask penalties by one team in a game before. Another area for improvement is catching the football, not just the wide receivers but also the defensive backs, as Georgia dropped two potential pick sixes last week and have zero interceptions through two games. Finally, Georgia’s offensive line during run blocking plays needs to improve. They are still struggling to open holes as well as missing their assignments. Evidenced twice last week on third and short situations, where the left side of the line missed the Notre Dame defensive end.
A 7:30 kickoff should allow fans yet another Saturday of extended tailgating, something Georgia fans haven’t experience with 3 or more consecutive night games since 1994 (UGASPORTS.com). The coaches and fans hope the game will be out of reach by the third quarter so that the younger guys can get meaningful snaps to showcase themselves. Though, I have a feeling the starters will still be in the game during the 4th Quarter. Under Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney, Georgia has yet to score over 35 points in a game during his 15 games as coach at Georgia. Those 35 points occurred against Louisiana Lafayette last year and 7 of those 35 points came by a punt return, not an offensive score. Fans are hopeful this is the game Georgia finally scores over 40 points for the first time in 25 games (48-6 vs Southern in 2015) though I’m under the “I’ll see it when I believe it”. I see the final score being a Georgia win along the lines of 35-7.
God Bless & Go Dawgs!