ATHENS – The meat of the conference schedule starts Saturday as the second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs travel to Baton Rouge to face the 13th-ranked LSU Tigers. LSU is coming off a big loss to Florida in Gainesville and will be looking to get their season back on track. Georgia is plowing through the season with a 6-0 record after defeating an overmatched Vanderbilt squad last weekend in Athens.
Coach Kirby Smart met with media to discuss expectations prior to Saturday’s big game. Specifically, are the Bulldogs ready for the physicality of the Tigers?
“I hope so. We practice physical here”, Smart said. “We’ve got pads, we’ve got players too. I think that’s something you find out. I don’t think that’s something you – you don’t know. South Carolina was a physical game, Missouri was a physical game, Tennessee was a physical game. SEC is a physical league. So, I’m not discounting or discrediting LSU at all – they have a really physical, big football team. We’re going to find out a lot about our team.”
Georgia will be making its first trip to Death Valley in many years. How will the Dawgs cope with the incredible atmosphere in Baton Rouge?
“Every time you go on the road you have crowd noise you have to prepare for. If you belabor the point and talk about it, they may start believing all of it. At the end of the day, loud is loud. It only gets so loud till you can’t hear anything. You cannot hear anything in that stadium. You can’t hear anything in a lot of SEC stadiums, so it is what it is. We have to go out and execute. We know that will be a factor. We know it makes it hard on the offensive line. Those are all factors. We practice with noise. We do it all summer. We try to make ourselves comfortable being uncomfortable. We can’t let it be a distraction for us.”
Coach Smart was asked about Georgia’s stable of running backs. Is he pleased with how his rotation is working thus far?
“I’ve been pleased with it. Honestly, I wish James (Cook) and Brian (Herrien) could get more shots at it. I think both those guys are electric players. We’ve been in some games that have been a little lopsided late, and it’s hard, because you certainly don’t feel good about getting one of those guys hurt in one of those situations. They probably, if we had played four close games, I think you would have seen James and Brian with more carries. I’m pleased with their effort; I’m pleased with their leadership. I’m really pleased with their contributions on special teams.”
Senior linebacker Natrez Patrick is looking forward to the road test the LSU game will provide.
“Personally, yes,” Patrick said. “I feed off pressure. I like pressure; I feel like this defense likes pressure. I can’t wait. I’m excited how guys react, see how guys respond to the pressure, and see how they respond to this big stage of play. I can’t wait.”
The game is scheduled for 3:30 on Saturday and will be broadcast on CBS.