Obviously everyone knows about Jarvis Jones and the impact he has on the game, but what are some other Georgia defenders that Rebel fans should watch for this Saturday?
I'd keep an eye out for the other JJ, freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins. He plays opposite Jones at the other outside linebacker spot. While his numbers haven't been as gaudy as Jarvis's, he's improved steadily throughout the season. When teams have slid protections and sold out to stop Jones, he's shown he can make them pay for it.
The Bulldogs actually lost their leading receiver, Michael Bennett, to an ACL tear before the South Carolina game. It's been tough to replace his steady hands, but Georgia has plenty of guys to throw to. Seniors Marlon Brown and Tavarres King have each taken over games at times, and sophomore Malcolm Mitchell actually led the 'Dawgs in receiving last year as a true freshman. Georgia also has tight ends, I'm told. Though this season the evidence of this has been pretty sparse.
What went right against Florida? What did Georgia do against the Gators differently than it did against the Gamecocks?
Showed up. Georgia came out flat against the Gamecocks and never got anything going to arrest the home team's momentum. Against Florida, however, Georgia played its most physical game of the year on both the offensive and defensive fronts.
How are fans perceiving this weekend's game? For the rest of your season, it's us, then it's the worst Auburn team in two generations, Georgia Southern, and a Georgia Tech team with a losing record to close out the season. Is this the "win and get to Atlanta" game for the Bulldogs?
The Auburn game is often a dogfight, and a game in which the underdog usually stands a decent chance. But Ole Miss is the team we're worried about. If anything Bulldog fans are terrified that the team will have a letdown against the Rebels after that emotional Cocktail Party win. Every Georgia fan I talk to views Ole Miss as a huge threat, a team with renewed confidence and momentum that may be getting things together at the right time for a serious finish to the season.
There's been a lot of talk about Mark Richt this season and perhaps the growing discontent Georgia fans are feeling with him. You know, "Mark Richt has lost control of this Q and A" and all. How accurate is this? Are fans upset, or is Mark Richt more beloved in Georgia than perhaps the internet lets on.
After a dozen years there are bound to be some malcontents. The malcontents among the Georgia fanbase are basically upset because so many of our rivals (Florida, Auburn, LSU, Alabama) have won national titles during the SEC's recent run of dominance. The worry is that Mark Richt's window of opportunity has closed, and it's time to give someone else a chance to bring home a crystal football.
That segment of the fanbase is small, but they unfortunately have a lot of free time and thus spend a lot of time bitching on the Internet. Mark Richt is in no real danger of losing his job. We may be mildly irrational, but even Georgia isn't going to fire a coach coming off a 10 win season, especially if (as looks likely) he wins 10 in 2012 as well.
That being said, Georgia will suffer significant personnel losses after this season, especially on defense. And will play Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU in the first 4 games of the 2013 season. If we start by dropping those 3 (or even 2 out of the 3) check back with me then.
How do you think the game plays out? I don't mean a score prediction per se, but rather what happens to either spell victory or defeat for the Bulldogs?
Aaron Murray played perhaps the worst half of football of his Bulldog career against Florida, but recovered enough to pull out a victory.
If he comes out sharp and the defense gives the same type of physical, turnover-generating effort it gave last week, it should be great to be a Georgia Bulldog. But if the Bulldogs suffer an emotional hangover from the Cocktail Party, if their focus isn't there from the opening whistle, Ole Moss has plenty of firepower to turn this one into a battle.
A lot of Rebel fans are heading to Athens this weekend. Perhaps you've got a suggestion or two as to where to grab a bite to eat or knock back a drink?
Just north of Sanford Stadium and the famed Arch on Broad Street you'll find downtown Athens. Really you can't go wrong just following the crowds and enjoying the scenery at any of literally dozens of watering holes. Try a brew from the local Terrapin Beer Co. on Newton Bridge Road (which also does a brewery tour). I'm a fan of their Hopsecutioner, an IPA made with 6 varieties of hops for a complex aroma and taste with a strong finish.
You could also hit up the 40 Watt Club. The downtown music venue has played host to a who's who of college music since R.E.M., Pylon, the B-52s and Guadalcanal Diary called it home in the early 80's. More recently it's been a home base of sorts for Athens-based acts like the Drive-By Truckers, the Whigs, and Of Montreal. Saturday night it will host a $5 show by Oxford natives Dent May and Bass Drum of Death. Or you could head over to the Georgia Theatre on Lumpkin (literally right up the street from the stadium) to catch veteran jamband and Athens favorites Tealeaf Green.
In terms of food, you can't go wrong at Transmetropolitan ("Transmet" to many), a pizza place on Clayton St. The white pizza is awesome, the prices are reasonable, the beer selection is admirable, and the calzones make great drunk food. Or so I've heard.
Pregame, I recommend just checking out the tailgates all over campus. Historic North Campus is breath-taking on a fall morning, and Bulldog fans love to show off their tailgate spreads. We don't do white linen and chandeliers. Bulldog tailgating has more of a church picnic feel, low key but with tons of variety. If you're friendly, I guarantee you'll be welcomed in.