Hurdle #1: Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray set the Georgia's single season touchdown record last year and all his wide receivers are back. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Why Play this Game:
I'm not going to sugar coach this, this game looks like nine hundred thousand in blood money. While I prefer the home and home agreements with teams from the Big East and ACC this game I would still rather play on the road in a home opener against an SEC power than host an FCS school.
Not only does a mid major get paid several times what they might make on a bowl game but they get a big stage. They also get to show up in one of their recruiting hot beds. Several Bulls players are from the state of Georgia, it seems to be one of the only deep south states UB tries to recruit in. So it's a good practice for the team to show their face, even if they risk getting their teeth kicked in.
|vs. #5 Boise State*||#19||L 21–35|
|#12 South Carolina||L 42–45|
|Coastal Carolina*||W 59–0|
|at Ole Miss||W 27–13|
|Mississippi State||W 24–10|
|at Tennessee||W 20–12|
|at Vanderbilt||W 33–28|
|vs. Florida||#22||W 24–20|
|New Mexico State*||#18||W 63–16|
|#20 Auburn||#15||W 45–7|
|at #25 Georgia Tech*||#13||W 31–17|
|vs. #1 LSU||#12||L 10–42|
|vs. #12 Michigan State*||#18||L 30–33 3OT|
Georgia Last Season:
Georgia finished the regular season 10-2, losing only to South Carolina and Boise State. Their 7-1 SEC mark was good enough to take the East Division and earn them a shot at LSU, with a bid for the national championship on the line.
The Tigers dismantled Georgia and sent them to the outback bowl. Their game against Michigan State was easily one of the best games of the post season.
In a three overtime thriller they fell to Michigan State when a 47-yard field goal attempt from Blair Walsh was blocked.
In total the four teams that Georgia lost to had a combined record of 47-6. The "Worst team" they lost to was Michigan State who only mustered an 11-3 season.
Hurdles and Opportunities:
Hurdle Number One: Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray and his receivers
Murray will begin the hunt to better his own records against a defensive secondary which struggled last season. UB was replacing four long time starters, three of whom ended up in NFL Camps. Most of their opponents made them pay and a pass heavy team like Georgia can really make you pay when you're soft in the secondary.
Murray has his starting trio back, in full. Last season between them they pulled in 137 receptions for 1944 yards and seven teen touchdowns. Making the task of defending against them more difficult is their relative interchangeability. No one Bulldog Receiver really stands out as more of a threat than the others.
|Tavarres King||47||705||15||80 (TD)||8|
|Orson Charles||45||574||12.8||36 (TD)||5|
Opportunity Number One: Graduation destroyed their offensive line.
Georgia has lost three offensive starters on the line. They are down a center and have lost both tackles to graduation.
Going up against a team with these sill players is going to be a test no matter how many starters they lost but it may Give Khalil Mack and Steven Means a chance to put some pressure on Murray
Hurdle Number Two: The defensive front seven
Last year Georgia's 3-4 defense was behind only LSU and Alabama in the SEC rankings. This year they are returning nearly every player from that front seven. Jarvis Jones, in particular, could mean trouble. He is one of top three linebackers in the country and will face a Buffalo team who is starting a new quarterback for the fourth time in as many years.
Opportunity Number Two: Their defensive backfield
Their backfield was already playing in the shadow of a formidable front seven. But when you account for graduation, transfers, and off the field issues. What kind of off the field issues?
Then the Rapture came, and DBs started disappearing. Senior Jakar Hamilton led the exodus just a few weeks into the 2011 season, and sophomore Derek Owens followed a week later. Right after the start of the calendar year, sophomore cornerback Jordan Love announced he, too, was transferring, and less than a month later, freshmen Branden Smith, marijuana possession, two games; , also wacky tobacky, as many as four games. The depth situation, at least for the first few weeks of the season, has gotten so dire that Malcolm Mitchell, a freshman phenom at wide receiver last season, spent all of spring practice learning the ropes at defensive back. When sophomore safety changed his mind earlier this week and said he wasn't transferring after all, it felt like a minor victory. -- Doug Gillett, SBNation UGA contributorand got kicked off the team in connection with theft from a teammate's locker. And the suspensions -- oh, the suspensions: , domestic battery, two games;
If the line can be even remotely effective in slowing down the Georgia Pass rush there could be opening for the UB Receivers in Georgia's defensive backfield.
Hurdle Number Three:
Last season, after losing their first two games, Georgia put more than 90 thousand people in the stands for a week three game against Coastal Carolina. For a season opener you can expect that number to approach, if not top, 100 thousand.
It's an incredibly difficult place to play football for anyone, let alone a visiting mid major program. Several UB Players hail from Georgia so this game will be a homecoming, of sorts, for them. But this game will look, and sound, like UB's trip to Tennessee last season.
It will be a real test of poise for a new starting Quarterback. It will also be the first time starting in such a hostile environment for two UB receivers. Communication, especially in the early going.
Opportunity Number Three:
There is no real way to counter the massive home field advantage Georgia has, but the opportunity here is in future weeks. This is easily the most hostile place where UB plays and it's almost a given that we won't play a team this good the rest of the season.
Some inside intel from From Dawg Sports
Question 1) How would you quickly describe the Georgia Offense? What "scheme" is it.
Kyle, Dog Sports) That's a damned good question. There's a scene in the movie "Patton" in which George C. Scott arrives at his new command and finds the headquarters, the mess hall, and the barracks in complete disarray. When he finds the duty officer asleep on the job, asks him what he's doing, and is told by the guy that he was trying to take a snooze, Scott tells the fellow to lie back down, because he's the only guy in the outfit who appears to know what he's trying to do. Georgia fans watching Mike Bobo's offense wish our offensive coordinator were more like the guy who was trying to take a nap.
Nominally, the Bulldogs run a pro-style offense that revolves around play-action, but the addition of no-huddle wrinkles and other frills have left it looking like neither fish nor foul, creating a muddled yet predictable hodgepodge. If you find yourself saying, "But, wait, that's not a 'scheme,' per se," well, yeah, we know, and we're not happy about that fact.
Question 2) Same Question for the Defense, I know its a 3-4 but what type of 3-4 is it?
Dog Sports) This, too, is a tough question to answer, but for precisely the opposite reason. Todd Grantham's base defense is a one-gap 3-4, but, in the constant chess match of game-day coaching, Georgia's defensive coordinator has no reservations about mixing and matching alignments and personnel, creating (among other things) hybrid outside linebacker/defensive ends who put pressure on the quarterback.
In principle, the space-eating nose tackle in the middle of the defensive line has one-gap responsibility, plugging a hole and forcing the offensive line to double-team a specific side, creating openings for the middle linebackers to step up and mop up, but the nastiness of Coach Grantham's front seven stems from its versatile nature. What type of defense does Todd Grantham run? He'll let you know when he beats you with it.
Question 3) With such a strong front seven on D what are your expectations for the year
Dog Sports) With most of our secondary sidelined for the first part of the fall, the Bulldogs need the front seven to stonewall the run, collapse the pocket, and pressure the quarterback. Sacks aren't a necessity (though they would be nice), but shutting down the run and forcing the quarterback to operate under extreme duress are mission-critical.
Philosophically, Todd Grantham follows Nick Saban's approach of taking awaythe middle of the field and forcing everything to the outside, so the opposition has to take the long way around rather than following the shortest distance between two points. With the defensive backfield depleted for the duration, the front seven has no margin for error, either on the edge or (most especially) over the middle.
Question 4) How is the new offensive line working out
Dog Sports) We'll let you know when they get here. The Red and Black had three offensive linemen drafted, with two going in the first four rounds, so Georgia lost a lot of experience and leadership to the NFL, so much so that incoming freshman John Theus will have a chance to start at tackle, despite not yet having been issued a UGA student ID.
Talent is not a huge issue, but there aren't a lot of guys who've played with live ammo at this level, so depth and unit cohesion definitely are areas of concern. If asked to give the Bulldogs' offensive line a grade, I would have to assign the big uglies an "incomplete."