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D'Andre Walker
D’Andre Walker

A freshman All-America and SEC Freshman of the Year in 2017 when leading the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship, a win over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinals in the Rose Bowl and a berth in the national championship game, Fromm is motivated to keep Georgia continuing on a championship path this season. And he and the rest of the Bulldogs know the importance of this first SEC contest Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. To capture the SEC East title once again, Georgia doesn’t need an early slip up here; thus, Fromm and the Georgia offense will need to be razor sharp against a South Carolina defensive unit that will be primed to stymie the Bulldogs’ attack on Saturday. After playing on the biggest stages of college football as a mere freshman quarterback, now sophomore Jake Fromm should also handle the pressure of Williams-Brice come late Saturday afternoon.
To enable the Georgia offense to enjoy a productive day in Columbia, the Bulldogs’ mammoth offensive front will have to be hitting on all cylinders against the Gamecock defensive front and linebackers. And big Isaiah Wilson, at 6-7, 345 pounds, will certainly be a key with his road clearing at the right tackle spot. To avoid the upset Saturday at the hands of Carolina, the Bulldogs will have to pound the football on the ground, thus creating huge holes for the likes of D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield, Brian Herrien and James Cook. If Georgia can do that, it will also equate to a productive passing day by Fromm. Redshirt freshman Wilson will be getting his first SEC baptism under fire at South Carolina and must pass that test … as must the rest of the Bulldogs’ O-linemen.
This 2018 football season is expected to be the 6-3, 245-pound Walker’s coming-out party … despite the fact, he’s already in his senior season in Athens. That’s because Walker is making his first start at outside ‘backer this fall and is fully expected to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks and running backs. Look at what the Langston Hughes High product did in Georgia’s Cinderella 2017 season while coming off the bench — he was second on the team in both quarterback sacks (5.5) and tackles for lost yardage (13.5). Come Saturday in Columbia, the Bulldog defense simply can’t give Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley time to sit back in the pocket and riddle the Georgia secondary. The defensive pass rush has got to bring the heat on Bentley early and often and Mr. Walker is the one who must lead that charge.
A 2017 Coaches All-SEC 2nd Team selection, Baker did not allow a touchdown all of last season from his cornerback spot so it’s no wonder that this 5-11, 185-pound senior has been named to some preseason All-America teams this year while being regarded as one of the top corners in college football. And, without question, Baker and his fellow performers in the Bulldog secondary will be under the gun at Williams-Brice Stadium in attempting to slow down explosive South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel as well as the also talented wideout Bryan Edwards, who led the Gamecocks in receiving last year after Samuel suffered a season-ending leg injury in South Carolina’s third game. It’s imperative Baker, J.R. Reed and company clamp down on Samuel and Edwards Saturday and thus get the ball back to the Georgia offense as quickly as possible.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.