Bulldogs To Watch – Georgia vs. Florida

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Bulldogs To Watch – Georgia vs. Florida

Lamont Gaillard (53)

 
 
ELIJAH HOLYFIELD (TB, 13)
 
Holyfield patiently awaited his playing time after being behind record-breakers Nick Chubb and Sony Michel the past two seasons and it has paid off for the rugged 5-11, 215-pound junior tailback out of Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga. Holyfield is the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 65 carries for 488 yards and four touchdowns and averages a splendid 7.5 yards per-carry. In the loss to LSU, the son of former heavyweight champion Evander carried the ball only seven times but totaled 56 yards for an 8.0 average per trip. You wonder what Holyfield could do with, say, 20 carries in a game and the Bulldogs may need that from No. 13 on Saturday against the formidable Gator defense.
 
 
LAMONT GAILLARD (C, #53)
 
The ringleader of the Bulldogs’ O-line this season Gaillard, a 6-2, 308-pound senior, needs to motivate his fellow linemen to be at their best when they line up across from the Florida defensive unit on Saturday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Georgia rushing attack was limited to a measly 113 yards in the 36-16 debacle at LSU and a similar performance against the Gators would surely lead to the Bulldogs’ second consecutive SEC defeat. It will be up to Gaillard and company to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
 
 
TYLER CLARK (DT, #52)
 
While Gaillard is one of the primary leaders on the Bulldogs’ offensive line, the same is true for Clark on Georgia’s defensive front. The 6-4, 300-pound junior tackle, who played huge in the Bulldogs’ playoff run to the national championship game last season, has notched 18 total tackles in the seven games to date, with three tackles-for-loss, one sack and three quarterback hurries. This Americus product will again have to play big for the Bulldogs to slow the Gators’ run game on Saturday.
 
 

J.R. Reed (20)

 
 
J.R. REED (SAF, #20)
 
Reed teams with senior corner Deandre Baker to provide the Bulldogs with needed experience in the secondary. Reed, a 6-1, 194-pound junior out of Frisco, Tex., enters the Florida game as the team’s second-leading tackler with 33 stops, behind team leader and fellow safety Richard LeCounte who has 40 tackles. Reed, who has one interception and one tackle-for-loss this fall, will have to be on high alert Saturday to thwart Gator leading receiver Van Jefferson and the Feleipe Franks-led Florida passing game.
 
 
RODRIGO BLANKENSHIP (PK,#98)
 
This guy was a Second Team Preseason All-America selection and Blankenship’s performance thus far in 2018 has merited that honor. “Hot Rod” enters the Florida game Saturday 10-of-12 on field goal attempts, is a perfect 33-of-33 on PAT kicks and has booted 46 of his 50 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. In the loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, Blankenship made his only field goal attempt, a 40-yarder, but it was the one he didn’t try in the first quarter that gave the Tigers momentum … when Blankenship ran the ball on a fake field goal attempt and was stuffed by the LSU defense. Rodrigo will be seeking redemption for that failure against the Gators and the game could well come down to Blankenship lining up for a winning 3-pointer.
 
 
JIM CHANEY (UGA Offensive Coordinator)
 
Chaney, who came to Georgia with head coach Kirby Smart and is in his third season as offensive coordinator, piloted an offense in 2017 that led the SEC and before the Bulldogs were held to just 16 points by the LSU defense, Georgia was averaging nearly 43 points a game this season. Now with a 39.0 scoring average, Chaney is hoping to have the Bulldogs clicking against a tenacious Gator defense that will be out to bring considerable pressure on UGA quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Justin Fields. After a shaky day in Baton Rouge both running and throwing the ball, Chaney must have the Bulldog offense at the top of its game at TIAA Bank Field Saturday.
 
 
 
 

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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.