The No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs will face their first true enemy atmosphere when they travel to the plains to take on Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. To this point, the Bulldogs have had three home games, a neutral-site game in Charlotte and a road game that was not a road atmosphere, with a stadium dressed in all red in Nashville.
Another cause for concern is that because Georgia did not have to face a full capacity crowd last year, more players than just true freshmen will be facing their first SEC hostile enviornment.
“What’s wrong is you used to have 25 percent of your team that had not been on the road,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “And now we’re at probably 50 percent that hasn’t been on a true road game and that kind of environment because of COVID last year so you’re seeing the impact of that.”
Jordan-Hare Stadium is known as one of the loudest stadiums in the SEC and has given Georgia fans some bad memories in the last ten years. However, the fans can only affect the game, it’s up to the players to go out and execute.
“It definitely gets rowdy in there in that stadium,” said linebacker Channing Tindall. “You can feel the ground shake a little bit down there in Auburn, but I played at different away games. You just have to lock in. Our biggest strength is ourselves, so we will just lean in on ourselves and do what we have to do and get out of there.”
Even though they have not faced a crowd like the one they will see on Saturday in a while, Georgia has used artificial noise in practice to simulate the expected upcoming atmosphere.
“Yeah, we use [artificial noise] every week,” said Smart. “We use it for home games because our defense has to play in incredible noise and we can’t communicate so we do it in fall camp. It’s fun for the kids. Sometimes they don’t want to hear me and (Coach Todd) Monken and us yelling at them so they enjoy the crowd noise because it silences us.”
With the inexperience in hostile envionments, seniors like cornerback Ameer Speed have given advice to some of Georgia’s younger players on the upcoming roadtrip.
“I’ve just been telling them to stay focused and not let the scene and what’s going to affect you,” said Speed. “At the end of the day, you’re playing the game. You can’t let the fans play the game for you. You gotta play the game. So, just lock in and do what we’ve always been doing. Like it’s louder in practice than I’m sure it will probably be in any stadium.”
Georgia is currently a 14.5-point favorite over Auburn, so an easy way to take the crowd out of the game would be for the Bulldogs to continue their hot starts. Otherwise it could quickly become an uncomfortable place for Georgia to play on Saturday with 80,000+ riled up Auburn fans.