Control the Tigers Front – One of Georgia’s biggest question marks is how the offensive line will shape up? Will it look different for Auburn, then Florida, then Tech? Or will the Bulldogs line up against Clemson be the look and the first five all season? Matt Luke’s unit has a lot of talent, depth and a lot of youth. Georgia faces a supreme test in Clemson, which boasts one of the nation’s best defensive lines. Amongst the headliners are Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee, both of whom were highly recruited by the Bulldogs. If Clemson’s front four can stuff the run and pressure the passer without help, the Dogs are in big trouble.
Stuff the Clemson Run – Georgia also has one of the best defensive lines in college football, and this unit will have to be at its best against the talented Tigers offense. That starts with stopping Clemson’s run ame. The number the Dogs must aim for is keeping Clemson’s yards per carry under three yards a pop. If the Tigers backs have success running, dual threat D.J. Uiagalelei is doubly dangerous. This Bulldogs defensive front is talented and hungry. They must show the way and control the trenches for Georgia to pull it out.
Corral DJ – Uiagalelei was one of the top prospects in the country, and the sophomore from California showed he was every bit as good as advertised when stepping in for Trevor Lawrence. He has a big arm, is mobile and big and strong at 6-4, 250-pound. In short yardage situations and in the red zone, the Tigers signal caller is a big time weapon. For a player like him, it’s essential to have him on his heels as much as possible, not moving downhill with a head of steam. This falls back to the Georgia defensive front.
Win the Kicking Game – One of the three phases, special teams seem to shine or be exposed in the season opener. Especially in a matchup of this magnitude. Every coach says they work on it, but the proof of how much comes when the lights are on and the band is playing. Georgia has a highly touted kicking duo of Jake Camarda and Jack Podlesny. Both were exceptional last season. For Georgia to be great, Jake and Jack must be great. Kenny McIntosh was strong on kickoff returns last year. Clemson also has a lot of juice on special teams. The kicking game has been quite a story in the old rivalry, most notably making the difference in famous Georgia triumphs over the Tigers Between the Hedges in 1980, 1982 and 1984. Then David Treadwell flipped the script in 1986 and 1987 Clemson wins.
Capitalize – When the chips are down, can the Bulldogs make the play? These games are hyped and analyzed to a great degree. The fact that this top five matchup is a season opener, that goes triple, as the whole off-season has been spent speculating how this one will go. If it’s close, big games like this often come down to a dropped would-be interception that turns into a first down and then a touchdown. In the red zone, the Bulldogs need touchdowns. The winner will be the team that cashes in and capitalizes on game-changing plays and opportunities.