1 – Pressure the Passer – Chris Hatcher’s teams will always have outstanding quarterbacks. The next in line is junior Michael Hiers. The Birmingham native began his career at Murray State, transferred to NW Mississippi CC and matriculated to Samford. He got off to a stellar debut in the Bulldogs 27-17 season-opening victory over Kennesaw State. Hiers threw for two touchdowns, twice bringing Samford back from deficits en route to the win. Georgia must make him uncomfortable. You can bet Kirby Smart has reminded his team a time or two that Hatcher’s Bulldogs scored 52 points at Florida last year. Granted Hiers wasn’t the quarterback, but the message is there. If you don’t pressure the passer, Samford can do some damage.
2 – Crisp Passing Attack – A precision aerial assault will be at the top of the “to-do” list for the Georgia offense. It’s a good bet that Samford will load up the front defensively to try and force Georgia’s hand. The Bulldogs will love a replay of the second game of last season, when Stetson Bennett had an amazing performance against another school from Birmingham, UAB. This could well be a Saturday when Georgia leads through the air and counters with the ground attack.
3 – Special Teams – The kicking game is always a point of emphasis for Smart’s Bulldogs. Jake Camarda left enormous shoes to try and fill in several areas – punting, kickoffs and holding. Georgia – no team for that matter – doesn’t want to punt at all, but when the time inevitably comes, consistency and hang time are essential. Springing a big return when Samford is kicking would be a big plus for Georgia as well.
4 – Bring It – In this ‘tweener, coming off the massive national showdown with Oregon, and the first Southeastern Conference contest next week at steamy South Carolina, the Bulldogs must have the focus on Samford. A jam-packed and energetic Sanford Stadium – early and loud – will certainly be a huge lift. It’s the first game Between the Hedges since the national championship, and the first opportunity for the Bulldogs to add to their dominance at home in the sensational Smart era.
5 – Snaps for Backups – This is getting greedy, and there is absolutely nothing to be taken for granted against Samford and Hatcher. Did we mention that Samford scored 52 in Gainesville lst season and led 42-35 at the half? But it would be nice to get some meaningful snaps for reserves across the board. That goes double at quarterback. There is talent behind Bennett. But no significant snaps. Can Georgia play well enough to make that happen Saturday afternoon?