Every Georgia fan remembers what happened the last time that the South Carolina Gamecocks came to Athens. It was a beautiful October Saturday, noon-kick that ended up giving the Bulldogs their only loss of the 2019 season.
Fast forward two years later and a lot has changed. Georgia sits as the No. 2 team in the country led by a defense that has not allowed a touchdown. South Carolina enters led by new head coach Shane Beamer and a graduate assistant at quarterback.
“What happened the last time they were here was really about us, not about them,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “It’s always going to be about what we do and how we execute. We’re trying to do that at the highest level, and whatever we can do this week in practice to be able to execute at a high level, that’s what I want to focus on – not the other.”
The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s matchup with the top-ranked defense in the Southeastern Conference, only allowing 177 yards per game and those numbers factor in the matchup against a very talented Clemson offense.
The Gamecocks will either use graduate assistant-turned-quarterback Zeb Noland or Luke Doty to face the Georgia defense. Both would be in for one of the toughest challenges of their careers.
The talent difference will be apparent in favor of Georgia in all phases, so the Bulldogs are right to just focus on themselves because ultimately that is the only way they could falter in this game.
As far as Georgia’s offense goes, Smart also offered insight into how JT Daniels is recovering with his oblique injury.
“The approach is rest, recovery, and treatment, and we’ve done the best we can with that,” said Smart on Monday. “The biggest thing that we’ve been told is that you don’t want to aggravate it…He has to heal, and it takes time, but again, he’s improving through each and every day.”
Regardless, the Bulldogs are currently 31-point favorites with the injury to Daniels taken into consideration. It’s not all pessimistic news for the Gamecocks though. Smart had many praises to heap upon former Georgia assistant Shane Beamer.
“He was part of our original staff like Sam (Pittman) was,” said Smart. “He’s a guy who has always had good leadership skills, he ran most of our special teams. He’s always had leadership qualities that would make him a good head coach and I think he took the job at Oklahoma so he would have an opportunity like this, and that’s what he has done.”