Players to Watch – Georgia vs. LSU 2018

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Players to Watch – Georgia vs. LSU 2018

Kirby Smart

In the past two seasons Smart has directed the Bulldogs to a splendid 19-2 record and has an SEC championship, an SEC East championship and a Rose Bowl victory in the College Football Playoff semifinals all under his belt. In 2017, Smart’s Bulldogs came away with statement wins at South Bend, Ind., Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Pasadena, Calif. and now, have an opportunity to attain success at another iconic venue … LSU’s Tiger Stadium. This titanic Saturday duel on the bayou is one Georgia certainly needs, in order for the Bulldogs to stay unbeaten and in the fight for this season’s CFP. Look for Smart and his staff to have the Dawgs ready to hunt a Bengal Tiger!
A mere sophomore, Thomas has followed All-American and first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn in assuming leadership for the Bulldogs’ offensive front. The 6-5, 320-pound Thomas, out of Pace Academy in Lithonia, was named to the Freshman All-America Team as Georgia’s starting right tackle in 2017. Moved to Wynn’s position at left tackle this season, Thomas hasn’t missed a beat in helping the offensive line evolve into one of the SEC’s strongest units. If the Bulldogs are to escape Baton Rouge with a win, Thomas and his fellow linemen will have to play huge against the Devin White-led LSU defense.
Crowder, who came to Georgia as a running back out of Harris County High School, has seamlessly made the transition to inside ‘backer. The 6-3, 228-pound junior teams with Natrez Patrick, Monty Rice and Juwan Taylor to give the Bulldogs plenty of punch at the position and in Georgia’s win at Missouri, Crowder had a key pick of Drew Lock and a 23-yard return. Crowder and all the UGA LBs will need to be at the top of their game against the Tiger offense Saturday.
Georgia’s sophomore starting quarterback had his biggest passing day of the season this past Saturday night in the 41-13 win over Vanderbilt, completing 17-of-23 attempts for 276 yards with touchdown passes of 75 yards to Terry Godwin, 10 yards to Riley Ridley and 35 yards to D’Andre Swift. And it came at an appropriate time as Fromm leads the unbeaten Bulldogs against LSU Saturday in Baton Rouge. Fromm played on the biggest stages in college football last season in the SEC title game, the Rose Bowl and the national championship game and his playmaking and leadership will be crucial as Georgia moves against the tough Tiger defense Saturday.
ED ORGERON (LSU head coach)

Following preseason discussions concerning whether he was on the proverbial “hot seat” or not, Ed Orgeron in his second full season as LSU head coach has steered the Tigers into the nation’s elite teams. A tireless recruiter who formerly served as head coach at Ole Miss and interim head coach at Southern Cal, Orgeron has developed a stingy defense and a potent offense for the Tigers, who took a No. 5 ranking and an unbeaten record into the Florida game this past Saturday before being upset by the 22nd-ranked Gators. Orgeron is sure to have LSU pumped to snap back Saturday in Tiger Stadium when the 2nd-ranked Bulldogs arrive.
The Tigers’ ringleader on defense, this 6-1, 240-pound junior led the SEC in tackles-per-game last season with a 10.2 average, recording 133 stops overall. An All-SEC first team selection in 2017 as well as a second-team All-America pick, White has outstanding speed and delivers crunching hits in bringing down opposing ball carriers. LSU’s leading tackler again this fall, White is a guy who can cause all kinds of trouble for the Bulldogs’ offense and must be dealt with accordingly on Saturday.
After spending three years at Ohio State, Burrow transferred to LSU after spring semester and has taken over the Tiger starting quarterback job with aplomb. The 6-4, 216-pound redshirt junior had already passed for more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns entering the Florida game this past weekend and although Burrow’s completion percentage is just 53 percent, he not only can inflict damage on the UGA secondary throwing the ball but is a very capable running QB as well. Thus, the Dawgs need to bring the heat on Burrow at Tiger Stadium.
Like Devin White, the 6-3, 184-pound Williams is a force on the Bayou Bengals’ defensive unit. And his first name of Greedy is most appropriate because Williams thinks the football is all his when the opposing quarterback puts it in the air. Only a sophomore, Williams is one of the nation’s best shutdown corners and was a third-team All-America and first team All-SEC selection in some polls as a mere freshman. Jake Fromm and Justin Fields, know where No. 29 is at all times 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.