THE NEXT LEVEL: Jaguars plan to go full speed at Georgia, then heal up in the open week
Southern coach Dawson Odums was half-kidding when he said earlier this week, “Hopefully, we’ll come back with the same number of guys we go up there with.”
But realistically, the Jaguars’ physical condition coming out of this game is a legitimate concern.
Georgia’s players are bigger, stronger and faster than Southern’s overall. Additionally, the Bulldogs have about two dozen more scholarship players, enabling them to constantly rotate fresh players into the game to face weary ones.
In short, this is a physical mismatch.
“We definitely want to stay healthy because we have a whole season ahead of us,” nose tackle Gabe Echols said.
The Jaguars smartly scheduled an open date for next week before they play their final seven Southwestern Athletic Conference games during the next eight weeks. They’ll get another open date Nov. 21 ahead of the Bayou Classic.
“We’re going into this game full force,” said wide receiver Bradley Coleman, a Georgia native. “We have a bye week to get healthy, so that’s how we’re looking at it — to go compete. We’ll worry about getting healthy during the bye week.”
Even if the Jaguars escape the game injury-free, there’s also the possibility of just being beat up — physically and mentally, depending on what the final score winds up being.
But the players have a recipe for minimizing any potential risk.
“You’ve got to go full speed,” guard Anthony Mosley said. “Usually you don’t get hurt when you go full speed.”
1. Short day? The Bulldogs would love to have this game in hand early, allowing young players to get experience while key players rest for next week’s game vs. Alabama. They have played 21 true freshmen, the most in the nation. That has led to some problems in kickoff coverage (22.32 yards per return, ranks 90th in the country).
2. Co-stars The SU band is drawing as much attention as the team. Georgia’s game notes feature this at the top of Page 1: “Series History: The Bulldogs have never played the Jaguars. Saturday’s halftime will feature Southern’s marching band, also known as the ‘Human Jukebox,’ which the Jaguars proclaim as a legendary institution.”
3. Deny ice cream Can Southern’s pass rush deny Georgia’s offensive line complimentary ice cream? It’s tradition that a sackless game earns the Bulldogs linemen free Ben & Jerry’s from the quarterback. Georgia has allowed just two sacks in three games. By the way, Southern has allowed just three.
4. Debut vs. SEC This is the first meeting between Southern and Georgia, and it’s believed to be the Jaguars’ first against an SEC opponent. Alabama’s media guide lists a game against Southern in 1918, which predates the SEC, but the Tide’s results from that season mention no such game. The Jaguars are 0-8 against FBS teams.