Athens –You can argue that one team in Saturday’s game -– Georgia -– is tested and toughened by having played two bona fide opponents already this season.
That’s the argument Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino made on an SEC teleconference Wednesday, contending that Georgia’s “fast, physical” games against Oklahoma State and South Carolina give the Bulldogs an advantage against his Razorbacks on Saturday.
“The advantage Georgia has is that they’ve been in two big games and played against two very good opponents,” Petrino said.
On the other hand, you can argue that the other team in Saturday’s game –-Arkansas -– benefits from having been able to focus disproportionately on this game because it started the season against uncompetitive Missouri State and then had an open date.
That’s the argument Georgia’s Mark Richt has made more than once this week, noting that the Razorbacks’ schedule has allowed them to max out on preparations for the Dogs.
“They have had pretty much the whole off-season to work on us, and also an open date, so I’m sure we will be getting their very best shot scheme-wise and their very best shot physically, mentally and emotionally,” Richt said.
So Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark., tested team vs. rested team.
A few other things:
– Richt called Wednesday’s practice “a little lethargic” with “not a ton of energy,” adding: “I think the boys are probably a little bit tired.” But he didn’t seem overly concerned, noting that weary legs should have time to recover by Saturday night’s kickoff.
– Sounds like Rod Battle’s UGA football career is over. The senior defensive end suffered a season-ending ACL tear against South Carolina last week, and Richt indicated Wednesday that there aren’t grounds to seek a medical redshirt that would give Battle a sixth year of eligibility. Battle was redshirted as a freshman in 2005, and to qualify for a medical redshirt this year, there would need to have been an injury-related issue with the ‘05 redshirt as well. “My guess would be that he would not [be able to get a medical redshirt this year], just because his first year there was no injury involved in the redshirt,” Richt said. “You have to miss two seasons because of injury [to get a sixth year], and we don’t have any documentation that would help him that way.”
– With defensive end Justin Houston’s return from suspension, Jeff Owens likely will settle back in at defensive tackle. Battle’s injury in the second quarter last week resulted in Owens playing 33 snaps at D-end. “I played more defensive-end snaps than defensive-tackle snaps,” Owens said. It was the first time he had played defensive end in a game since high school. “I think it went well,” he said. “. . . I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win.” Owens’ fellow defensive tackle, Geno Atkins, played considerably at D-end in the opener against Oklahoma State. But Richt said: “I doubt we see them much out there [this week]. Just depends on how the game goes.”
– Georgia had 35 former players on NFL opening-day rosters, sixth most by any college, according to data released by the NFL on Wednesday. LSU and Miami had the most former players on the rosters (41 each), followed by Texas (37), Southern California (36) and Ohio State (36), then Georgia. The NFL also provided a breakdown of the colleges with the most former players in the league at each position, and Georgia leads at defensive end (8).
– And here, if you missed it, is yesterday’s post-practice notebook with items on Tavarres King’s improvement, Caleb King’s status for Saturday and Aaron Murray’s tendinitis.