Zo Returns to Home State Facing Dawgs
"This is one of the biggest games of our season," Washington told the media after Tuesday's practice. "It's another defining game for our team. We have an even bigger test this week against Top 10 team on the road."
Washington, a junior from Loganville, Ga., located along U.S. Highway 78 just 25 minutes from the Georgia campus, is hoping to exact some revenge after last year's home overtime loss to the team he nearly signed with.
"I'm glad to be getting another chance against (Georgia). Every game is important, but I am not going to lie, being from Georgia and going against my state's team is big for me," Washington said.
"I hear a lot of talk about (not signing with UGA). I hear it all the time. Every time I go home. I just have to treat it like any other game and ignore all the outside things and go out there and play good football."
Johnson added that he looks forward to renewing acquaintances with his friend, Georgia fullback Brannon Southerland. Other Tide players who hail from Georgia include junior offensive lineman Marlon Davis (Columbus), redshirt freshman quarterback Thomas Darrah (Newnan), freshman running back Demetrius Goode (LaGrange), sophomore wide receiver Darius Hanks (Norcross), redshirt freshman linebacker Jennings Hester (Atlanta), freshman wide receiver Chris Jackson (McDonough), and sophomore defensive back Kareem Jackson (Macon).
The man Washington shares time with, defensive end Bobby Greenwood, knows he and his defensive teammates are in for by far their toughest challenge of 2008 so far.
"It's going to be an awesome atmosphere, playing in Athens. We're all real pumped about it. They've got a great all-around team," Greenwood said. "We're looking forward to getting out there."
"They've got a good running back (Knowshon Moreno), a real experienced quarterback (Matthew Stafford). He can put the ball on the money. We've got to be aware of that. The d-line's got to affect him. He can move around too, and scramble, and he's definitely got an arm. We've got to make sure to keep hitting him."
If the Georgia offense thinks they've got a good read on what the Tide defense will do, they may need to think again.
"They're going to throw a lot of things at us, and we're going to throw a lot of things back," Greenwood said. "We've got a lot of stuff we haven't gotten around to (using). That playbook's not that thick for nothing. We do a lot of studying. We'll just take this week like we take every week. All our focus is on Georgia, and getting that big win."
Junior left guard Mike Johnson thinks fans will get a treat to a very physical contest.
"They have a physical style of play," he said. "One of (Georgia's) things is, they come out and hit you in the mouth, kind of like we do. They try to bring ‘the hurt' back at you. There's going to be some pretty good collisions up front. They're really good, and they're very talented. We've got to come out and play ball, and make our blocks."
"Hopefully, we're going to go pound the ball on the ground. That's what we're going to try to do, and when its time to pass the ball, we'll pass the ball. We have a lot of talent at receiver and quarterback."
"Basically, we haven't used them too much this year because we've run the ball pretty well, but they're more than capable of handling it. We'll try to win, however we can."
The No. 8 Tide and Bulldogs will kick off at 6:45 p.m. CDT at Samford Stadium. ESPN is set to televise, and the network's Game Day crew will be on hand all day.
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