Georgia and Arkansas State get ready for Saturday

How will both Georgia and Arkansas State react to having new quarterbacks in the starting lineup?

It was not that long ago when Georgia and Arkansas State last met. In fact it was in 1997, a year that has some interesting similarities to 2001.

Georgia will not be ranked going into this Arkansas State game, just like 1997. The Dawgs are coming off of a disappointing season in which they defeated only one of their main SEC rivals, like 1997. And the Dawgs don't leave Athens all September, like 1997.

In a strange scheduling quirk, Georgia opens up its season with four games at home. This has happened only 3 other times in Georgia history, 1999, 1997, and 1944. And in those three previous seasons, Georgia is a combined 11-1 with the lone loss coming in the 1944 season opener against Wake Forest, of all teams.

But that was then and this is now. Arkansas State is very young in all of the wrong places and the Dawgs can take advantage of that and comfortably test out their new offense.

Redshirt freshman David Greene is still expected to get the nod at quarterback. The last time that the Dawgs had a left-handed starter was Griffin's Charley Byers. He was the starter in Wally Butt's 1956 team that went 3-6-1. The last time that the Dawgs had a freshman starting at quarterback was when Quincy Carter led the Dawgs to a 9-3 season in 1998.

Concerns about Georgia's depth on the offensive line will be partly answered on Saturday, as several linemen will play. With a new quarterback leading the team this season, Georgia can ill-afford to lose people in the offensive line, or for poor line play.

State's Coach Has Ties to Athens.

Arkansas State's Head Coach Joe Hollis was an assistant coach at Georgia from 1985 to 1990. He comes back to Athens with a team that is even younger than last year's 1-10 Arkansas State squad.

18 freshmen are on the Arkansas State two-deep depth chart. Most importantly, the quarterbacks on the two-deep are freshmen. This means that Arkansas State will need to focus on its running game this weekend.

"The years I was at Georgia, we feasted on inexperienced quarterbacks"

Arkansas State's senior running back Jonathan Adams is the best back in the Sun Belt Conference. Adams' 2001 yards is ninth all-time for Arkansas State. He is a two-time Doak Walker candidate and is probably the offense's only real hope on Saturday.

State's running game is decent. Last season the Indians averaged 127.8 yards a game. With Georgia missing several defensive linemen due to either suspension or injury, the Indians will look to run the ball.

Hollis knows that the running game is crucial for the Indians. "The obvious thing is to have a sound running game."

With two freshmen still fighting over the starting quarterback job, Hollis pointed out, "It (the running game) takes a lot of pressure off the quarterback and hopefully the strength of our offense going into the ball game is probably our tailback position. We've got some quality depth there, so hopefully that will be able to relieve some pressure off our quarterback situation."

But it is doubtful that State will be able to run effectively on Georgia all day, which according to Hollis will force his quarterbacks to step up. And that is not a good thing.

"The years I was at Georgia, we feasted on inexperienced quarterbacks"

Georgia and Arkansas State kick off at 1 pm in Athens on Saturday.

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