Georgia’s Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Coaches weekly media teleconference earlier in the day and said the Bulldogs are preparing for the Deep South’s oldest rivalry as they play host to the nationally ranked Tigers Saturday. It will mark only Georgia’s fourth home game of the year after four road contests and two games at neutral sites.
“It’s going to be good to be back home in Sanford Stadium, we’ve been on a lot of road trips this year,” said Smart. “We’re excited to be playing in front of our fan base and excited to play Auburn. They are a very well coached team. The challenge for us is to get a positive running game to set up the throwing game. Their defense is big and fast; they’ve done a good job in recruiting in that aspect. They know what they’re doing.”
The Tigers (7-2 overall, 5-1 SEC), winners of six straight, have held eight of their last 10 opponents to fewer than 20 points. They have outscored opponents 181-85 in the first half and 132-58 in the second half. Auburn is one of five teams nationally averaging more than 290 rushing yards a game. Smart said Auburn’s pace of play is effective, and the Tigers have downhill runners that can break lots of tackles.
“Defenses slip in tackling as the year goes along,” said Smart. “Guys get dinged up so you hit a lot less in practice and then teams get exposed on game day.”
Georgia leads the all-time series over Auburn 56-55-8, winning 10 of the last 14 games. However, the road team has enjoyed more success over the years. The Bulldogs are 16-11-2 on the Plains while the Tigers are 18-13 against the Bulldogs in Athens.
“That’s unique with this series,” said Smart on the road team’s success. “Auburn and Georgia have similar stadiums. There’s a lot of passion and energy in this series due to the close proximity of the two schools. The home team has the advantage of crowd noise.”
Smart fielded a question about the steady play of junior snapper Trent Frix who is one of the veterans on special teams that features a true freshman at punter, holder and a redshirt freshman placekicker.
“Trent’s been solid as a rock,” said Smart. “He’s done a good job and has been consistent. He’s the one guy who had played some games before the season and gave us a little experience and leadership in that group of specialists. He’s performed well. He played some on special teams when he wasn’t even a snapper. He’s a good athlete and has been an asset for that group.”