"The whole time I was at home, I was thinking of this game," Daniel Inman said.
Lots of people in Athens are thinking about the No. 3 Bulldogs'
showdown against No. 13 LSU on Saturday in Sanford Stadium, but none
more than Georgia's offensive linemen. Last year, the Bulldogs famously
gave up 47 sacks, by far the most in the conference, and the Tigers had
10 of those in two games.
"This basically is the game of the century," guard Max Jean-Gilles
said. "It's like the Super Bowl of college football for us. If we stop
this team, we know we're one of the elite teams in the country."
LSU had four sacks in the teams' first meeting last year and its
defensive linemen and linebackers deflected nine passes. In the SEC
Championship Game, the Tigers tallied six sacks and their front four
knocked down four more passes. The Bulldogs didn't rush for more than
100 yards in either game, averaging 2.6 yards per carry.
Georgia has solidified its offensive line protection this year thanks
to a year of seasoning and a few position changes. The Bulldogs have
given up three sacks so far, tying with Florida, Arkansas and Kentucky
for the fewest in the league.
"We think we've made improvements," offensive line coach Neil Callaway
said, "but this is where we'll find out what we've got."
The Tigers lost defensive tackle Chad Lavalais (seven sacks) and
defensive end Marquise Hill (five sacks) from the defense that
terrorized the Bulldogs last year, but they haven't stopped harassing
quarterbacks. They lead the SEC with 11 sacks.
"Pretty much, it's the same team, same blitzes, everything,"
Defensive end Marcus Spears, who had six tackles, four pass
deflections, a sack and a forced fumble in two games against the
Bulldogs last year, is back and is a candidate this season for the
Nagurski, Hendricks and Lombardi awards. Also, linebackers Lionel Turner and E.J. Kuale each have two sacks.
The Tigers are known for their array of blitzes and how often they use
them, a reality proven by the fact that Tiger safety LaRon Landry leads
the league with three sacks this year.
Unlike a year ago, the Bulldogs feel they are prepared this season to
recognize all the different looks they will get and react accordingly.
That's only half the battle, though.
"It's all going to boil down to 1-on-1 matchups at some point,"
Callaway said. "You're going to have to win those 1-on-1 matchups."
Offensive Linemen Looking for Redemption
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