No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs Expect To Be Tested Against Florida In Jacksonville Saturday

SEC Network Sends TV Crew To Air Live Two-Hour Program Before The Game

Friday, October 27, 2017 - by special report

The Georgia Bulldogs are prepared for a tough game against the Florida Gator when they meet in I Jacksonville on Saturday

 

The contest in Jacksonville for this weekend's Georgia-Florida game just became even bigger thanks to the SEC Network.


The network announced SEC Nation will be in town airing live outside EverBank Field in Met Park 2 on Saturday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. prior to the rivalry matchup between the No. 3 Bulldogs and the unranked Gators. The Paul Finebaum Show will also record live Friday from 2 - 7 p.m.

The rivalry matchup between the Bulldogs and Gators will be the second time SEC Nation has made the trip to the neutral site, as the show usually sticks to traveling to college campuses. It made its first appearance in Jacksonville last year for the game between the unranked Bulldogs and No. 15 Gators, a game in which Georgia lost 24-10.

This will also be Georgia's second game in a row in which SEC Nation has been present, as the show was in Athens for the Missouri game prior to the Bulldogs' bye week.

Georgia's Offensive Line

Georgia’s offensive line has players that weigh an average of 309 pounds and stand at an average of 6-foot-4. But they each have different personalities.

“We get together, and everybody’s pretty silly,” junior left guard Kendall Baker said.

Baker described everyone he lines up with on Saturdays, saying freshman right tackle Andrew Thomas is the “quiet, funny one,” redshirt freshman right guard Solomon Kindley is “the baby,” junior center Lamont Gaillard is the one that’s “always trying to talk,” and senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn is “always clowning.”

As the 2017-18 season began, there were a lot of questions that surrounded the offensive line. It lost some key players and things had to be shifted around. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman had to rely on some of the younger players to step up.

For the most part, it looks like the offensive line has answered all of those questions -- Georgia is averaging almost 283 yards per game on the ground.

The thing that keeps the offensive linemen going and doing so well is those different personalities. They all get along off the field and that’s what helps them on the field.

“I feel like us being that family, when you go out on the field, if somebody's messing up, you won’t take it to heart if they get onto you,” Baker said.

Those conversations have not happened very often, though, with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in the backfield. They’re averaging 6.4 and 7.2 yards per play, respectively.

That makes it easy on the offensive line. But every now and then they all have to come together to motivate each other to do their job. Thomas may need to be a little louder. Wynn may need to get more serious.

“We challenge those guys and they challenge us sometimes,” senior tailback Sony Michel said. “They want touchdowns, we want them to block. So we put that competitiveness on them, and they put it on us and I think that’s how we’ve come to be a better team.”

When the game is over and the offensive linemen look back on it, they know they have something special. Despite the personalities that bring the group together, the success is in part due to the ones running the ball.

“It’s special to block for a back that can be elusive by themselves,” Baker said. “When you open up a hole for those guys, they can take a normal 5-yard run to the house, easy. So it makes you want to block harder knowing you have that behind you.”

Michel Returns To His Home State For Final Time

Homecomings have not been kind to Sony Michel in his college career.

The South Florida native and former American Heritage High School star has played three regular season games in his home state, all in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. Michel’s numbers in those games are uncharacteristic to say the least.

After missing the game against the Gators his freshman year with an injury, Michel ran for 45 yards on 13 carries in 2015. Last season, Michel picked up a measly two yards on three carries.

Now Michel is gearing up for his final shot at the Gators on Saturday in Jacksonville. But even though it’s his last chance to beat one of his home-state schools, Michel is trying not to place any extra emphasis on beating Florida.

“Everybody, we love winning, I like winning,” Michel said. “It’s a goal of mine to just keep winning.”

Michel won’t be the only American Heritage alumnus to take the field on Saturday, as three Florida players also played their high school football there. Michel said he probably knows freshman defensive lineman Tedarrell Slaton the best of the American Heritage players on the other side of the ball.

But with that being said, Michel said there have been no conversations between him and any of the American Heritage Gators leading up to Saturday’s contest.

Even though Jacksonville is over 300 miles from Plantation, Florida, where Michel attended high school, it’s just about as close as he plays to his family and friends with the exception of potential bowl games.

“It’s awesome for them to be able to have a game not too far they can come to and watch,” Michel said.

In the times his family has made the trek to Jacksonville, they have yet to see Michel walk off the field with a win. This year, he’s hoping that will change.

“I would say it’s special, just the fact that it’s our last go-round, my last go-round,” Michel said. “I try to call this the victory lap, try to make this the best one."

Quarterback Jake Fromm Facing Gators For First Time

Jake Fromm won in his first start as Georgia quarterback at Notre Dame and his first SEC start before more than 100,000 at Tennessee. Now comes the true freshman’s first time playing in Jacksonville against Florida on Saturday.

“I think he’ll feel a lot of pressure,” former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said, “but that’s something that hasn’t affected him so far.”

“Obviously, he has yet to play some of the best defenses he will play in a season” said Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and now SEC Network analyst, “but he’s handled the moments and he’s done it well and I think he’s done it with a form of grace and that’s impressive.”

Fromm will be the fourth different Georgia quarterback to start for the first time against Florida in the last four years.

Jacob Eason (2016), Faton Bauta (2015) and Hutson Mason (2014) all lost as Georgia scored 10, 3 and 20 points the last three games.

“It is a unique experience,” said Aaron Murray, the former Georgia quarterback who started against the Gators from 2010-13. “He’ll get to experience it a little bit in warmups and hopefully that gets it out of his system seeing a stadium that’s literally right down the middle, 50-50 Florida one side, Georgia one side. It’s pretty cool to see. He’s proven himself that he can handle playing on the road, playing in unique situations.”

Fromm saw a venue nearly split with fans when Georgia faithful overtook Notre Dame Stadium for the road win on Sept. 9.


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