In two weeks the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs are going to compete in their third top-10 matchup against No. 7 LSU, which has the potential to shape the remainder of the season. But before that, they must take on the North Texas Mean Green this Saturday.
Head Coach Mark Richt opened Tuesday’s press conference excited and seemingly pleased with his team coming off a bye week.
“We're definitely ahead of schedule on our game plan,” said Richt. “When you have an open date you have time to prepare, so we got a lot of good scout work in as well.”
North Texas is coming into Athens with a stout defense. The Mean Green have forced 11 turnovers and rank third in the country in red zone defense.
“We’re excited to get out there and play some football regardless of who the team is,” senior quarterback Aaron Murray.
North Texas (2-1) is coming off of a 34-27 win over Ball State last week. However, the Mean Green have not had a winning season in over a decade.
Georgia’s goal this week? To get ahead early against North Texas and rest the starters for next week’s matchup against LSU. Most of the focus this week will be on fine-tuning the defense that gave up 454 yards to South Carolina just two weeks ago.
“Doing a better job of taking better angles as we tackle, wrapping up better and hustling to the ball better,” said Richt. “The more pressure we can put on the quarterback, the less pressure there is on a relatively young secondary back there.”
Through two games, Georgia’s young secondary has been much of the concern. After seeing true freshman Brendan Langley give up 110 of South Carolina’s 228 passing yards, junior cornerback Damian Swann said he would like to see consistency from the secondary this week. Swann believes that as he has become a leader among the secondary this year, he is “looking forward to seeing the younger guys grow up.”
Left tackle Kenarious Gates, wide receiver Jonathon Rumph and tailback Keith Marshall should be available for play on Saturday. Place-kicker Marshall Morgan will also return from suspension.
Marshall confirmed Tuesday that his injury against South Carolina was just a knee bruise and that he was fine and had no restrictions moving forward.
A low-stress, zero-injury game against North Texas would be a great fine tune for the Bulldogs before their top-10 matchup on Sept. 28.
“We go into every game thinking that we're going to win, and we plan to where we can win the game,” said Richt. “There's a lot of optimism around our players right now and how they're practicing and performing.”