When preparing for the triple-option that fifth-ranked Georgia (9-1) will see the next two weeks beginning with Saturday's game against Georgia Southern, defensive end Garrison Smith said there's one important thing to keep in mind.
"You've got to be extremely disciplined and pay attention to every play because this is an offense that's made for undisciplined teams," Smith said after practice Monday. "They can put a lot of points on you if you don't do your job. This offense teaches you lessons that you'd better be ready to learn."
Apparently, that was exactly goal for Georgia coaches during Monday's workout at the Woodruff Practice Facility as the Bulldogs donned the full pads, something they typically wait on do on Tuesday.
"Our focus this week will be completely on Georgia Southern, not on any other teams and not on the game in Atlanta," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We know that we have a challenge on our hands against Georgia Southern, especially from a defensive standpoint. It is critical that we have a great week of scout-team work. We have to really dial in on our assignments and our fundamentals. Tonight, we got the week off to a good start. The guys worked hard and they were zeroed in on the task at hand."
There will definitely be some different lessons to be learned while preparing for an Eagles team which has only attempted 65 passes all year.
"I've given up all hopes on any pass rush this game," freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. "It's going to be straight run, playing the cut and playing the 1,000 coming at you trying to cut."
The Eagles (8-2) come into play averaging 401 yards rushing per game, tops in the FCS.
At least Smith has experience playing against the option before.
In last year's game against Georgia Tech, Smith replaced former teammate DeAngelo Tyson and responded with seven tackles as Georgia held the Yellow Jackets to 243 rushing yards, 80 below their season average.
"I don't enjoy it (playing the option) but you've got to do it," Smith said. "But it's actually kind of fun after a while. It's a challenge, and I like a good challenge."
Lee clan bracing for a family affair"
Although the matchup for the upcoming SEC Championship isn't official set, junior guard Dallas Lee said his parents are already making contingency plans.
Younger brother Dillon is a freshman linebacker for Alabama, which still needs to beat Auburn in two weeks to wrap up the SEC West and place the Lee family in the unique position of having two sons on opposite teams.
"They're pretty sure that we're going to be playing each other, unless something crazy happens and they lose to Auburn," Dallas Lee said. "I hope not because that would be a lot of fun getting to play Dillon."
Fun, perhaps, although he admits it might be that way for his mom and dad.
"I don't know what they're going to do. We asked them yesterday," Lee said. "We had a conference call and asked them how they were going to dress. Mom got upset and dad said he had no idea, he'll figure it out when it happens."
There's also the matter of what side of the Georgia Dome the pair would sit on.
"I don't what side they're going to sit on," Lee said. "They've got a group of friends here and they've got a group of friends there and I'm sure the family sections are not going to be in the same place."
Having one sit on one side the one in another will apparently not be an option.
"No, they go everywhere together. They're not going to split up. They may do one half on one side and one half on the other, something like that, who knows."
Young kickers getting more comfortable
Three games do not a season make, but from the perspective of freshmen Marshall Morgan and Collin Barber, their respective seasons have taken a significantly more positive turn.
Through Georgia's first seven games, the Florida native missed four extra-points, although one came as the result of a bad snap.
However, since missing a kick a month ago at Kentucky, Morgan has now converted 12 straight, and like the rest of his Georgia teammates, appears to be executing better than he has all year.
"I feel a lot more comfortable out there. It's really starting to feel more routine," Morgan said. "I love it out there."
So has Barber.
After struggling with inconsistency for much of the year, Barber appeared to find his range in Georgia's wins over Ole Miss and Auburn.
Barber averaged 47.5 yards on six kicks, and Saturday against the Tigers had four punts for an average f 47.2, but even more impressively placed two inside the 20-yard line, including one at the Auburn 5-yard line.
"When you get that feeling of hitting the sweet spot, you don't even have to look up," Barber said. "You know the ball is gone and there's no better feeling. Halfway through the season, I knew what I was capable of, but I just wasn't doing it. But these last two games I've been kicking pretty good and knowing that I'm showing people the ability that I have is great."
Andrews honored by SEC
Bulldog freshman center David Andrews was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, in a release by the league office on Monday.
It marked the first honor of this kind of Andrews and first for a Bulldog lineman this season.
"It's always good when your center plays good. I'm happy for him. We gave him grief about it, but we give people grief about every little thing," Lee said. "It's great though. He played a great game and keeps getting better each week. That's what we're looking for.
Andrews graded out at 88 percent in the Bulldogs' first shutout of the Tigers since 1976. Andrews had six "dominator" blocks and three knockdowns while starting his 10th consecutive game at center.
He anchored an offensive line that surrendered only a single sack of quarterback Aaron Murray against Auburn. The offense accounted for 497 total yards and both freshmen tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall had more than 100 yards rushing. In fact, the offensive line has paved the way for 10 100-yard rushers for Georgia this season.
"Talking to him yesterday he was saying he didn't have a good game, which gave us even more reason to give him grief because he got that award after getting the high grade," Lee said. "We were like, whatever."
This and that
Georgia and Georgia Tech will kick off at noon on Nov. 24 and be televised on ESPN.
Aaron Murray is ranked third nationally in passing efficiency (170.66) behind Clemson's Tajh Boyd (171.99) and Oregon's Marcus Mariota (176.96). Todd Gurley is No. 34 (how ironic) in all-purpose running with 130.6 yards per game. Meanwhile, Jarvis Jones is still No. 1 in tackles for loss (2.13 per game; 17 total), second in sacks (1.31 per game; 10.5 total with is tied for third most) and second in forced fumbles (.63 per game; five total which is also second).
Captains for the Georgia Southern game will be receiver Tavarres King, linebacker Christian Robinson, safety Bacarri Rambo and safety Connor Norman.