September 27, 2013

'Grown man football'

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The way Georgia coaches and players are talking, Saturday's showdown against 6th-ranked LSU is going to resemble one of those old-fashioned heavyweight title fights where going 15 rounds was the norm.

Quarterback Aaron Murray wouldn't be surprised about that.

"It's going to be an awesome game. That's why GameDay is going to be here - two great teams, I think very similar teams," he said. "It's going to be a blood bath, it's going to be a war. It's going to be a knock-down type of game. It's going to be fun. It's going to be fun for the fans and I know as a team we're looking forward to it."

The Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0) have certainly had their share of high-profile games.

Going back to last year's SEC title game, Georgia's previous five contests have included matchups against the likes of Alabama, Nebraska, Clemson, South Carolina and now LSU (4-0, 1-0).

This year alone, Clemson, South Carolina and LSU were/are all ranked in the Top 10.

"That's part of the game. You look forward to playing ranked opponents, you look forward to playing any opponent," senior defensive end Garrison Smith said. "You look forward to playing North Texas. This is another ranked team and we've got to be ready."

Like Alabama, LSU and Georgia don't figure on getting very tricky once Saturday's game kicks off at 3:30 (CBS).

Instead, both team's feature offense looking to punch you in the face before landing the uppercut that sends opponents reeling. Muhammad Ali and the late Joe Frazier would have been proud.

"It's always good when you can just go out and play football and not worry about all the tricks and those types of things," Smith said. "These are games you look forward to playing in. It's real football.
Linebacker Amarlo Herrera agreed.

"I love these types of games. It's real football, there's no gadgets. If you study film, you know were the ball is going to go," Herrera said. "It's grown man football. We're not going to try and fake you. We're just going to play football and make you stop what we do. That's what all those teams do, too."

The Tigers certainly resemble that remark when it comes to the offensive line.

LSU features five bruisers - left tackle La'el Collins, left guard Vadal Alexander, center Elliott Porter, right guard Trai Turner and right tackle Jerald Hawkins - who average 314 pounds.

Throw in 235-pound running back Jeremy Hill (42 rushes for 351, 6 touchdowns) and it's easy to see why the Tigers don't feel the need to get tricky.

"LSU and Alabama are similar in their style of play in that they do enjoy running the ball and trying to physically pound people on both sides of the ball. There's just a really strong, physical nature to how they go about their business. They still have tremendous skill on offense, and they have tremendous skill on their defense, as well," head coach Mark Richt said. "We like to run the ball with some physicality, and we play physical, as well. We're not a spread team, although we do have some elements of that. We have ways to use formations in some sets to take advantage of something without having to go fast, so we think we're pretty diverse in that way. We do try to play with a physical brand of football. If you can't match up physically, you're going to get beat down. We're looking forward to the challenge."

While Georgia's offensive line probably has not been as consistent as LSU's, the Bulldogs' weapons are certainly similar and the mindset is the same.

The Tigers - like Georgia with Hill - will first try to stop the run and contain Todd Gurley while hoping to pressure Murray into mistakes.

"I feel we're definitely three teams that have a lot in common. We've all got pretty good backs that like to pound it down your throat," Herrera said. "When you've got backs like that, that's how you're going to play because you want to take advantage of the assets that you've got."

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