Georgia Football: 5 Keys to the Florida Atlantic Game

David BoutinContributor IIISeptember 13, 2012

Georgia Football: 5 Keys to the Florida Atlantic Game

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    The Georgia Bulldogs welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls to Athens this Saturday; expect the Bulldogs to be bird-dogging the Owls.

    Florida Atlantic has matched its win total from last season—one—already, but don’t look for it to exceed that on Saturday. The Owls are obviously overmatched against the No. 7 team in the land playing in its house.

    But there are some keys for UGA in this game as it moves into the meat of its season. Let’s look at five of those keys now.

Show Up

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    Those two words alone are probably the key to victory in this game, but that’s not what I mean. I mean, Georgia needs to avoid playing down to its opponent’s level.

    While there’s probably no chance the Owls are going to upset the Bulldogs in Athens, UGA needs to focus and play its best anyway.

    There are games on the schedule—Vanderbilt, Auburn, Georgia Tech—where the Bulldogs could be looking at upsets if they play down to their opponents.

Play with Discipline

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    Georgia had way too many penalties against Missouri. The Bulldogs were flagged 12 times for 79 yards—six of which were false starts on the offense.

    Three of those false starts were on John Theus and one on Todd Gurley, both true freshmen. Georgia needs to use this game to settle those guys down as it heads into the rest of the season.

    In the end, the penalties called on the Bulldogs during the Missouri game weren’t that costly, but they easily could have been. UGA can’t afford to keep giving away free yards. The Bulldogs need to get into the habit of playing mistake-free football and keep penalties to a minimum against the Owls.

Have a Strong First Half

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    In their first two games, the Bulldogs have come out of the gate very slowly.

    Buffalo trailed by only eight points going into the half of the Bulldogs’ season opener. This is was a game in which UGA was favored by more than five touchdowns.

    Georgia was playing from behind for most of the Missouri game before taking a 24-20 lead in the late in the third quarter.

    UGA needs to start fast and look as good in the first half of this game as it has in the second half of the previous two. Slow starts and playing from behind will eventually catch up to the Bulldogs. Saturday against the Owls is the time to stop that trend in its tracks.

Get the Tight Ends Involved

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    Georgia has traditionally had very good tight ends that not only block well, but also are productive in the passing game.

    After losing one of Aaron Murray’s favorite targets—high school teammate Orson Charles—to the NFL, the Bulldogs haven’t utilized the tight ends much in the passing game. In fact, only one ball has been targeted to a tight end in the first two contests for the Dawgs.

    The Florida Atlantic game will be a great opportunity for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to work Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome into his passing attack.

Get Malcolm Mitchell Some Work at Receiver

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    Last season’s freshman star receiver Malcolm Mitchell moved across the ball to play cornerback during the offseason to help fill in for suspended defenders during the first few games.

    Mitchell missed the season opener with an ankle injury, but looked very good at corner against Missouri.

    But now, with cornerback Sanders Commings back in action for the Bulldogs, look for Mitchell to get some time in with the offense as well.

    It’s not really known where Malcolm will play the most for the remainder of the season, but it’s doubtful Bobo and Mark Richt won’t utilize him on offense at all. This game will be a perfect opportunity for Mitchell to knock some of the rust off at receiver and get back in synch with the offense.