Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press
Georgia RB Todd Gurley
With no disrespect to the players on the field, a rowdy crowd at Sanford Stadium will go a long way in silencing a typically potent Clemson offense before it gets a chance dictate the pace of the game. Both teams will have a new man under center this year, but Cole Stoudt of the Tigers is newer than Hutson Mason. Most importantly, he's also on the road.
Clemson recruits well and has a stellar offensive coordinator in Chad Morris, so there's no doubt this offense will eventually get moving. For Georgia, it's necessary to delay that as much as possible. Crowd volume could—and should—be a factor.
The "New" Secondary
New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt arrived in Athens with his work already cut out for him. Along the way, a host of unanticipated dismissals, transfers and position changes made his job even more difficult. And yet, optimism abounds from the outside looking in.
This will be Georgia fans' first earnest look at what is still a work in progress in the secondary. Accordingly, perfection is unrealistic. Instead, keep an eye on these two points of emphasis, as they could make the difference in this ballgame:
- Georgia's defensive backs must limit big plays.
- They must create turnovers.
Last year, Georgia's struggles were directly tied to big plays surrendered. That has to change—not just against Clemson but as a whole in 2014. Quite frustratingly, those big plays allowed were not countered by turnovers forced.
If the Dawgs can keep with a host of speedy Tigers receivers and take advantage of opportunities, they could make this a rout.
Feed Gurley. Feed Everybody.
Georgia's backfield is arguably the most talented in the Southeastern Conference, and with a competent offensive line returning there's no reason not to feed these talented running backs. Todd Gurley is the most well-known of these talented backs, and he should get the lion's share of carries, but getting Keith Marshall, Brendan Douglas, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb some opportunities will bode well for a team looking to eat the clock and keep the defense off the field.