Georgia Bulldogs | Saturday Keys: The Battle In The Trenches

Isaac ScheidtCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2009

The Bulldogs open the season with one of four Week 1 matchups between ranked teams. Georgia (13) will take on Oklahoma State (9) in a highly-anticipated game between two teams with big hopes for the coming year.

Oklahoma State is trying to prove that they are among the top-tier teams in the Big 12.  They aim to solidify their reputation through their great offense centered on four key players. 

Running back Kendall Hunter leads the way to the tune of 1,555 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns in 2009. Quarterback Zac Robinson and wide receiver Dez Bryant are huge threats through the air, while left tackle Russell Okung puts it all together. 

All four players are All-American candidates and could cause big problems for the Dawgs on Saturday.

The key to beating the Cowboys comes in the trenches as Georgia will dictate their destiny through their line play.

The Bulldogs' defense has a challenge going against the Oklahoma State offensive line that gave up only 15 sacks all year in 2008, a statistic that ranked them tied for 13th in the nation. 

One of the biggest weaknesses for Georgia last year was the ability to get pressure on the quarterback from the front four. If Willie Martinez has to resort to blitzing as his only way of rushing Zac Robinson then he will pick the secondary apart.

To make matters worse, sophomore defensive end Justin Houston will miss the opening game due to a violation of team rules. While the rest of the defensive ends on the team have talent, Roderick Battle is the only senior and there are only two juniors. 

This young group will either be exposed early or will rise to the occasion and get the pressure needed without having to blitz.

The most effective defense Georgia can have on Saturday is a good offense. If they can run the ball and keep the Cowboys' star-studded offense on the sidelines they have a good shot at winning. 

With a first-year starter at quarterback and an inexperienced group of running backs, the Georgia offensive line needs to dominate every snap and they have the talent to do so.

With so many injuries last year on the line, several young players got a chance to develop early in their collegiate careers. At least seven of the linemen have started multiple games, and the versatility of the players is a huge advantage. 

Because so many positions were vacated by injury, many backups were asked to play other positions. This will allow Georgia to have one of the deepest and most experienced lines in the nation in 2009.

Watch the trenches to see if Georgia can slow down the Cowboys' offense by putting pressure on Zach Robinson and not allowing him to sit in the pocket. To win the stable of young running backs for Georgia will have to run the ball 30 plus times with effective blocking up front. 

If the Bulldogs can play up to their potential in Stillwater on the lines then they have the makings for an upset win to start the season.

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