Georgia Football: Previewing the Coastal Carolina Game
The Georgia Bulldogs enter Week 3 of the 2011 season 0-2. That is the bad news. The good news is, after two tough battles against current Top 10 teams, the Bulldogs will finally have a tune-up game.
After being thrashed by Boise State and suffering a heartbreaking loss to South Carolina, the Dawgs are going to come out looking to lay the wood on somebody. Enter the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
This game could get ugly, I mean 2007 Sugar Bowl vs. Hawaii ugly. Mark Richt and the Bulldogs need a statement win badly. While Coastal Carolina is not the program that is going to provide that “statement win,” any win will do for now.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why Saturday is going to be a very long day in Athens for Coastal Carolina, which players will have a big game for the Bulldogs and some fun footnotes for this game.
Coastal Carolina Is the Kind of Team Georgia Desperately Needs to Play
This week is all about confidence building for the Georgia. The Bulldogs came out flat against Boise State. Then, despite playing much better against South Carolina, costly mistakes at the end of the game resulted in heart breaking 45-42 loss to the Gamecocks.
What’s most important for Georgia right now, especially with all the young players on the squad, is to FEEL like a winner. Despite talent oozing out of the UGA program, the team has yet to gel in its first two games and play up to that talent.
Winning, and losing, become habitual (ask Auburn). Unfortunately for Georgia, lately they have fallen into the habit of losing. With all the youth on this team, Georgia is going to have to break that habit and quick. Coastal Carolina should be a good start on that front.
Isaiah Crowell Will Have Huge Game in His First Collegiate Start
Mark Richt officially made true freshman Isiah Crowell the starter for Saturday’s contest. This is hardly a surprise, as Crowell has easily established himself as the best back on the team so far in the young season.
Coastal Carolina gave up 186 yards rushing to Furman in their season opener. Crowell could easily crest 200 yards, assuming he ends up playing any of the second half.
Regardless, look for Crowell to run all over the Coastal Carolina defense.
Freshmen Wide Receivers Need to Get Some Game Experience
Perhaps the two Georgia receivers with the most potential are true freshman Malcolm Mitchell and redshirt freshman Michael Bennett.
Aaron Murray and his freshman receivers needs to establish a rhythm and the Coastal Carolina contest will be an opportunity to do just that.
The contest against Coastal Carolina could be a breakout game for Mitchell and Bennett. A big game now will give the freshmen duo a boost of confidence heading into the rest of the season.
Huge Game for New Starting UGA Inside Linebackers
Already the thinnest position on the Georgia defense, the Bulldogs have lost both starting inside linebackers to injury in the first two weeks of the season.
Sophomore Alec Ogletree suffered a broken right foot against Boise State. Ogletree will be sidelined for the next three to five weeks. Filling in for Ogletree have been walk-on Jeremy Sulek and true freshman Amarlo Herrera.
Against the Gamecocks, Georgia’s other inside linebacker, junior Christian Robinson, also suffered a foot injury that will keep him out for at least two weeks.
Now, junior Michael Gilliard will most likely rotate with Sulek and Herrera to fill the holes left by Ogletree and Robinson.
The Coastal Carolina game will give these backups a week to get up to game speed. On a positive note, when Robinson and then Ogletree do return, there will be more experienced depth at the position.
This will keep the inside of the Georgia defense fresher for the fourth quarter. The Georgia defense has looked like they were out of gas in the last six or seven minutes of each of their first two games.
Coastal Carolina’s Chances of Victory
Although starting 2-0, Coastal Carolina has played Furman and a Division II school (Catawba Indians) in their first two games and still put up fairly pedestrian numbers on offense.
Quarterback Aramis Hillary threw for 220 yards and a score against Catawba. On the ground, Coastal Carolina only mustered 13 (not a typo, 13) yards rushing as a team.
The fact is, the Bulldogs are going to be looking to tighten up and eliminate mistakes, get some much-needed experience for the many young players and, most importantly, post a win.
On a lesser note, Georgia will be looking for someone to take out some frustration on. It is most certainly going to be a very long afternoon in Athens for the Chanticleers.
For Chanticleer fans, if last week is any indicator, the most entertaining part of this game may be the post-game press conference. Check out the video of Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett’s performance last Saturday. He "needs more dogs." He only has to wait until Saturday and he'll have all the Dawgs he can handle.
For those of you wondering what a Chanticleer is, according to Coastal Carolina’s website, “A Chanticleer is a rooster who rules the barn-yard with cunning and wit. His competitiveness never wanes as he battles to the end, using his brains to come out on top every time.” Well, every time except maybe this one.