14 years ago, Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp were coaching with one another at LSU.
On Saturday, the two will be coaching against each other when the Georgia Bulldogs go on the road to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.
In the two previous times they have battled as head coaches, Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs have won by an average of 14 points per game. Muschamp is looking to reverse his team’s fortunes this weekend.
Here is a preview of both teams heading into Saturday’s matchup:
Ignoring the Noise
In their opening game, Georgia blew out Austin Peay 45-0. With the significant increase in talent that the Bulldogs will face this week, however, Smart said his team’s focused has not changed.
Whether they are facing lower level competition or going up against a top 25 team, Smart wants Georgia to dominate their opponents:
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 6, 2018
During the weekly SEC Teleconference this past Wednesday, Smart emphasized the importance of not stressing who Georgia is matched up against. Given how competitive the conference is, the third-year head coach said each team they face could potentially beat them.
Not Make or Break for South Carolina
Although this is an SEC East matchup and a rivalry game, Muschamp is not putting too much emphasis on Saturday.
A win could definitely bolster the Gamecocks’ chances of winning their division, but Muschamp said a loss would not ruin their season. Muschamp, who is in his third year as South Carolina’s head coach, said on Wednesday that his team would “empty the chamber” this week in practice:
One of the keys to South Carolina’s success against Georgia will be the play of Jake Bentley. The junior quarterback completed nearly 76 percent of his passes against Coastal Carolina last Saturday and threw four touchdown passes.
Against the Bulldogs, expect the Gamecocks to play with more tempo. Muschamp said that Bentley performs better when his team has a faster style of play.
Other News and Notes
- South Carolina tight end K.C. Crosby and running back Mon Denson are expected to play, but Chavis Dawkins (sprained ankle) is not likely to play. D.J. Wonnum, who sprained his ankle against Coastal Carolina, may be on the field this Saturday.
- Georgia wide receiver Jayson Stanley and tight end Jackson Harris are likely to be out. The status of Jonathan Ledbetter (sprained ankle) and Tyrique McGhee (broken foot) are still unknown.
- The game will take place at 3:30 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina, with CBS having the coverage.