Georgia breezed past Austin Peay 45-0 in its first game of the season, but now the Bulldogs face a tough task going on the road to Columbia, South Carolina, to face the Gamecocks in a key week two matchup on Saturday.
Head coach Kirby Smart discussed the preparation for South Carolina, freshman players and their impact on Georgia’s game against Austin Peay, key players on the Gamecocks’ roster as well as the injury status of senior wide receiver Terry Godwin when he met with the media on Monday.
Godwin 'expected' to be back, but not certain
Godwin was a part of the discussion on Monday, and Smart indicated that he expected him to be back due to him being able to work out the last two days. He did say, however, that they wont know for sure until later on in the week whether Godwin will play.
“What he brings is some experience and confidence,” Smart said of Godwin. “He understands the game and (is) a really good route runner and has great hands.”
Smart said that with Godwin back and taking most of the reps at the wide receiver position, it frees up other receivers to make an impact on special teams.
Samuel a weapon for South Carolina
The most dynamic player on South Carolina’s team was injured for most of last season, but senior receiver Deebo Samuel is back now and has already made an impact.
He had seven receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown in the Gamecocks’ 49-15 victory over Coastal Carolina last Saturday. Samuel also made an impact on special teams, returning two kickoffs for a total of 45 yards.
“He’s probably the most underrated player in all of college football,” Smart said of Samuel. “I dont think that everybody in the country knows what the SEC knows about Deebo Samuel.”
Samuel is expected to be a player that will touch the football 15-20 times a game, Smart said. The Gamecocks will find different ways to get him the ball, whether it's through screen passes, the kick return game or just catching passes at wide receiver.
“He's an electric football player that's extremely powerful, confident, hard to tackle and he'll be a key guy for us,” Smart said.”You gotta get him on the ground when he gets the ball, because you'll never know when it's going to him.”
Smart discussed the play of two freshmen who played in Saturday’s game against Austin Peay: punter Jake Camarda and cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Camarda had a few punts that were high and long (he averaged 55 yards with his punts) and a couple where the ball rolled to the back of the end zone. That didn’t seem to bother Smart too much, as he’s glad the freshman got a game of experience out of the way.
“He's a tremendous talent,” Smart said. “I just hope, given the opportunity to do some sky kicks, he can do it with good percentages of getting them down like (former Georgia punter) Cam (Nizialek) did.
Campbell started at cornerback on defense. After watching the game tape, Smart said he was pleased with the performance from the freshman.
No plan for the quarterbacks
Georgia has two quarterbacks who each played well against Austin Peay on Saturday.
Sophomore Jake Fromm was sharp with the ball, going 12-for-16 for 157 yards and two touchdowns. But on the other hand, freshman Justin Fields played well too, going 7-for-8 for 63 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball three times for 33 yards.
While Fromm will likely be the starter, it remains to be seen whether or not Fields will have a role in Georgia’s upcoming game against South Carolina. Smart hasn’t indicated one way or another.
“We gotta go with how things go and how the flow of the game goes,” Smart said. “I don't know what this game is going to dictate, what this game is going to bring. So we'll see.”
Printed with permission from The Red & Black independent student media organization, based in Athens, Georgia. For more UGA sports news, visit www.redandblack.com/sports.