After three weeks of home cooking, it’s time for the DAWGS to get back on the road in pursuit of an SEC East Championship. This week we head east, but back to Columbia, to take on a Cocky bunch of chickens. We’ve talked a lot about respect and national perception on the blog this year and it’s hard to see how any regular season game could do any more to impact each of those metrics than this match-up with South Carolina. If you’re anything like me you’ve had butterflies in the pit of your stomach since last Saturday night, everyone in the national media is talking about this game and there’s certainly an excitement around the program this week. Given all this, we know traveling can get a little hectic and it can be tough to always remember everything, so we humbly offer up this week’s packing list.
**MICHAEL BENNETT’S TOUGHNESS**
I was stunned Wednesday when I heard that Michael Bennett had been lost for the year to a torn ACL. We feel really bad for Bennett. He’s a great player, a great teammate and a better young man. But, as we all know, injuries are part of the game and it’s gotta be ‘next man up’. Now, Bennett is no stranger to the DAWGBEAST list here on the blog, but how he made the list is why this is relevant. Bennett plays the game the way it is supposed to be played…with maximum effort, selfless and hard nosed. If the DAWGS are going to go into Columbia and beat a very good Gamecocks team that’s ranked in the top 10, they must attack the challenge with the type of toughness that @MBennett_82 brings to the field every time he suits up. I don’t know if Bennett will be with the team on Saturday, but the spirit with which he plays the game had better be there is Georgia is going to ride home with the win. Now box it up!
**TODD GURLEY’S STIFF ARM**
As for your boy Todd Gurley, he’s a full grown man and he’s proved it over and over this year, BEAST-facing one defender after another to the ground with a wicked stiff arm. Bigger than he’s listed in the program, faster than he looks on tape and stronger than can be imagined until you see him plant another defender in the turf, @TG3II has to be a presence in the DAWGS offense Saturday and that stiff arm has got to be ready to be put to use. I tell you what. Make sure that bad boy makes it onto the first truck. We’re not taking any chances.
**JYD DEFENSIVE PRIDE**
Last season was certainly a good one for the DAWGS defense as Jarvis and the boys snapped taut the chain that restrains the Junkyard Dawgs that are the Georgia defense. This season however, the unit has not been quite as impressive and the pride associated with the Junkyard Dawgs has been a bit bruised. Now, there are several reasons for why this has happened, but we don’t have time for any of that now. It’s no secret that South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore has had his way with the DAWGS the last two years and it’s about time to put an end to all that nonsense. Game day is almost here and we’ve got to hit the road, so load that #JYDPride in the back and strap it down tight. There’s a lot of it, and believe it or not that stuff is white hot, so make sure to use extra straps. We’ve got to make sure the guys know exactly what and who they’re playing for against the Cocks Saturday.
**OFFENSIVE LINE’S MAN CARD**
Now this isn’t a very big item, but what it means is HUGE, and that’s exactly why it cannot get forgotten. What was widely considered to be a weakness for the DAWGS offense coming into the season is now a position of strength for Georgia and the rushing stats bear it out. That’s all fine and good, but this weekend is about something more than numbers. In every way, this game is a challenge to your manhood if you’re a Georgia offensive lineman. South Carolina’s defensive line is widely heralded as one of, if not the, best the DAWGS will face all season. If Georgia wants to prove they can get the job done, they’ve got to do it when everyone is watching and do it against a quality opponent. Georgia/South Carolina is the battle of the two biggest bullies on the block that is the SEC East to this point in the season, and in my opinion, of the entire season. This is a line of scrimmage league and if you want to be considered among the best in the conference, and therefore in the nation, it starts by winning the battle up front. It’s time to look deep inside and decide just exactly who and what you are. We’ll just put that card in the glove box for the trip over and keep it behind the bench during the game. If the boys take care of business on Saturday like we believe they can and show once again what it means to play our brand of Grown Man Football, it will be right there for I.D. verification when it’s time to get back on the bus after the game.
**AARON MURRAY’S ZEN**
Zen – noun – emphasizing enlightenment for the student by the most direct possible means. In other words, nothing beats the peace of mind and confidence that comes from having hands on experience. Aaron Murray has played in plenty of loud stadiums during his time at Georgia. Murray’s gone under center in more than one big game since he arrived in Athens. What Murray has yet to do as a DAWG is beat a top 10 team and is only 2-7 against teams ranked in the top 25. With that said, I don’t think it matters much. Murray’s teammates and coaches certainly don’t see as a big deal. Besides, given how much trouble I’m having with understanding how teams are being ranked this season, once you get beyond the top five I don’t think rankings matter that much anyway. Murray does not need to be superhuman on Saturday. He doesn’t have to do one thing differently than he has all season. What @aaronmurray11 has done so far this season is plenty good enough to beat South Carolina if he gets a little help from his friends. Murray simply needs to ‘Keep Calm and BEAST On’. Nobody works harder in the film room than Georgia’s quarterback. He’s already done the work. As a three year starter, he’s already seen just about everything a defense can throw at him. Murray needs to just keep his composure, make his reads, get the DAWGS into the right plays and be smart with the football. If Murray just continues to do what he does, I’m bettin’ Georgia’s gonna be fine. Now, I don’t know exactly what shape Zen is or exactly how much room it’s gonna take up, but figure it out. We can’t leave Athens without it.
UGA’s Ray-Bans – Georgia’s 5-0 start has put the DAWGS back on the big stage for the first time since last year’s SEC Championship game and we all know the story there. Georgia played really good football despite missing some opportunities early, but then turnovers and big plays turned the game in favor of the LSU Tigers in the second half. If the DAWGS can stand the bright lights of one of the biggest stages a regular season game can offer, then the sky’s the limit for this team. So, toss those shades in the cup holder alongside your 64 ounce Gulpinator just to make sure nobody sits on ‘em and crushes ‘em before we have a chance to come struttin’ out of South Cackalacka, stylin’ and profilin’ with a big time win on Saturday night. We don’t want that now, do we? Besides, what’s cooler than a bulldawg wearing shades?
Well, that’s it Nation. We’ve posted the list and we trust that everything is gonna make it on the trucks. Like our trip to the other Columbia earlier this season, we don’t expect this one to be any kind of walk in the park. South Carolina is a very good football team and there is no reason to believe that this game will be anything other than a hard-hitting, hard fought affair that will be decided in the fourth quarter. But then again, when you’re striving to be elite in the toughest conference in the nation, what else is new? If you’re making the trip, be sure to wear your DAWG colors proudly and don’t be bashful about letting your intentions be known. Georgia’s only showing up for one reason, and that’s to BEAT THE COCKS!