September 3, 2010

Preview: Louisiana-Lafayette at UGA

PLACE: Sanford Stadium

TIME: 12:21 p.m.

HEAD COACHES: Georgia - Mark Richt (90-27-0, 10th season); Louisiana-Lafayette - Rickey Bustle (38-56-0, ninth season).

TV: SEC Network (Peachtree TV in Atlanta area).

RADIO: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Georgia - Quarterback Aaron Murray (RFr., 6-0, 209), running back Caleb King (Jr., 5-11, 217), wide receiver A.J. Green (Jr., 6-4, 212), tight end Orson Charles (Soph., 6-3, 240), OL Clint Boling (Sr., 6-5, 315), K Blair Walsh (Jr., 5-10, 183), LB Justin Houston (Jr., 6-3, 258), LB Darryl Gamble (Sr., 6-2, 250), LB Akeem Dent (Sr., 6-2, 233), LB Christian Robinson (RSoph., 6-2, 226), CB Brandon Boykin (Jr., 5-10, 183), S Bacarri Rambo (RSoph., 6-0, 211), S Jakar Hamilton (Jr., 6-2, 203), CB Vance Cuff (Sr., 5-11, 177), P Drew Butler (Jr., 6-2, 210; Louisiana-Lafayette - QB Chris Masson (Jr., 6-2, 203), RB Julian Shankle (Jr., 5-10, 197), WR Marlin Miller (Sr., 5-11, 187), DE Nate Douglas (Jr., 6-2, 248), LB Daylon McCoy (Sr., 6-2, 215), LB Grant Fleming (Sr., 6-4, 232), DT Jordan Topp (Sr., 6-4, 299), CB Orkeys Auriene (Sr., 5-10, 175)

Saturday's Game: Georgia and Louisiana-Lafayette meet for the first time which will see the Ragin Cajuns actually playing their first game inside the Peach State borders. … The Bulldogs have won 12 of their 13 season-openers, including an 8-1 mark under Richt. Georgia's only loss during that time came last year at Oklahoma State. … Richt, however, is no stranger to Ragin Cajun coach Rickey Bustle, who served as the offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech and directed the Michael Vick-led Hokies against Florida State in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. Richt was the offensive coordinator for the Seminoles who beat the Hokies 46-29. … Bustle hails from Summerville, S.C., the same hometown as Georgia's A.J. Green.

Missing Dawgs: Linebacker Richard Samuel (leg) and backup center Chris Burnette (concussion) are expected to miss Saturday's game with their respective injuries. Meanwhile, freshman safety Alec Ogletree, redshirt sophomore receiver Tavarres King and sophomore running back Washaun Ealey will be serving one-game suspensions.

Murray Set To Lead Bulldog Offense: Redshirt freshman Aaron Murray makes his first career start after winning the job during spring practice. The 6-1, 209-pound Murray redshirted in 2009 after enrolling early at UGA in January of that year. During the annual G-Day spring game, Murray was 8-of-19 for 96 yards. Murray's last game action came as he led Plant HS (Tampa, Fla.) to a state title in 2008.

Backing up Murray is freshman Hutson Mason who arrives in Athens after being named a 2009 Parade All-American and Georgia's Gatorade Player of the Year at Lassiter. He set Georgia state records for passing yards (4,560) and touchdowns (54) in a season in 2009.

Offensive line experienced: The five Bulldog offensive line returning starters have combined to start an SEC-leading 127 games in their careers. This unit led the SEC with the fewest sacks allowed in 2009, allowing only 12 sacks in 13 games. During the 2009 season, they employed six different lineups with left tackle Clint Boling, left guard Cordy Glenn, center Ben Jones, right guard Chris Davis and right tackle Josh Davis.

In addition, junior offensive Trinton Sturdivant , who was a Freshman All-American after starting 13 games in 2007 and then missed the 2008 and 2009 seasons with knee injuries, is expected to get playing time Saturday afternoon.

New Defense set to be unveiled: Georgia's switch to a 3-4 defense puts the spotlight on who will fill the role at nose. Junior Justin Anderson is expected to see considerable action at nose behind starter DeAngelo Tyson who played in all 13 games last season and finished with 12 tackles and is challenging Anderson at the position. A younger lineman looking to make an impression is sophomore Abry Jones, who played in 12 games and had eight tackles and two tackles for loss, but is having to fight off senior Brandon Wood for a starting role. Senior Demarcus Dobbs will start at the other end position after starting all 13 games of 2009 at one of the defensive end spots and finished with 30 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a junior. At 6-6, 325, redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers will also be in the rotation for the Bulldogs at nose.

Prediction: Although many eyes are already trained toward next week's SEC opener at South Carolina, the Bulldog coaches and players certainly know the importance of not looking past the Ragin Cajuns, who beat Kansas State, who in turn beat Texas A&M last year.

Saturday's game certainly isn't without its share of storylines with Murray and Grantham's 3-4 defense taking center stage.

It's been a long preseason for the Bulldogs, who appear ready to take whatever frustrations they have out on a different opponent and Saturday they will get the chance. Although Georgia should win this game handily, with a quarterback starting his first career game, it's probably unfair to project greatness right out the chute. The defense, however, will be ready. Prediction: Georgia 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 3.

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