After all, the Bulls played 11 months earlier in Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium, where it lost 41-10 in a stadium that has a capacity of 102,455.
“This will be the third largest stadium our program have ever competed in,” Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn said Monday. “We’ve played Penn State, we’ve played Tennessee, we’ve played Auburn, Baylor. These kids have had a taste of these kind of games and opportunities. To have players that are returning--we have 16 returning starters back that were at Tennessee that will be playing for us at Georgia—I feel good that the maturity and the development of our program is where we want to be. Certainly it will be important to see how we gauge against a top SEC team.”
Georgia is a 37 ½-point favorite against a team that finished 3-9 last season.
“Certainly when we talk about the consistency of our football team to play against a quality caliber opponent like Georgia, it’s going to make for some difficult moments in the game, but our kids have got to dig deep and we’ve got to keep it close,” Quinn said. “They do a great job of completing the deep ball, we’ve just got to stay away from a lot of big plays, but really nothing to lose. We go down for the national exposure to play against a great team like Georgia. We know that our focus is on this one particular game, but also that there’s 11 games.”
Putting pressure on Aaron Murray will be important, Quinn said.
Of course, the suspension of linebacker and sack leader Khalil Mack for reportedly getting in a fight with a teammate makes that more difficult.
“There’s no question,” Quinn said. “He’s been very disruptive and one of our best players, but we’ve got to continue to move forward and we’ve got other guys like (linebackers) Willie Mosely and Kendall Roberson who have both stepped up. It’s a great lesson that our kids have to understand when there’s a guy who gets hurt or a guy’s not able to compete in a game, our kids have to be able to step up. We’ve got a mentality called the `Next Bull In’ and that happens. I know Georgia’s faced it and we’re facing it.”
Georgia’s Sanders Commings and Chase Vasser are suspended for the first two games, but Georgia hasn’t confirmed suspensions to safety Bacarri Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Quinn said his staff hasn’t concerned itself much with who might be missing for the Bulldogs.
“We haven’t really discussed much,” he said. “We know whoever they put on that field is going to be very talented football players, very competitive, very hungry to prove themselves.”
Lindley puts best foot forward in kickoff competition
Marshall Morgan is in the lead to handle Georgia’s field goals and extra points, but walk-on Jamie Lindley may be giving Morgan a run for the kickoff job.
“I can tell you it’s between me and Marshall,” Lindley said after Monday’s practice. “Even today we were both still kicking off. We both did reps during practice. It’s for them to decide.”
The senior from Savannah competed with Blair Walsh on kickoffs in 2008, kicked off in the second game that year against South Carolina and then handled two onsides kicks against Alabama.
Lindley didn’t hesitate when asked if it would mean a lot to do it again.
“Oh, my gosh, yes,” he said. “It would mean everything. I’ve been here forever. This will be my fifth season. I was really recruited (as a walk-on) as a kickoff guy. That’s my specialty.”
Lindley said that kickoffs in scrimmages have basically been split, but that Morgan gets most of the practice reps on field goals and extra points.
“He looks like he’s established there,” Lindley said.
This and that
Defensive end/outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (strained neck) and nose guard Kwame Geathers (shoulder contusion) practiced in non-contact jerseys in Monday’s full pads practice. During a typical gameweek, Georgia’s full pads practice is on Tuesday. Receiver Michael Bennett (quadriceps contusion) returned fully, but tight end Jay Rome (strained hamstring) was listed as limited even though he was in a regular jersey. Receiver Taylor Bradberry is listed as out for an unspecified period with a sprained thumb.
Malcolm Mitchell, who will play primarily cornerback early in the season, said he began getting offensive snaps again during practice on Saturday. The Bulldogs’ leader in receiving yards per game last year had been working with receivers coach Tony Ball after practice.
Former Georgia offensive coordinator and UAB coach Neil Callaway attended practice again.