Owls Take on Dawgs Then Bama

Owls Take on Dawgs Then Bama

ATHENS - Georgia and Alabama could be on a collision course to play for the SEC title in December.

That's still to be determined, of course.

What is certain is that Florida Atlantic, 1-11 last season, will play the two in a 1-2 powerful punch in the next two weeks in Athens and Tuscaloosa.

Why? The easy answer is money.

Georgia is paying Florida Atlantic $1 million, the highest payout ever for a Bulldogs opponent.

Howard Schnellenberger, who built the Florida Atlantic program and retired as its head coach last season, said the Boca Raton school has played 25 "money games" against the likes of Florida, Michigan State, Auburn, Clemson, Texas and Minnesota.

"Playing those 25 games, we generate $12.5 million," said Schnellenberger, who said he was in charge of the scheduling.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday he didn't think Florida Atlantic will find the next two weeks daunting.

"I doubt that," he said. "I think they're more excited about playing would be my guess."

Florida Atlantic's future schedules include games at Nebraska, Florida and another at Alabama.

Four-wide set can create mismatches

Georgia had success moving the ball in the air with quarterback Aaron Murray in the second half against Missouri by using a four-receiver, shotgun set extensively.

"It was like pick your poison," senior receiver Marlon Brown said. "That's what Murray did."

The receivers Murray could pick to throw to were Brown, Tavarres King, Michael Bennett and Rantavious Wooten.

"We just have such huge mismatches when you can put Marlon and Michael Bennett in the slots and put them against linebackers or maybe DBs that are third or fourth on their depth charts," Murray said.

Brown had eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri and Bennett each had eight catches for 79 yards.

Tibbs still may play

Georgia coaches talked as a staff on Wednesday about those freshmen who have not played yet this season.

Receiver Blake Tibbs still could find his way on the field, Richt said.

"He might, he might not," Richt said. "It's a little bit similar to Chris Conley last year. The first game or two he didn't get in and we're thinking we might redshirt him."

Then the position was hit with some injuries and Conley was productive.

Only three of Georgia's other 16 scholarship freshmen haven't played: offensive lineman Greg Pyke, quarterback Faton Bauta and defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor.

Vasser wants instant impact

Now that Chase Vasser is back from a two-game suspension, the junior outside linebacker wants to pick up where he left off.

He was slotted into Georgia's starting "Sam" outside linebacker spot before his suspension.

"I've proved myself," Vasser said. "Coaches are really pleased with what I've been doing. I've just got to come back and show that I'm not rusty."

Vasser, who was mandated by Athletic Association policy to sit out the first two games for a May DUI arrest in Atlanta, said his goal is to "punish" the player in front of him.

"He does add a little bit of coverage and pass rush dimension to our backer corps," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said, "so it's always good to get those kind of guys back. So you can have different packages for third down."

This and that

Five defensive starters were listed on Georgia's injury report Wednesday, but Richt said he expects all will play. Cornerback Malcolm Mitchell (ankle, shoulder), defensive end Cornelius Washington (hamstring), nose guard John Jenkins (shoulder) and cornerback Damian Swann (knee) were all in non-contact jerseys. Linebacker Jarvis Jones (groin and shoulder) was with a trainer on the side in a regular jersey early in practice before joining a drill. Richt said there's no temptation to rest injured players against Florida Atlantic. "I don't think so," Richt said. "Guys want to play. In the NFL, you get paid. In college, you get to play. I think they all want to play. We want to be careful no matter who we're playing with these guys.".

Mitchell could still get some offensive snaps Saturday even though he's not fully healthy, Richt said. "I'd like to see a couple of snaps anyway," Richt said.

The ceremony for interim mascot Russ becoming Uga IX will be approximately 11 minutes remaining on the pregame clock Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 7:35 p.m.

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