LSU, held without a first down against Georgia in the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship game in 2011, has the third-most first downs in the conference heading into Saturday’s game in Athens.
This is the first time Georgia and LSU have played since the title game won by the Tigers 42-10 after a second-half onslaught.
“I think it’s really different teams,” LSU coach Les Miles said Monday. “I think there’s an ability to handle and do the things that this team does maybe a little bit more effectively than that team.”
Five starters from that game will play for Georgia on Saturday — quarterback Aaron Murray, offensive linemen Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates, defensive lineman Garrison Smith and linebacker Amarlo Herrera.
LSU, which lost 11 underclassmen to the NFL draft, has one starter from the game still active — receiver Odell Beckham.
“I think our players are as talented as we’ve ever had,” Miles said. “I think there’s a maturity that needs to take place so that they can play with their cleats headed north and south, ready to take a tackle, show the style of confidence, if you will, that other defenses that have played in this uniform have shown. I think that’s coming.”
Another LSU connection at Georgia
Miles was ready to bring some levity to the family connection at Georgia for former Bulldog and current Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
A day after Georgia coach Mark Richt said that Tammy Mettenberger, Zach’s mother, would get the week off from her job in the Georgia football office, that became fodder at Miles’ weekly news conference.
“We were really kind of hoping that we’d get the call sheet and several of the other key pieces of information, but Mark kind of knew that we needed to get that done,” Miles said.
Speaking of family members, Miles’ niece is on the Georgia softball team.
Katie Browne from Zachary, La., is a sophomore catcher who started every game last year for the Bulldogs. She hit .257 with five homers and 25 runs batted in.
Miles’ sister and Katie’s mother, Hope Browne, was killed in a car accident in 2011 in Addis, La., according to an ESPN.com article.
Katie Browne’s connection to Georgia was her high school coach, who pitched for Bulldogs softball coach Lu Harris-Champer at Nicholls State.
“A member of my family has some fondness with Georgia,” Miles said. “I have a niece that goes to Georgia and I’m going to have to call her later today and find out if I can see her when I go up there.”
No word from UGA O-lineman on player protest
None of Georgia’s offensive linemen that took part in the protest Saturday over the NCAA’s treatment of athletes were made available for interviews Monday.
All of the Bulldogs offensive linemen were kept away from the media last week, too, so there may be no correlation. Kolton Houston, Kenarious Gates, Chris Burnette, John Theus and David Andrews had “APU”—All Players United--written on wrist tape, according to an ESPN report.
The advocacy group National College Players Association is behind the NCAA reform effort. Players from Georgia Tech and Northwestern participated as well.
This and that
Georgia had several players out or limited from its full pads practice on Monday. Tailback Keith Marshall (shoulder contusion) and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley (shoulder sprain). Tight end Jay Rome (ankle), receiver Jonathon Rumph (hamstring) and outside linebacker James Deloach (concussion) were out. The full pads practice is a rarity for the first day of a game week. “I felt like we needed to scrimmage a little bit,” Richt said.
ESPN’s “College GameDay” will have its set at the Myers Quad, the same spot where the morning pregame show set up in its last visit in 2008. That’s behind the Myers Hall housing community. ESPN’s Radio will also be on campus and set up at the Miller Learning Center near the University Bookstore and Tate Center.
Georgia’s game at Tennessee will kick off on Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m. on CBS or 7 p.m on one of the ESPN networks. CBS is using a six-day option on its choice and will make a decision by Sunday.
Wide receiver Reggie Davis was named SEC freshman of the week after setting a Georgia record for longest receiving touchdown on a 98-yard scoring play from Aaron Murray against North Texas. He had two catches for 134 yards in the game.