The No. 9 Bulldogs’ starting defensive tackles will be reunited for Saturday’s game against No. 15 Auburn (7-2, 5-1 SEC). Georgia’s defensive coaches, who have watched their team’s run defense get pounded the last two games, are hoping their bodies allow it to be a happy reunion.
“That’s yet to be seen,” defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. “That’s what we hope.”
Golston has missed the last two games due to torn elbow ligaments. Anderson missed all or most of four games due to a concussion. Without both of them, the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1) allowed Arkansas to gain 216 yards on the ground, the most by any Georgia opponent this year. With only Anderson back last week, Florida gained 153 on the ground, the third-highest total against Georgia this year.
The last two weeks also mark the only times this year the Bulldogs have surrendered more than 100 yards to a single player. Arkansas’ Darren McFadden had 190, and Florida’s DeShawn Wynn had 109.
“We have to bow our neck up front,” Coach Mark Richt said. “We have got to be strong and physical at the point of attack.”
Having Anderson and Golston back together should help with that.
“(Backup Ray Gant) has been playing his butt off for us,” Golston said. “The main thing is the repetitions, just being able to have more of a rotation and keep guys fresh. When you play as hard as we play, you get tired, so just being able to bring in somebody fresh so we can play with the same intensity throughout the whole game is probably the most important thing.”
Gant probably will remain in the starting spot this week, Garner said Wednesday, while Golston works his way back into the lineup.
Auburn, which is second in the SEC in rushing with 207.1 yards per game, rushed for 230 yards against LSU, which has the 16th-best rushing defense in the country
“There’s nothing fancy about how they did it,” Richt said. “They just lined up and got after it. The last team that did that against us, Arkansas, had an awful lot of success.”
Tigers junior Kenny Irons has averaged 151.5 yards per game in the last four weeks. Irons is a power runner, Garner said.
“There’s no doubt where he’s going to take the ball,” Garner said. “He’s going downhill. He’s definitely a very physical kid.”