What is it with the Georgia football program and just an utter lack of respect? The Bulldogs won the SEC East in 2011 and prior to the kickoff of the 2012 season, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson called the team’s style of play “old man football” before they were slaughtered at home in the team’s first-ever SEC game.
The Dawgs went on to repeat as SEC East champs and came within five yards of upending Alabama in the conference title game. Led by quarterback Aaron Murray and a great running game Georgia is expected to being the 2013 season within the nation’s top 10.
However, the team will be opening the year against one of the ACC’s top teams in Clemson. One of the Tigers’ best players, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, doesn’t care about Georgia’s titles or its preseason rank.
In fact, the way he sees things, if Clemson takes care of its business, Watkins and Co. are going to “best the mess out of” the SEC powerhouse.
“Behind the scenes we like our schedule,” he told Bart Wright of TigersNow.com. “People talk about Georgia, Florida State and South Carolina, but I’m not worried about them, I’m concentrated on what we do.
“If we come out and beat Georgia, not just beat ‘em but beat the mess out of ‘em like we should, I don’t see no problems in getting started in the right direction. I don’t have disrespect for them or for nobody else, I just believe we can be just the kind of team we want to be, the talent is here, we know how to win.”
The SEC has long been known for its elite defensive play. While most defensive backs have lined up far off of Watkins in deference to his speed, Georgia may not be so intimidated. One of the biggest non-conference games of the year is still two months away but Watkins wishes the game was today.
“I’m ready to play right now,” Watkins said. “I can’t wait to show people what we can do.”
That’s in large part because Watkins is more than confident about his own abilities. When asked about the only team last year who pressed him at the line of scrimmage, Florida State, Watkins was excited at the prospect of enjoying more of the same defensive treatment in Week 1.
“Let’s see if they do it again,” Watkins said of the Seminoles, who head to Clemson on Oct. 19. “I pray that they do, I want to be pressed at the line on every play, I want them to try to know what I’m going to do before the play, because they will never know, they can’t know. I know one play against (Florida State), they had three guys on me, three covering me on one pass play and I made the catch; I don’t believe anybody can cover me one-on-one and I just hope everybody tries it.”
This all just adds fuel to the fire for a game that had plenty of hype without it.