August 22, 2013

What route will Dawgs take?

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With the season-opener against Clemson now just over a week away, one of the more popular topics for message board fodder has revolved around how Georgia's offensive should go about trying to attack the defense of the 8th-ranked Tigers.

Do the 5th-ranked Bulldogs use the balanced approach? Do they go no-huddle? Do they air it out or try to grind out yards to keep Tajh Boyd and what looks to be a potent Clemson offense off the field as much as possible.

According to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, whatever works.

"By at the end of the day you've got to do what's best to get first downs," Bobo said after practice Thursday. "You can't just slow it down and huddle if that's not giving you offense. You've got to do what you have to do to be successful."

The Bulldogs are certainly capable of taking either course.

Last year, quarterback Aaron Murray and company, the Bulldogs are coming off a year where they scored a school-record 529 points. Quick strike or long, methodical drives, Georgia did it all.

Although Bobo is not making any predictions, the former Georgia quarterback said he's been quite pleased with the focus his players have shown and believes they'll be ready for what they'll face in Clemson on Aug. 31 (8 p.m., ABC).

What's impressed him the most?

"I think it's the attention to the small stuff, the little things. Guys are locked in pretty much every day and ready to do their business, go to work and that's what it takes to be a champion," Bobo said. "I'm interested to see what we've got. You never really know until you play a game, and how you're going to react to situations, but I believe our experience is going to help us and handle adversity. But we'll see. That's why you play the game. I'm excited to see us."

Bobo said don't look for his offense to try and get fancy against the Tigers and defensive coordinator Brent Venable.

"I just want to execute. I'm not trying to surprise anybody," Bobo said. "I want to execute, put our points on the board and put our team in position to win ball games."

Bobo's counting on his team's experience playing a much bigger role than it did the last time Georgia faced an opponent in the opener the caliber of Clemson - Boise State at the Georgia Dome in 2011.

The Broncos won that game 34-21, as what was at time a young Bulldog offense with little to no experience playing on a big, national stage like they will next week.

"I think the guys worked hard and were ready to play but I also think we might have listened to some noise a little too much for that game, some hype instead of what we had to do to hone in and do what we had to do to be successful," Bobo recalled. "Truth be told we played a veteran team with 16 returning starters. I think they were three-year starters while we were a young football team and didn't handle the environment well. It was a growing experience, so the guys who were on that team are now able to pull from that and know what it takes. It's definitely been beneficial to their preparation."

Bobo said he's been relatively pleased with the way his players have kept their energy through what he concedes has been a grueling preseason.

"Next week I'll suspect our guys will have more juice because it's game week. It's a little more difficult here at Georgia because we've been in school since the 12th, where some schools started on the 19th and some don't start until the 20-something," he said. "When school hits there's usually that lull you because now you've got school responsibilities and time management on these guys is tough. You kind of hit on a little bit of a lull. There was a little bit of that last week but his week I think we fought through it and we're ready to go a bit more because we're closer to the game."

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