It's been dubbed the "Hot Seat Bowl."
Georgia (1-2, 0-1) and Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1) two teams with two head coaches - contrived or not - who many perceive to be on proverbial thin ice in regards to their respective jobs.
But while that may or may not be true, Bulldog coach Mark Richt didn't sound too amused when told what some are calling Saturday's contest in Oxford, Miss., where Rebels head coach Houston Nutt's position appears to be tenuous at best.
"I knew that would happen. No. That was pretty easy to predict. You think they could have thought of something better than that," Richt said. "I think a couple of kindergarteners could have figured out that one."
Saturday's loser certainly won't have done himself any favors.
The heat on Nutt appears to be white hot.
Earlier this week, a group of fans calling themselves "Forward Rebels" took out ads in several area newspapers claiming the Ole Miss athletic administration is the problem.
Monday, Rebel AD Pete Boone held a press conference where he called Ole Miss' loss to Vanderbilt "unacceptable" and addressed his expectations for Nutt moving forward.
"I hate that. I've always hated that. I guess I can talk about it this way. When we as SEC coaches, let's say at our meetings in Destin or the National Coaches Convention, you all get in that room together. Whether we get mad at each other or not, or get in these competitive situations whether it's recruiting or on the field, when you sit in that room together and you start talking the reality of our jobs, our responsibilities, the things we can control, the thing we can't control," Richt said. "There's a heavy dose of respect for everybody in that room. It's something, I don't think anyone enjoys another guy going through something like that. I think we all know that we're pretty darn good coaches, there's 12 of us in the league, somebody's going to have a good year and somebody's going to have a bad year."
Georgia hopes to have defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (strained back) back for Saturday's game at Ole Miss as well as offensive lineman Kenarious Gates who has missed the last two contests with an injured ankle.
"We are very hopeful that DeAngelo will be back. I can't remember exactly, but I think we are hoping for him to get a little scout team work (Tuesday) if I'm not mistaken. He won't do the inside drill and the 11-on-11 stuff. I think that's where he is at today," Richt said. "Gates we are hoping to get a little scout team work (Tuesday). I don't think we are ready to get into the other action, and where he'll plug in is a good question. We always try to get him some reps at guard and at tackle. If he was 100-percent healthy and something happened to one of our tackles, he'd be the guy that would probably play tackle first. Fortunately for us, he is a very sharp guy and moving him around a little bit doesn't blow him up. He could end up at guard or tackle."
The news wasn't quite as positive regarding wide receiver Marlon Brown, who appears in danger of missing his second straight game with a bad ankle.
"I don't know if it's a mild high ankle sprain, but it's been lingering more than we would hope. He did early on just try to strap it up and go, and it just progressively got worse to the point where he really couldn't function well," Richt said. "Now we're trying to get him pain-free and give it another whirl. He won't be going today."
Freshmen linemen get their chance
Richt said the reason for giving freshman Watts Dantzler, David Andrews and Hunter Long their first taste of college action last week against Coastal Carolina is actually quite simple - the Bulldogs need some depth.
"They are second team, and one injury and one of those three is probably going to play. That's part of it. The other part of it is three seniors right now on our offensive line will be gone, and so a year from now there is a good chance one, two or three of those guys will be playing," Richt said. "Even if they play a little bit, any playing experience is very valuable for them this year. The fact that they are second team getting a ton of reps every day is helping them too. These guys aren't true freshmen hanging out on the scout team line and kind of waiting for their day in the spring. So the more we can play them, the better off they'll be in the future too."
The trio's first play was one they no doubt will never forget as that's the one Hutson Mason used to hit tight end Orson Charles with a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Richt was relatively pleased with what he saw.
"Not bad, I think David Andrews probably performed the best of that group, which wasn't surprising. The other two didn't do poorly, but David really seemed to be on it and played hard and physical," Richt said. "It seemed like he played confident and knew exactly what to do. I'm not trying to slight the other two boys, but I thought David stood out. That was big for those guys. That's fun. It had to be a great memory. I remember Huston Mason last year, his first play was a touchdown pass so it kind of reminded me of that."
Charles said he was ready
Charles said he was more than ready to give defense a whirl, before Richt pulled the plug late in the fourth quarter against Coastal Carolina.
Apparently, it wasn't a spur of the moment idea.
"We talked about this whole week. I was down by Coach (Todd) Grantham during the third quarter and he said wait till the fourth quarter, this whole time, I'm right next to him. I'm like a fly," Charles said. "I had told Coach Richt, make sure Coach Grantham follows up, he's a man of his word. He (Richt) said OK, but when it came down to it Coach Richt said he didn't want anything to happen or me getting hurt."
Charles said he was going to give one of the inside linebacker positions a whirl.
Maybe one day.
"I feel I still got it in me," Charles laughed. "I played it in high school. If (Brandon) Boykin and B. Smith (Branden Smith) can play offense, I can definitely play defense. It's just something I wanted to do."
This and That
Georgia tight end Aron White is one of 11 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players nationwide named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team on Tuesday. Georgia's previous Good Works Team honorees are Alec Millen in 1992, Travis Jones in 1993, Brian Smith in 1995, Matt Stinchcomb in 1997 and 1998, Brett Millican in 2000, Jon Stinchcomb in 2001, David Greene in 2003, D.J. Shockley in 2005, Quentin Moses in 2006, Kelin Johnson in 2007 and Jeff Owens in 2009.
Bulldog captains for Saturday's game at Ole Miss include Charles, quarterback Aaron Murray, defensive end Abry Jones and linebacker/safety Shawn Williams.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]