Nobody needs to tell Alabama coach Nick Saban the importance of having an athletic big-body at nose to anchor the middle of your 3-4 defensive scheme.
Saban had that with Terrence Cody and currently with senior Jesse Williams.
In regards to Georgia's John Jenkins, Saban believes the Bulldogs have a good one as well.
"He's hard to block. Any time you play an odd defense, a 3-4 defense, and can't block the nose guard, it makes it hard to run a lot of plays. He's reminds me a lot of Cody when we had him here," Saban said during Sunday's teleconference with reporters. "Their entire defensive team plays extremely well; they play well together. They have a good scheme, lots of experience. It obviously starts with him playing and clogging up the middle. That always is a good starting point."
Ironically, Jenkins and Cody are no strangers to one another.
Although Jenkins said the two have never met, the fact that Cody preceded him at Gulf Coast Community College (Miss.) left for some big shoes to fill.
"I lived in his shadow my whole two years there," Jenkins said Tuesday. "For Coach Saban to give me that sort of compliment, it's a big deal, almost an honor."
Oddly enough, Jenkins and Williams have somewhat of a history themselves.
In 2011, the pair was generally regarded as the two top JUCO nose tackles in the country, Jenkins at Gulf Coast and Williams at Arizona Western.
Top football programs from all over the nation vied for their services, before each narrowed their choices to schools from the SEC.
"When I was coming out it as me and Jesse," Jenkins said. "We have the same similarities, the schools that we chose, everything. I don't know if he knew what I was telling myself I didn't want to go there if he was going to go there."
Saturday, both players will be expected to play key roles for their respective teams.
For Jenkins, it means facing off against the like of Alabama's All-American center Barrett Jones.
At 6-foot-5 and 302 pounds, Jones figures to give Jenkins his most difficult battle to date and provide one of the game's more interesting one-on-one matchups to watch.
"He's outstanding," Jenkins said. "His body, his size, his hand-placement, the way he reads the line
the way he finishes blocks - everything."
But even when he slides over to end, the prospect of facing off against guards Chance Warmack and Anthony Steen won't give Jenkins any sort of a break - not that he'd be looking for one.
"I don't try and look for a weak link, if that's what you're saying. I'm just going to play. I'm just looking to play a good game," Jenkins said. "I'm pretty sure they're thinking the same thing. They're not going to be looking for a weak link; they probably want to be able to prove that I'm the weak link."
Richt fine with Murray's silence
Richt said he's got no problem with Aaron Murray's vow of silence this week in regards to no media interviews leading up to Saturday's game.
"He really loves to submerge himself into the film study of every game, and this one he just wants to focus on nothing but Alabama," Richt said. "He doesn't want to have any other distraction, so that's okay with me."
Murray may not be the only Bulldog taking that route.
So far, only junior Chris Burnette has made himself available as far as the offensive linemen go after other Dallas Lee and John Theus brushed off interview requests on Monday.
"They are good friends, and they're going head-to-head basically. It's our offense vs. their defense, so there's a lot of pride there. They want to win. They're both highly competitive guys. They love football, and they're great football coaches. They're super-competitive, they want to win, and they certainly want to win against one of their best friends in life that they're going to have to talk with and deal with for the rest of the year and the rest of their career. That is an interesting match-up right there." - Richt on the battle between Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Bulldog offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, good friends and former teammates at UGA.
This and that
Richt said he wouldn't be a fan of the new playoff format if only one school from each conference would be allowed to take part. "I'll say this. I'm not sure of the format. I would say that if there is a four-team playoff and each league can only have one team in it, I don't think I would like that as much as the format now. But if you're allowed to have at least two teams in it, I think it would be good."
Other than backup defensive lineman Mike Thornton (ankle), Georgia is expected to go into Saturday's 100 percent with no new injuries.