ATHENS, Ga. — In his first year on the job at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin made a point to put a target on Georgia.
He called the Bulldogs his team’s biggest rival, and for good reason. The Volunteers need to recruit in Georgia, and Kiffin wanted to get his regime off on the right foot. The result was a dominant win over the Bulldogs in Knoxville.
This week, Georgia faces another first-year coach of another SEC program that relies on the Peach State to fill a sizable portion of its roster when Auburn comes to Athens. And again, the victor will earn bragging rights — not just among fans, but in the living rooms of recruits throughout the state.
“Winning helps recruiting,” said Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, who played and coached at Auburn. “That’s the single most important factor is winning. Everybody loves a winner, and if you win, you’re hot, and you’re the most attractive person out there.”
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Change for the better
A year ago, Clint Boling was pressed into action at left tackle, thanks to a slew of injuries at the position, and he never felt at home. This season, he has made the move again, but now he is more comfortable playing the most demanding position on the offensive line.
Boling has started the past two games at left tackle after opening the season as Georgia’s starter on the right side of the line. When Trinton Sturdivant went down with a season-ending knee injury, many fans clamored for Boling to return to the left side, where he earned rave reviews a year ago, but the change was slow to come.
With the return of junior Josh Davis from injury, however, Georgia had more leeway to fill any void Boling might leave on the right side of the line. Boling said when the pieces were in place, everyone was happy to make the move.
“I think Coach (Stacy) Searels was just trying to find the best lineup he wanted with a group of guys that could play hard and do what he wanted to do,” Boling said.