Chester Adams is nearly alone among his teammates when it comes to personal knowledge of big-game atmosphere at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Georgia offensive tackle, who attended “a pretty good many” Alabama games there when growing up in the Yellowhammer State, has heard legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant grumble from the stadium jumbotron before the game. He’s listened to the Million Dollar Band belt out “Yea Alabama.” He’s heard 90,000 fans scream out the “Rammer Jammer” cheer at the end of a victory.
Heck, he may have even participated.
“It’s an electrifying atmosphere,” Adams said. “You hear Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant talking before the game, the fans get riled up and everything. You’ve gotta be ready and have your game face on. It’s gonna be jacked up Saturday.”
The only Alabama native on Georgia’s roster, Adams grew up as an Alabama fan and was coached at Luverne High School by former Alabama coach Mike Dubose, but surprised the Crimson Tide when he selected Georgia instead.
“They were disappointed that I didn’t go with them and everything,” Adams said, “but I felt like Georgia was a better program and I feel like I’ve excelled since I’ve been here, so I made the right decision.”
Saturday’s 7:45 p.m. game will mark the first time Georgia has visited Tuscaloosa since the Bulldogs’ 27-25 win in 2002. And it will mark the first road game in the college careers of three of his fellow starters on Georgia’s offensive line.
True freshman left tackle Trinton Sturdivant is expected to start on Saturday, as will two members of the trio of freshmen Clint Boling and Chris Davis and junior college transfer Scott Haverkamp – who played briefly as a redshirt freshman at Kansas, but never in a road game.
Davis said he and Boling worked at guard with the starting offense in Monday’s practice.
Boling replaced Adams as a starting right tackle in Saturday’s win over Western Carolina because Adams was in offensive line coach Stacy Searels’ doghouse, as coach Mark Richt put it. But Adams is back in the starting lineup at tackle this week and Boling will apparently be at guard, if he starts this week.
“The more Boling plays, the more we like him,” Richt said. “He may be pushing for some starting play whether at guard or tackle. He may have a better shot starting at guard than tackle after (the Western Carolina) ballgame.”
Adams started 11 games at guard last year, but said he rarely works there in practice these days. He doesn’t foresee playing there in games soon, either.
“Not really unless something drastic happens,” Adams said.
What will be drastic is the difference between Georgia’s functioning in the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium versus Bryant-Denny, where the volume level will surely be raised several decibels when the Bulldogs have the ball.
Adams said it will be interesting to see how his young teammates handle the change.
“A lot of them guys haven’t played in a big atmosphere like that, so we’re gonna see what they’re made of,” he said.
Richt said he foresees tailback Kregg Lumpkin contributing at least on special teams this week and perhaps more, but Lumpkin said Monday he isn’t yet sure how well his surgically repaired thumb will withstand contact.
“I didn’t really get a chance to physically bang it today, so I’m not sure how it’s gonna feel once it does that,” Lumpkin said. “It was just exciting to get back out there today and get out there with the fellas.”
Lumpkin has been out since breaking his right thumb while in Georgia’s season-opening win over Oklahoma State just over two weeks ago. He still has a cast on his hand and said he is unsure whether he could be comfortable carrying the ball if he is medically cleared to compete against Alabama.
If his coaches elected to allow him to carry the ball this week, Lumpkin said he would “pretty much” be restricted to carrying the ball with his left hand.
ESPN announced that its “College GameDay” show will be televised from Tuscaloosa on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. The popular college football program, featuring hosts Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, typically originates from the site of one of the most significant games that week.
This will be the first time GameDay has showcased a Georgia game since the 2005 Florida game from Jacksonville, Fla.
UGA announced on Monday that the Bulldogs’ Sept. 29 game against Ole Miss will not be televised and will kick off at 1 p.m. Georgia could have elected to televise the game on pay-per-view, but the game would have had to kick off in the evening, so as not to conflict with the SEC’s afternoon games on TV. Schools can air more than one pay-per-view game each season, but may only conflict with the timeslots of the SEC’s traditional TV gametimes once per timeslot. Since Georgia televised last weekend’s 1 p.m. Western Carolina on pay-per-view, it could not televise the Ole Miss game in the afternoon, as an afternoon kickoff would conflict with that day’s 12:30 Lincoln Financial game, as well as the mid-afternoon CBS game. … Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens was awarded the SEC’s Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against Western Carolina. The junior defensive tackle registered five tackles, two for a loss, and forced a fumble against the Catamounts.