ATHENS, Ga. — Amarlo Herrera was asked if he knew the conference of Georgia’s next opponent.
A blank stare.
When told that North Texas was a member of Conference USA, the linebacker insisted that would’ve been his answer.
“I didn’t want to say anything,” Herrera said. “I didn’t want to get it wrong.”
If there was ever a chance for a letdown, this is it.
Unheralded North Texas will be at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, facing a Georgia team that finally catches a break in the midst of a brutal opening month. The Bulldogs (1-1) opened with a 38-35 loss at third-ranked Clemson, beat then-No. 6 South Carolina at home 41-30, and play host to sixth-ranked Louisiana State University before September is done.
“I don’t see a problem with our guys being motivated,” coach Mark Richt said Tuesday. “You can gauge how they work in practice, and for whatever reason – I don’t know what their motivation is – but they’re practicing hard, they’re practicing with a lot of energy.”
Georgia, which has lost the past two years in the Southeastern Conference title game, knows it has a good chance of getting back to Atlanta for the third year in a row.
“We think we can become a really good team,” Richt said. “We hate to put any kind of limit on what we can do.”
That’s where North Texas comes in.
Georgia has played 13 true freshmen in the first two games, including three in starting roles – safety Tray Matthews, cornerback Brendan Langley and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Only Texas A&M (17), UCLA (15) and LSU (14) have played more.
While most of the youth is on defense, a couple of first-year running backs could get extensive playing time if the Bulldogs push out to a big lead on the Mean Green. Brendan Douglas, a former Aquinas standout, ran five time for 31 yards against South Carolina in his college debut. J.J. Green has played in both games.
“We’re in a good place as far as guys giving great effort and not being bored with it,” Richt said.