ATHENS — With an eye on the scoreboard and the BCS standings, No. 5 Georgia will step out of its normal routine for a couple of weeks to play a pair of throwback teams.
First up, small-college powerhouse Georgia Southern.
The Bulldogs, who have already locked up a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game, should have no trouble adding another win to their record on Saturday. Even so, this apparent mismatch could provide some useful guidance on how Georgia will handle its regular-season finale against another neighborhood rival, Georgia Tech.
The Eagles are coached by Jeff Monken, who used to be an assistant at Georgia Tech. Both teams have essentially the same run-oriented option offense, giving Georgia (9-1) a useful tuneup for next week's game against the Yellow Jackets.
"If you're going to play that type of offense twice in a season, it's probably better to do it back to back rather than in game four and game nine,' Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "You kind of go back and forth on a certain mentality, and if we can maintain the same mentality for two weeks in a row instead of having to go back and forth, it's probably not a bad thing."
Linebacker Christian Robinson said it will be especially beneficial to work against Georgia Southern's cut blocking scheme, a potentially dangerous technique that involves hitting at the knees. The Bulldogs will certainly see more of that when they face Georgia Tech.
"It's a good thing the way this works out," Robinson said. "A big thing for this week is that we're going to have to knock them back and then stay on your feet and make plays. Obviously we're going to go against cut blocks, so getting to play against it two weeks in a row will allow us to get better at playing against that block."