Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) looks to add to his 99 career TD passes against North Texas. Murray has thrown for 632 yards and 4 TDs with a completion percentage of 71.2 percent so far this season. (USA TODAY Sports: Daniel Shirey)
Georgia coach Mark Richt isn’t taking North Texas lightly.
To outside observers, North Texas presents a break in a brutal September stretch for Georgia that’s already included games against Clemson and South Carolina and will conclude with a Sept. 28 matchup against LSU.
But Richt looks at a North Texas team that’s off to a 2-1 start that starts nine upperclassmen (juniors or seniors) on offense and 10 on defense.
“I’m very impressed with what I see on film,” Richt said.
North Texas is in its third season under head coach Dan McCarney, who has familiarity with college football on a big state. McCarney was a head coach at Iowa State from 1996-2006, then served as a defensive line coach at Florida from 2007-10 before taking the North Texas job. In 2008, McCarney was on a Florida coaching staff that won a BCS title.
“I see a team that is very well-coached,” Richt said. “I know Coach McCarney has had the opportunity to coach on a national championship team with Coach (Urban) Meyer at Florida. He’s been a head coach for many years and has had a lot of success. I think they are believing and playing hard and they’ll be ready for a big game on Saturday.”
Offensively, Georgia has been terrific in the early going, scoring 38 points and averaging 540.5 yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, Georgia (1-1, 1-0 SEC) will look to improve a defense that ranks 13th in the SEC in yards allowed per game (460.5) and points per game (34.0).
“We’ve got a long way to go if we want to win the national championship and compete for the SEC title,” junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. “We’ve just got to keep working.”
Richt said he doesn’t anticipate his team will be looking ahead to LSU or rusty coming off the bye week.
“I don’t see a problem with our guys being motivated right now,” Richt said. “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.”