On a teleconference Sunday afternoon, Georgia coach Mark Richt said he hoped Will Muschamp would make it easier on the Bulldogs by going ahead and naming a starting quarterback early in the week.
Richt was making a joke, because like everyone else who has followed Muschamp this season, Richt knows how secretive Muschamp is about injuries. Sometimes players don’t show up in games and you find out later they were injured.
The day after Richt’s comment, Muschamp announced at his weekly news conference that not only was injured quarterback John Brantley returning to practice Monday, but that he is probable for Saturday’s game and he expects Brantley to be ready to play.
This is so unlike Muschamp, revealing this much information about an injured player, especially a quarterback (remember how he kept the Jeff Driskel injury hidden the week of the LSU game). It makes you wonder what he’s up to.
Is Brantley really going to play Saturday in Jacksonville? Or does Muschamp just want Richt and the Bulldogs to think he is?
I have a feeling Muschamp is playing mind games here. I think he wants the Georgia defense spending the week preparing for the Florida offense that Brantley runs, which is far different than the offense Driskel and fellow true freshman Jacoby Brissett have run.
If the Bulldogs knew Brantley was out, the game plan would be pretty simple and easy to follow: load the box with eight and nine defenders to shut down the run, then bring heat on the inexperienced quarterbacks in obvious passing situations.
Alabama did it (in the second half.). LSU did it. Auburn did it.
Of course, if the Bulldogs think Brantley is playing, they’ll have to come up with a more complex plan to defend an offense with much better balance and an experienced quarterback who knows how to check in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage.
Not knowing for sure what’s really going on with Brantley, Richt said the ‘Dogs will prepare for all three Florida quarterbacks, just in case.
So, is Brantley really going to play Saturday? I have my doubts. But it’s pretty obvious Muschamp wants the Bulldogs thinking he is.