ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

ATHENS, Ga. -- There haven't been any visions of sugarplums dancing in the head of Georgia senior cornerback Prince Miller.

Only visions of Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant, and lots of them.

"You can't help but think of him every day," Miller said. "He's one of the best players in the country, and this is what I've trained for all summer."

Georgia's defense, which allowed 38 or more points four times in its final five regular-season games last year, will know where it stands in a hurry with an opening test at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys return 15 starters from a team whose only regular-season losses were to No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Texas Tech and No. 3 Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State scored more than 50 points five times last season, when quarterback Zac Robinson ranked fifth nationally in pass efficiency (166.84), Bryant was third in receiving (113.85 yards per game) and Kendall Hunter was seventh in rushing (119.62). All three are back.

"Dez Bryant will be a big challenge for our whole defense, because one guy will not be able to shut him down," Miller said. "It's going to take a total team effort to shut him down, as well as their other receivers and their running backs."

Said safety Reshad Jones: "They're going to come with everything they have, and we're going to come with all we have. I think we're ready to get it going."

The Bulldogs opened at home last season against Georgia Southern and opened their 2007 season at home against Oklahoma State. Those Cowboys entered with a touted three-headed monster of quarterback Bobby Reid, tailback Dantrell Savage and receiver Adarius Bowman, but Georgia rolled to a 35-14 win.

Reid threw for 191 yards but was sacked five times and intercepted once, while Savage was held to 55 rushing yards. Bowman, the former Notre Dame High School standout, had four catches for 65 yards but was shut out in OSU's scoreless second half.

Bulldogs defensive coordinator Willie Martinez believes there will be some familiarity having played OSU two years ago but admits this monster trio is more imposing.

"Their quarterback is a big difference," Martinez said. "He is a threat running the ball and throwing the ball. They've got a great receiver in Dez Bryant and a great runner in Kendall Hunter. You've got the three-headed horse, and they would have had the four-headed horse had (tight end Brandon) Pettigrew not left.

"They've got our attention. I think our players are a little bit more focused compared to past years because of who our opponent is, and they've got enough people telling them how good they are, so it keeps them focused and makes them prepare a little harder."

Despite the daunting early task, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he will not change the focus of preseason camp to the opening foe any sooner than he has in the past. Installing fundamentals on offense, defense and special teams is just too important, he said.

Martinez said he hasn't watched more video of Oklahoma State than he has opening opponents in previous years, but he knows his players have.

"We've watched tons of film," Miller said. "That's the only way we can slow that game down. Guys are not necessarily going to get that much faster or stronger, but you can slow the game down by watching more film. That's how you get better.

"They do look great on film, though."

Odds and ends

Richt said Saturday that he is proud of the team after five practices and even prouder that 79 players posted a 3.0 GPA or higher in the summer semester. ... Backup offensive tackle Casey Nickels, a 6-foot-4, 274-pound junior from Tignall, Ga., has been awarded a scholarship. ... Freshman tailback Washaun Ealey and freshman defensive tackle Derrick Lott missed Saturday's practice with elbow injuries, but neither injury is serious.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT