Charleston Southern has more than 20 football players from the Peach State, but Buccaneers coach Jamey Chadwell isn't worried about them being wide-eyed Saturday when walking into Georgia's spacious Sanford Stadium.
"Some of our kids have played Florida State and have played some of the best of the best in previous years," Chadwell said Tuesday, "so there isn't a concern with the kids from there saying, 'Hey, man, we're at the mecca of college football.' The bigger concern is when the ball is kicked off and they run it by us.
"That's going to be when they start getting a little wide-eyed."
Georgia will be the 12th Bowl Subdivision opponent that Charleston Southern, a Championship Subdivision program, will have faced since 2007. There have been lopsided losses to Hawaii (66-10 in 2007), Florida (62-3 in 2009), Florida State (62-10 in 2011) and Colorado (43-10 last year) along the way, but the Buccaneers more than held their own last month in a 21-20 loss at Vanderbilt.
Theys have an 18-6 record in Chadwell's two seasons, which helped explain why Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was quick to bristle when asked at his news conference whether he would consider resting a prominent player such as freshman tailback Nick Chubb.
"That's why people get beat," Richt said. "They start thinking something different other than getting your tail ready for a war, and that's how we're thinking and that's how we're preparing. The players are going to feed off of us as coaches, and I promise you that we're working hard to get the best plan possible."
Chubb rushed for 144 yards on 19 carries in last Saturday's 34-7 win over Auburn and has 1,039 yards this season. The 5-foot-10, 228-pounder from Cedartown has become Georgia's primary tailback again following Todd Gurley's season-ending knee injury, which was announced Sunday.
Chadwell said his defensive players got a little "squeamish" on the bus ride back Saturday from a win at Liberty, because they were watching Chubb run through Auburn.
"We've got some good backs in our league and we've faced some good backs, but he for a freshman is phenomenal," Chadwell said. "To have the balance, the strength that he runs with and the speed -- he's by far the best player we've seen overall in the last two years."
Georgia has played one FCS school every season since 2006, winning each of those matchups by at least 24 points. The Bulldogs routed Idaho State 55-7 in 2010, then Coastal Carolina 59-0, Georgia Southern 45-14 and Appalachian State 45-6 the following seasons.
The Buccaneers of the Big South Conference will earn $450,000 from this week's trip, and Richt is hoping FBS schools will be allowed to continue to face FCS schools, many of which need a hefty paycheck to stay afloat.
"I think it would be horrible to have some of these programs not be able to play football because none of the FBS schools will play them," Richt said. "We should base our strength of schedule on 11 games. Have the (College Football Playoff) committee say, 'We're going to take your best 11 games as your strength of schedule and allow everyone to play an FCS school for the health of the game in America.'
"That's what I would do."
Richt would have the support of Chadwell, who knows that Saturday's season finale will be an experience his players never forget.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how we can compete against the best of the best," he said.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.