ATLANTA — Some may call it an innovative approach to scouting and pre-game preparation.
Others could call it a bizarre, unnecessary tactic based half in fear and half in boredom.
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But of course, whichever side of the Georgia-Georgia Tech divide one aligns themselves might color their thoughts about the presence of Bulldogs players in the stands at Bobby Dodd Stadium on a college football Saturday.
Just before the start of Georgia Tech’s home-finale against Duke, Bulldogs running back Tavares King tweeted from his @tkunodos Twitter handle that he was “headed to the tech game.” According to messages on the social network from Georgia Tech fans located in the north end zone stands, he and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray were there with other Georgia players, scouting their Week 13 competition.
Georgia was off this weekend as it welcomes the Yellow Jackets to Sanford Stadium for the teams’ annual end-of-year rivalry game.
“I hope they enjoyed themselves,” Yellow Jackets center Sean Bedford said. “I went and saw them on our bye week.”
Bedford’s motivations, however, were slightly different. Growing up in Gainesville, Fla., he has long been a Florida Gators fan. He wanted to share the experience of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Georgia-Florida contest with a teammate since Georgia Tech’s off week happened to occur that same week.
To Yellow Jackets B-back Anthony Allen, a Tampa, Fla. native who played briefly with fellow Florida native Murray in high school, even the Bulldogs’ potential presence suggests something deeper.
“That means they’re worried about us,” Allen said. “Obviously, they want to come watch us. But they’re worried about something. We’ll just have to see what they do next week.”
The Bulldogs won last year’s rivalry game 30-24. One player was even photographed having ripped up a large chunk of Bobby Dodd Stadium sod and placing it in his mouth in mocking celebration. The year before, when the Yellow Jackets snapped a seven-game series losing streak with a 45-42 win in Athens, Georgia Tech players snatched pieces of Sanford Stadium’s famed hedges and placed them in their mouths.
Not only will next Saturday’s contest have the emotion of those previous two games riding with it, but also will have postseason implications attached to it. The Bulldogs are still one win from bowl eligibility, while Georgia Tech’s 30-20 win over Duke on Saturday vaulted the Yellow Jackets into the postseason for a 14th consecutive year.
Despite all that, the presence of Bulldogs at Bobby Dodd Stadium left at least one Georgia Tech player unfazed.
“It means that they were bored,” A-back Roddy Jones said. “Obviously, they wanted to make a trip down to Atlanta. It doesn’t really say a whole lot to me. They’re not going to see anything here (at the game) that they’re not going to see on film. I guess it’s good that they’re getting a head-start on it, but they’ve had a bye week so they’ve already started on it.
“As much as people want to make a big deal out of it, it’s not a big deal for us.”