In reality, Clemson and Georgia have been preparing for each other to some degree for a while.
“We have done a lot of work all summer, so it is not like we just are waiting to start,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
But it’s about to ratchet up significantly.
Game week is still technically six days away for the preseason top-5 teams set to clash on Sept. 4 at Bank of America Stadium, but neither one is wasting any time. With fall camp in the books for both teams, each will start incorporating some game planning into their practices.
Georgia closed out camp with its final scrimmage Saturday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs will take Monday off before getting back to work Tuesday with Clemson in mind.
“Our model that I’ve always followed since being here is such that you work hard through camp and you take a couple days off after camp,” UGA’s sixth-year coach said. “That gives the coaches a chance to regroup and recenter. The players get to recover. And then you come back and you get ready for your opponents.”
For Clemson, there will still some focus on itself mixed with some Georgia prep early this week, Swinney said. By the end of the week, Swinney said, the Bulldogs will have the Tigers’ full attention.
“Excited now to turn the page a little bit and start honing in on our personnel and get ready to start doing some game planning,” Swinney said following Clemson’s final camp scrimmage Thursday.
Both teams still have some depth-chart decisions to make as well, particularly with Georgia dealing with a mounting number of injuries. For Clemson, the competition at running back, center and receiver continues to rage on.
And those kinds of decisions are coming sooner rather than later with perhaps the most impactful Week 1 matchup of the college football season looming. Both teams have a chance to notch a resume-building win for their College Football Playoff resumes right off the bat. For Clemson, which may not play another ranked team until a potential ACC championship game matchup, it looms even larger.
Both teams know what they’re about to go up against, which will their make preparation all the more important.
“We all know Clemson is a great team,” UGA defensive back Chris Smith said. “They have a lot of good players, but so do we. We focus on ourselves and how we are able to get better. When the time comes, we will put a game plan together for Clemson.”
The time for both sides is now.