SEC Football Notebook

After holding the nation's top offensive team to 20 points last weekend, the Auburn defense will be challenged once again this weekend when they face Louisiana Tech, which is third nationally in passing offense.

Defensive coordinator John Lovett talked about Auburn's preparation for the Bulldogs following the Tigers' two and a half hour practice Tuesday.

"We're trying to get the kids back focused on what they need to do this week," Lovett said. "We remember what happened last year against Louisiana Tech. It wasn't a pretty day out there. We showed our players last year's film yesterday and have watched some of this year's film to show them the capabilities of Louisiana Tech's offense. Our players started to get going during practice today and I think they understand what's at stake."

Louisiana Tech averages 341.2 yards per contest through the air and is led by sophomore quarterback Luke McCown. McCown has thrown for 1,602 yards this season and is second nationally in completions, averaging 27.8 per contest.

"Their offense moves the ball well and if our defense doesn't play lights out, they are going to have their hands full," Lovett said. "They get rid of the ball quickly and throw a lot of screens to spread out your defense. They don't run the ball that much, but their version of the running game is throwing screens or quick dump offs."

Kickoff between 20th-ranked Auburn (5-1) and Louisiana Tech (3-2) will be at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will mark the 75th Homecoming game on the Plains.

Saturday's game will be available on a Pay-Per-View basis to Alabama residence only. To order the game, cable subscribers should contact their local cable provider. Subscribers to the Dish Network need to tune to channel 455 to place the order. Residential C-Band satellite dish customers should call 1-800-TV-STARS. Commercial dish owners may call 1-888-TV-STARS to make arrangements to receive the telecast.

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Richt Terms Wildcats 'Dangerous'

ATHENS, Ga. -- The 17th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs held a two-hour practice in full pads Tuesday as they get set to play host to Kentucky.

The Bulldogs (4-1, 3-1 SEC) return to Sanford Stadium for Homecoming after a pair of road wins the last two weeks in the state of Tennessee. Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Wildcats (1-5, 0-4 SEC) are a very dangerous team.

"Last week, they took LSU to the wire," said Richt. "They are working on a new system too, and it seems like their players are beginning to buy into what they are doing and they are coming very close to doing some great things. Last week could have really been a turning-the-corner (point) for them, and I'm sure this week they will be looking to do that. We have to be ready to play our best game."

Kickoff Saturday is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., the game will be televised by Jefferson Pilot Sports. All Georgia football games will be broadcast on NewsTalk 750 WSB and the WSB/Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network.

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Lorenzen to Start at Georgia

Quarterback Jared Lorenzen, who came off the bench to spark Kentucky to a near-upset of Louisiana State last Saturday, will return to the starting lineup in Saturday's game at Georgia, Coach Guy Morriss announced Tuesday afternoon.

"Jared has earned the chance to start," Morriss said. "It's not based solely on his performance against LSU, but also how he's handled himself the last few weeks. He's done a good job of staying in the game plan, studying film, and staying close to Coach Pease (offensive coordinator Brent Pease) to continue learning as much as he can. Jared's attitude has been good. He's making his reads better and faster."

Lorenzen won the starting job during preseason practice, but struggled in the season opener against Louisville. Redshirt freshman Shane Boyd was given the starting nod for the next five games. Lorenzen played in a relief role against Mississippi on Sept. 29, then got his next chance last Saturday against LSU.

Entering in the third quarter, trailing 22-10, Lorenzen guided consecutive 80-yard touchdown drives to put the Wildcats ahead. The Tigers scored a last-minute touchdown, however, to pull out the 29-25 victory.

In six games this season, Boyd has completed 85 of 154 passes (55.2 percent) for 852 yards, with four touchdowns and six interceptions. Lorenzen has played in three games and completed 23 of 55 passes (41.8 percent) for 299 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

Morriss made the announcement following Tuesday afternoon's one-hour, 45-minute practice at the Nutter Training Center. The Wildcats (1-5, 0-4 SEC) are preparing for Saturday's clash against the Georgia Bulldogs (4-1, 3-1 SEC) in Athens' Sanford Stadium. Game time is 12:30 p.m. EDT and it will be regionally televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports as the "SEC Game of the Week."

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Holtz Challenges USC Seniors to Step Up

USC head coach Lou Holtz said he looks for his seniors to provide some leadership as the 16th-ranked Gamecocks prepare for Homecoming this Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores. "It's important that our seniors respond and provide leadership to this football team, particularly to our younger players," said Coach Holtz. "I believe they will. If there's anything positive that will come out of last week's game (10-7 loss at Arkansas), it's that we will develop some senior leadership. I'm confident of that."

Coach Holtz said that senior defensive lineman Willie Sams (knee sprain) underwent surgery on Tuesday and will be out the remainder of the season. Junior defensive end Dennis Quinn, who had arthroscopic knee surgery three weeks ago, is back practicing on a limited basis but is doubtful for the Vanderbilt game. Senior cornerback Andre Goodman bruised his right knee during Tuesday's workout but should be fine for this week's game.

Coach Holtz said that Vanderbilt's offense concerns him. "Vanderbilt has an explosive offense," said Holtz. "I don't know if we can stop them and I don't know if we can match them with our offense."

Coach Holtz said Vanderbilt has three players who are playing as well as any at their position in the Southeastern Conference. "Their tailback (Lew Thomas) is averaging over 100 yards rushing a game," said Holtz. "(Greg) Zolman is an excellent quarterback and (Dan) Stricker may be the best receiver in the conference. We couldn't begin to cover him last year."

Coach Holtz said that he is looking at Kevin Saylor to handle the long snapping chores for punts.

Coach Holtz said that junior quarterback Corey Jenkins will see more action this Saturday. "Corey's performance has warranted him the opportunity to play more," said Holtz. "He still makes some mistakes and he's not as ready as Phil (Petty), but he will see more playing time."

Coach Holtz said he was impressed with the younger players who participated in a 20-play scrimmage at the end of Monday evening's practice.

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SEC Stat Leaders Face Ground Duel in Tuscaloosa

Pay close attention Saturday when Alabama owns the football because it is likely the Southeastern Conference's top-ranked rushing unit is preparing to challenge the league's leading defensive stoppers.

Tennessee (3-1, 2-1 SEC) allows an average of 259.5 yards in total offense per game and only 47.8 yards via the ground. Those numbers have the Vols ranked first statistically in the SEC in both categories and among the top 10 for Division I-A. Alabama, meanwhile, rushes the ball twice out of every three offensive plays and has accumulated a 229.3-yard average on the ground -- also tops in the league and a sparkling figure nationally.

"They are a very dangerous football team and, obviously, it's a huge challenge ahead for us," UT coach Phillip Fulmer said. "Quarterback Tyler Watts is a heck of a player as a field general, a runner and as a passer. He will certainly demand a lot of our attention, but they have a lot of weapons. You don't get close to 500 yards without having something pretty good."

Watts and tailback Ahmaad Galloway each average more than 78 yards per game on the ground, with the Alabama quarterback having thrown for seven scores and rushed for four more. Tennessee has yet to allow a rushing touchdown in 2001 -- the only I-A team with that distinction.

Tuesday, the Vols worked out at Hudson Field for 1 hour, 45 minutes in Vol gear (helmets and shoulder pads). Fulmer was pleased with the team's effort and the fact that his unit appears to be getting healthy.

"We had good work," he said. "It was good to have those guys back out there participating. This time of year, you're always going to have things to overcome. Depth steps up -- it has in most cases for us, thank goodness. We certainly haven't used it as an excuse. This is as healthy as we've been. There isn't anybody in America that's played four tough games like we have that's not beat up a little bit."

Kickoff Saturday is set for 2:30 p.m. Central time at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. CBS carries the national broadcast with Verne Lundquist, Todd Blackledge and Jill Arrington calling the action.

Injury Update: Questionable -- Donte' Stallworth (wrist), DE Will Overstreet (knee).

UT-South Carolina Set for Night Start at Neyland Stadium: Tennessee's Oct. 27 home outing against South Carolina has been scheduled for an evening kickoff, either 6 p.m. on ESPN2 or 7:45 p.m. on ESPN. The network will make a final starting time decision following this weekend's contests, which include the Gamecocks hosting Vanderbilt and the Vols visiting Alabama.


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