Around the SEC

Auburn spent two hours on the practice fields Wednesday continuing preparation for Saturday's game at 19th-ranked Georgia. Head coach Tommy Tuberville stressed the importance of improved play this weekend.

"We cut practice back a little bit today," Tuberville said. "You can tell that we've had a week off. We've still got a lot of spring in our legs and guys are working to get better. They're excited about playing this week and as we've talked all week, we're not worrying about winning or losing, but about playing better. I think we've worried too much about winning instead of going out and seeing how well we can play. We are healthy and the guys have shown a lot of leadership this week, especially the seniors.

Tuberville also talked about Georgia's freshman quarterback David Greene, who is third in the Southeastern Conference averaging 283.1 passing yards per game.

"He's a good quarterback, he's really improved," Tuberville said. "I think the offense they run really fits him-the short passing game, getting rid of the ball quickly, running screens and draws. He runs the ball well too, and can scramble and make plays. Of course, his better days are ahead of him. He's going to continue to get better and better."

Auburn leads the all-time series with Georgia, 50-46-8, and has won the last two meetings in the series.

Saturday's 105th meeting of the South's oldest rivalry will kickoff at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by CBS.


Richt Tabs Bulldog Captains for Auburn Game
ATHENS, Ga. -- Following Wednesday's football practice, Georgia head coach Mark Richt announced that senior center Curt McGill, junior linebacker Boss Bailey and senior rover Jermaine Phillips will serve as captains for the Auburn game.

Richt added that a pair of freshmen Bulldogs on the mend will have a special role come Saturday.

"Albert Hollis and Reggie Weeks are healthy enough to wear the jersey and will lead the team out on the field," said Richt. "Both players are coming off severe knee injuries (dislocated knee) and Ron (Courson, UGA director of sports medicine) thought it would be a good idea if they did and I agree. They have been doing well in their rehab, and I think it will inspire their teammates and be a boost to them and their family to see them out there."

Hollis is a 5-11, 194-pound redshirt freshman tailback from Sacramento, Calif., while Weeks is a 6-4, 280-pound freshman defensive lineman from Smiths, Ala. Hollis was injured last Spring while Weeks' injury came this Fall.

The 19th-ranked Bulldogs (5-2, 4-2 SEC) worked out for just under two hours in shorts and shoulder pads Wednesday. Richt said he was pleased with the practice.

"Morale was good, and they were all working hard," said Richt. "We have to carry it all over to the game."

He addressed the injuries especialy on the defensive line and indicated that sophomore tackle Johnathan Sullivan would move to the outside from his normal inside position. Richt said the Bulldogs do not have plans to change their base 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 despite all the recent injuries to Buldog linemen. Redshirt sophomore noseguard Ken Veal did practice some in non-contact situations while senior buck Josh Mallard went through light conditioning.

"We're wounded there but everyone needs to step it up, not just on the line but in all areas of our team to help out," Richt added.

The Georgia-Auburn game will be nationally-televised by CBS with kickoff set for 3:30 pm Saturday. All Georgia football games will be broadcast on NewsTalk 750 WSB and the WSB/Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network.


Kentucky's Moore Out for Season, Brown Has Stress Fracture

Freshman defensive tackle Ellery Moore is out for the season after sustaining a left knee injury last Saturday at Mississippi State. Moore has a torn medial collateral ligament and detached meniscus. He is expected to have surgery next week. His status for spring practice is uncertain at this time. However, if all goes well, he is expected to be fully healed by the time practice begins next August.

Moore has played in all eight games this season, starting twice when Dewayne Robertson was sidelined by injury. Moore has 21 tackles this season. He has 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 quarterback sacks. He has four quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Moore's best game came against Ball State, when he notched a career-high seven tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss.

An MRI test has revealed that senior offensive tackle Matt Brown has a stress fracture in his upper right arm. Brown is being evaluated on a daily basis, but it is doubtful that he will play on Saturday at Vanderbilt.

Wildcats Among SEC's Top Defenders: End Dennis Johnson and defensive backs Leonard Burress, Jeremy Bowie, Anthony Wajda and Derrick Tatum rank among the individual leaders in the Southeastern Conference defensive statistics.

Johnson ranks second in the SEC in tackles for loss (12), quarterback sacks (7.5), and fumbles caused (three). Florida's Alex Brown leads the league in TFL (12.5) and sacks (9.5), while Vanderbilt's Chuck Losey is the leader in fumbles caused (four).

Burress is fourth in the SEC in pass breakups with nine. Bowie ranks sixth with eight PBU, while Wajda and Tatum are tied for ninth with seven PBU. Among SEC defensive backs, Wajda ranks fourth in tackles with 67 stops.


Tigers Continue to Prep for Homecoming Contest Against Middle Tennessee
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU continued its preparations for Saturday's Homecoming contest against Middle Tennessee with a two hour practice session here Wednesday at the LSU Practice Facility.

The Tigers will workout again on Thursday followed by a walk-thru in Tiger Stadium on Friday. LSU plays host to Middle Tennessee at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium on Saturday. LSU, coming off a 35-21 win over Alabama last week, is 5-3 overall. Middle Tennessee, which has already clinched at least a share of the Sun Belt Conference title, is 7-2 after its 54-6 victory over Arkansas State last weekend.

"We've had a pretty good week of practice," LSU coach Nick Saban said after practice on Wednesday. "I'm pleased with the way the players have responded because this is a very challenging game from a preparation standpoint. Anytime you face a no huddle team it really takes a lot of preparation. It's a big challenge for the defense this week.

"The big thing we want to prove is that we can be a momentum team. We have not been able to build on our wins this year. We need to keep the momentum going and play well two weeks in a row."

Saban said that defensive end Kenderick Allen (knee) will not play against Middle Tennessee. Tailbacks LaBrandon Toefield (ankle), Domanick Davis (ankle) and Devery Henderson (ankle), who have been slowed recently by injuries, are all expected to play on Saturday.

"They all did some things well in practice today," Saban said of the three tailbacks. "I think they're all getting better. We'll have to take it day-to-day as far as how good of shape they will be in by Saturday."


Holtz Praises Scout Team's Work in Practice
USC head coach Lou Holtz said Wednesday that the Gamecocks have had two good days of preparation for No. 4 Florida, which invades Williams-Brice Stadium this Saturday night (ESPN to televise at 7:45 p.m.). "We've had good preparation," said Holtz. "I just hope Florida doesn't run their pass routes and catch the ball as well as our scout team has been. Florida presents a lot of problems. They have very good talent and they are extremely well-coached. They are definitely in the national championship hunt."

Coach Holtz said it was imperative that his team's defense attempt to make Florida's offense one dimensional on Saturday. "We can't afford to let them run it and pass it effectively," said Holtz. "Nobody has been able to stop their passing game. Somehow, some way, we need to try to take away their run game. If we don¹t have success doing that, then we will have a very, very difficult task."

Junior wide receiver Chavez Donnings, who was slated to start against the Gators Saturday, may be out with a wrist injury. Donnings suffered the injury during Wednesday's practice. X-rays were negative but he is going to have an MRI performed on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury. Defensive back Mikal Goodman pulled his hamstring and is doubtful for Saturday.

When asked about being the underdog, Coach Holtz said: "I don't mind being the underdog; I just don't like the reasons why we are the underdog," said Holtz. "I worry a lot. When you're the favorite, you always think about the things that can go wrong. When you're the underdog, you think about the things that can go right."

Coach Holtz says the team can sense the anticipation that is building for the big matchup on Saturday. "We're looking forward to it, our fans our looking forward to it, and I know Florida is looking forward to it. It's what you work hard for; to be in this position."

Saturday's game will be televised live by ESPN. The national cable network is also bringing its award-winning "Game Day" football show to Columbia. That show will air live Saturday from 10:30 a.m.­noon at the grandstand area of the State Fairgrounds. Parking lot gates will open at 9 a.m. Motorists must have a Gamecock Club parking pass in order to enter the fairgrounds lots.


Vols Protecting the Football, Tied for Third Fewest Turnovers
Although Tennessee ranks near the middle nationally in Division I-A turnover margin, the Vols actually have become very stingy with the football heading into Saturday's Homecoming duel against Memphis. Last week's two turnovers during the 28-18 victory at Notre Dame were only Nos. 9 and 10 for the season, a figure tied for third fewest in Division I-A.

"We hadn't turned the ball over in our end in quite some time," UT coach Phillip Fulmer said, referring to Courtney Watson's 31-yard interception return for an Irish touchdown early in the third quarter. "That helps keep you from getting beat a lot of times."

Vol quarterback Casey Clausen has been intercepted six times to go with four Big Orange fumbles lost. Tennessee's defense has intercepted five passes and recovered six fumbles, giving the Vols a 0.14 turnovers-per-game advantage that ranks 45th nationally.

"Casey's taken care of the football, has managed the game and allowed the other players on the field to be successful," Fulmer said. "That's what the quarterback is supposed to do. It goes without saying he's made a lot of huge plays for us throwing the ball. I'm encouraged by that and I fully expect him to stay on that track."

Wednesday's practice at Hudson Field saw the Vols continue preparations for Saturday's Homecoming game against Memphis.

"It was a good practice," Fulmer said. "I think the kids have put together three good ones this week. Certainly, there are some things from today that we need to correct tomorrow. But this weekend is a chance for us to show maturity in our preparation, and I've seen that, really, the last three weeks."

Injury Report: Probable -- FB Will Bartholomew (head), WR Leonard Scott (left hip). Questionable -- DB Andre Lott (left hamstring). Out for Season -- LG Jason Respert (ankle).

Hawgs Daily Top Stories