Bulldogs On The Road Again

FAYETTEVILLE -- Boos. Heckles. Catcalls.

Better make that Hog calls.

Those are the type of things No. 10 Georgia hasn't heard since going to South Carolina on Sept. 11 and pulling off a second-half comeback to win 20-16.

The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) have been home for five straight games and now begin a four-game stretch away from Athens on Saturday in Fayetteville against Arkansas (3-3, 1-2) for a 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2.

"I think it's going to be tough," said Georgia coach Mark Richt. "First of all, just getting used to the crowd noise again. It's been so long since we've had to deal with it. We've got to make sure we practice against it."

Georgia rebounded from a 19-14 home loss to No. 11 Tennessee a week ago to hammer Vanderbilt 33-3 last Saturday.

After Arkansas, Georgia faces No. 20 Florida in the "World's Largest Cocktail Party" in Jacksonville, Fla., next Saturday and the long trip back from Fayetteville won't help, Richt said.

"We'll probably get home somewhere around 3 or 4 or even later in the morning," Richt said. "That in itself is going to make it tough going into the next week. Every time we fly we've got to do the Atlanta thing and it's almost two hours to get on a plane and take off.

"It takes a little out of you."

The Bulldogs now need some help to get back in the national championship race after being billed as favorites coming into the season with a senior-laden roster led by four-year starters David Greene at quarterback and David Pollack at defensive end.

Pollack has certainly played up to billing and needs just 1.5 sacks to set the Georgia career record.

Greene, Pollack's best buddy for four years, hasn't been as consistent.

He's eighth in the SEC in passing efficiency (133.4) with a completion percentage barely above half (53.8). He's thrown for 1,109 yards and 10 touchdowns on 84 of 156 attempts.

The major bright spot is that he's only thrown one interception, and that just happened against Vanderbilt.

After throwing for just 153 against Tennessee in Georgia's loss, Greene was a far more efficient 14 of 21 for 191 and 2 touchdowns against Vandy.

"David played fair at best in the first half and the second half played beautifully," Richt said. "Other than his obvious bad play, which was a pick, he played great, I thought."

Georgia needs to win out -- including a Nov. 13 date at No. 3 and undefeated Auburn -- and hope the Vols and their freshman quarterback Erik Ainge eventually stumble to send the Bulldogs back to the SEC Championship Game.

It certainly won't be an easy task for Georgia and its feast-or-famine offense led by Greene, senior receiver Fred Gibson and a pair of freshmen tailbacks Danny Ware and Thomas Brown.

The Bulldogs have scored 30 or more three times (Georgia Southern, LSU, Vandy) and 20 or less three times (Tennessee, Marshall, South Carolina).

Ware and Brown each broke 100 yards against Vandy, Ware with 127 on 24 attempts and Brown with 122 and a score on 17 carries.

Richt was pleased with the final totals but not so much with Ware's fumble.

"They didn't run good, I thought they ran better than good," Richt said. "A lot of broken tackles, a lot of yards after contact. Probably some of the better decisions on reading the holes and things like that."

Richt said effort and attitude are fine, but occasional blown assignments on defense and penalties all around have proved costly.

Georgia is committing an SEC-worst 63.5 yards worth of penalties each game.

The penalties stem from bad hand positioning by offensive linemen, special teams snafus caused by players committing blocks in the back to cover themselves and just plain foolishness at times.

Richt said he's "getting concerned" with the amount of miscues and will make proper technique a point of emphasis this week.

The Georgia defense has been outstanding for the most part, since allowing 28 points to Georgia Southern in its first game.

The Bulldogs have allowed 19 points or less in their five games since and just a field goal twice.

Free safety Thomas Davis plays a safety/linebacker role and leads the Bulldogs with 51 tackles. Pollack has 25 tackles, including a team-high 4 sacks.

Linebacker Odell Thurman has been as valuable for his tackling (24 and 5.5 for loss) as his leadership, Richt said.

After Tennessee knocked Georgia from the ranks of the unbeaten, it was Thurman who lifted his teammates' spirits last week.

"He was one of the first guys to get his enthusiasm back," Richt said. "Everybody else was kind of down and out. He was just like, 'Hey man, let's go.'

"We ran that inside drill on Tuesday and he single-handedly took the whole thing over and kind of gave us a little spark.

"We're a very different defensive football team when he's in the game."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories