Georgia Celebration Draws Ire Of Coach

FAYETTEVILLE — When Georgia placekicker Brandon Coutu sent a game-winning field goal through the uprights at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, he never knew his victory dance that immediately followed would cause such an uproar.

Coutu was good on a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bulldogs a 20-17 come-from-behind win at Vanderbilt. And as most would expect, Coutu and his Georgia teammates were ready to celebrate just as soon as a football cleared the uprights. But not everyone — particularly Georgia coach Mark Richt — was happy with the Bulldogs for the way they showed their emotions.

Richt was especially upset with his players for jumping up and down on the Vanderbilt logo at midfield, which he took as an act of disrespect toward the Commodores.

"From my vantage-point, we got all excited, the game had ended and I'm trotting across midfield to find coach (Bobby) Johnson," Richt said. "And on the way out there, I notice that our guys are out there celebrating. And if we celebrate, if we're in the locker room, our guys will jump up and down. That's just the way they do it. But as we're out there, not only are they celebrating, they are celebrating on the logo of Vanderbilt.

"So I got upset and I tried to scatter them off of there. I did my best impression of Hulk Hogan and tried to kind of knock them off the thing and they stopped relatively quick. Then I went to see coach Johnson and told him I was sorry and he said, ‘don't worry about it.'"

Johnson said he could understand why Richt wouldn't want his players showing any disrespect. But the Commodores coach also said he never took the celebration as disrespect in the first place.

"I didn't pay any attention to it and it's not a big deal," Johnson said. "I know coach Richt didn't want his players doing that and I don't want mine doing it. But those guys are young men and they had an emotional win on the last play of the game.

"We don't sit around saying, ‘oh my gosh those Georgia guys are disrespecting us' and all that stuff. That's over and done, I think."

Richt also said he's received several calls this week supporting the Bulldogs' players on this issue.

"I had people calling my show saying Coutu made the kick and he's wasn't too far from that spot on the field," Richt said. "And he went off and starting running and celebrating a little bit and the guys kind of charged him and that's just where it happened. And that might have been the case. But if I had a perception that they were trying to jump up and down on the logo, you can see where the people from Vanderbilt would think the same thing.

"So whether it was on purpose or not, we don't want it to appear like we're doing something like that."


Vanderbilt plays at South Carolina on Saturday. More troubling than facing the Gamecocks for Vandy, though, might be the thought of facing South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.

In 14 career games as a coach against Vanderbilt — 12 at Florida and two at South Carolina — Spurrier is a perfect 14-0 against the Commodores. Not that he's thinking about that number.

"We don't even talk about it," Spurrier said. "I've always believed that last year's game or 10 years ago's game has nothing to do with this one. We're just preparing to play our best and I can assure you I never talk about it.

"The media boys around here brought it up during the Kentucky game. They haven't brought it up much this week so it's not too much of a big deal to either team I hope."

Johnson also agreed that Spurrier's perfection against the Commodores shouldn't faze this year's Vandy team.

"I don't think so. None of them were around for the first 10 of them or 13 of them or whatever it is," Johnson said. "We've got much more important things to worry about than stuff like that."



Andre' Woodson

Quarterback, Kentucky

6-5 • 230 • Senior

Radcliff, Ky. (North Hardin HS)

Woodson completed 21 of 38 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns as Kentucky upset previously No.1-ranked LSU, 43-37, in triple overtime. His seven-yard completion to Steve Johnson in the third overtime was the eventual game-winner for the Wildcats, giving Kentucky its first win over a top-ranked team since 1966. Woodson also rushed three times for 16 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown run.


Tray Blackmon

Linebacker, Auburn

6-0 • 223 • Sophomore

LaGrange, Ga. (HS)

Blackmon had nine tackles — six of which were solo — in Auburn's 9-7 win at Arkansas. Led by Blackmon, the Tigers held the Razorbacks to just 193 yards of total offense and just 67 yards rushing. The sophomore also helped Auburn's defense shut out Arkansas until the final 1:36 of the game and limited the Razorbacks to just one drive of more than 46 yards.


Javier Arenas

Return Specialist/Defensive Back, Alabama

5-9 • 193 • Sophomore

Tampa, Fla. (Robinson HS)

Arenas returned two punts for 71 yards and four kickoffs for 93 yards in Alabama's 27-24 win at Ole Miss. His 54-yard punt return with 8 minutes, 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter set up Alabama's game-tying touchdown drive and Arenas now ranks second in the SEC and 12th nationally in punt return average (16.2 yards per return).


Josh McNeil

Center, Tennessee

6-4 • 280 • Sophomore

Collins, Miss. (HS)

McNeil had 10 knockdown blocks and saw action on 77 offensive plays in Tennessee's 33-21 win at Mississippi State. The sophomore center helped Tennessee's offensive unit to a season-high 221 rushing yards against the Bulldogs while controlling the ball for 31:39 in the game. McNeil also led the Vols' offensive line to a fourth-straight game without a quarterback sack.


Greg Hardy

Defensive End, Ole Miss

6-5 • 255 • Sophomore

Millington, Tenn. (Briarcrest Christian HS)

Hardy had a career-high 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two quarterback hurries and a pass deflection in Ole Miss' 27-24 loss to Alabama. One of Hardy's quarterback hurries forced an Alabama interception and he also tackled the Crimson Tide field goal holder on a fake field goal attempt to set up Ole Miss' final scoring drive.


Knowshon Moreno

Running Back, Georgia

5-11 • 207

Belford, N.J. (Middletown South HS)

Moreno rushed for a career-high 157 yards on 28 carries and caught two passes for 18 yards in Georgia's 20-17 win at Vanderbilt. His 28 carries were the most by a Georgia running back since Musa Smith's 37 carries in 2002. Moreno also became the first freshman to serve as a Georgia team captain in the modern era.

All-Purpose D-Mac

Darren McFadden broke the Arkansas school record for all-purpose yards last week against Auburn, surpassing the previous mark held by Gary Anderson. Now McFadden looks to break into the Top 10 in the SEC all-time.

All-Purpose Rushing Yards

1. 6,833 Kevin Faulk, LSU (4,557 rush, 600 rec., 832 PR, 844 KOR) 1995-98

2. 5,856 Derek Abney, Kentucky (160 rush, 2,339 rec., 1,042 PR, 2,315 KOR) 2000-03

3. 5,749 Herschel Walker, Georgia (5,249 rush, 243 rec., 247 KOR) 1980-82

4. 5,743 Domanick Davis, LSU (2056 rush, 393 rec., 1126 PR, 2168 KOR) 1999-2002

5. 5,596 James Brooks, Auburn (3,523 rush, 347 rec., 1,726 KOR) 1977-80

6. 5,393 Errict Rhett, Florida (4,163 rush, 1,230 rec.) 1990-93

7. 5,326 Dalton Hilliard, LSU (4,050 rush, 1,133 rec., 143 KOR) 1982-85

8. 5,084 Carnell Williams, Auburn (3,831 rush, 342 rec., 302 PR, 609 KOR) 2001-04

9. 4,958 Bobby Humphrey, Alabama (3,420 rush, 523 rec., 1,015 KOR) 1985-88

10. 4,892 Bo Jackson, Auburn (4,363 rush, 272 rec., 317 KOR) 1982-85

Highest Active Players

4,749 Rafael Little, Kentucky (2665 rush, 1092 rec., 823 PR, 169 KOR) 2004-2007

4,576 Darren McFadden, Arkansas (3582 rush, 262 rec.,732 KOR) 2005-2007

That Figures

14 SEC-leading punts inside the 20-yard line for Arkansas' Jeremy Davis

20 Current winning streak for Florida against Kentucky

205 Career receptions for Vanderbilt's Earl Bennett, which ranks second all-time in the SEC

11-10 SEC team's home record in 2007 conference games

14-0 South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier's record against Vanderbilt

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