Richt Not Happy with Losses

ATHENS – Mark Richt announced no change in the play-calling duties.

He said he saw improvement in his players. He vowed that his Georgia football team is "moving in the right direction."

There may be panic in other quarters of Georgia, the Bulldogs having dropped to 1-2, their worst start in 17 years.

But the closest Georgia's head coach came to it on Sunday was when he compared his team to its next opponent, Mississippi State, which has the same record and offensive struggles.

"They're desperate for a victory and so are we," Richt said. "I'm sure it's gonna be a whale of a game and good competition."

Arkansas and South Carolina, the two teams the Bulldogs have lost to, are now No. 10 and No. 12, respectively, in the AP poll.

Still, Georgia fans could be excused for looking at the same rankings and worrying that the team is losing ground: Six SEC teams are in the top 15, the first time any conference has ever been able to boast that. Meanwhile the Bulldogs didn't even get any votes in this week's poll.

But with a freshman quarterback, and a new defensive system, and star receiver A.J. Green suspended, Richt was sounding a positive note.

"It's always discouraging to lose any game. So we're not happy about the win-loss record right now," Richt said. "But when you do the job that we do and you coach and you teach and you give them assignments … and you watch guys improve, that's an encouraging thing, and that's what I'm talking about."

Richt said he "had a sense" after Saturday's 31-24 loss to Arkansas that his team was "making strides." He said watching the game film confirmed that.

Georgia and Mississippi State will have more in common than their nicknames when they meet on Saturday. They're the only 0-2 teams in the SEC. Georgia is ninth in the SEC in scoring and total offense, while Mississippi State is 11th and eighth, respectively.

Dan Mullen, in his second year as MSU's coach, is familiar with Georgia from his four years as Florida's offensive coordinator. But he has had trouble finding the right quarterback so far in Starkville. (Chris Relf, who started Saturday's game at LSU but left in the second quarter with a head injury, will start against Georgia.)

The reason for Georgia's offensive problems have varied. The biggest against Arkansas was probably the six sacks, the blame for which Richt said could be spread around.

"There were some O-line issues, there were some running back issues as pass protectors. And there were quarterback issues," Richt said. "It was really spread out. It wasn't just one culprit."

Richt also said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will remain the play-caller.

The defense also had a number of breakdowns in coverage against Arkansas, including the final minute of each half. Richt said the safeties are not "100 percent comfortable," and compared the defense's learning curve to that of Murray.

"That's one of the main reasons I'm really confident that we're gonna improve as we go," Richt said.

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