Heading To Kentucky

ATHENS—Despite his team having dropped two of it's last three conference games, Georgia coach Mark Fox insists a perfect run down the stretch is not mandatory.

Currently, Georgia is last in the SEC East as it heads into a pivotal road matchup against Kentucky. Fox says the Bulldogs current standing does not suggest reason for panic.

"We don't have to go undefeated," he said. "There's room for error. We don't have to go undefeated the rest of the year to accomplish something. I think that every team is going to have a loss or two from this point forward…you don't want too many of them, but we have to win more than we lose, that's for sure."

Georgia made an early statement by beating Kentucky Jan. 8. After the win, the Bulldogs were ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in eight years and became the early favorite to win the conference.

Since then, Georgia is 2-3, including two close home losses to Florida and Tennessee. Still, Fox says the descent from first to worst in the division has not placed pressure on his players.

"I don't sense that from our guys," Fox said. "They want to have a great year…they've invested a great deal. They're going do their best…they want to please their fans; there's no question, but they've got to focus on playing the game right and being fair to the game and if they do that, then the rest of it will take care of itself.

To right the ship, Georgia must do something its never done under Fox; win in an Eastern division opponent's gym. Including the loss at Vanderbilt earlier this month, Georgia is 0-6 under Fox against Eastern foes.

"We come out and compete every time," said senior Jeremy Price. "Some times we compete and lose; sometimes you win. We look forward to winning more."

Georgia's battle to get back in the Eastern conversation begins in Rupp Arena today at 4 p.m. Kentucky is 12-1 at home this season, just to emphasize how difficult the undertaking that lies ahead is.

"Their fans are legendary," Fox said. "It's a great atmosphere to play in....and every kid should have that opportunity…every coach should have a chance to coach in an atmosphere like that."

Since the loss against Georgia, Kentucky is 3-1, averaging over 75 points a game in a trio of conference victories.

"I think the first game has nothing to do with this game," Fox said. "I think they're playing much better. I think they're a better team than they were a couple weeks a go. They've had a week to prepare for us where last time we had a week to prepare for them. I think they've matured and as a group are much better."

Also, Fox hinted at a couple of minor injuries a few of his players are dealing with, though he declined to discuss the specifics.

"We're a little dinged up, to be honest with you," Fox said. "So I worry about if we're going to have enough band-aids to keep us upright. All of those things are part of the season and every team is going to have some adversity, and you just have to respond to it."

Despite the current standing and difficult road ahead (10 of remaining 14 games on the road), Fox says the hardest portion of Georgia's season is behind it, adding he still expects to compete for the Eastern crown.

"I think that you're going to have a lot of close games," Fox said. "…The percentages work in your favor if you do the right things. I don't think I'm overly concerned with that. I think we've made some mistakes that are correctable in the first 39 minutes that we have to address. It's not something that I'm overly concerned with becoming a problem.

"We've had a difficult part of the schedule…and we've got .500 results. Have we played .500 ball? I don't know."

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