Cocks get ready for rematch with Dawgs.

Carolina Head Coach Lou Holtz spoke with the media on Monday and explained that the pressure is on this Saturday night in Athens.

After last season's dismal performance against South Carolina, Georgia has circled the game as a must have win. The urgency of the game should approach that of the Tennessee game last season. The shock of losing to South Carolina last season in Columbia has made the Dawgs understand the importance of the game, not only in terms of a winning season, but also in terms of recruiting and winning the SEC East.

Carolina fans view Georgia as their second biggest rival, right behind the hated Clemson Tigers. The fact that Carolina is hardly recognized by Georgia fans as a rival brings an interesting twist to this game each season.

 

South Carolina's win last season over the Dawgs validated the Carolina program to a certain extent. Carolina has struggled to gain "acceptance" as a true player in the SEC East race. Only last season did Carolina truly impact the SEC East. "All the things we had going for us last year, Georgia has going for them at the present time."

 - Lou Holtz

But this season's game has an all-new twist to it. Carolina is now the higher ranked team. The Cocks now have to deal with expectations, something that is occurs rarely to never in Columbia. The Cocks are perceived by the media to be the third best team in the SEC East. In other words, the pressure is on the Chickens.

But Holtz thinks that Georgia is the team with the advantage this season. "All the things we had going for us last year, Georgia has going for them at the present time."

Holtz thinks that Carolina is still in the process of learning how to win. According to Holtz's four step process, his team is now trying to get to the third step, learning how handle winning. Saturday night's game will go a long way in determining if the Cocks have really learned how to do that.

It appeared that Carolina had learned the first three steps in Holtz's four-step formula last season. However, three losses in a row at the end of the year, all games that Carolina could have won, all games that Carolina had leads in makes Holtz certain that Carolina has not yet learned how to react to being winners.

Complicating matters for Holtz on Saturday night, Carolina's Ken Harney has a swollen ankle from the Boise State win last weekend.  But according to Holtz, Harney is not the only injured Cock.

"Ken Harney's ankle is swollen and he is very doubtful for the game. (Willie) Sams is out of the game and Brian Scott will be questionable."

But injuries are not Holtz's only concern. As usual, Holtz has done an outstanding job of making Georgia into a super power when compared to Carolina. While some of the things that he worries about are true, it does get a little old listening to Holtz talk about Georgia like the Dawgs are unbeatable.

Holtz was very complementary about Georgia's new offense saying, "I don't see a weakness from them at offense." He went on to say how impressive Musa Smith was in his performance Saturday. "Smith was a freshman All-American running back last year. In their opening ballgame he averaged about eight yards per carry."

Holtz was also impressed with David Greene's ability to run the offense effectively.

"The real key ingredient of their offense, besides Mark Richt and all the various things he brings to it, is their quarterback (David) Greene. He's left-handed, he has great poise and they put him in the shotgun a lot. They give him excellent protection, have great speed at wide receiver and he's exceptionally accurate."

Holtz even dealt out praises to the Georgia offensive line, which did look better than usual Saturday. But Holtz was reaching when he said "in the preseason they were picked to have maybe the best offensive line in the country."

However, I do think that Holtz was speaking the truth Monday when he said, "Georgia has it going for them at the present time. They have great chemistry and great enthusiasm. They have a sense of purpose."

Georgia's sense of purpose is making it hard for Holtz to catch up on his sleep. The Gamecock coach ended the conference with this:

"Georgia is very impressive. It's not only what Georgia does but it is the concerns I have for our team. When you put those two combinations together, it does not create a good sleeping atmosphere."

 One thing is certain; Saturday night in Athens will not be a "good sleeping atmosphere" either.

Georgia and South Carolina renew acquaintances Saturday night in Athens. The game is being broadcast on ESPN and the Georgia Bulldog Radio Network.

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