09 07 2004 Notebook - Thomas Brown to 2nd string

ATHENS – Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder wasn't as quick Monday to forgive his unit for its first effort as head coach Mark Richt was Sunday

Richt said he wasn't too concerned that the Bulldogs gave up 294 rushing yards and 28 points to Georgia Southern in a season-opening victory, but VanGorder is plenty upset about it after watching tape from the game.

"It was actually worse than I thought it was," he said. "From a fundamental standpoint, it's as bad as Georgia's defense has been since I've been here."

VanGorder and Richt both gave most of the credit to the Eagles' triple option offense, but there were enough basic mistakes to bother VanGorder. The 28 points are the third-most ever surrendered by one of VanGorder's defenses at Georgia.

"We gave up on the very things that have to carry you," he said.

DEPTH CHART CHANGE: Freshman running back Thomas Brown was working with the second-team offense during Monday's practice, he said. That's the second straight indicator that sophomore Michael Cooper, the Bulldogs' leading rusher a year ago, has lost the backup job. Richt said Sunday the team would have to do some "soul-searching" in regard to its tailback rotation.

Brown rushed for 19 yards on five carries against Georgia Southern. Cooper had no carries.

"Overall, I thought I did pretty good," said Brown, who missed more than a week of preseason practice due to a hamstring injury. "I kind of felt like I was going to be redshirted."

Brown will spend lots of time this week making sure he's familiar with the offensive signals this week in preparation for the first road game of his career, a 5:30 p.m. game at South Carolina on Saturday.

"I know it's going to be loud," he said.

Cooper and Tyson Browning were sharing time with the third-team offense in practice, Brown said.

PRACTICE PROBLEM: The rain pushed into Georgia by Hurricane Frances is expected to cause problems for the Bulldogs today. Tuesdays are traditionally one of the team's most important practices, and they have very limited options for indoor practice facilities in Athens. Richt said Monday that he hoped to be able to work out in the Atlanta Falcons indoor training facility at some point today.

The Bulldogs moved Monday's practice from the afternoon to the morning to escape rain that was expected to hit northeastern Georgia on Monday night. The worked out for 90 minutes.

"We wanted to beat the weather, which we were able to do," Richt said. "It was a good practice, I thought. The throwing and catching was great. We did half on kicking and the other half on South Carolina. The players' spirits were pretty good, but we've still got a lot to prove."

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