Offense Concerns Head Coach

ATHENS -- Getting over a crushing loss to Tennessee was hard enough for Georgia coach Mark Richt on Saturday evening. It was even tougher on Sunday, as he watched the tape from the 19-14 defeat that dropped his Bulldogs from No. 3 to No. 12 in the national rankings and into a huge hole in the Southeastern Conference race.

No longer, he realized, can his team's offensive problems be dismissed by saying one player is taking a turn making a mistake on each play. The Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1 SEC) weren't even close to good in gaining 265 total yards against the Volunteers.

"This game, we had more than the one guy making a mistake," Richt said. "We had multiple problems. Some of it was Tennessee playing well, but some of it was a loss of some poise or the lack of concentration."

Despite all the Bulldogs' talk about not looking past the No. 13 Volunteers after whipping LSU a week ago, there were indications they did exactly that, Mark Richt admitted.

"It might have been because we made some mistakes we just haven't made all year," he said. "We had some missed assignments on simple things. It happened on defense, too."

The difference is the defense turned things around after the first quarter. The offense struggled all day. The problems were so pervasive that Richt even suggested backup quarterback D.J. Shockley could get more playing time in hopes of sparking something.

Shockley played two series against the Volunteers and led the team's only scoring drive of the first three quarters.

"It's possible (he'll play more)," Richt said. "I thought he did a nice job, and he'll definitely continue to play."

The Bulldogs return to the field on Saturday for a homecoming game against Vanderbilt. They will be without reserve defensive tackle Ray Gant, who is out indefinitely due to a dislocated shoulder, and starting offensive guard Nick Jones, who is out at least a week due to a sprained ankle.

The Commodores (1-4, 1-2 SEC) are having their typical season. Their only win has come against rebuilding Mississippi State, and they're coming off a 37-34 loss to Rutgers in a game they led 27-3 at one point."

"We've got to keep our heads up and stay positive," Georgia wide receiver Fred Gibson said.

It'll be easier for the Bulldogs to stay positive if they don't look at the rest of Tennessee's schedule. The Volunteers must lose at least one more conference game for Georgia to have any chance of returning to the SEC Championship Game, and their remaining league schedule consists of Ole Miss (3-3), Alabama (4-2), South Carolina (4-2), Vanderbilt and Kentucky (1-4).

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have to travel to Arkansas on Oct. 23, play No. 22 Florida on Oct. 30 and play at No. 4 Auburn on Nov. 13.

"We just have to worry about ourselves," quarterback David Greene said. "Hopefully, Tennessee loses down the road, but we have to make sure we take care of our business."

Richt said, "We've just got to stick together and practice better and start winning again. That's all we can try to do. If we do that, there's always the possibility that things can turn in our direction. We don't control it anymore, but we can control our work and our attitude."

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