10 20 2004 - Inside Slant: Georgia

Scout.com takes an inside slant look at the Dawgs.

With only four SEC games left on the regular season, the Georgia Bulldogs can't afford any more slip-ups in their quest to win a third consecutive trip to the SEC championship game.

"Four weeks from today, it's just about over really," coach Mark Richt said. "That's not very long."

All it took was one loss to put the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 SEC) behind the eight ball, or, in this case, Tennessee. With a 19-14 loss to Tennessee two weeks ago, Georgia must win its remaining SEC games and hope someone else knocks off the Vols.

If that happens, the Bulldogs could even become national title contenders again. After all, LSU had one loss and started 12th in the first BCS standings released last year and went on to win eight consecutive games and beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl for a share of the national championship.

When the first BCS standings of the 2004 season came out on Monday, the Bulldogs were ranked 10th. The Bulldogs also are ranked 10th in the AP Top 25 and sixth in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

"Obviously we want to be better," Georgia quarterback David Greene told the Dawg Post. "You know in the coaches poll we're sixth, correct? You would think, in my opinion, the coaches poll would weigh more heavily than anything else. (The coaches) really know what's going on."

Perhaps, but the coaches have no control over whether or not Georgia continues to win. Instead of worrying about polls, the Bulldogs would be better off getting ready for a difficult stretch of games that includes Saturday's game at Arkansas, an Oct. 30 game vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Ga., and a Nov. 13 game at Auburn.

"It just shows with that system, hey, just don't lose," Georgia receiver Fred Gibson said. "We messed around and lost, and we're No. 10. The only thing we can do now is try to win every game."

NOTES, QUOTES

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Bulldogs have been up and down the past three weeks, exploding for 45 points against LSU, slipping to 14 points in a loss to Tennessee and then scoring 33 points against Vanderbilt. During that time, the Bulldogs have been at their best when moving the ball on the ground to set up the pass, because QB David Greene is having a difficult time getting the job done without help. The Bulldogs survived some injury-related lineup changes on the offensive line against Vandy, but it won't be that easy against Arkansas.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Bulldogs are doing a lot of things right and its shows in the stats, with a defense ranked second in the SEC in total defense and fourth in scoring defense, but if there's one thing they need to do better its forcing turnovers. Georgia ranks last in the SEC with only nine takeaways (seven fumbles, two INTs).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's going to be tough. First of all, just getting used to the crowd noise again. It's been so long since we've had to deal ith it." -- Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team must plays its next four games away from home after playing five of its first six games at home.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Georgia at Arkansas, Oct. 23 -- Georgia is 13-1 in an opponent's stadium in coach Mark Richt's 3 1/2 seasons with the Bulldogs, but Fayetteville is one of the SEC's more difficult places to play. The more experienced Bulldogs ought to be mature enough to handle the situation, but many of the younger Bulldogs have been inconsistent at times this season. If the Bulldogs winning the running game and get their passing game going against an uncertain Arkansas pass defense, they'll be hard to beat.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB David Greene -- Like Richt, Green is 13-1 as a starter on opponents' home fields. His career stats rank among the SEC's all-time best quarterbacks and has 10 TD passes to just one INT this season, but he also currently ranks eighth in the SEC in passing efficiency with a completion percentage of 53.8.

RBs Danny Ware and Thomas -- Last week Georgia's true freshman backs became the first Georgia running backs to both rush for more than 100 yards since Garrison Hearst and Mack Strong in 1992. Ware, who ranks third in the SEC with 95.2 yards per game, led the way with 127 yards on 24 carries and Brown added 122 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

FS Thomas Davis -- DE David Pollack gets most of the attention on Georgia's defense, but Davis is Georgia's best playmaker with 51 tackles, 34 solos, an interception, two forced fumbles and a sack.

ROSTER REPORT: The expected return of Dennis Roland from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Georgia game will give Georgia a chance to work with a three-man rotation at the two offensive tackle positions, along with Daniel Inman and Ken Shackelford. . . . WR A.J. Bryant (foot) and TE Martrez Milner (back) are both questionable for the Arkansas game and LB Jamario Smith (back) is out indefinitely.


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