10 28 2004 - Inside Slant: Georgia

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

Georgia has the SEC's best record since 2000 at 46-13, but none of that success has come against archrival Florida.

In fact, the Bulldogs haven't defeated the Gators since 1997 and they've won only one of the past 14 games in the series, dating to Steve Spurrier's arrival at Florida in 1990.

Even Florida coach Ron Zook is 2-0 against the Bulldogs. Unfortunately for Zook, the wasn't enough to save his job this week, but Georgia coach Mark Richt suggested that firing would bring out the best in Florida.

"It's certainly not good when anyone losses their job," Richt said. "I'm sorry for Coach Zook that that happened. As for how this is going to affect this game, my guess is that their players will be very adamant on playing hard for Ron Zook and their entire coaching staff.

"But we've got enough problems to worry about over here. Hopefully I can get our guys to match that intensity."

The key for the 10th-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) will be focusing on their own concerns and not getting caught up with what's going on at Florida.

"We're just trying to stay focused on our team," wide receiver Fred Gibson said. "If they get their thing together, they get their thing together. We're trying to go to Florida and win a ballgame."

NOTES, QUOTES

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Bulldogs have plenty of weapons at quarterback, running back and receiver, and they should have their best running back available as Danny Ware recovers from a bruised lung. Either way, the offensive line must play a lot better after a mediocre performance against Arkansas, as DE Jeb Huckeba tore up the Bulldogs for 12 tackles, including four for loss with three sacks, two hurries and a forced fumble while giving tackles Daniel Inman, Ken Shackelford and Dennis Roland fits.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Georgia held Arkansas to 97 yards rushing and forced four fumbles. The Bulldogs are allowing only 14.1 points, 106.9 rushing yards and 262 total yards per game with a rugged defense led by DE David Pollack and FS Thomas Davis.

QUOTE TO NOTE: " It probably will (go) one way or the other. It's very tough for the coaches and the players to try and stay focused. The coaches are loyal to the players and the players are loyal to the coaches. I'm sure they'll work hard to prepare to play good." -- Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway, discussing the firing of Florida coach Ron Zook with the Athens Banner Herald. Callaway was on Mike Dubose' staff at Alabama when Dubose was fired midway through the 2000 season.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Florida vs. Georgia, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 30 -- Florida has owned this game in recent years, winning 13 of the past 14 games and six in a row, even when Georgia appeared to have the better team the past two years. The Bulldogs should be the better team this season, but will have to deal with two things: the mental hurdle of all those years when the Bulldogs found a way to lose to the Gators; and the response of the Florida players and coaches to the firing of coach Ron Zook and his staff early this week. The Bulldogs must put history and Florida's personal issues aside this week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: DE David Pollack -- A dangerous end who never lets up, Pollack is the SEC defensive player of the week after recording eight tackles -- six solos, three for loss and two sacks -- with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two quarterback pressures against Arkansas. He now holds the Georgia record for sacks with 29.5. For the season, Pollack has 33 total tackles (23 solos) with 10.5 for losses, including an SEC-high six sacks.

FS Thomas Davis -- Georgia's most active playmaker, Davis plays like a linebacker at times and ranks fifth in the SEC with 57 tackles, 39 solos.

QB David Greene -- Greene takes a 38-9 career record as Georgia's starting QB into this game, as well as 12 touchdowns with only one interception this season. Still, teams have been able to hurt him with zone defenses, and he sometimes holds on to the ball too long.

ROSTER REPORT: True freshman tailback Danny Ware was originally questionable for Saturday's game against Florida because of a bruised lung, but his status changed on Monday following tests and he is now expected to practice and play. Ware leads the Bulldogs with 506 rushing yards on 102 carries. Freshman Thomas Brown has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the past two games. "We've felt pretty confident that Danny and Thomas could be very productive for us," coach Mark Richt said. "We think that Thomas will continue to do that. We need to make sure that we keep him fresh."


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