VanGorder still looking for D to improve

ATHENS — Georgia is 16th in the nation in total defense this week, which is good by most standards but has not been good enough for the Bulldogs.

"I think over the course of the last three weeks we certainly haven't met the standards or expectations around here," defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said.

Georgia was in the nation's top five in total defense a month ago, but it surrendered an average of 402 yards per game to Florida, Kentucky and Auburn.

"There's a million and one reasons for it, but the bottom line is, we've played a couple of really good offenses," VanGorder said. "I think we were exposed somewhat, and we have to use it as a tool to get better."

Against Auburn, Georgia didn't attack the line of scrimmage the way it normally does, and VanGorder said that could be because the coaches "overemphasized" that the team was giving up too many big plays. Another factor could be that opponents are getting a better game plan for the Bulldogs than they had in VanGorder's first three seasons.

"We're just seeing different offenses against us than we have in the past," he said. "We're just not getting down the field throws. Nobody this year is stepping back and throwing the ball and that's something we've always had success with. Everything is quick, very quick, and a lot of screen (passes). They're not allowing us to do what we've done in the past."

BACK TO WORK: Wide receiver Reggie Brown (concussion), running back Danny Ware (ankle) and tight end Martrez Milner (back) returned to practice Monday. Brown and Milner wore green, no-contact jerseys, but Ware wore his regular attire and went through scout team work. Coach Mark Richt said he expects both Brown and Ware to play. Milner remains questionable.

REACTION TO A LEGEND: Richt seems sad to see Lou Holtz leaving the SEC. Holtz announced his resignation on Monday.

"He's a compassionate man," Richt said. "I think he really loves his family. I think he has a very strong faith. I think he truly cares about his players. That's what I've enjoyed most about getting to know him."

Richt would not comment on the imminent hiring of Steve Spurrier because the news is not yet official.

BCS BUMP: Although it doesn't matter nearly as much as it did before the loss to Auburn, Georgia still was glad to see its name move into the top 10 of the BCS standings released Monday. The Bulldogs jumped from No. 11 to No. 8 thanks in part to losses by Michigan and Florida State.

Georgia is five spots ahead of LSU and seven ahead of Tennessee, which are the two teams it probably will be battling with for bowl positioning.

PRACTICE REPORT: The Bulldogs practiced for almost two hours Monday evening in a steady rain.

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