Oliver making his way

ATHENS – The side bet between cornerback Paul Oliver and safety Tra Battle has gotten heated quickly.

Oliver and Battle have a wager on which will end the season with more interceptions, and Oliver thought he was going to take an early lead in the third quarter Saturday against Western Kentucky. However, Battle, also trying to make a play, collided with him and knocked the ball away.

"I had one, but Tra cleaned me out," Oliver said. "I had the ball in my hands. I don't know what he was doing."

Asked if it could be a conspiracy, Oliver laughed and said, "I don't know. Tra, he's kind of weird."

Battle, predictably, thought he was the one who was robbed of making a play.

"There he goes (talking)," Battle said. "I didn't try to intentionally knock it out, I was just trying to make a play. Maybe if he wouldn't have been there, I would have made the pick. I think he knocked it out of my hands. I was diving for it. It would have looked better on film if I had gotten it."

In all seriousness, Oliver will get plenty of chances Saturday for his first interception of the season. He'll be lined up most of the day across from South Carolina wide receiver Sidney Rice, an All-SEC selection who had two catches for 13 yards last week against Mississippi State.

"I just know there are going to be a lot more balls in the air," Oliver said. "He's so athletic. He catches everything thrown to him. That's what makes him good."

Oliver would like to play man-to-man coverage against Rice the whole game, he said, but that's unlikely to happen.

"I don't think anybody can cover a guy like Sidney Rice down after down by themselves," Coach Mark Richt said. "We'll play some man coverage, some with help, some without help."

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