Geathers excited about playing in Columbia

Robert Geathers may have more experience than any other Georgia player in Williams-Brice Stadium

ATHENS, Ga. - A true sophomore, Robert Geathers has made only one start at Georgia, but the native of Georgetown, S.C., may have more experience than any other Georgia player in an area that will be important Saturday against South Carolina.

A native of Georgetown, S.C., Geathers knows a lot about South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium, and especially about the noise factor in the stadium.

From the moment South Carolina players enter the field to the beat of "2001,'' the crowd noise ranks among the best in the Southeastern Conference.

"I've been to a whole lot of games in Williams-Brice Stadium,'' said Geathers, a defensive end who made his first start two weeks ago against Clemson. "The fans are crazy. It'll be a loud and exciting atmosphere.''

Georgia coach Mark Richt made visits to South Carolina in 1988 and 1990 as a Florida State assistant coach. Florida State won 59-0 in 1988 and 41-10 in 1990, but still Richt remembers the South Carolina fans as  "Loud, loud, loud.''

On Thursday, Richt conducted practice in Sanford Stadium and had crowd noise piped through the stadium's loudspeakers in an attempt to prepare the No. 9 Bulldogs (1-0) for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against the Gamecocks (1-1).

"The crowd noise helps everybody concentrate,'' Richt said. "You really have to rely on hand signals.  When it's loud you have to be able to perform without being able to hear.''

Vandy tickets on sale: Vanderbilt has returned some tickets for the Oct. 19 game at Georgia. Those tickets ($32) are on sale now at the Georgia ticket office at the Butts-Mehre building and also can be purchased by calling (706) 542-1231 or 1-888-542-1231.

Honor for McMichael: Georgia players continue to make an impact as NFL rookies. Last year, linebacker Kendrell Bell was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year. On Thursday, tight end Randy McMichael was named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week as the result of voting on NFL.com. McMichael had four receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown in his first regular-season game for Miami.

Freshman plans: There are no plans to play any freshmen against South Carolina who did not play against Clemson. One freshman who played only on special teams against Clemson, running back Tyson Browning, could see time on offense behind Musa Smith.

Offensive line coach Neil Callaway said Thursday he plans to use the same three freshmen - tackle Max Jean-Gilles and guards Josh Brock and Bartley Miller - who played against Clemson.

Said Callaway, speaking of two other freshmen - tackle Daniel Inman and center Randall Swoopes -  who are not in the game plan for this week: "Don't close the door on them yet (for this season).''

Another freshman who may not play Saturday but is still in the plans for this season is Marquis Elmore, who this week moved from linebacker to defensive end.

Richt said Elmore may play "one of these days, but I don't think it will be this week.''

Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com

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