Georgia still savoring championship buzz

ATHENS, Ga. — The usually fast-talking <b>David Pollack</b> was momentarily stumped Tuesday when asked what movie title he would place on Georgia's 2002 football season.

After pausing to consider the unexpected question, Pollack brightened and said "The Return to Glory.''  

It was Pollack who early in the season coined a phrase which has stuck with the defense when he said each Bulldog "plays like his hair is on fire.'' Pollack also has been a defining player on the field, emerging as an all-star candidate with his 11 sacks, 28 quarterback pressures and 19 tackles for lost yards — each still the top total in the Southeastern Conference.  

But even Pollack struggled Tuesday to explain how it has felt to have had time to relish Georgia's first SEC Eastern Division title, first trip to the Dec. 7 SEC championship game, and opportunity to win the Bulldogs' first conference title since 1982.  

"It's one of those feelings you can't explain,'' Pollack said. "It's a good time to bring Georgia back to where it needs to be.''  

Georgia (10-1 overall, 7-1 SEC)  clinched the East title with its 24-21 win at Auburn last Saturday night. Georgia is ranked sixth in both major polls and is No. 5 in this week's Bowl Championship Series standings.  

Fifth-year senior offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb found a word to describe the atmosphere around the team after clinching its long-sought Eastern Division championship.  

"It has been surreal,'' said Stinchcomb,  who recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and delivered a halftime speech that was credited with sparking the second-half comeback. Added Stinchcomb: "The experience is unlike any other that I've had. It's such a buzz, such a special feeling around Athens and Georgia. "You can tell we've been able to accomplish something that hadn't been accomplished.''  

After playing 10 straight weeks, Georgia is off this Saturday before playing host to Georgia Tech on Nov. 30. It will need that extra time to refocus.  

"I feel very thankful for what has happened to this point,'' Coach Mark Richt said Tuesday. "To have won the East, it's no small thing in my mind to have won the thing. "I also know you can't get too happy or you can get beat. I'm glad I looked at (Georgia Tech) tape (Monday), because there is the perception they're having a rough time and they didn't look like they were having a rough time to me.''  

Richt scheduled practices this week for Tuesday, today and Thursday and said "we'll definitely be working on Tech.''  Added Richt of the ongoing celebration following the win over Auburn: "I will make sure we put this one behind us.''


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