Dawgs Head Out West

ATHENS - Georgia will make its first-ever trip to Arizona State this week, and head coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs will approach it like a normal road trip with a Friday departure.

During his weekly Sunday media conference call, Richt said he talked about the travel options with his staff, and the Bulldogs (3-0) will stay in their regular routine. It will be Georgia's longest regular season trip since 1960 when Southern Cal defeated the Bulldogs 10-3 in Los Angeles. It will be Georgia's longest trip since the 2000 O'ahu Bowl when Georgia beat Virginia in Hawaii. Kickoff Saturday between the Bulldogs and the Sun Devils (2-1) will be at 8:13 p.m. ET, and ABC will televise the game. The Bulldogs are 8-4-1 against PAC-10 schools.

"We're fooling ourselves to try and simulate what it's going to be like out there, we'll substitute and try to keep everybody fresh," said Richt. "We'll practice on the FieldTurf one more week. We didn't want to go early, and then you miss class. We'll stay in our normal rhythm and see what happens."

Following their latest win over South Carolina to improve to 3-0, Richt was asked if he was concerned that the Bulldogs dropped a spot to number three in the national polls after beginning the year number one.

"I'm not worried about it," said Richt. "We can't control it. We can control trying to win the (SEC) Eastern Division. When you set goals, it's goals you can control. For us, it's winning the East, and we can control that. This is a non-conference game, but we still want to win every game we can. We want to be in position to be there in the end. There's a lot of games left to play. We have the type of schedule to put us back in business if we take care of business."

Georgia's remaining schedule this season features fourth-ranked Florida, sixth-ranked LSU, ninth-ranked Alabama and 10th-ranked Auburn. Richt said his squad is aiming to improve in all phases of the game including on the offensive line and with their pass rush.

"The offensive line struggled especially if you compare it to the first two games," said Richt. "I don't think anybody was shocked about that. The level of competition wasn't the same. We didn't block as well in the running game or in the passing game as a unit. We got a ways to go. I am thankful we won the game, and we can see that we have to play at a higher level to be a consistent football team. They faced a strong, veteran front and one that played like their whole season was on the line.

"We didn't do a great job at times covering their tight ends or receivers, but if you give a quarterback a nice, big pocket and a lot of space to be comfortable, he will throw an accurate ball, and that happened too many times Saturday. We did force him a couple times to throw it quick and got a couple sacks, but too many times, he had too much time. It's everybody, not just the ends, we need to cover better, when we blitz, we have to make sure we get there."

During Richt's tenure that began in 2001, Georgia is 32-2 against non-conference teams and 26-4 in an opponent's stadium.


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