"It's just not the way it was, with certain teams being a little bit better than most and certain teams not being as good as most," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "There's just a lot more equality out there. There's a lot of skilled guys who can make plays, and a lot of coaches who know what they're doing."
Next week, in addition to
"Usually by now,"
Instead, the race might not be
"We may have a chance at a big
"We were able to rest some guys and you don't have to prepare for a game, so that helped us," Fulmer said. "It gave us a lot of time for fundamentals, which we took advantage of, and our players responded to that. We got a jumpstart on the plan, which was a real plus.
"Sometimes if you're playing really well you might just want to keep playing. Sometimes you get too much in if you have an open date. You have to be cautious about that. It depends on the year of the team and the maturity."
If there's one coach who doesn't
like open dates this season it has to be
Whether coaches like them late or early, before a big game or after a big game, the one they agree on is that an open date is what you make of it.
"I've seen it work very favorably
for some teams and I've seen it work where it hasn't been so favorable,"
No SEC team has suffered more
heartbreaks the past two seasons than Ole Miss. The Rebels (2-5, 0-4 SEC) lost
overtime games at both LSU and
The Rebels' latest heartbreak came
on Saturday. Ole Miss and
Then Adams completed a 43-yard pass
to Shay Hodge to the
The call, as it has all too often against Ole Miss the past three seasons, went against the Rebels.
The pain of the loss was all too evident.
"It's like somebody put a dagger through my heart," Ole Miss receiver Michael Hicks said. "We've been practicing and working so hard for this. I haven't felt like this in a long, long time."
Coach Ed Orgeron, who is now 9-23 in three seasons at Ole Miss, said, "I just told my team they gave me everything they possibly could. I just feel bad for them. All week we worked very hard to win this game. This morning there was a great feeling among everybody and a great attitude for competing to the very end. And it came down to that.
... By no means are we happy with a
loss. I just feel bad for those guys. I know how hard they've worked. But we're
going to buckle it up again tomorrow and get ready for
The Rebels have gotten up and come back before, but it will be interesting to see how many times they can keep bouncing back.
"I've been asked that question for
three years now," Orgeron said. "We have a system. On Sunday, guys come around
and watch the film. Guys get treatment. Nobody's in a good mood. On Monday,
everybody kinda perks up a little bit. We watch the film and I show them what we
did wrong. We put it in the can and we go out and get ready for
That's typical Orgeron optimism, but is it realistic? So far, the tangible rewards have been few and far between and many vocal Ole Miss fans are starting to express their frustration with Orgeron. The players can't avoid the questions about Orgeron's tenuous job security, and the coaches have to know it's out there.
"I'm telling you, these guys are resilient. I'm telling you, we are going to come back," defensive coordinator John Thompson said. "They are in the dressing room with their hearts broken talking about how they are going to practice harder and work harder.
"No, we are not concerned about an emotional letdown – we are just concerned about getting the job done and finishing."
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sportswriter, author and featured columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.