Georgia Notebook
Mark Richt
Mark Richt

Posted Sep 3, 2003


Not anything involving Georgia, but the Bulldog coach has marveled at his team's next opponent lost the season-opener last Thursday at home to Florida Atlantic.

ATHENS — It was an ending that still gets to Mark Richt.

Not anything involving Georgia, but the Bulldog coach has marveled at his team's next opponent lost the season-opener last Thursday at home to Florida Atlantic.

Middle Tennessee State led 19-14, and FAU — coached by Richt's former boss, Howard Schnellenberger — had the ball on the one with about 90 seconds left.

The Owls got to about their own 40, and the clock began running with 11 seconds left.

"Their left tackle actually didn't even block," Richt said. The FAU quarterback was rushed and stepped up into the pocket, then left it. "The defender came and grabbed him but couldn't quite wrap him up, and the ball popped up in the air.

"The QB caught the ball kind of in mid-air and just chunked it out there in desperation. The defensive back from Middle Tennessee had a bead on it, but the receiver snatched it right out in front of him, snatched it before he got there."

And then raced in for the touchdown.

"It was really unbelievable," Richt said with almost sympathic bemusement at the wildness of the play. "It had to be a tough way to lose a game."

INJURY UPDATE: Defensive tackle Ken Veal (ankle) and safety Kentrell Curry (leg) are questionable to probable for Saturday, but safety Greg Blue (leg) is highly doubtful. End Marquis Elmore (ankle) is a little behind Veal and Curry but is fairly close to playing.

Freshman tailback Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring) will get plenty of practice time all week and should get on the field. Tailback Tony Milton (bruised leg) didn't practice Monday but did on Tuesday. Tight end Ben Watson (ankle) is banged up but will play.

CORRECTION: Backup safety Tra Battle attended Mary Persons High. The Georgia sports information department has incorrectly listed him as having graduated from Collins Hill High. Battle, a walk-on true freshman, has earned playing time, yet wasn't in the Georgia media guide.

A short bio has been added to the UGA game notes. He had three tackles Saturday in playing behind senior Sean Jones.

ANOTHER ADDITION: The sports information department is also including new information on fullback Hunter O'Brien, who played at Northside in the mid-90s but missed playing time when Middle Georgia College dropped the program two years ago.

THEY'RE BACK: The secondary gets a little relief this week with the return of cornerback B.J. Fields from a one-game suspension.

Fullbacks Chris Hickman and Jamario Smith have also served their one-game suspensions. Richt said Smith, a sophomore from Mary Persons, is the No. 2 fullback, behind starter Jeremy Thomas. Deep snapper Brian Jordan returns after a one-game suspension.

Still on suspension: tailback Tyson Browning, defensive backs DeMario Minter and Tim Jennings, and wideouts Bryan McLendon and Mario Raley.

CHANGES: Reggie Brown will probably start over Michael Johnson at a wide receiver position this week.

Richt said it was more of Brown deserving the start rather than any demotion for Johnson.

"Mainly because of Reggie having a good camp, and performing well," Richt said. "Reggie's earned the starting position. Reggie just has been playing well. It was a coin toss going into the game anyway."

Georgia started end Marcus Jackson at tackle Saturday, but freshman Ray Gant turned in a nice day with three tackles and a team-high four quarterback pressures.

"Ray Gant really played well," said Richt. "Whether he'll move into a starting role or not, I don't know. But there's a possibility he might have jumped to a No. 1. He definitely earned more playing time."

HOMECOMING: Scores of MTSU players will need extra tickets, for the roster has nearly 40 players from Georgia, ranging from Valdosta to Rome.

MTSU's top four tailbacks are Georgians as are both left offensive tackles, both fullbacks, and the first and second weakside safety.

Starting quarterback Andrico Hines is from Riverdale and played at Southwest Mississippi Community College.

One potential reunion involves players from last year's Class AAA state champ.

Georgia's Michael Cooper, a redshirt freshmen, will get plenty of time, and MTSU's Sean Mosely is a true freshman No. 2 middle linebacker.

It'll be a big day for LaGrange, for the west Georgia town will have five players in uniform: Bruce Thornton and Olaolu Sanni-Osomo for Georgia and Shavaskey Brown, Marcus Gate, and Shawn Allen for MTSU.

The Blue Raiders have 26 from the Peach State on their two-deep, including special teams. A dozen Georgians are position starters, including sophomore defensive lineman Devarick Scanderett of Mary Persons.

NEWS 'N NOTES: Saturday's game will be televised, but get your credit card ready.

It will be televised live on Comcast pay-per-view. Cost for those in areas receiving Comcast is $29.99, and can be ordered at 800-795-3399.Contact local cable companies for more information.

Georgia's offensive line held up despite getting only about two dozen plays from tackle Max Jean-Gilles.

"It wasn't that many," said Richt. "You hope for more. I hope for more this week."

QUOTABLE: "It's the kind of team that's gonna knock somebody off every year that maybe they shouldn't knock off. We gotta make sure that that team is not us this week." Richt on the upset possibilities posed by MTSU.


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