"I didn't do great, but I didn't play real bad," Odell Thurman said after Georgia improved to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC by demolishing Kentucky. "I did all right."
Thurman was on the defensive because defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder put the spotlight firmly on him while calling out his entire
defense after the game.
"Odell has to play better football for us," VanGorder said.
two games he just hasn't been up to par."
Asked what was wrong with Thurman, VanGorder responded, "That's a
question to ask him."
The No. 8 Bulldogs better get answers to all their defensive questions
quickly. They play No. 3 Auburn (9-0, 6-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in
Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised by CBS.
"Auburn's the team in the SEC to beat now," Thurman said.
The Bulldogs' offense could be hampered in the game because the
availability of starting tailback Danny Ware is uncertain. Ware sprained
his ankle and knee recovering his own fumble against Kentucky. The ankle
injury is more serious than the knee injury, Coach Mark Richt said.
"I don't know how bad everything is," Richt said. "I don't
to say other than it'll be day-to-day on him."
Still, it's the defense that will be the question mark heading into
the Auburn game. Georgia gave up 344 yards to Kentucky, which entered
the game last in the nation in yards per game (259.2). That came on the
heels of the season-worst 458 yards the Bulldogs surrendered against
"I see it as we are a little fatigued," Richt said. "I
think that has
to do with the season and the wear and tear, and it might be that we
haven't had the depth we'd like at certain positions. The guys just might
be tired. It's been a pretty long stretch."
Richt predicted VanGorder's assessment would be different and more
technically based, but, immediately after the game, VanGorder was right
in line with his head coach.
"Slow," he said when asked to describe his defense. "We're
playing Georgia defense right now."
Not having safety Thomas Davis contributed to that against Kentucky.
Davis remains questionable due to ankle and knee sprains. Mary Persons
native Tra Battle had six tackles last week in place of Davis. Thurman
and Danny Verdun Wheeler led the Bulldogs with eight.
"I'm not playing as well as I think I should play," Thurman
I'm still going to work hard and something will pan out."
The Bulldogs might back off some on the contact this week in practice
in order to give their defense some rest, but no final decision has been
Georgia certainly won't be as rested as the Tigers, who had an open
date last week. Last season, it was Georgia that had an off week before
this game while Auburn played. The Bulldogs built a 26-0 lead and won
"We were fresh (last year), no doubt about it," Richt said.
make a difference certainly, especially this time of year. Right now
we're just grinding it out, and we hope we have enough good momentum to
finish out the game."
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