Dawgs brace for Spurrier and Carolina
D.J. Shockley
Reporter
Posted Sep 5, 2005


ATHENS — More than the color of Steve Spurrier’s shirt has changed since his last trip to Athens.

“The last time we played Georgia, we had the Heisman Trophy candidate with Rex Grossman,” said Spurrier, who led Florida to a 52-17 win over Georgia in Athens in 1995 and will bring South Carolina to Sanford Stadium this Saturday. “This time, they’ve got the Heisman Trophy candidate.”

Spurrier was referring to Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, who set a school record by taking part in six touchdowns in Saturday’s 48-13 win over Boise State. Shockley threw for 289 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 85 yards and another score as the Bulldogs rolled up 574 yards of total offense.

Georgia coach Mark Richt dismissed the Heisman talk and the notion that his team is an offensive juggernaut in a Sunday teleconference.

“The style in which (Shockley) plays is exciting to watch. If you have those kind of numbers and you play an exciting brand of football, you’re going to get lot of attention, but it’s just one game,” he said. “If it was game seven or eight and he was continuing to produce somewhere near that rate, then maybe. We’re just trying to win our first Southeastern Conference game right now.”

Richt isn’t worried about his team getting overconfident because of the number of chances it missed against the Broncos, he said.

“I thought there were as many as eight opportunities that could have been touchdowns if we had thrown it well or caught it,” he said. When the Bulldogs watch the film from the game, “they’ll just be shaking their head at how we could have done even better. The reality was in the first half their were six (Boise State) turnovers and only four scores. That’s really not that good.”

Some South Carolina fans were shaking their heads after the Gamecocks struggled to put away Central Florida on Thursday. South Carolina beat the Golden Knights, who have lost 16 straight, 24-15 on Thursday night in Columbia, S.C.

“Our running game wasn’t very good and our defense didn’t do a good job in keeping them off the field,” Spurrier said. “They ran 80 plays to our 51, and, as an offensive coach, you‘d like to call more plays than 51. But we’ll try to get better and try to get our team more competitive with the Bulldogs.”

Former South Carolina coach Lou Holtz didn’t do Spurrier any favors last month when he predicted the Gamecocks would beat Georgia this season for the first time since 2001.

“That was before he saw us play and before he saw them play,” Spurrier said Sunday. “Go ask him now who he thinks will win.”

The Bulldogs will gladly post Holtz’s quote throughout their locker room this week, just like they did in 2002 when former Auburn coach Pat Dye said he didn’t think Georgia was “man enough” to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Bulldogs won that game 27-25 and went on to win the SEC Championship.

“If it’ll get our boys fired up a little bit, I’ll use anything, well, maybe not anything, but anything within reason,” Richt said. “I had hoped Coach Holtz would add the quote we’re not man enough.”

Three keys

Catch passes

Georgia receivers caught enough to look good against Boise State, butthere were five drops, all of which could have gone for big plays. Five drops against Tennessee will mean a loss.

Avoid big plays

The Broncos couldn’t sustain anything, but they did get yardage in chunks. Five Boise State players had at least one run of at least 10 yards. Two receivers caught passes of more than 25 yards.

Build momentum

The Bulldogs couldn’t have done much better with this, forcing three turnovers in the first quarter and taking a 24-0 lead into the locker room. Boise State turned the ball over on its first play and never had a chance after that.

Notable: The Bulldogs got a verbal commitment Saturday from defensive back Asher Allen, a senior at Tucker High School who is considered a four-star prospect by Scout.com. ... Georgia is hoping to redshirt guard Fernando Velasco this year, Richt said. “It’s for his benefit and for our benefit,” Richt said. “We’re a little top heavy at guard right now.” The Bulldogs considered the same thing with tackle Ken Shackleford but decided he was too valuable to sit this year.

Quotable: “ “I did think going in that this team was maybe more focused than I can ever remember a team being. If we had played poorly, I would be very surprised right now because we were so prepared.” -- Georgia coach Mark Richt.

Injuries: Georgia appears to have escaped serious injury in the Boise State game. The team’s coaches feared linebacker Jarvis Jackson might have suffered a broken leg, but X-rays revealed just a bad bruise. Defensive tackle Darrius Swain suffered a sprained knee. Richt said there’s a chance both will play against South Carolina.

Next: vs. South Carolina, 5:30 p.m., Sanford Stadium, ESPN


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