Monday, September 6, 2010

Going To Carolina


The Dawgs begin Southeastern Conference play this Saturday on the road against South Carolina, and coach Mark Richt said the early season contest with the Gamecocks is always a big test.

Speaking on his weekly conference call with the media Sunday, Richt said the annual game with the Gamecocks is an honest test of where you team is at this point in the season.

“You can have that first game against a non-conference opponent and not know how it’s going to really be in league play,” said Richt. ”Look at Aaron (Murray), he played his first game in front of a big home crowd, he made some plays, and he made some mistakes. This week, we play away against an SEC opponent. It’s going to be a hostile crowd against a little different brand of athletes, especially on defense.

This will be a better indicator then perhaps some of the out of conference games.”

The Dawgs (1-0) will face South Carolina (1-0) Saturday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both squads. Both teams are coming off blowout wins at home, Georgia routing Louisiana 55-7 while USC took care of Southern Mississippi 41-13.

“Our guys are focused on South Carolina right now,” said Richt. “I always think the race in the East is wide open, and everybody will have a decent idea in a few weeks. There will be a few teams in the lead; a couple neck-in-neck and you still have tough opponents to play in the West too. Everybody is hoping to get that first win in league play and get momentum.”

The Gamecocks have been Georgia’s first SEC foe of the season since they joined the league in 1992. The Bulldogs are 13-5 in these games including 7-2 under Richt. Last year in Athens, Georgia posted a 41-37 victory over USC. It marked the seventh time in the past nine meetings that the margin of victory was seven points or less.

Richt was asked to reflect on Georgia’s season opening win, and he complimented the play of the defense as they held the Ragin’ Cajuns to 128 yards on 53 plays and registered three interceptions.

“The defense seemed to be locked in mentally, they played extremely hard and had very few mental errors,” Richt said. “They were well-prepared, and we didn’t have any penalties on defense. The interceptions were a combination of putting pressure on the quarterback, the score of the game forcing them to have to throw to try and get back in it and just some great plays. I didn’t realize how great a play Sanders Commings made on his interception. That’s about as fine an interception as I’ve seen.”

South Carolina, led by senior signal-caller Stephen Garcia, presents a much stiffer test for the Dawgs. After reviewing the Gamecocks season-opening victory, Richt said Garcia looks to have improved a lot.

“He’s in charge, I always knew he’s tough, he’s got that linebacker mentality and that hasn’t changed,” said Richt. “He’s making decision more quickly and putting the ball where coach wants.”



Freshman Meghan Gibbons scored three goals and fellow rookie Nicole Locandro added two to lead the Georgia soccer team to a 5-1 win over in-state rival Georgia State Sunday afternoon at the GSU Soccer Field.

The win was the Bulldogs’ fourth straight and pushed the squad to 4-1 on the year.

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