November 8, 2009

Dawgs bracing for Auburn

There's a handful of games where Georgia coach Mark Richt figures he doesn't have to say much about to get his Bulldogs ready to play.

Saturday night's contest against Auburn is one.

"This game right here is one I don't need to talk a whole lot about," Richt said during Sunday's teleconference with reporters. "They're the No. 25-ranked team (USA Today/Coaches Top 25) and we know that everybody constantly keeps an eye on what the ranked teams are doing. It's a game where there will be a lot of attention and we're looking forward to playing well in front of the country."

Kickoff Saturday is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Richt said his Bulldogs (5-4, 3-3) should be at top strength.

Not only will wide receiver A.J. Green be back after missing Saturday's contest against Tennessee Tech with a bruised lung, but sack leader Justin Houston will also be back after missing the game with a hyper-extended elbow.

The Bulldogs did not miss Houston against the Golden Eagles.

Georgia collected six sacks against Tennessee Tech, including two by true freshman Montez Robinson and another by redshirt freshman Cornelius Washington. The Bulldogs also used a solid game from its defensive line to limit the Golden Eagles to minus-13 yards on the ground.

"We've done a pretty good job of rotating our defensive linemen, and I think we'll continue to do that," Richt said. "Having Houston back may bump a couple of reps for some guys, but we did get some nice pays from Washington and Montez did some good things. The young guys on our interior have played well all along, and did a good job in this last one."

Offensively, Richt certainly does not expect his Bulldogs to enjoy the same success they did on the ground Saturday that they did against Tennessee Tech.

Georgia rumbled for 304 rushing yards, including 89 by freshman Washaun Ealey who led the Bulldogs for the third straight week.

"He's done well and I think we've seen him mature quickly as a runner," Richt said. "He's still got to get better as a pass protector but he's made some positive strides there, too."

Richt credits Georgia's recent shakeup on the offensive line to help get the running game back in gear.

"We had to re-invent our offensive line a little bit," Richt said. "When the season started I was reasonably comfortable because I felt we'd have Trinton (Sturdivant) and Tanner (Strickland), a total of nine guys or so who have played and could start, or at least be interchangeable. However, when we had a couple of guys go down early, it really changed the day of that front. So part of it was just finding the right combination and for the backs to learn how to read better and finish runs better. It's all started to come together."

Richt does not plan any more changes with the line the rest of the year.

That means Clint Boling will continue to play left tackle, Cordy Glenn left guard, Ben Jones center, Chris Davis right guard and Josh Davis right tackle.

"We just got a little more physical with Cordy back inside and that helped the running game," Richt said. "Josh and Chris both understand what we want to do, so that's helped the intensity with which they were playing and that's given us a good shot in the arm."

NOTE: After stating after the game that he would probably nix the idea of pulling players from the game after committing a penalty, Richt has apparently changed his mind. "I'm not sure what I'll do in regards to that, but we are aware (of the penalties); we go on the rampage about them all the time," Richt said. "We still may do a little bit of that. (Against Tennessee Tech) we did not let them play for the rest of the series. I don't know if it's wise to do keep doing that, but we may pull them for a play before getting them back in."

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