October 3, 2010

Richt talks about the Dawgs' biggest challenge

BOULDER, Colo. - The opening question during Sunday's weekly teleconference with Georgia head coach Mark Richt was direct and to the point - with everything that entails getting the football program turned around, what's the biggest challenge you're facing to get that done?

Richt paused about three seconds before giving his answer.

"The bottom line is we must keep the faith. We must keep the faith, that's the biggest thing right now," Richt said. "To this point we have had not had an issue with guys not working or not cooperating. I believe we've got a group of good guys. (Saturday) I thought they played hard and made a lot of great plays that put us in position to win the football game that obviously had an unfortunate ending. But other than finding ourselves on the wrong end of the point total, I think we're doing fine in that regard."

But for how long?

Following Saturday night's 29-27 loss to Colorado, frustration was evident in the voices of players like Demarcus Dobbs and Marcus Dowtin.

Much of the Bulldog Nation is on edge as well.

As the coaches and players headed back to their lockerroom a couple of fans were overheard yelling obscenities at Richt and some of the players.

While Richt said he shares everyone's disappointment with the season thus far, he hopes fans will not take their anger out on the players.

"It's a minority of fans who will come out and be overly negative to our guys and his coaching staff," Richt said. "I think the majority of our fans are true blue believers that are going to support the Bulldogs no matter what because we are their team."

Richt said he was most grateful of the thousands of Bulldog fans who made the 1,500-mile trip to Boulder.

"I thought the fans that showed up were phenomenal. After the game we got some good applause from the fans that were there and we got some encouraging words as we came off the field," Richt said. "I know everyone is disappointed but I haven't seen many fans get real nasty. You have a small percentage that wants to be negative and some of them are the most vocal, so I don't think anybody's given up on the boys. I don't see that with the Bulldog Nation."

Next up, Tennessee (12:21, SEC-TV):

Like the Bulldogs (1-4, 0-3) against the Buffaloes, the Vols (2-3, 0-2) are coming off an excruciating loss at LSU 16-14 and looking for their first SEC win.

"We can't sit around and cry about what's happened because if we do we're really going to be in trouble," Richt said. "Tennessee had some heartbreak, too. It's a difficult circumstance for both teams, but very important for both as well."

There was some bad injury news.

Richt announced that freshman outside linebacker T.J. Stripling tore his patella tendon during a first quarter kickoff and will be lost for the rest of the year.

"T.J. needs some surgery and I believe it will be on Tuesday," Richt said. "But he'll be able to recover from that."

Meanwhile, sophomore cornerback and punt returner Branden Smith is listed as doubtful after suffering his second concussion of the year in the first half Saturday.

It's Smith's second concussion of the year after suffering one in practice prior to the Bulldogs' game against Arkansas.

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