On Tuesday, Georgia coach Mark Richt bragged about his Bulldogs' workout, mentioning he thought they made real progress in preparation for Saturday's game against 12th-ranked South Carolina.
Wednesday, they apparently took a step back.
"I'm sure I'll look at the film and feel a little bit better than I do right now, but I'm not sure if it was good enough today to beat anybody," Richt said. "We didn't play today, that's the good news. It was not a total wreck, there were just a few things that disappointed me and that got in my craw."
Third-down pass protection was the root of the problem.
On Saturday, Georgia's offensive line struggled as Boise State sacked quarterback Aaron Murray six times.
"It was not very good today. A couple of times it was decent. Possession down, you've got to win the possession down, third down, third-and-short, third and medium, third-and-long. Medium long you usually pass more than you run, we just didn't protect very good, not good enough," Richt said. "The film might show better than what I saw, but our boys had better get it going or Murray's going to be on his back. That's what made me the most mad."
That wasn't all.
Richt changed up the typical game-week routine by practicing in full pads for the second day in a row.
But after a fast start during inside live drills, the tempo later came to a screeching halt when the Bulldog started to go thud (no tackling to the ground).
"The offense toward the end, I guess, got challenged enough where they won a few. This might be a team you just have to scrimmage to get them going, to get the kind of tempo you need," Richt said. "The more you scrimmage the tougher you get; the more you scrimmage the more risk you put everybody in and that's the problem."
Richt not concerned about Texas A&M
Richt beat reporters to the punch today, regarding Wednesday's news that Texas A&M had been invited to join the SEC.
But as he explained, he's got more important things on his mind.
"I really truly have no idea and my comment is very boring in regard to that. As honestly as I can say it, I'm trying to get first downs and touchdowns, red zone stops and I'm really not worried about it right now," Richt said. "If change is on the way, it's going to be a while before all the dust settles and when it does they'll tell me who we're going to play and we'll play them. I don't have time to mess with it. I have enough problems right now."
Nose tackle Kwame Geathers was limited in practice Wednesday as he continues to recover from a shoulder stinger he suffered late in the game against Boise State.
Richt still expects the South Carolina native to play against the Gamecocks.
"Kwame is from South Carolina and he really wants to play in this game so I don't think we'll be able to keep him out of this one," Richt said. "We're just trying to be wise and not try to light him up and set him back."
Wide receiver Marlon Brown was also in green Wednesday but is expected to play.
Richt peppered during SEC teleconference
For the second time in two days, Richt was asked by a reporter if Saturday's game against South Carolina was a must-win for his 0-1 Bulldog squad.
Once again, his answer was the same.
"A must win? I wouldn't say that. But sure, it's a very important game for all of us. It's the first conference game, it's a key for the division race, but it's not a 'must' win, not for the conference race or any other way that I know of," Richt said during Wednesday's SEC teleconference. "It's important, no doubt about that. We look at all our games as must-win games. How you want to spin that, you can spin it. That's what you (the media) do, so do with it what you want."
Richt also disputed the suggestion that after Saturday's 35-21 loss to Boise State that his players needed some kind of emotional pick-me-up.
That apparently hasn't been the case.
"I'd say we're excited right now. These guys are excited about playing this football game," Richt said. "We're playing between the hedges for the first time, and maybe, if we do win, we can get some form of redemption from last week as far as how we played overall."
Unfortunately for Richt, questions about the future of the Bulldog football program didn't stop there.
One reporter asked Richt with a big game on the horizon, what was he doing to insulate his players from all the different types of speculation.
"We can't control certain things. When you're winning, you've got people telling you how good you are, so you need to be insulated from that, too," Richt said. "If anyone gets too involved with that, gets too caught up, it doesn't help you win."
Richt was able to keep his sense of humor throughout the line of questions.
"I don't know what's 'swirling around'" I'm not interested," he said. "I usually find out about things like that if my mom calls, or when I go to church, everyone says they're praying for me."
This and that
Richt said no decision has been made regarding who will replace the injured Alec Ogletree at Moe linebacker, other than to say that player will come from the trio of Mike Gilliard, Amarlo Herrera or Jeremy Sulek.
Freshman Malcolm Mitchell was running with the second team at Y receiver behind Brown.
Freshman Ray Drew said he has received considerably more snaps than last week and expects to play when the Bulldogs are in the nickel package.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]