Notebook: With ‘goal still intact,’ Bulldogs focus on ‘winning every game’

By RYAN BLACK
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS — Just because Georgia was off last week didn’t mean its players stayed away from football.

Starting right guard Chris Burnette attended the Florida State-Boston College game in Tallahassee, Fla., with his fiance. Tight end Arthur Lynch woke up and watched some of ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast before he took in a local Pop Warner football game. But both Burnette and Lynch were in the same place Saturday night: glued to the television, watching South Carolina face LSU. With the Tigers beating the Gamecocks 23-21, the Bulldogs’ chance to win the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division is a possibility once again.

And Burnette couldn’t be more pleased.

“We definitely feel like our goal is still intact,” he said following Monday’s practice. “We can still keep pushing, and as long as we take care of every game, we can be back in the race. It’s great to see the opportunity arise.”

Lynch didn’t watch the game just to see if the Gamecocks would lose, however. He tuned in because he has stayed in touch with former Bulldogs quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who now starts for the Tigers.

Though he was happy Georgia’s hopes of returning to the SEC Championship aren’t dead, he had no problem putting things into perspective.

“It’s a relief, but it doesn’t substitute for the fact that we didn’t play the game we wanted to play against South Carolina,” Lynch said. “They beat us straight-up, and there’s still work we need to do, and that’s why we’ve been focusing on Kentucky.”

Burnette didn’t dispute that there was more energy during Monday’s practice.

“Seeing that we still have a chance, seeing an opportunity to accomplish our goals, it really keeps you amped up,” Burnette said. “You realize you can’t always focus on what happened in the past. You have to push forward and try to see what we can do in the future.”

Malcolm Mitchell doesn’t like looking into the future. That’s why the sophomore cornerback/receiver doesn’t like playing the “what-if?” game.

If the Bulldogs don’t win the rest of their games, he said, the Gamecocks’ loss means nothing.

“We really just need to be focused on winning every game, honestly,” he said. “If we don’t win every game, it doesn’t matter what happens.”

Phillips more worried about sacks than job security

Joker Phillips cherishes his friendship with Mitch Barnhart. Whatever kinship Kentucky’s coach and its athletic director may share didn’t help Phillips avoid questions about his job security Monday, though.

“We talk a couple times a week. It’s just small talk,” Phillips said during his weekly media conference. “It’s nothing — you know, he’s been very encouraging and nothing what you want to get at.”

When asked whether any of their talks involved his future as coach, Phillips deflected the query. His one-sentence response focused solely on the Wildcats’ next opponent.

“I’m busy trying to get these guys improved and get them prepared to play Georgia,” he said.

Given his team’s 1-6 overall record and 0-4 mark in Southeastern Conference play, Phillips was also forced to defend his team’s resolve. Following last Saturday’s lightning-shortened 49-7 loss to Arkansas, some questioned whether the team quit. Phillips disputed the assertion then, and his stance remained the same Monday.

“Sometimes in a game like that, it might look like [to] the common folk that they are not giving effort, but if you watched the two long touchdown passes, Cody Quinn is straining, busting his tail from the back side,” Phillips said. “I think our guys are giving us great effort. We have to do a better job of executing.”

To Phillips, no part of his team needs to step up more than the defensive line. Though the Wildcats’ defense has tallied 15 sacks this season, which ranks eighth in the SEC, Phillips isn’t satisfied. He wants his players in Aaron Murray’s face early and often Saturday to help the Wildcats’ injury-ravaged and youthful secondary.

“You’ve got to get more pressure on the quarterback. You can’t let him get comfortable back there,” Phillips said. “That’s what happened Saturday. We didn’t get enough pressure on [Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson] and the guy takes advantage of a young secondary. There were some holes, obviously. When you play some young guys, sometimes they’re out of position.”

And if the front four can’t create enough of a push to get to Murray, there are always fall back options.

“You either blitz, and if you can’t get with him with the blitz, you must drop eight [into coverage],” Phillips said.

Injury report

Five players did not take part in practice, most notably outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who sat out with an ankle sprain. Two other Bulldog defenders sat out after having surgery: inside linebacker Brandon Burrows (fractured left hand; had surgery last Thursday) and defensive end Sterling Bailey (thumb sprain; had surgery Monday). Wide receiver Michael Bennett (torn right anterior cruciate ligament) and tight end Cole Trolinger (concussion) rounded out Monday’s injured list.

377 comments Add your comment

bardawg

October 15th, 2012
10:46 pm

What absolutely gauls me is that with the wayUGA played little girl football against SCe they think they have a chance in hell with the Gators? Please! Now we’re Their bltches too!

bardawg

October 15th, 2012
10:47 pm

Oh & 1st (BIG DEAL)

aaron

October 15th, 2012
10:48 pm

Florida will destroy them

DirtRoadDawg

October 15th, 2012
10:50 pm

Looks like another Outback Bowl Season. Hopefully FLA will beat SC. Never thought I would be rooting for Gators……

Willie Taggart 2013!!

DirtRoadDawg

October 15th, 2012
10:53 pm

Willie Taggart…Willie Taggart….Willie Taggart….Willie Taggart….

Bjohndawg

October 15th, 2012
10:55 pm

Focus on Kentucky
that’s the first step
fla can wait

Athens

October 15th, 2012
10:55 pm

Here’s to wishing we could lose about a tenth of our whiney fan base. Those of us who attended or attend UGA don’t need or want you.

Mr Dawg to you!

October 15th, 2012
11:08 pm

When SC loses another sec game and we run the table then what bar doogie say? Another spurrier lover!

Outer Banks Dawg

October 15th, 2012
11:08 pm

You never know in college football. Glad to hear some focus and enthusiasm outta the Dawg players. The only reason I believe they have a great shot against Florida is because they don’t want a repeat performance of the S. Carolina game… It’s like their shot at redemption.

Not to beat a dead horse, but can we get the 2 tight ends and the fullback in the game more often… Bolster the O-line with a few more bodies and run the dang ball

Athens

October 15th, 2012
11:14 pm

Gators beat cocks because SC’s legs will be dead by second half – road weary. Dawgs beats gators for the same reason…After an off week, we will have fresh legs, gators won’t (provided we rest a bunch of guys and take care of business in Lexington).

kingdaddy

October 15th, 2012
11:15 pm

One game at a time…

Athens

October 15th, 2012
11:19 pm

Agree Kingdaddy

JRW7

October 15th, 2012
11:22 pm

Even with the SC loss to LSU, I can’t get too hyped up about beating the Gators, remember DAWG fans, CMR is still our coach, and he can’t win the big game anymore! DAWGS beat Ky, and lose to the Gators! Same old story, with CMR!

funny...

October 15th, 2012
11:34 pm

JRW7 – if Georgia loses to Florida, should they can Richt? We can’t forget how unprepared that Georgia was to play South Carolina. I like that they have confidence in their players but, damn guys, at least gameplan for Clowney. Georgia is so predictable.

It’s amazing that a hopeful 10-2 season could get your coach fired, but this is continued underperformance from the team and the staff.

Athens

October 15th, 2012
11:37 pm

usual trolls at work…

fil

October 15th, 2012
11:43 pm

Bull – the goal is not still intact! I would buy that if the Dawgs looked prepared in anyway to play USC. Instead – they embarrassed all UGA fans that night in Columbia. Goal #1 – show up and play hard every game – Goal #1 – FAIL!

Dawgfan01

October 15th, 2012
11:45 pm

We should have hired spurrier years ago!

virginia baird

October 15th, 2012
11:48 pm

let me tell ya’ll something,I have alway’s been a Richt supporter,but I AM DONE!! to night on a radio show a caller asked why did’nt richt call the plays,Richt answered Bobo doing great job,excuse me,what,if that’s true Im 10ft tall&by the way I’m 5′4! I know of Richts loyalty to bobo,but HOW ABOUT LOYALTY TO US!!While getting rid of bobo wouldnt fix everything It would go A HELLUVA LONG WAY! This hugs&kisses in lollipop land is just ridiculous! I am a dawg&will always be a dawg,had season tickets over 50yrs,BUT I AM “DONE” WITH RICHT!

Paul in NH

October 15th, 2012
11:50 pm

I can’t fault Chip because he doesn’t write the headlines, but what is the “goal” that is still intact?

virginia baird

October 15th, 2012
11:53 pm

And another thing here we are hoping to get back to atlanta, BY DEFAULT once again,the only way we can get there,HOW ABOUT WINJING IT STRAIGHT OUT,HOW BOUT THAT! I am so sick of this I can’t SEE STRAIGHT!!

Smitty

October 15th, 2012
11:59 pm

Best thing is SC beats Florida…Dawgs beat Florida….Dawgs win out go to Sugar Bowl…. Let SC have Alabama in Atlanta. Don’t want to face ALABAMA ANYWHERE…

L.A. BULLDAWG

October 16th, 2012
12:01 am

EVERY TEAM HAS A “BAD” GAME! LOOK AT WEST VIRGINIA! THEY WERE AVERAGING 70PPG, BEFORE GETTING WHACKED!! IT’S A LONG SEASON! GO ‘DAWGS!!!

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:01 am

It is what it is. Bama is loaded and I am a Dawg fan

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:03 am

I’ll take 12-1 any day

Hairy Dawg

October 16th, 2012
12:10 am

10-2 with losses against S. Carolina and Florida would be the worst thing that could happen to us. After all, how can McGarity fire Richt after a 10-2 (maybe 11-2 with a bowl win) season? What coach would want to come to Athens if a guy goes 116-40 in 12 seasons and his job isn’t safe? Hell, even if you go by his last four years in this scenario, the Dawgs would be 35-18 during that time.

The Dawgs are gonna have to lose some games they’re not supposed to lose this year in order for Richt to be replaced. Maybe Auburn, Ole Miss, or Tech could bite us. Can’t see us losing to Kentucky. Hell, it might take three more losses to do the job.

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:12 am

Hell guys….how many sabans are there out there…..oh one

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:13 am

If Dawgs can’t hire Saban I say we keep what we have….

dbc

October 16th, 2012
12:17 am

Athens, you’re an idiot. I’ve been a UGA fan for going on 40 years, lived there as a kid, graduated from UGA and I know a TON of loyal DAWG fans and supporters. 95% of them have just about had it with CMR’s “aw shucks” approach. If he loses to Florida, it will be a continuation of the same choke mentality he has in every big game. I hope they beat Florida, I really do. But I wouldn’t put 5 cents on it happening. Don’t think you speak for the fan base. We aren’t trolls, just realists.

The Truth

October 16th, 2012
12:33 am

We need a wholesale coaching staff change in Athens. However, UGA had one bad game and USC had one good game and both occurred on the same date. USC is not as good as they looked and got lucky with some big plays. UGA is much better than they looked but they are not tough mentally. USC will lose to UF because this 3 game stretch was always going to kill them. Florida had an. Easy opponent Sat and will win in the Swamp. UGA has a cake walk in Lexington and should be better rested than UF having played 2 games in a row to UGA’s one.

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:35 am

dbc… you could be a little over the top…..

Roll Tide with Pride

October 16th, 2012
12:36 am

And exactly what good teams has UGA beat the last 4 years?

Look guys, it’s not a talent issue. There seems to be a timing issue in that UGA seems to perpetually rebuilding some part of the team – which. to me , means there is something wrong with recruiting the wrong players, some bad luck with injuries, and coaching (or lack thereof).

Besides TEXAS – name a school that does not live up to it’s billing year in and year out. Well, I can name two: FSU and UGA.

I have been to Athens several times – beautiful campus, stadium and practice facilities. For the life of me, I can not figure out why UGA and BAMA are not meeting more often in the Dome early December.

Yes, there is one SABAN, however, UGA should be a toptwo SEC EAST team every year.

ROOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!

Roll Tide with Pride

October 16th, 2012
12:41 am

SO, here we go – USCe vs FL will decide the SEC East.
UGA puckers up tight and will not beat Florida when something important is on the line.

UGA will underachieve at the moment of truth – all HAT no Cattle!

Just going with the last 10 years history of UGA vs Florida. Florida knows it can win, UGA hopes it can win. Muschamp is coaching his team to win games. Richt is coaching his team to see if it can win games – or play not to lose games.

This is not the same Richt that showed up in Athens over a decade ago.

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:44 am

Roll Tide….some what true….. all of the UGA pieces have not come together at the same time except 2001-2002. We was maybe best team in country and stumbled in a key game. Good teams since then but not great. Most people would love to have good teams

dbc

October 16th, 2012
12:46 am

And why is that Smitty? Because I’m tired of seeing my team wet their pants on National TV year after year? No one wants to see this team win more than I do. But a pattern is a pattern and CMR needs to break it to instill some form of confidence in his abilities. Every year, his teams have some kind of problem, weak link, excuse, you name it. It’s getting old and there are a great many who are really tired of it all. It’s an opinion that I hold as well as many others. Not sacrilege…

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:47 am

back in early 2000’s Bama was just hoping to have winning season

Roll Tide with Pride

October 16th, 2012
12:49 am

@ THE TRUTH – you are probably right about Florida beating USCe. USCe had a lot of emotional capital spent playing in that LSU game. That was a huge blow – and Florida is playing very physical.

How many times have we seen a team lose an emotional game – and the next week lay an egg. The LSU game was a huge let down.

If Florida beats USCe – then that could propel them to play thier best against Georgia as they will be playing to close the deal.
However, the mental toll for UGA will not be that great because they will walk all over Kentucky – and know it will come down to Florida.
Actually, UGA has nothing to lose – as they are really not a part of the conversation because no one believes in UGA.

If USCe loses to Florida – they could get upset by Arkansas.

Smitty

October 16th, 2012
12:49 am

dbc… I struggle with your feelings….I just can’t see a better option

Kydawg

October 16th, 2012
12:53 am

Enter your comments here

Really?

October 16th, 2012
12:56 am

Sorry guys, i love the dawgs, but that 35-7 beating made me stop drinking the kool aid, we are not for real, we need a coach or this is what we will always be.

Kydawg

October 16th, 2012
12:59 am

UK has always played us tough…too many GA boys on the team that want to make a statement. It shouldn’t be a contest, but it will. UK will show up and fight for their coach. I know what our guys are saying, but if they catch us looking ahead, this game will be closer than it should.

dbc

October 16th, 2012
1:06 am

Smitty, I think we’re on the same page, I’m just a bit more vocal about it. I don’t have all the answers — or any, I admit. I’d love to see what a Chris Peterson from Boise could do with all our talent. That said, I think McGarity’s hands are tied even if CMR loses to Florida. 10-2 coaches just don’t get canned. What bugs me most, is this Jekyll-Hyde team Richt has always had — you just never know which team will show up. All I know is when people start wishing their team loses so they can fire the coach — well that’s not a good sign. And I don’t want them to lose — just man-up and play to their ability. If they played SC and lost a heartbreaker — that’s acceptable. But to not even show up…

Roll Tide with Pride

October 16th, 2012
1:10 am

@ Really? Well done, Kool Aid tastes awesome until that first lost. Losing a game against a national ranked opponent is one thing.

Getting blown out …. again, is not a good thing. And let’s face it, UGA’s performance against big time competition is pretty abysmal.

Even Lane Kiffin kicked UGA/Richt’s butt…… a real spanking.

Believe me, as a life long Bama fan – I have had my ups and downs as well. The entire DuBose situation was embarrassing and to be honest – The NCAA could have hammered us even more. Saban will not be at Bama but for a few more years – and things go in cycles.

With that said – UGA / Richt has had some great teams – but the 2008 team was way overated – and 2009/ 2010 were rebuild years ……. it happens. However, UGA should NEVER go 6-7 – as they did in 2010. And the 2011 team????? Boise State embarrassed UGA on national television. UGA did not play a clean game against USCe, got blown out and embarrassed by LSU and played not to lose against Michigan State.

This year – the defense picked up from last year – actually – has not played well at all.
50th rated defense nationally – against a schedule of Buffalo, MO, FL ATL and Vandy on your schedule???? That’s pretty bad guys.

Florida beats UGA.
Mack Brown and Mark Richt are probably going to the same clinics.

dbc

October 16th, 2012
1:17 am

Can’t argue with any of that Roll Tide…Richt is a good guy and all, but being outclassed constantly in big games leads to a reputation — one that is not favorable at all for CMR. He just seems to drift along year-to-year and hope things right themselves. Special Teams is a good example. Our weak O-line is another one. You can’t put your faith in players with shoulder problems, or bad grades, or suspension issues — go get some new guys for God sakes and stop signing receivers out the wazzou!

RealDawg

October 16th, 2012
1:31 am

Fire all the coaches. That will fix everything. Just ask Tennessee.

Why do you guys even waste your air? As long as we are winning you all shut up about CMR. As soon as we lose, you crawl back out. A week ago, all the LSU fans were screaming that Miles needed to go.

I am sorry that CMR isn’t Saban…but nobody is. There are only a few coaches as successful as CMR out there. Do you not remember the 11 years of Goff/Donnan were we had a 60% winning record? We are one of the 10 winningest programs in the country over the last 10 years in the toughest conference.

PLEASE tell me which coach you are gonna hire that will produce more than that?

tony

October 16th, 2012
1:38 am

Whatever uga does about Mr Richt, lets just hope they don’t make the same mistake Tenn and Auburn made of hiring a hc with losing record. Tenn hired 2 coaches with a losing record…. Lane Kiffin 5-15 @ Oakland and Derek Dooley 17-20 @ Louisiana Tech.

Auburn’s Gene Chizik 5-19 @ Iowa State Cyclones

DroopyDawg

October 16th, 2012
1:38 am

@Roll Tide w/pride…You Bama fans are all the same….because you have Saban and your team has done well the last few years, you somehow think that you as a fan, have some sort of increased football knowledge, or that your advice is valued by other teams’ fans not doing as well as they should. I can promise you if the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t be trolling Alabama boards and “imparting” wisdom and my opinion on their program….just a thought.

RealDawg

October 16th, 2012
1:41 am

As for all the not showing up against SC, do you think those kids weren’t up for that game? A few fluke things happened and momentum took everything South Carolina’s way. It happens.

SC batted down 4 or 5 passes from Mettenberger, they just didn’t get returend for a pick 6. Shaw through the same long pass against LSU, they just barely broke it up. SC didn’t have a single turnover in that game against us but 2 against LSU. It was the only game this year they didn’t turn the ball over. All things went there way AND they played a great game.

That game hurt. That game sucked. But it wasn’t coaching or lack of desire.

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Dawg in SC

October 16th, 2012
4:34 am

Look guys, there is not another Herschel out there, no Vince Dooley.. The way to win in the SEC, in the East or the West, is to run the ball, and play ligts out defense. Period! Look at Bama, Lsu.. They give us the blueprint every year but somehow we don’t seem to grasp that. It all starts an ends with the offensive and defensve lines. They need to piss these guys off before the games and make them mean, or recruit some nasty road graders for Gurley, Marshall, and the rest of the backs! Do that, and the rest will take care of itself! By the way, when Latimore and Clowney leave Columbia, the Gamecocks will be an 8-4 team once again. GO DAWGS!

Ga8tor

October 16th, 2012
5:28 am

The bulldogs better worry about Kentucky. It will be a game.