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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Practice Notes: Rambo Likely, Green Questionable

Neither Bacarri Rambo nor A.J. Green practiced in full Tuesday, but head coach Mark Richt remains hopeful Georgia will have both players available for Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

Rambo, who suffered a concussion making a tackle against Auburn two weeks ago, sat out of last week’s loss to Kentucky but Richt said he appears close to returning.

“We are pretty confident Bacarri will (play),” Richt said. “We are a little less confident that A.J. will, but we’re not counting him out yet.”

Green, Georgia’s leading receiver, suffered a left shoulder sprain after being tackled against Auburn. Richt said Green still does not have full range of motion in the shoulder, which doesn’t bode well for his immediate return.

“Right now we’re still working on the strength and getting the soreness out,” Richt said. “He doesn’t have full range of motion right now, but sometimes those things can change quickly and sometimes they don’t.”

Richt said Green would likely need to have seen dramatic improvement by Thursday in order to play against Tech.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he would hold out hope right up until kickoff, however, that Green might be able to play.

“I’m approaching it that I hope he’s out there. I’m still optimistic,” Bobo said. “I think he could go out there if he’s ready to go gametime, we could tell him what to do and he could go run the route and make some plays.”

If Green misses the game, freshman Rantavious Wooten would likely get the start in his place.

With Green sidelined against Kentucky, Wooten caught two touchdown passes, while redshirt freshman Tavarres King chipped in with the first 100-yard game by a Georgia receiver other than Green all season.

“They are starting to step up,” Richt said. “Even at tight end we are getting some good production from Aron (White) and Orson (Charles), so I think we have enough receivers that we could make the plays that we need to make. I don’t think anyone has made the plays like A.J. Green has made them, but they’ve been pretty solid in that regard.”


The mood in Georgia’s locker room in the hours and days following Saturday’s second-half collapse against Kentucky has been grim, and this week’s opponent hasn’t improved that feeling much.

Last week’s loss began on a bright note, with Georgia taking a 20-6 lead into the half. The second half, however, opened with a fumbled kick return, and the rest of the game belonged to Kentucky, as Georgia made one mistake after another and lost a shocker.

The storyline was a familiar one.

“Tech, last year,” left tackle Clint Boling said. “We were up going into the second half and we actually fumbled the kickoff (early) in the second half. It kind of felt like that game a little bit. It is tough every time you go into a second half with a big lead and you come out and turn the ball over and give the other team a chance. It was a tough game.”

Now Georgia faces Tech once again, this time with a fresh reminder of how quickly things can turn. That’s both a blessing and a curse, quarterback Joe Cox said, as the team desperately tries to shift its focus from the last ugly loss to this week’s immense challenge.

“You have no choice but to move on,” Cox said. “We have another game this weekend so there is no point to harping on something that happened last Saturday. I think we shot ourselves in the foot in a lot of different areas and we pretty much just gave them the game. It is tough after games like that.”

Georgia appeared to have two chances at the end of the game against Kentucky, but a fumble and an interception ended the comeback bid. The last time the Bulldogs blew a game late was against LSU in October, and they followed that up with a blowout loss to Tennessee a week later.

Boling said he’s hopeful that the team can recover in time to avoid a similar fate this week, but admits it won’t be an easy task.

“We are just trying not to quit on the season after everything that’s happened,” Boling said. “I think if we can win against Tech that would be great for our team moral and emotions going into the bowl game.”


It’s not just that Tech’s offense can hang some big numbers on the scoreboard, it’s that the Jackets do a superb job of keeping their opponents from spending too much time with their offense on the field, too.

Tech leads the nation in time of possession, holding onto the ball an average of 34:25 per game. Georgia falls a bit farther down that list, with its 29:11 average ranking 84th in the country. Still, Cox thinks a key to beating the high-octane Jackets could be stealing a page from their playbook.

“Any time, and especially if you are putting up points, one team has the ball a lot, keeps it and ends up having long drives for touchdowns or field goals, it kind of makes the other team’s offense a little antsy,” Cox said. “It makes them want to score and get things back even. So it is a really important part of this game, especially against an offense like theirs that can score from anywhere on the field. We need to be able to control the ball and move the chains and put points up.”


Back when Georgia was courting two of the top running backs in the state in 2006, Richt was sold on both Caleb King and Jonathan Dwyer as the next big thing for the Bulldogs’ ground game.

As it turned out, however, Dwyer found a better fit at Tech, and he even surprised Richt by how good he became.

“We tried like mad to get Jonathan Dwyer,” Richt said. “We thought he was one of the finest backs in the state and in the country and a very fine young man. I didn’t know he was going to grow into such the big hoss that he is. I thought he was a good-sized back, but I didn’t think he’d get up to the 235-240 range and still keep his speed and power.”

Georgia did land King, who has started the past three games for Georgia and appears to have a bright future. Dwyer, however, already has an ACC offensive player of the year award to his credit, and he could be departing for a job in the NFL as soon as next year. The Tech tailback has racked up 1,203 yards and 11 touchdowns this season for the 10-1 Jackets.

Richt doesn’t fault Dwyer for choosing Tech over the Bulldogs, however, and the opportunity clearly worked out for him.

“I think he felt like he had a better opportunity to play at Tech,” Richt said. “I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think that was part of it. That’s kind of what those kids are looking for. They are looking for where do I fit in and do I fit in more quickly here than I do over there.”


A year ago, Georgia was considered the heavy favorite, and no one in the Bulldogs’ locker room – from Richt down to the true freshmen – knew what losing to Tech felt like.

This year, things are different. The sting of defeat still feels fresh, and there’s little doubt that any energy lost during Georgia’s seven-year winning streak has been regained after the Yellow Jackets’ 45-42 win in Athens last season.

“I can’t say that was the first question out of every Bulldog Club, but it probably was asked somewhere throughout the night,” Richt said. “That’s why they call it a rivalry.”

Richt said that, despite the lopsided outcomes during his first seven years on the job, he always considered Tech a chief rival and a difficult opponent. But with Paul Johnson’s option offense, a win on Georgia’s home field for the Jackets, and the two programs headed in different directions, the competition has been turned up a notch.

“In my opinion, in the grand scheme of things, Florida is a little more important because it’s your SEC game too,” said kicker Blair Walsh. “But believe me, this is probably the most important game we’ll play all year.”


Anonymous said...

Rambo might be back, but I bet Bryan Evans gets the start and more playing time. Willie you're a douche bag and can't coach yourself out of a wet paper bag!

Anonymous said...

Thank God for term limits in college football...I don't have to see Bryan Evans and Prince Miller much longer. Hopefully they take that bag of trash Willie with them.

Anonymous said...

Richt said. “Even at tight end we are getting some good production from Aron (White) and Orson (Charles)"......yep that's why we stopped throwing the ball to them in the second half against UK. This coaching staff has shit for brains!

Anonymous said...

Mike Bobo has shit for brains. I do not understand why he was ever hired.

Anonymous said...

The above 4 comments say volumes about what the mentality of UGA worst in the SEC as exemplified here. Trashy and low class. Where have all the good men (or should I just say "men")gone?