Athens, GA - With a modest two-game winning streak, Georgia now shifts its focus to the Kentucky Wildcats.
Speaking on his regular Sunday conference call with the media, Bulldog head coach Mark Richt said the Wildcats were very impressive in earning their first Southeastern Conference win this year. It snapped a three-game SEC losing streak.
“We had great interest in watching that game last night because they (Kentucky) were down, South Carolina took over, and then at halftime, something changed, and they got after it,” said Richt. “They made plays on defense, on offense and just did it. They made big plays in crunch time.”
The Wildcats, who trailed 28-10 at halftime, enjoyed a 31-28 triumph over 10th-ranked South Carolina this past Saturday. Senior quarterback Mike Hartline threw for a career-high 349 yards and four touchdowns in directing the comeback in Lexington. The Wildcats had lost 10 in a row to South Carolina and were 0-17 against teams coached by Steve Spurrier heading in to the contest.
With losses by the Gamecocks and Florida yesterday, the race in the SEC Eastern Division has gotten a lot more interesting. However, Richt said the Bulldogs are merely getting prepared for Kentucky.
“I don’t think I have to say anything to the team, they are keeping an eye on it,” said Richt. “The only thing we focused on these last two games was winning each game. Our big motivation was just doing the things we need to do to get better. We’ve got some momentum from the last couple of weekends. We want to keep the focus on that.
“People always say year in and year out that anybody can win on any given weekend, and that’s what’s happening right now,” Richt added. “Everybody has great coaches, players and fans, all the ingredients to win on any given Saturday. No one has proven to be unbeatable in the East, and in our league, the ones undefeated have been in some close games. It’s an exciting year in the SEC, no doubt.”
In the last two weeks, Georgia has blanked Vanderbilt 43-0 and posted a 41-14 rout of Tennessee. While a lot of attention has centered on the improved play of the defense in the new 3-4 scheme this season, Richt said the entire team shares the credit in playing better.
“The defense is making fewer mistakes, fewer mental errors and we need to cut down on missed assignments, and we’ll be better off,” said Richt. “I think we’re running to the ball better and getting the job done. We’ve made some plays, made some picks and some fumble recoveries. Also, offensively, we are holding on to the ball. When the offense does their job, they don’t turn it over, it all works together. They have a seven-plus minute drive and get points. I think we are getting more comfortable all the way around and confident. When you score, it puts more pressure on your opponent to make plays because they have to score too so that helps the defense.”
The Bulldogs (3-4, 2-3 SEC) face Kentucky (4-3, 1-3 SEC) Saturday in Lexington with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. and televised live by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS).