Georgia players aren't na´ve.
They know that after their 1-4 start many who make up the Bulldog Nation are clamoring for change, including a portion that want a different head coach.
Speculating over the future of the head coach is never a subject players like to answer, but on Tuesday linebacker Christian Robinson agreed to respond if he thought the Bulldogs were playing for Mark Richt's job.
"Coach Richt's our coach and we're just going to do what he tells us to do and focus on Tennessee, and the next opponent. That's all we can do. If we sit and dwell on things that aren't going to lead to a win on Saturday, you're going to get off track," Robinson said. "We can't worry about things that could affect that outcome. I came here because of him, and I want to play to make him happy. What would make him happy is a win on Saturday."
Richt wouldn't be the only one.
Actually, according to Robinson, sending out the seniors in respectable fashion is the first thing in the minds of the underclassmen.
"We're playing to make this season better than it has been so far. All we can do is focus on the future, our attitude and effort. We're playing for us because at the end of the year it's going to be our name, the seniors," Robinson said. "This is the season that they're going to be remembered for and how they led this team, and I'm afraid they're going to be remembered for this slump. We don't want that to happen. We want people to remember them for continuing to fight."
What can Rogers expect?
Wide receiver Marlon Brown laughed that he knows exactly what Tennessee wide receiver DaRick Rogers has in store when he steps on the field Saturday. A Calhoun native, Rogers had committed to the Bulldogs before changing his mind right before National Signing Day to sign with Tennessee.
"Probably the same as I did when I went to Tennessee last year," laughed Brown, a Memphis native who chose Georgia on National Signing Day in Feb. of 2009.
Brown, known to be a target of former Vol coach Lane Kiffin, was booed heartily by Tennessee fans every time he got in the game.
Richt on King, Ealey
Richt said he still hasn't decided who will start at running back against Tennessee, although he says that junior Caleb King didn't necessarily ruin his chances following his late fumble last Saturday against Colorado.
"We have not sat down and said who is going to start this week, but Caleb has certainly made a good case to be the starter. I'm not going to name him that right this minute. A little bit later in the week we'll decide," Richt said. "We need to practice first and make decisions based on that. I do think that Caleb had one of his better ballgames and certainly no one is happy about the last play of the game, but there were some circumstances there. It wasn't just your normal fumble in my opinion. It was right in the middle of an exchange. It's really tough to know exactly what happened even on TV copy."
Richt was also asked what sophomore Washaun Ealey needs to do to become more of a factor after recently being demoted to third team.
"I think he's doing it. He ran with a lot of energy in the game. Even though he didn't get as many reps as he would like to, he was in the game, he was excited. He practiced extremely well yesterday just as far as his energy level," Richt said. "I think he's helped himself earn more time. I'm not saying he wouldn't win the starting job either. I won't rule that out either, but I do like the attitude that he had, even though he didn't get to play as much as he wanted to play. He had enough ball security issues that the other guys got the opportunity basically, but he's still a good football player."
Is record affecting recruiting?
At 1-4, Richt admits there is some concern over whether or not the Bulldogs' current record is having a negative effect on recruiting.
"I can't say that all the recruits are excited about what's happening, but most of the guys we have committed love Georgia and want to be at Georgia. Sometimes kids even see that maybe this presents a better opportunity for me to come in and make a difference," Richt said. "I think guys want to do that. I think guys want to be at a certain school. Some of them know what certain schools they want to be at. The other thing that attracts them is the ability to feel like they can come in and make an impact for that team as early in their career as they possibly can, so I would think that's been good in that regard."
As of Tuesday afternoon, UGASports has confirmed 12 visitors (including six verbal commitments) for Saturday's 12:21 kickoff against Tennessee.
"The bottom line is we want to show them that we're a good football team and hopefully Saturday we'll get that done," Richt said. "We'll have a good many recruits in this weekend, so we'll want to have a good experience for those guys."
This and that
Richt was asked his thoughts on being an almost 13-point favorite against Tennessee. I hope they are right," Richt said. "Are you kidding me? I don't look at those things, but wow."
With Branden Smith out with a concussion, sophomore Carlton Thomas is the favorite to return punts against the Vols but that A.J. Green is also receiving some reps.
Richt said that freshman linebacker T.J. Stripling is not eligible to take a redshirt after tearing his patella tendon Saturday because he has played in too many games.
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