published Monday, September 12th, 2011

Both sets of SEC Bulldogs start slow

The first head-to-head matchups of Southeastern Conference teams were not kind to the Bulldogs.

Hours after Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf was stopped a foot short of the end zone in Saturday afternoon's 41-34 loss at Auburn, Georgia committed enough disastrous plays Saturday evening to last a month in a 45-42 home loss to South Carolina. Georgia is 0-2 for the first time in 15 years following losses to Boise State and the Gamecocks but should experience a much more enjoyable Saturday with a visit this week from the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

"I would just like to see us continue to progress like we have," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday afternoon. "We have really made a lot of improvement between the first and second game. There were some errors, certainly, but we played more physical this game than in the first game on both sides, I thought, especially up front."

Georgia lost one starting inside linebacker, Alec Ogletree, in the opener with a broken foot and lost another, Christian Robinson, on Saturday. Robinson is out for at least two weeks with what Richt believes is a slight hairline fracture in his foot.

Vying for the two starting inside spots this week will be Michael Gilliard, Amarlo Herrera and Jeremy Sulek, though Chase Vasser and Ramik Wilson could move inside for assistance.

The league's two Bulldogs could not have more different scenarios from which to rebound. Mississippi State must host No. 3 LSU on Thursday night in a game that will be televised by ESPN.

"Obviously we've got to jump right back into preparation for this game, and we can't dwell too much on this last game," said MSU coach Dan Mullen, who has rejuvenated the Bulldogs with a 15-12 record but is 0-9 against the SEC West quartet of Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and LSU. "It's a short week with one of the best teams in the country, if not the best team in the country, coming in here."

Mullen said most of the preparation for the talented Tigers occurred in the spring, when Steve Kragthorpe was their offensive coordinator and Jordan Jefferson their starting quarterback.

Odds and Ends

Richt said left guard Dallas Lee had another good showing and that tight end Orson Charles, while not catching any passes, had his best game from a blocking standpoint. ... Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray came up hobbling the play before the botched exchange with Isaiah Crowell, and Richt said film showed Murray did not get back as deep as he should have to hand the ball off. ... South Carolina is 46-33 under Steve Spurrier, but Saturday marked their first time his Gamecocks have won after trailing in the fourth quarter. ... The Gamecocks have given up eight passing touchdowns in two games. ... Spurrier on his passing offense: "What were we, 11-of-26? We were 10-of-25 last week, so we were better than we were against East Carolina. Maybe we're showing improvement."

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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