Dogs hunker down

ATHENS, Ga. - For the first time in 17 years, Georgia football players are living with an 0-2 start in Southeastern Conference play.

They're not fond of the predicament.

"It's one of those things where we just have to move on," receiver Kris Durham said during Tuesday's weekly news conference. "You can't focus on the negatives, because if you do, it's all going to tumble and end up being negative all year. It's still a long season, and we just need to stay focused and confident in our abilities."

Durham, a fifth-year senior from Calhoun, leads the Bulldogs with 13 receptions for 260 yards. He was hobbled during Tuesday afternoon's practice, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said the 6-foot-5, 212-pounder has a sore Achilles' tendon but should be fine for Saturday's game at Mississippi State.

A loss in Starkville not only would remove Georgia from the SEC East hunt but would give the program its first three-game losing streak in the same season since 1990, when Ray Goff's Bulldogs lost their final four games after a 4-3 start.

"We pretty much gave all our chips away," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "We've lost all the games that we can lose."

Head coach Mark Richt was asked at the news conference about the state of his program, and his answer was that he and his team are getting ready for Mississippi State. He also was asked about overall morale.

"All I would say is that everybody showed up for work and everybody worked, and that's all we can ask right now," he said. "We've just got to keep grinding. I'm not really worried about how they feel right now. I'm worried about how they work.

"If they're in a good mood and work hard or if they're in a bad mood and work hard, I don't really care."

The Bulldogs have lost to two teams - South Carolina and Arkansas - that are ranked among the top 12 in the Associated Press poll. They have yet to enjoy the talents of junior receiver A.J. Green, who this weekend will sit out the last game of his suspension for violating NCAA rules.

And there is optimism because of the landscape in the East, which doesn't seem to reflect Florida and everybody else as much this year.

"I think a 6-2 team can win the East and play in Atlanta at the end of the year," Murray said. "All we can do right now is focus on ourselves and make sure we go out there and win and have that mentality that we can't lose now and that this is it for us."

Said receiver Tavarres King: "We think about the '07 season and how that went and finishing No. 2 in the nation. No goal is set too high for this team. There is a lot of football left to be played, and everybody is still upbeat."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.