ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia Bulldogs are winning by an average of 38-0 this season without sophomore receiver A.J. Green.
That said, they don't mind having their superstar back for this week's test against No. 25 Auburn. Green was sidelined for last Saturday's blanking of Tennessee Tech with a bruised lung he sustained the week before against Florida.
"I felt pretty bad, because that was my first game ever having to sit out like that," Green said.
Missing such a statistic-padding opportunity has dented Green's chances at breaking the SEC's career receiving record in three seasons. The 6-foot-4, 207-pounder from Summerville, S.C., is now on pace to amass 3,005 yards in three years, which would fall short of the 3,093 former Bulldogs receiver Terrence Edwards tallied in four (1999-2002).
Last week's absence did not affect Green leading the SEC in receptions (5.5 a game) or yards (91.5), and this week's offensive game plan is back to normal.
"It's kind of been a funny year," quarterback Joe Cox said. "You watch people on film and try to get a feel for what they do, and we go out there and they do something totally different for A.J. I would put A.J. up against anybody, and it all depends on how they play him as to what we do in our passing game."
Auburn will challenge Green with a skimpy secondary due to injuries at safety. Mike McNeil was a 12-game starter last season but broke his leg this past spring, and Zac Etheridge suffered a season-ending neck injury two weeks ago against Ole Miss.
Etheridge was a 33-game starter, and his departure has left the Tigers with 5-11 freshman Daren Bates and 5-9 junior college transfer Demond Washington as the last line of defense.
"Losing Etheridge hurt them, because he's a great football player who was great playing the ball in the air and was a great tackler for them," Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "They've got guys who have experience in (cornerbacks) Neiko Thorpe and Walter McFadden. They've got some young safeties, but they're not afraid to hit you and play aggressive at times."
Having Washington matched with Green down the field might seem favorable for the Bulldogs, but Bobo isn't taking the 5-9 safety lightly.
"Stereotypical safeties are a little bigger, but I don't think size dictates what kind of player you are," he said. "You look in the NFL, and there are 5-9 and 5-10 safeties. I was watching the guy (Troy Polamalu) from the Steelers the other night. I can't pronounce his name -- the one with the hair.
"If you're a player you're a player, and that guy is not afraid to make plays."
Meyer has plenty
In a roundabout way, Georgia sophomore linebacker Nick Williams cost Florida coach Urban Meyer $30,000.
Williams had a late hit Oct. 31 on Tim Tebow that was not flagged by officials, and Meyer had a tape of the play sent to the league office. When asked last Wednesday about the SEC's response, Meyer wouldn't reveal what the league said but felt the call was missed.
By commenting on the officiating, Meyer was fined $30,000 by league commissioner Mike Slive.
"It was kind of crazy how it blew up like that," Williams said, "but that's what happened."
Does Williams feel bad about indirectly costing Meyer so much money?
"I don't think it hurt his pockets any," he said.
Odds and ends
Should Texas defeat Baylor this week, Colt McCoy would equal former Georgia quarterback David Greene's Bowl Subdivision record of 42 career wins as a starter. ... Freshman defensive end Montez Robinson, the SEC defensive lineman of the week, committed to Auburn under former coach Tommy Tuberville but opened his recruitment following Tuberville's departure.