October 19, 2012

Dawgs need to stay focused

By the time 13th-ranked Georgia kicks off against Kentucky Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium, the Bulldogs could be in position to do something few thought they would have an opportunity to do - control their own destiny in the SEC East.

For that to happen, the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1) need Florida to knock off South Carolina in Saturday's earlier game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

"We're definitely focused on our game first, but we'll definitely see that score when it comes up," wide receiver Rhett McGowan said. "We're all huge Gator fans this weekend."

The Gators and Gamecocks kick off at 3:30, with the Bulldogs and Wildcats to follow at 7 p.m., although head coach Mark Richt would just as soon his players not do any scoreboard watching while preparing for the first game since its 35-7 debacle at South Carolina.

Unfortunately, he also knows that won't likely occur.

"I don't think there's any way to keep anyone from finding out what's happening in the world of college football," Richt said. "I don't think there's much doubt that even if I said I don't want anyone to say anything about that game, I don't want to hear anything, you may come off the bus and the bus driver says something. Everybody loves college football. Everybody's going to be watching that game, so I don't really worry too much about it.

"What I'm not doing is focusing on it. I'm not going to sit there and have that game become a distraction to our game."

By virtue of their loss to the Gamecocks, the Bulldogs need South Carolina to drop one of its three remaining conference games with Georgia needing to win its remaining four SEC tilts to get back to Atlanta for the second straight year.

After their game against the Gators, South Carolina closes out SEC play with back-to-back home games against Tennessee and Arkansas.

"The reality of that situation is South Carolina has three more games to play, not just one and we've got four to play in league play," Richt said. "We've just got to focus on our business."

That's something we can't even worry about because we still control our own destiny and what we do is not going to matter, but at the same time you want Florida to win. But we've got to take care of our business first and keep moving forward."

Linebacker Alec Ogletree agrees.

As bad as the Bulldogs looked against the Gamecocks, scoreboard watching is the last thing on the junior's mind.

"That's (the Florida-South Carolina game) something we can't even worry about," Ogletree said. "Sure, we want Florida to win. But we've got to take care of our business first and keep moving forward."

Barring something totally unforeseen, Georgia shouldn't have any trouble getting back on track against the Wildcats, a team decimated by injuries and relaying mostly on freshmen and sophomore players.

But don't look for the Bulldogs to be offering any sympathy.

"Well, people have asked me those types of questions before, and especially last season when we go 0-2, so I think somebody addressed that question in regard to me and how we're doing at Georgia. My answer was that I don't expect anybody to feel sorry for me," Richt said. "I expect everybody to hook it up and play the very best that they can play. I expect everybody to watch film and get the best plan possible and try to exploit whatever they think can be exploited and play 60 minutes as hard and as fast as you can play against anybody you play. So I'm sure that's how all of the coaches feel in the league."

McGowan certainly does.

"It kind of stunk a little bit not having a game last week because after you lose you always want to get back out the next week , win and get your mind right," McGown said. "But now that we've got a game, we're excited to go back out there refocused, execute the game plan and get a win."