November 5, 2010

Dawgs down to playing for pride

So, what is there left to play for?

That's something Georgia coaches and players found themselves asked quite a bit this week, leading up to Saturday's non-conference game against Idaho State (12:30, WSB).

It's a good question.

After last week's loss to Florida, the Bulldogs have lost any hopes of coming away with the SEC East title, forcing the squad to focus on different goals.

"Pride should count for something and that's what we're playing," senior linebacker Akeem Dent said. "We've still got three games to play and we want to win them all."

Quarterback Aaron Murray hopes there will possibly be one more.

At 4-5, the Bulldogs can assure themselves a bowl game of some description by winning two of their final three contests against the Bengals, Auburn and arch-rival Georgia Tech.

"This team will fight to the end. It was sad in the locker room afterwards (after the Florida loss), but it was a good thing to see that everyone cared," Murray said. "It wasn't just a game that was over. It mattered to everybody, and we are taking that to the next game and making it the most important game right now."

The Bengals aren't expected to put up much of a struggle.

Not only is Idaho State 1-7 overall and 0-6 in Big Sky play, but the trip to Athens will mark the furthest east coach John Zamberlin's squad has traveled for a game.

The Bulldogs are the second SEC team the Bengals have played, the first coming in 2005 at Kentucky (a 41-29 loss).

Like Georgia, Idaho State is coming off an overtime loss (23-20 to Montana State), but Zamberlin is under no illusions regarding what his team figures to face in Athens.

Still, it's an opportunity he expects his squad will relish.

"We are ready for a trip to Georgia, who like us lost in overtime but they lost to Florida. But our guys are excited about the opportunity," Zamberlin said. "We know It is going to be a great challenge for us but also a great experience. You go, put together a game plan, prepare and get your players in a position where they can play hard and have success."

Bulldog coach Mark Richt just hopes the Bengals aren't too successful.

With all Georgia's issues this fall, the last thing Richt needs is for Idaho State to give the Bulldogs a run after what's already been a season of inconsistent performances.

"We just have done enough little things that become big things that we have to make sure we make those corrections," Richt said. "I actually added an extra correction period just to say, 'You go by position and you might have covered it in film and showed them during the game, but I want you to physically remind them in some form of a drill or some form of emphasis so even if you just correct one thing by segment, that's nine things that we get corrected that will hopefully get better as the season goes on.'"

Linebacker Christian Robinson says approaching Idaho State like any of their other previous nine opponents can help avoid any upset that might occur.

"We need to play Georgia football. We start by looking at what they have to offer. They have a great player in No. 10, Tavoy Moore. That's all I see watching film is No. 10 running everywhere. He's on special teams. He's everything to them. He's had a 100-yard kickoff return and a 98-yard kickoff return," Robinson said. "He's really fast and has a lot of speed. When you play someone that fast, you can't just over power them. You have to chase them down. He's the Randall Cobb of their offense. He doesn't throw the ball, but he'll line up in the backfield. Stopping the playmakers will be a big thing for us this weekend."

Murray just wants to see the Bulldogs finish what they start and put together that complete-game effort before closing out the season at Auburn and at home against Georgia Tech.

"It definitely would be nice to finish off a game. We've come back from games, but haven't had that comeback victory yet. We've either won pretty good or lost when it's really close where we've had a chance to win. If you go back, I feel like if we change four or five plays this year, 10 at the most, then we'd have a completely different season from this," Murray said. "We haven't been blown out of one game. Every game we've been right in there and we feel that we've had the chance to win every game this year. It just hasn't happened that way. You just have to learn from your mistakes and keep getting better and I feel like we have a lot better team that we did week two, week three, week four. We've got a much better team, but we have to keep getting better because there are three games left in the year and you want to win all of those games."

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