October 18, 2009

Richt still wants more consistency

With seven games under his team's belt and a bye week before the annual grudge match against Florida, Georgia coach Mark Richt took time during Sunday's teleconference to take stock of the season thus far.

It's certainly been a mixed-bag for the Bulldogs, who have battled through inconsistencies on both sides of the ball and special teams before Saturday's 34-10 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville.

What does the future hold? Richt wishes he knew. But as the Bulldogs push forward into the second half, he's confident that his squad will continue to focus, although he's not certain what the final results might be.

"One of things I have liked is the way is players are handling things like as far as staying together. They're battling away and they're keeping the faith. They're grinding," Richt said. "But the thing I haven't liked is that there's been so much inconsistent play; inconsistencies with all our units. Some game's we're very good and some game's we're not so good. Vanderbilt was as close as we've come to putting it together as a team and we looked like a solid team. We hope to get to a point where we can predict those kinds of performances, but right now we're not sure what we're going to get."

Richt would love a few more drives like the ones his Bulldogs used to cap Saturday's scoring against the Commodores.

Leading 27-10, Georgia took over at its own 32, driving 68 yards on 10 plays with all the yards coming on the ground.

A 33-yard run by freshman Washaun Ealey sparked the drive, which also saw redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas carry six times for 27 yards before Fred Munzenmaier bulled in from the 9 for the score.

Ealey finished the game with a team-high 71 yards.

"I can't sit here and say that any one of the backs gave us that wow factor, but I think most of them had some bright spots," Richt said. "We chipped away the first half and gained more confidence as we went along, but that one drive in the second half was really good to see. We needed to run the football; we challenged everybody and I thought we did a great job."

Unfortunately for Georgia, the second half of the season won't get much easier.

After the game against Florida, the Bulldogs appear to have a breather the following week when Tennessee Tech comes to Athens before closing with Kentucky, Auburn and Georgia Tech.

"This was definitely one of the toughest seven-game stretches I have ever been through without an open date," Richt said. "There was certainly no place to catch our breath, but we fought through it and sit where we are now. We got a good performance (Saturday), but in the future I think I could go for a different look at the front end of the schedule."

The Bulldogs do seem to be getting healthier.

Sunday, Richt said that linebacker Akeem Dent (hamstring), linebacker Marcus Dowtin (finger) and fullback Shaun Chapas (burners) all stand a good chance to be back for Florida, while safety Quintin Banks could be ready for additional action at safety after seeing his first playing time of the season during Vanderbilt's final drive.

Banks also had one of the day's more memorable hits when he drilled Vandy receiver Kennard Reeves for a 3-yard loss.

"There was definitely a lot more emotion at this year's Vandy game than there was two years ago. I felt that two years ago, the head coach and coaching staff were trying to squeeze some emotion out of the guys, but not this time," Richt said. "There was a bunch more emotion. The guys were ready to play this game. It was encouraging to me to watch them in the lockerroom, to look at their body language and look in their eyes. They were really excited about playing."

NOTE: With the bye week, Georgia will practice Tuesday and Thursday before resuming its regular workout schedule next Sunday.

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