South Carolina game could swing future status for Richt

In the aftermath of a disappointing showing to open the season, several Georgia players tried to keep things in perspective following their 35-21 loss to fifth-ranked Boise State on Saturday night.

Linebacker Christian Robinson said he has a picture up in his room where he listed team goals on it. The only one he’ll have to scratch off is beating the Broncos.

“This was a big deal for me … but everything we set out as a team to do is still available,” Robinson said outside the locker room in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, “and we’re going to do everything in our power to do that.”

Georgia opens its Southeastern Conference season Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in Athens against No. 12 South Carolina in a game that could go a long way in determining the SEC East race.

The buildup to the game already is focused on the future status of the Bulldogs’ coach in what already was a pivotal season.

ESPN’s college football wrapup show debated this topic after Saturday’s games: “Does Georgia have to beat South Carolina next week to save Mark Richt’s job?”

Spurrier was asked Sunday if Georgia might be inspired this week to play for Richt.

“I’ve got enough problems down here,” Spurrier said. “I don’t think coach Richt needs me to worry about him. I was worried about my job at halftime last night.”

Four first-half turnovers led to 17 East Carolina points Saturday night, but South Carolina rallied from down 24-14 at the half to roll to a 56-37 win in Charlotte.

“We really looked like a ragtag bunch of guys,” Spurrier said.

Against South Carolina, Georgia will need to shore up its pass protection for quarterback Aaron Murray, who was sacked six times Saturday.

Only Colorado (seven) and New Mexico (10) gave up more sacks among the 112 Football Bowl Subdivision teams that played before Sunday’s games.

“Even when Murray got the ball off there were a lot of times when people were breathing down his neck and hitting him after he cut the ball loose,” Richt said Sunday.

Defensively, Georgia did not give up a play longer than 20 yards, but quarterback Kellen Moore took aim at Georgia’s zone coverage, completing 28 of 34 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.

“That was how we figured they were going to use their personnel,” Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease told the Idaho Statesman. “We didn’t know they were going to be as wide open as they were sometimes.’

Spurrier gushed after watching Boise State’s offensive game tape.

“Heck, I might vote them No. 1 in the country after watching them beat Georgia,” Spurrier said.

The Bulldogs could slide out of the rankings after their release following the Labor Day weekend, but Spurrier isn’t counting them out just yet.

“They’re very capable of doing big things this year,” Spurrier said.

Notes: Richt said starting left offensive guard Kenarious Gates is expected back this week after leaving in the second quarter with an injured left ankle. … Safety Bacarri Rambo seems likely to return to the starting lineup after his one-game suspension for violating undisclosed team rules. Richt said he would have to check with secondary coach Scott Lakatos “to see if it’s just a slam dunk. Bacarri’s going to play, though, that’s for sure.” … Nose guard Kwame Geathers (shoulder stinger) is expected to play Saturday. … Richt said that Richard Samuel would probably remain the starter over freshman Isaiah Crowell at tailback. He said Crowell “understandably” needs to get better in pass protection. “I thought he was eager to block,” Richt said. “He did make some very nice blocks, but there were a couple of times that he missed an assignment here and there.”After quarterback Connor Shaw started the opener, Spurrier says Stephen Garcia will start against Georgia. “Stephen played well,” Spurrier said. “He was excited and ready to play. We had some excellent field position just about every time we got the ball.” Garcia completed 7 of 15 passes for 110 yards and a score and rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns.

Follow marcweiszer

marcweiszer

Includes full statement from UGA after decision RT NCAA doesn’t reduce Gurley suspension on Georgia appeal http://t.co/BRj6MY6obY #UGA

3 hours ago