Rewind: Georgia enjoys well-timed weekend off before facing South Carolina


1. Athletic directors and football coaches have much less control over their team’s schedules than they once did, but Georgia has to feel really good about the way things worked out this season. Not only were the Bulldogs off this weekend, but they’ll also have a bye the Saturday before they play Florida in Jacksonville on Nov. 1.

“I think it’s good to have an open date,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “I’d take an open date over not having one before South Carolina or Florida. I like where our open dates are set this year.”

As No. 6 Georgia (1-0) rested up this past weekend from its season-opening victory over Clemson, the South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) toiled away Saturday night in a tougher-than-expected battle with East Carolina. Coach Steve Spurrier’s team won 33-23 but needed a long drive and late, fourth-quarter field goal before it could exhale.

It might be the end of the month before we see Malcolm Mitchell high-stepping through any end zones for Georgia. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

It might be the end of the month before we see Malcolm Mitchell high-stepping through any end zones for Georgia. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Georgia traditionally plays South Carolina in the second or third week of the season and hasn’t had an off week beforehand since 2002, when it eked out a 13-7 win on David Pollack’s end zone pick-pocket play at Williams-Brice Stadium. Sitting at home this weekend as the rest of the football world raged on should be very beneficial for the Bulldogs.

“It gives you more time to prepare,” Richt said. “It gives you a little bit of a break and let’s you see if you like what you’re doing, if you’re on the right path. The whole key, though, is you want to get better fundamentally and maybe get a little bit stronger. We got in the weight room three times last week. And you also want to get far enough ahead of the game plan so you get in repetitions of it.

“We gathered more information from that East Carolina game. So we were able to compare notes and make sure we’re on the right track. Hopefully it will help us.”

2. It doesn’t appear as though the off week bought Georgia enough time to get back two of its play-makers at wide receiver. On his Sunday evening teleconference, Richt labeled Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley as doubtful to play against the South Carolina. Both players are recovering from knee injuries and Scott-Wesley suffered an ankle injury the week before the Clemson game.

Georgia is not saying this but I wouldn’t expect either player to play until Tennessee comes to Athens on Sept. 27. The Bulldogs play host to Troy on Sept. 20 and, if Mitchell and Scott-Wesley can’t go against the Gamecocks, I wouldn’t expect UGA to risk a comeback until SEC play resumes.

3. So “the year of the Bulldogs” on the PGA Tour is finally coming to a close. Bubba Watson was the top Bulldog at the BMW Championship this past weekend, finishing in second place at 12-under par. Harris English came in 31st, Chris Kirk and Brendon Todd tied for 36th, Brian Harman finished 43rd, Erik Compton wound up 46th and Russell Henley placed 59th.

More importantly, than means that four UGA alums will be in the field for this week’s Tour Championship at East Lake Country Club. Kirk, based on his win two weeks ago, comes in ranked No. 1 in the 29-player field and Watson as third. That means they have a shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup points championship. Henley and Todd are 20th and 27th, respectively.

Georgia just missed having a fifth Bulldog in the field. Only the top 30 make the field and English finished 32nd overall. No. 30 Dustin Johnson is currently sidelined and won’t play, but the PGA does not move other players up.

4. The Georgia soccer team won two more times over the weekend. The Bulldogs (4-1-1) got an early goal from sophomore Rachel Garcia and held on for a 1-0 victory Sunday over 17th-ranked Central Florida. It was UGA’s highest-ranked win since defeating No. 17 South Carolina 2-0 in Athens in September of 2013

The win over  UCF gave the Bulldogs a weekend sweep following a 4-0 win over Houston on Friday. Sophomore midfielder Gabby Seiler set the Georgia record for most consecutive games with a goal in that game. Her goal-scoring streak ended on Sunday but Seiler did get the assist on Garcia’s goal.

5. The Georgia volleyball team (3-2) swept the Bulldog Invitational with a pair of 3-0 wins over Belmont and the College of Charleston. Georgia took a 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 win over Belmont in the first game of the day before handing the College of Charleston a 25-23, 25-21, 25-14 loss in the tournament finale.


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