There was a noticeable difference in the demeanor of the players who arrived for post-practice interviews Monday evening at the Butts-Mehre Building.
Players were polite, but appeared down and quiet during their sessions with reporters. No, there's no joy in Dawgville for the Georgia Bulldogs who enter Saturday night's game at Colorado still nursing their wounds following last weekend's 24-12 loss at Mississippi State.
Tight end Aron White said that the Bulldogs are definitely pained by the program's 1-3 start. He knows that fans are, too.
"Nobody wants to go to our home stadium and catch a boo or have somebody say something to you or send an email or write on your wall (Facebook). Stuff like that you definitely want to avoid," White said. "We definitely feel we owe it to the Bulldog Nation to come out and play like Georgia has played in the past. For whatever reason, we have not held up our end of the bargain."
Tight end Orson Charles said it's up the players if they want to turn the season around.
"We have to because right now that's all we have," Charles said. "Everybody has ruled us out, so we've just got to hang with each other and keep moving forward."
Senior defensive end Demarcus Dobbs dismissed the notion that head coach Mark Richt is losing control of the team.
"Everybody is behind Coach Richt; there's nobody jumping off board," Dobbs said. "We know it's got to still be a team effort and I've not sensed any breakup any anger at coaches or anything like that. The worse thing we can do is split up and start pointing fingers. We all started this (season); we need to finish."
Dowtin feels it's a matter of trust
Linebacker Marcus Dowtin admitted his frustration during a post-practice interview Monday - but not just about the Bulldogs' 1-3 start.
There's another issue that's apparently been rubbing him raw - playing time.
"I would say I don't feel like they trust me," Dowtin said. "What their reasons are, that's between them but like I said I just ask that they keep on coaching me and eventually one of these days they give me a shot to show what I can do."
Dowtin made three tackles last week against Mississippi State after sitting out the previous game against Arkansas with a shoulder stinger.
Apparently, Dowtin's issues aren't just recent in nature. He said they go back to last year.
"I don't think since I've been here I've played where I should have played, and that's been frustrating," Dowtin said. "But I've just got to roll with the punches. I just try to control the stuff you can control."
Series with Oregon cancelled
Athletic Director Greg McGarity told UGASports that the decision to cancel the series with Oregon was made mutual by both schools.
"That's the one way it would work if it was a mutual agreement. Rob (Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens) and I talked about this a month ago and he was checking through his end of the deal which would help us clear the deck," McGarity said. "Rob's got some Pac-10 scheduling issues (with expansion) and wanted to clear the deck, it's a long trip, plus we wanted to get to a model where we had seven home games every year."
Georgia was scheduled to travel to Oregon in 2015 and the Ducks would have played in Athens in 2016.
The Bulldogs still have series scheduled against Louisville in 2011-2012 and against Clemson in 2013-2014.
"If you look at the schedules of the top teams in the country this year you would see they play one really tough non-conference opponent in a tough league," McGarity said. "Texas is doing it, Florida is doing it, LSU usually does it. We're going to do that with Clemson and Louisville in the next two years so that was a model we wanted to get in place."
Wide receiver Kris Durham said he suffered a pinched nerve late in the game against Mississippi State but expects to play against Colorado.
"My neck is fine," he said. "I pinched a nerve which caused a little numbness and tingling, but I should he fine for this week. I don't expect to be missing anything like that."
Fullback Shaun Chapas said he also expects to be good to go.
Chapas took only three snaps against MSU after suffering a high-ankle sprain after South Carolina.
Teammates ready for Green to return
Wide receiver A.J. Green is set to make his return Saturday after serving his four-game suspension for selling his Independence Bowl jersey a person the NCAA considered an agent.
Teammates are naturally glad to have him back.
"He's definitely one of the best in the country and I'm excited to have him back," Durham said. "I'm as excited as everybody else to see what he can do."
Green is expected to address the media Tuesday afternoon.
"I don't think anybody is angry about what A.J. did, although I'm sure there are guys who wish he made a different decision," White said. "I'm sure nobody wanted to see him get in trouble or get suspended because at the end of the day people make mistakes, not just on this team but every team. He made a mistake and four is lot of games but there are no hard feelings. He's a teammate and we're glad to have him back."
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