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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Notebook: King Looks for Big Game vs. Familiar Foe

Caleb King has run the ball well in his first two games back following a hamstring injury, but he has a special reason for putting on an even better show this week against LSU.

“Being from Baton Rouge, it’s just 10 minutes from the campus at LSU,” King said. “It’s hard for me to get tickets but I’m bringing like 10 or 15 people (to this year’s game). Last year, when we went to Baton Rouge, I had 23 people there. It’s always a big turn out for the LSU game.”

King grew up in Baton Rouge but moved to Georgia before middle school. He said most of his family remains LSU fans, however, but hopes they’ll be rooting for his side this Saturday.

“Honestly, I know when we don’t play LSU, they all go for LSU,” King said. “But since we’re playing them, I believe they’re going to wear the red and black.”

King said he was an LSU fan, too, but that all changed when he committed to Georgia. Now, three years into his Bulldogs career, he’s hoping he can have a career game against the team he grew up rooting for.

“Of course, I want to show up for my family, but it’s no pressure,” King said. “Game by game, I feel more comfortable, and I’m trying to make this my breakout game.”


After spending the majority of the preseason and early part of the regular season working at safety, Sanders Commings seems to be adjusting to cornerback quickly, head coach Mark Richt said.

“He’s progressing as a corner,” Richt said. “I like the move there. I can’t say 100 percent that’s where he’ll stay the rest of his career, but I think he’s going to be a very good corner for us.”

LSU brings a group of tall wide receivers to Athens this week, which Richt admits could be a mismatch for some of Georgia’s undersized corners. That could mean a bit more action for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Commings.

“Sanders at least has more height and more weight to him where he might be able to match up better, but it’s not always a size thing,” Richt said. “We’ve had some corners that weren’t very tall but they played big, and I think we have some now that are like that.”

That doesn’t mean the matchups on Saturday will be easy. Terrence Tolliver checks in for LSU at 6-5 while preseason All-SEC receiver Brandon LaFell stands at 6-3.

“It’s going to be tough,” Richt said. “LaFell is one of the finest in the country. I think LaFell has proven that he has star quality and he’s a mismatch for anybody one-on-one, let alone whether they are our guys or not. I think just their shear size is going to be an issue for us.”


When Georgia traveled to Baton Rouge last year to take on LSU, it proved to be a breakout game for linebacker Darryl Gamble.

The then-sophomore picked off an LSU pass on the Tigers’ first drive of the game and returned it for a touchdown, then iced the Georgia victory with another interception return for a score in the fourth quarter.

Gamble said he’s watched the interceptions on film a few times this year in preparing for the Tigers’ visit to Athens this weekend, but he said he’s making no promises for an encore performance.

“People have been asking me about it, like ‘DG, what are you gonna do?’” Gamble said. “I say, ‘I don’t know,’ but I’ve been putting a lot of work in, watching a lot of film, and whatever happens, happens.”


After missing Wednesday’s practice, cornerback Brandon Boykin was expected to be a full participant Thursday and Richt expects the sophomore to be on the field Saturday.

“I think he’ll be fine,” Richt said.

Junior cornerback Vance Cuff, who missed last week’s game with a knee sprain, has also been cleared to play this week.

Linebacker Akeem Dent was officially ruled out for Saturday’s game.


Georgia’s fifth game last season came with plenty of hype, with a top-10 opponent coming into town and the Bulldogs donning black jerseys as part of a planned “blackout.”

Once again, Georgia welcomes a top-10 team to Sanford Stadium for Week 5, but there won’t be any festivities surrounding the uniform to go along with LSU’s visit.

“I don’t think we’d do a black jersey or black helmet, we wouldn’t do a blackout of any kind unless we got the fans into it,” Richt said. “I don’t think it’s worth doing a blackout without it.”


During the TV timeouts in the latter stages of last week’s win over Arizona State, the music blared throughout Sanford Stadium, and a large contingent of Bulldogs broke out some of their best dancing moves to lighten the mood.

The lighthearted demeanor ruffled a few feathers among fans who wondered if the team was taking the close game as seriously as it should, but Richt said he thinks just the opposite was true.

“Our guys have a wonderful spirit,” Richt said. “I know some defensive guys were dancing a little bit in the fourth quarter and we had the last three drives of the game we had three-and-outs and they had negative yardage in the fourth quarter. So I don’t think you can say it was a bad thing. I don’t think it hurt their play.”

Richt said he understands the criticism, but thinks barring the players from a few spur-of-the-moment dance routines would create a new wave of criticism from the other side. The bottom line, he said, is results. If the team wins, they can dance all they want.

“I’d rather them be dancing than crying,” Richt said.


Fans at LSU have been clamoring for more of highly touted freshman quarterback Russell Shepard, who has been in on 11 runs so far this season, gaining 74 yards, but has yet to throw a pass.

Shepard could prove to be an asset for the Tigers this weekend, but Richt said he’s not expecting the freshman quarterback to anything drastically different from what the Georgia coaches have already seen on film.

“We can only plan for what we’ve seen him do and try to anticipate what he might do, but it’s hard,” Richt said. “I don’t think they’re going to have a huge plan for him, but they may.”


Rantavious Wooten had his first two receptions of the season last week, both coming on third down for sizeable gains. But receiver may not be the only roll for Wooten this year, as Richt said the freshman has practiced many of the same plays Branden Smith has run on game days, including reverses and end arounds.

“Anything we’ve done with Branden Smith, (Wooten) has practiced in case something happened to Branden and we still liked the concept of what he’s doing,” Richt said. “They’re similar athletes.”

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