Originally created 08/09/99

USC, Georgia have lot to do in short span



Lou Holtz's charges often referred to preseason drills as "pukefests" during the coach's 11-year reign at Notre Dame.

Expect two-a-days at South Carolina, which begin Tuesday, to produce similar nausea.

Similar scenes may be seen in Athens, Atlanta and Clemson, where the Bulldogs, Yellow Jackets and Tigers also gear up for hard work as the week progresses.

"It's going to be a hard two-a-days," said Holtz, whose team will have 20 practices in a 10-day span. "When they get done with this, they'll solve the problem in Serbia and anywhere else. As a matter of fact, they'll volunteer to go."

Expect key position battles on the offensive line and the secondary to be waged in coming weeks. There are few certainties and little depth in both areas, and Holtz said pretenders could be eliminated during the grueling aura of two-a-days.

"There's just a certain level that you have to achieve," said Holtz, whose varsity reported to campus Sunday. "I'm not trying to run anybody out, but we're going to do what we have to do in order to win.

"We may not win this year, but when this season is over, nobody is going to sit around and say, `Gee, I wonder what would have happened if we worked hard."'

GEORGIA:

Between now and their Sept. 4 opener against Utah State, expect the Bulldogs to focus their preseason efforts on developing a dependable running game.

Coach Jim Donnan said he was pleased with last year's attack, an aspect that was often labeled unreliable.

"I really didn't think our running game was that bad last year," said Donnan, whose offense averaged 152 rushing yards per contest, fifth in the Southeastern Conference. "The problem we had was we didn't get that many snaps. We were always playing from behind or in a close game, so we weren't very patient with the running game."

Still, the Bulldogs' rushing attack is a question mark this season, particularly considering the departure of Olandis Gary, the team's leading back in 1998.

Donnan said he detects a difference in senior back Patrick Pass, who left minor league baseball recently in favor of a return to Athens.

"Having a chance to practice football, to go out there daily and work out with your teammates instead of catching fly balls and taking batting practice has got his advantages," said Donnan, who cited Pass' turf toe injury as the culprit for his meager production.

"When you just stub your toe in the shower or something, that hurts," Donnan said. "But he had turf toe the whole year, and it really affected his quickness. Once he got down, we couldn't experiment much, because every game we were fighting for our lives."

Big things are also expected from sophomore running back Jasper Sanks, whose weight, according to Donnan, is down to 220 pounds.

ALABAMA:

A confident Mike DuBose opened Alabama's season on Sunday, warmly greeting his incoming freshman and showing no signs of stress in the wake of the school settling a sexual harassment claim against him.

The third-year Alabama coach, who was also celebrating his 24th wedding anniversary Sunday, admitted last Thursday to lying to school officials and the public about his personal life. The admission came only after the school paid $350,000 to another employee to settle claims against him.

DuBose, arguably the most recognized public official in the state, had stayed low-key since the announcement but finally made himself available to answer questions on Sunday.

"We made some mistakes, we've admitted those and moved forward," he said. "It's my anniversary today, we've been married 24 years and she's a very strong lady and I'm a strong man. Things are good."

And as he welcomed 24 scholarship freshmen and two invited walk-ons to campus, it almost seemed like things at Alabama really were good.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Larry Williams covers college sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3645 or larrywill7@yahoo.com.