ATHENS, Ga. -- The way Georgia defensive tackle Marcus Stroud sees it, it's games like Saturday's 38-21 loss to Auburn that let the 21st-ranked Bulldogs know who their true fans are.
During Tuesday's weekly press conference at McWhorter Hall, the junior admitted disappointment when recalling Georgia's debacle against the Tigers when a portion of the Sanford Stadium crowd -- those that didn't leave early -- began shouting disparaging comments at the Bulldogs.
It wasn't a reassuring sight.
Besides the steady chorus of boos that rang throughout the stands as the Tigers were extending their halftime lead to 31-0, a handful of fans were seen by reporters standing behind the Georgia bench and were overheard cursing at players, a scenario that continued as the Bulldogs walked off the field.
"When everything's going good you have everybody on your side," Stroud said. "When things are going bad and you see who can sit in the stadium and endure the pain with us, that's the real fans. We saw who was really behind us and who wasn't."
Not that Stroud, like everyone else, wasn't disappointed in the Bulldogs' performance, one which saw the underdog Tigers dominate Georgia (6-3, 4-3) in just about every phase of the game.
To a man, the Bulldogs are stressing the importance of forgetting about what happened against the Tigers and how they wanted to focus all of their energies toward Saturday's game at 14th-ranked Ole Miss (7-2, 4-2).
"I'm sure all of us are wishing that this Saturday would hurry up and come so we could get back on the football field," quarterback Quincy Carter said. "Not that we have to prove ourselves to people because we don't have anything to prove to anybody, but we need to prove to ourselves that we're the kind of team that we've been made up to be."
Still, the reception given the players by some of the Georgia faithful hasn't been easy to forget. Particularly since it was an afternoon in which the Bulldogs were hosting many of their most sought-after high school recruits, including quarterback Jason Campbell and Orlando offensive lineman Max Starks.
One has to wonder what those players thought.
"People pay their money to come to the game," said Stroud. "Because of that, I guess it gives them the right to do whatever they want to do."
Head coach Jim Donnan hasn't escaped the arrows either, explaining he understands why fans are frustrated with Georgia's record of 6-3, although he can't spend his time fretting over what is being said over such mediums as the Internet and radio talk shows.
"I never worry about what the public thinks, I know what I think and I know what I want to do. I try to be courteous to anybody who calls me and I let them voice their opinion if I have time," Donnan said. "I'm not one of those guys who scream at everything, but you get bad mail from everybody regardless around here, whether you win or whether you lose. I'm not to the point. .. .that just goes with it."
Stroud just hates to think some fans would turn their backs on the team with two games left to play.
"It seems when other teams lose, their fans don't do them like that," Stroud said. "If they did, South Carolina and Vandy would never have any fans at their games."