COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Lou Holtz thinks No. 25 Georgia is seeking more than victory this week against the 21st-ranked Gamecocks.
"They feel they have something to prove," Holtz said Monday. "If you talk to them, assure them they don't have a thing to prove to me."
If you thought Holtz was worried last week in facing Boise State, he's downright frightened of the Bulldogs (1-0), who kicked off Mark Richt's coaching era with a 45-17 victory over Arkansas State.
"I don't know that I've ever felt worse after a win than I do at the present time because I know the road that lies ahead of us" in the Southeastern Conference opener, Holtz said.
The Gamecocks (1-0) defeated the Broncos 32-13 this past Saturday. But Holtz said his team's chemistry wasn't what he expected from a club building on a breakthrough 8-4 season and rare bowl victory.
"I really can't put my finger on it," he said.
Richt doesn't worry about motivating his team this week. All he has to do is run the tape of last year's Georgia-South Carolina game.
The Bulldogs stepped into the season with a top-10 ranking, a Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback and some legitimate buzz about a national championship.
It was all stopped by the Gamecocks.
Quincy Carter threw five interceptions as South Carolina - which only a week earlier had ended a 21-game losing streak - shocked the Bulldogs 21-10.
Some Georgia players questioned their preparations and focus for that one. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, now a first-round draft choice of New England, groused afterward that the Bulldogs lost "to an inferior team."
South Carolina linebacker Kalimba Edwards said Georgia's approach then was understandable.
"Coming out against an 0-11 team the year before, why shouldn't you expect to win?" Edwards said. "They dominated us the year before that. They dominated us the year before that. They probably dominated us the year before that too."
Gamecocks center Larrell Johnson says the team can't worry about Georgia's attitude. "I don't see it as any revenge factor. If we play like we did at times against Boise, we will have some troubles" at Georgia, he said.
Richt says he's got his players attention this time.
"I think everyone has been pointing to this. It's a little more important because of last year," he said.
Richt said after Florida and Tennessee in the SEC Eastern Division, most talk centers on South Carolina and Georgia. The winner this week, he said, gets a leg-up on contending for a title.
"We feel like its an SEC opening game with two teams that are very equal," Richt said.
Injuries could make the Gamecocks defense a bit more vulnerable.
Holtz said starting linebacker Kenneth Harney likely won't start because of ankle that swelled up Sunday. Also backup defensive lineman Willie Sams and safety Deandre Eiland are also doubtful this week, Holtz said.
"It already deteriorates what little depth that we have," he said. "And losing Harney could be critical. But we'll just have to see what we do and where we go from here."
In typical Holtz style, he detailed all Georgia's strengths after the first game. New quarterback David Greene was accurate and strong. Receiver Terrence Edwards is a game-breaker. The defense is again powerful and athletic. The offensive line, Holtz said, could be the best in America.
The biggest factor, though, is Richt has them playing with verve that was missing in 2000, Holtz said.
"They played hard last year, but there's more enthusiasm and celebration and togetherness, much like we had last year," Holtz said.
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