Originally created 09/18/02

Greene tackles QB solo



ATHENS, Ga. - Mark Richt knows what Georgia fans are thinking.

If a two-quarterback system has sputtered for two games, then playing one quarterback is sure to cure the offense's ills.

"If we do well, they'll say, 'Well, that was it,' " Richt said of Bulldogs fans who have been disappointed in their team's offense thus far this season.

Richt had marginal success using David Greene and backup D.J. Shockley in wins over Clemson and South Carolina, as his offense averaged 250 yards after rolling up 432.8 per game last season.

For the next four to six weeks, Richt's hand will be forced. Shockley, a redshirt freshman who suffered a broken left foot in last week's 13-7 win over the Gamecocks, is expected to be out that long after having surgery Tuesday to insert a screw into his foot.

Greene, a redshirt sophomore who had the worst game of his career against Clemson before rebounding with an 11-for-19, 169-yard effort against South Carolina, said he feels more comfortable knowing he'll be behind center full-time.

"It's unfortunate that he had to get hurt," Greene said. "You feel bad for him. But obviously, your goal as a quarterback is to be on the field the whole time. If you're any type of competitor, you want to be on the field."

The Bulldogs' offense hasn't come close to living up to its preseason billing so far. It mustered just 203 yards against the Tigers, and it left Columbia without a touchdown.

Richt doesn't think the quarterback rotation was the problem. He points to dropped passes by Terrence Edwards and Musa Smith, a costly fumble by freshman tailback Tyson Browning and overall lack of execution as more important issues.

"I personally don't think the fact that two guys were playing (quarterback) was why all those things happened," he said.

There are a few things Richt won't emphasize without Shockley, mainly plays that allowed him to free-lance and use his running ability.

Richt says he's sure the offense will turn it around soon, and the No. 8 Bulldogs' next two opponents probably do a lot for his confidence. Georgia plays host to Division I-AA Northwestern (La.) State on Saturday, and New Mexico State visits Sept. 28.

"We've played two quality football teams," Richt said of Clemson and South Carolina. "You've got to give them some credit. You had defenses who could run and hit, who were very well-coached."

Greene said the offense, which had four drives of three plays or less against South Carolina, is close to turning the corner.

"We know we can move the ball," he said. "We've got to put it all together."

Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645.