Originally created 11/29/03

Georgia still seeking 100-yard runner



ATLANTA -- Is this the school of Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst and Rodney Hampton?

No. 5 Georgia has a long history of great running backs, but the Bulldogs are on the verge of going through an entire season without one guy rushing for 100 yards in a game.

Michael Cooper has come the closest so far, rushing for 93 yards on 22 carries against Vanderbilt. But no one stands out in the three-man tailback rotation that also includes Tyson Browning and Kregg Lumpkin.

Browning's best game was 60 yards on nine carries vs. Florida. Lumpkin's top effort came against the same opponent: 79 yards on 12 carries.

"It wouldn't work if one guy in the group was selfish," Browning said. "But we've all accepted that we're going to rotate. Whoever is out there, we just try to do our best."

Despite the lack of a dominant runner, Georgia's ground game is statistically better than last season. The Bulldogs are averaging 147.3 yards per game - compared with 139.6 yards a year ago, when Musa Smith handled most of the carries and rushed for 1,324 yards overall.

Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey is impressed with Georgia's versatility. Cooper is more of a power runner, Browning gets by on speed and quickness, and Lumpkin is a little of both.

"They run differently," Gailey said. "You better know which one is out there, because they cause just enough difference to create a problem for you. And they haven't all played enough for you to get a handle on what they are going to call when each one is in there."

Browning shrugged off the lack of a 100-yard rusher. The Bulldogs still have Saturday's game against the Yellow Jackets, plus the possibility of two more postseason games.

"One of us is going to get that," Browning said. "We're just got to get us some long runs."

ALL-ACC TEAM: Georgia Tech had five players make first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference, tying champ Florida State for the most.

Tailback P.J. Daniels, the leading rusher in the ACC at 100.9 yards a game, was joined on offense by center Hugh Reilly. On defense, end Eric Henderson, linebacker Keyaron Fox and safety James Butler were honored.

"I would say that this shows the type of talent we have on this team," Reilly said. "And we were able to do some good things with that talent."

Leading receiver Jonathan Smith made the second team, and tight end John Paul Foschi, defensive tackle Travis Parker and linebacker Daryl Smith were honorable mention.

"I was very happy for our players," coach Chan Gailey said. "It's one of those honors that obviously not a lot of people get. We were fortunate to get a couple of guys on there."

One obvious omission was offensive tackle Nat Dorsey, a first-teamer as a freshman and a second-teamer last season. He wasn't nominated by his coaches as a junior.

BIG RIVALRY: Most Georgia players consider Georgia Tech to be their biggest rival.

Not Fred Gibson. He believes Florida is the biggest game of the year.

"Georgia Tech is just another game," the junior receiver said. "I hear about that Florida game so much. I don't pay that much attention when they say Georgia Tech is playing Georgia."

Gibson's assessment is likely based on geography. He's a native of Waycross, in the southeastern part of the state and not far from the Florida line.

"Georgia Tech is second," Gibson said. "Florida is first."

INJURY UPDATE: Georgia offensive guard Bartley Miller won't play Saturday because of an injured shoulder, but the Bulldogs are more optimistic about star rover Sean Jones.

Jones, who has missed the last two games with a pinched nerve in his shoulder, leads the Bulldogs with five interceptions and is second on the team with 91 tackles.

"I feel OK," Jones said. "But I have to listen to the doctor. He knows what's best for me."

Two other Georgia players are ailing. Receiver Fred Gibson will play with a soft cast after a breaking a finger on his left hand. Josh Brock is questionable because of a sore shoulder.

Then there's Georgia Tech running back P.J. Daniels, who was limited in practice this week because of a mysterious ailment. Coach Chan Gailey never gives specific injury information. Daniels, one of the most talkative players on the team, also declined comment.

Daniels leads the ACC in rushing with 1,110 yards. If he can't play against the Bulldogs, Ace Eziemefe and Chris Woods likely would split time at tailback.

BANNING FOOTBALL: Richard "Von" Gammon led Georgia to its first undefeated season in 1896. A year later, he lost his life playing the game he loved.

Gammon's death nearly caused the demise of college football in Georgia. State legislators, concerned about the brutal nature of the sport, drafted a bill that would have banned football from all publicly financed colleges.

Gov. William Atkinson was set to sign the bill into law, but a letter from Gammon's mother changed his mind. Rosalind Gammons wrote that her son's death "should not be used to defeat the most cherished object of his life."

This year, two plaques were unveiled in Rome, Gammon's hometown, to commemorate his unique contribution to the sport.

Georgia quarterback David Greene was asked how the state would have been different without football.

"Geez," he said. "There sure wouldn't be much to talk about from week to week."

Associated Press Keith Parsons contributed to this story.