COLUMBIA - South Carolina's Steve Spurrier knows what Georgia's offense has planned for Saturday night. He's not so sure, though, his Gamecocks can stop it.
Spurrier has watched the 12th-ranked Bulldogs enough through the years to break down their attack. There's nothing fancy, just relentless execution that usually takes its toll on the opponent.
"They're not a real complicated-type team," he said. "They want to run it at you and run it at you and throw that pass to the tight end a lot."
Spurrier expects to see that again when Georgia (1-0) opens its Southeastern Conference season at Williams-Brice Stadium against the Gamecocks (1-0, 1-0 SEC).
Though South Carolina's defense showed up strong in its opener to beat Mississippi State, 15-0, Spurrier thinks Georgia is a much more difficult challenge.
"They play extremely hard, well coached, very aggressive, very physical, good tacklers, good blockers, things like that," Spurrier said. "They do the little things well, and that's what gives them a chance to win (SEC) championships, which is what they've done two of the last five years."
The Gamecocks held Mississippi State to 161 yards and were tops in the conference in total defense after last week.
Georgia, though, got production from several offensive players in its first game, a 48-12 win over Western Kentucky. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt played three quarterbacks and three tailbacks. Nine players caught passes, and Mikey Henderson returned a punt for a touchdown after fumbling his first return when it looked like he would score.
"This is our first (SEC) game, first away game and it will be very loud and we don't know how we will handle it," Richt said. "We know that the history of this series is full of close games, and we will have to be prepared going into it."
One threat the Bulldogs likely won't have this week is Henderson, whose hamstring tightened up early last week. Henderson did not practice Thursday and will be out for today, according to the school's athletic Web site.
As good as South Carolina's defenders looked last week, they have not faced a team as stellar as Georgia. The unit's only senior starter is Fred Bennett. Not that they don't have players the Bulldogs should watch out for.
Junior college transfer Jasper Brinkley was a terror at middle linebacker last week in his debut game, leading the Gamecocks with 11 tackles against Mississippi State.
South Carolina defensive lineman Marque Hall expects the group to stand up to Georgia's offense. "We always practice hard, and they say you practice like you play," Hall said. "We'll be fine."
If recent history is any guide, one or two stops on defense can make a big difference when these teams play. Four of the past five games have been decided by six points or less.
Two years ago at Williams-Brice, Georgia trailed 16-0 before David Greene, David Pollack and company rallied to a 20-16 victory. Then last season, the Bulldogs trailed 9-7 at the half and again came back for a 17-15 win.
"They do the little things well, and that's what gives them a chance to win (SEC) championships."
- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, on the Georgia Bulldogs
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