There’s a tradition underway at Georgia that will keep Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray’s offensive line happy and full.
When the front wall does not allow a sack, Murray buys the offensive linemen ice cream on Sunday night. This past Saturday, in Georgia’s 48-3 win over Vanderbilt, Murray was sacked once … but he took the blame for that one. So the ice cream tradition was on again.
“The line’s doing a great job; it starts with those guys,” Murray said. “They’re doing a great job of pass protection and run blocking. Also, the receivers are just making huge plays after the catch. We’re not perfect, we’re pretty darn close, but we’ve just got to keep working and can’t be satisfied with where we’re at right now.”
Murray is on a roll this season. He has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 10 touchdowns against only two interceptions.
“I think this is the most consistent I’ve played,” Murray said. “My goal is to be consistent, just taking each play individually and not focusing on the whole game. Again, I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my offensive line and the weapons I have around me that are making it a lot easier for me.” …
South Carolina is looking to improve on its No. 6 national ranking when the Gamecocks take on Kentucky on Saturday. The defense may get a boost with the return of cornerback Akeem Auguste, who missed last season with a foot injury and has yet to play this season because of a groin injury. Auguste returned to the practice field on Monday.
“He is practicing. He is going to try to do everything today, according to the trainer, and if he can practice all week, he will be ready to play,” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said.
“I feel real good,” Auguste said. “I’ve got to get back into my groove though. I’m a little rusty. I don’t know how much I’m going to play on Saturday, but I should be ready to go. I doubt that I’ll start, but I should be able to play a couple of snaps. The whole thing is being ready—anything could happen, anybody could go down. I’ve just got to be mentally ready and physically ready.” …
There was a time when the Georgia-Tennessee game was one of the SEC headliners of the year. If the Vols could have taken care of business against Florida, then it would be again this year. As it is, it is still a pretty big game. Georgia brings its No.5 national ranking into the game, while Tennessee is trying to inject the enthusiasm back into it a fan base that was at a fever pitch before the Florida loss.
“We all know about Georgia. There is no sense in me talking about how good they are. They are probably playing as good as I’ve seen them in a long time,” Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said. “They are probably one of the most talented defenses in the country, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Hopefully we can take a lot of the lessons we have learned in the first four games and try to go play as good as we can play in Athens and see how it turns out.” …
Texas A&M will host Arkansas on Saturday. Aggies’ coach Kevin Sumlin knows the Razorbacks are more talented and dangerous than their 1-3 record indicates.
“They’ve got weapons offensively, they’ve got a big, athletic defensive line,” he said. “Alonzo Highsmith has played a lot of football there as an anchor in the middle. They’ve got some talented guys. I think any time you lose a quarterback of that caliber for a game-and-a-half or whatever, that can throw you off a little bit. They’re coming in here and have a lot to prove.”
Injuries to the quarterback are a concern for Sumlin as Johnny Manziel, his freshman signal-caller, is averaging running the ball almost 13 times in the Aggies first three games. He’s seventh in the SEC in rushing, averaging 87.3 yards per game, and he’s scored five touchdowns.
“Thirteen plays a game is kind of significant,” Sumlin said. “If you’re getting 80 plays, that doesn’t sound like so much. I think every quarterback, if you look at the history, has five-to-10 gains. That’s just the nature of the game, so I don’t think that’s outrageous. I think as a coach you watch it differently because you’re critical of everything and you’re trying to get him to understand the big picture.” …
Top-ranked Alabama takes on Ole Miss Saturday, and history does not give the Rebels much reason to be hopeful. Not only has Alabama won eight consecutive games in the series, but the Rebels have never beaten a top-ranked team. The Rebels are 8-8 when playing teams ranked No. 1 in the nation.
“We get to play a great football team with a great staff. They’re the gold standard in football right now,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “Being a competitor you want to play in those environments.”
“I certainly wouldn’t say that they have any weakness,” Freeze added. “I’ve watched quite a few films yesterday and today on them. Coach (Nick) Saban and his staff do a phenomenal job. The thing you don’t see is they just don’t get out of position. It is very, very rare.
“They’re just not giving up big plays. They’re always in position and very fundamentally sound. When you add to that how talented they are, it is very difficult to say they have a weakness. Our challenge will be just to stay on schedule and not put ourselves behind the chains very much. That’s the truth every game, but against them it’s even more important.”
Alabama has rolled to four consecutive lopsided victories and has yet to trail even for a minute. Some teams might get overly confident about never trailing, but Alabama is not one of them.
“I think that we are constantly trying to teach our players that you play the next play, you are worried about the scoreboard, you are not worried about the circumstance in the game – that is an external factor – you need to focus on what you need to do to execute the very next play – whether you’re ahead in the game or behind in the game, that really doesn’t matter,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.