After a topsy-turvy weekend, the SEC East race has been shaken up with several fighting for the top spot. After the loss of a starter last weekend, the same could be said for the current running back situation at Georgia. This week, head coach Mark Richt is trying to find a temporary replacement for UGA starting back Musa Smith, who has been battling a bothersome hip flexor since preseason camp and might not return until the Nov. 10 game versus Auburn.
"It's just not getting better. He's just not healthy enough to play a full game, full-speed," Richt told reporters Monday. "It's a shame. We were trying to make it to the open date (Nov. 3) to get him some rest, but it doesn't look like we'll be able to do that."
Smith came into last weekend's 30-14 win at Vanderbilt third in the SEC in rushing with 94.5 yards per game. He rushed for 69 yards on nine carries against the Commodores before leaving the game near the end of the third quarter after aggravating his hip injury.
The 17th-ranked Bulldogs (4-1,3-1 SEC), who host Kentucky on Saturday and meet Florida in two weeks, will be looking at several options to fill Smith's shoes. The list of candidates includes Jasper Sanks, a senior fullback who was converted from tailback, and Mike Gilliam, a speedy 5-foot-8, 171-pound freshman.
The leader, though, appears to be fullback Verron Haynes.
"I believe that Verron is our best back right now," Richt said. "He's our best fullback and our best tailback."
Vols fans might remember him. On Oct. 6 at Neyland Stadium, Haynes was left wide open in the end zone and scored the winning touchdown with five seconds remaining in the Bulldogs' 26-24 victory.
"Those conservative days are over," shouted Arkansas defensive tackle Jermaine Brooks after his Hogs shocked No.9 South Carolina, 10-7, Saturday in Little Rock.
It appears as if the schemes of defensive coordinator John Thompson are not the only part of the Razorback defense that has taken a less conservative route. The attitude of the defense has taken an aggressive turn as well.
According to Arkansas linebacker Tony Bua, South Carolina quarterback Phil Petty was "cussing his offensive lineman" as the Hogs were driving Petty's offense back on the game's initial drive. Bua couldn't resist the opportunity.
"There's nothing you can do about it!" Bua yelled to Petty. "You can't do anything about it. Go tell Lou you can't do nothing about it!"
Bua and the Razorbacks got the job done. Blitzing Petty all day long, Arkansas sacked the quarterback twice and forced two interceptions -- the first two of the season for Petty. South Carolina managed just 272 total yards, including only 48 on the ground.
One of Thompson's many oddball schemes involved seven defenders standing straight up on the line of scrimmage. According to at least one Arkansas player, the design did its job.
Said Hog linebacker Caleb Miller: "After the second or third series, they wouldn't even look at us."
It might have taken a win over the top-ranked team in the country, but it looks like Auburn quarterback Daniel Cobb has finally won over his teammates.
According to several Tigers, Cobb's cocky attitude after his transfer last year form Butler County (Kan.) Community College didn't exactly impress the team.
"Let's just say he came in and was a little headstrong," Tigers center Ben Nowland told the Birmingham Post-Herald.
Last year, Cobb found himself competing against the popular senior quarterback, Ben Leard. In this case, his confidence ended up being detrimental. When he tried to talk, his teammates could be seen rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.
After the 23-year old from Marietta, Ga., replaced struggling freshman signal-caller Jason Campbell early in Saturday's game, all Cobb did was lead the Tigers to a last-second victory over No. 1 Florida. In this case, his confidence might have ended up be
ing the deciding factor in the upset victory.
"I was surprised at the quarterback change," Auburn receiver Tim Carter told the Post-Herald. "But Cobb handled it well. You could see the confidence in his eyes and it rubbed off on the whole offense.
"Daniel hasn't changed. Maybe we've just adjusted to him. He's very emotional. But he's got a lot of confidence in himself and he got the job done."
Published: Wed Oct 17, 2001 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 03:51 p.m.