ATHENS -- It was the kind of question that normally invites a canned quote. Something about moving on, never looking back, forgetting all the negative.
Instead, Orson Charles went the other way when asked if, with his Georgia football team now 7-2 and eyeing a division title, the teams 0-2 start seemed long ago.
To tell you the truth, its still in the back of our heads, Charles said. Yeah were winning, but we definitely dont want to go back to that feeling. I mean it was brutal. And I feel like we have to remember how we got to this point.
That sums up the Bulldogs. Theyve recovered from the bad start, quieted (for now) their head coachs critics and are on the verge of accomplishing something.
But they also feel that a return of the bad feelings is just one loss away, especially if it happens Saturday against Auburn.
I know (that) you never know what tomorrow is going to bring, so its not like weve arrived or anything like that, head coach Mark Richt said.
Richts job security was the overriding issue of the first half of the season. It hasnt gone away quite yet, despite the winning streak.
Still, Richt got reflective Tuesday when asked how he handled all the criticism after the season-opening losses to Boise State and South Carolina. The Georgia head coach, who has always been outspoken about his Christian faith, cited a Bible verse (Colossians 3:23).
Thats kind of how I navigated that time, and there will be more tough times Im sure, Richt said. Thats the way life is.
The caution for Georgia, which is currently ranked No. 14, is that it hasnt exactly gone through a murderers row in building up its winning streak. None of the seven vanquished opponents are even receiving votes in the AP or coaches polls.
Beating Auburn, which is ranked 24th in the AP poll, would at least be the Bulldogs first win over a ranked opponent.
But the Bulldogs main goal remains winning the SEC East, which is theirs if they win their final two games, both at home. Players said this week that even when they were 0-2, they were reminded by coaches that the hope was still there for a division title or more.
We knew we still had a chance, even when we went 0-2, and people were like, Oh the seasons over with, sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray said. South Carolina has never gone a season without losing at least three SEC games. So were like, Hey just because were one behind them you never know what could happen. They could lose one, two, three.
The Gamecocks have lost twice, most recently at Arkansas. But the door may have truly opened for Georgia when South Carolina fell at home in October -- to Auburn.
That slip-up may prove to be the reason the Gamecocks dont win the division. But first Georgia may have to avoid the same fate.
Its definitely probably a little more difficult to play when youre in front, when people are patting you on the back, and youre feeling great, Murray said. But our guys dont listen to the outside stuff, all the noise about, Yall are in the lead, youre in position to get back to Atlanta.
Charles was asked whats changed now that theyre not also waiting for South Carolina to lose.
Its definitely a stress reliever. We definitely feel comfortable. Were definitely gonna be juiced up for this game because now if we lose (the division) its because of us. Were not really waiting around for South Carolina. Everything is in our hands.