Dec 14

By the end of last season, the Georgia defense had done just that under first-year coordinator Kevin Ramsey. Despite having some of the most athletic and physically gifted players in the SEC, the Bulldogs fell apart and were last in the league in total yards (382.6) and passing yards (278.1) per game. Georgia also gave up 25.9 points per game (second-most in the conference) and gave up a combined 105 points to its three biggest SEC rivals (Florida, Tennessee and Auburn).

georgSo, a week after national signing day, Donnan hired his old friend Gibbs, with whom he worked during Switzer’s glory years at Oklahoma. Ramsey, hired away from Tennessee a year earlier, called the Gibbs hiring “deceitful” and called Donnan “Pontius Pilate.” That left Gibbs–fair or not–saddled as the Savior.

This is what Gibbs has walked into and why this potential Ambush in the Ozarks is more important than it looks. The Razorbacks are rebuilding, but they’ll ride into the season on an unbeaten streak at home under third-year coach Houston Nutt. Arkansas has one of the SEC’s best tailbacks in Cedric Cobbs, and hotshot red-shirt freshman quarterback Gary Brashears steers Nutt’s passing offense.

For Georgia, the Arkansas game falls one week before the much-awaited showdown with Tennessee in Athens. If the Bulldogs truly are a force in the East Division, winning a game ripe with risk is essential.

“We can’t look ahead of anybody,” says Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter. “That would be ridiculous. We’ve been pretty good the last couple of years about not looking past teams. This year, it’s more important than ever.”

Especially considering Georgia is primed to end years of heartache against Florida and Tennessee. The