Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vanderbilt's League Losses Piling Up

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vanderbilt's League Losses Piling Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, The Times-Union

Vanderbilt's SEC losing streaks now stands at 23 consecutive games, giving the Commodores the second-, third- and fourth-longest losing streaks in league history.

It's a dubious honor, and one that coach Bobby Johnson understandably tries to downplay. When he first arrived in Nashville in 2002, the current streak was at nine games, and even after the Commodores went 0-8 last season to push it to 17 games he said the streak really didn't belong to him because he wasn't part of the beginning.

It's all his now, though. Vandy is just 14 games shy of tying Sewannee for the longest losing streak in league history

"I try to keep them focused on the game at hand," Johnson told the Tennessean. "People bring it up. I can't worry about the other games that happened before. We can't do a thing about them. We can't go back and play 'em again. We can't go back and win those. We're just trying to win the next one."

Vandy plays host to Kentucky on Saturday, then finishes its season at Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 22. Losses would mean a third consecutive 0-8 league record in 2004 would tie these Commodores with the 1976-81 Commodores, who lost 33 consecutive SEC games.

MORE TIME FOR LUMPKIN

Georgia freshman running back Kregg Lumpkin impressed coach Mark Richt with his performance against Florida, and that will get him more playing time the rest of the season -- but not the starting job just yet.

Lumpkin rushed for 79 yards on 12 carries and scored Georgia's only touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter against UF. He'll get more carries against Auburn Saturday, but his pass protection is what's keeping him from becoming the starter.

"He got some tough yards, made some nice cuts and protected [quarterback David Greene] better," Richt told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He still made some mistakes that got Greene hit in the mouth, but I think he's getting better."

Lumpkin should be further along than he is, Richt said, but a rough start to the season has left him behind. Lumpkin got caught up in the NCAA's new acclimation period (five days of non-contact practice instead of three days of freshmen-only practice) and summer school. Lumpkin, like a lot of other players, was still in class and taking final exams throughout the acclimation period, and when he was able to practice, he suffered a pulled hamstring.

"It seemed like every time we practiced or every time we met, he was either in a class or studying for a final exam," Richt said. "He missed so much, and then the first time we get in pads he pulls a hamstring. He missed the most crucial meetings and most crucial practices that he needed for a true freshman to be an impact player. He's just now finally understanding the information and getting enough repititions. …

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