Georgia South Carolina Game

Tim Worley

Tim Worley, Georgia’s fifth all-time leading rusher and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 1988, spoke with SDS’s MrPalmetto Monday evening to talk Georgia football, notably Saturday’s key SEC East Division battle with South Carolina.

Preceded by Herschel Walker, Worley helped UGA become “Tailback U” in the SEC in the late 80s. In three prolific seasons in Athens, Worley rushed for 2,038 yards and 27 touchdowns on 353 attempts. He was a first-team All-American by Kodak, the Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America in 1988 and was inducted into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame in 2007.

How important is Saturday’s game with South Carolina in terms of the SEC East race and Mark Richt’s future on the UGA sideline?

“I think it’s very important because it’s going to determine the rest of the Bulldogs’ season mentally, spiritually and emotionally. What does that mean? That means, coming off a disappointing season last year — especially the loss to Central Florida — and beginning the new year with the loss against Boise State due to errors with basic fundamentals and discipline (NOT because of a lack of talent) puts more pressure than usual on this game against South Carolina. No one can predict Coach Richt’s future, but I do know that he has an opportunity and the character to turn this season around.”

What do you think of UGA freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell and his impact on Saturday’s game?

“I think Isaiah is a very talented running back. I think he will make an impact in the SEC for the Bulldogs this year. I see a lot of great things happening for him if he can stay healthy. It was obvious that he was a spark in UGA’s offense during the Boise State game.”

How does South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore compare to other great players you’ve seen in the SEC, yourself included?

“From what I saw last year, he proved that he belongs in the SEC and deserves to be mentioned among some of the great running backs from the past. It is very hard to come into the SEC and make a great impact like Mr. Lattimore did as a freshman. If he can stay healthy, I can see him contending for the Heisman before he leaves USC. His strength, agility, vision and awareness make him a total package, and if I had to compare him to anyone it would be Brent Fullwood from Auburn.”

The atmosphere should be electric between the hedges at Sanford Stadium. Can you recall any big-time memories while you were a player in Athens?

“Of course there are lots of memories, but one memory in particular was during my freshman year against the Gamecocks. I had a big day. I was blessed to score three touchdowns, and I had positive yardage every time I touched the ball. There was a lot of talent on the South Carolina team, and this was a game that helped me see that I could compete with these guys on any level.”

South Carolina is ranked No. 12 coming in. What do you think of this year’s Gamecocks?

“Any team in the SEC is going to be a hard challenge. South Carolina is always a contender for the SEC title regardless of how they’re ranked. Rankings don’t mean much to me. South Carolina is a team that scratches and claws their way through the season, and they can blindside a team with a big win at any moment. They’re coming off a great season last year. They didn’t lose much talent from last season, so they’re definitely in the running for the SEC championship.”

Time for a prediction. Who are you taking?

“D-A-W-G-S. Georgia all the way, man!”

Special thanks to Tim for taking time out of his schedule as a motivational speaker and leadership counselor to chat with me this week. Tim and his wife, Dee, reside in Huntsville, Ala. and are planning to attend Saturday’s game.