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Hearing the roars
LSU fans let DiNardo know how disappointed they are
Posted: Tuesday July 27, 1999 08:19 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- If any Southeastern Conference coach is on the hot seat this year, it would be LSU's Gerry DiNardo. He wasted no time in acknowledging that Tuesday at the SEC Media Days.
"They say I need to make some opening remarks, so I'm glad to still be here," DiNardo quipped. "I think that's honest enough."
Coming off a disastrous 4-7 season in which the Tigers were expected to contend for a national title, DiNardo has received his share of criticism. Much of it has centered around his decision not to fire defensive coordinator Lou Tepper, who took much of the blame for last season's collapse.
"If I thought that one person was holding our whole operation back, then I would address it," DiNardo said. "I believe in Lou Tepper, I believe he is a very good coach and we're going to move on."
Seemingly comfortable with his job status, DiNardo said there were "enough people on campus who make decisions that believe we are headed in the right direction."
Still, he learned last season through a good number of nasty letters that the fans are running out of patience with him.
"It's a very passionate place and people share their opinions with you passionately," DiNardo said. "When things don't go the right way, I know I'm going to hear about it."
Confident CarterHe broke four freshman records last season and helped Georgia to its 9-3 record, but quarterback Quincy Carter knew there was at least one area of his game that needed serious improvement -- his leadership skills. To be a better leader, Carter said he needed to learn how to convey a certain level of confidence to his teammates.
"I need my teammates to know I am in control on the field," he said. "I need to be able to go to the line and feel comfortable and not having anyone doubting me."
Georgia coach Jim Donnan said part of Carter's confidence came from participating in spring drills for the first time. It was during that month-long period that Carter established himself with his teammates.
"Leadership is about what you make of it; just because you are a sophomore doesn't mean you can't be a leader," Donnan said. "I feel like our team now looks to Quincy for direction."
But that doesn't mean Carter is feeling any pressure heading into his sophomore season.
"I like all the pressure, I'm comfortable with it," he said. "We have so much talent and a great supporting cast, so I know it's not all up to me."
Remembering BurlsworthThe Arkansas Razorbacks are still struggling to come to terms with the death of former offensive guard Brandon Burlsworth, but coach Houston Nutt said his team would be stronger because of it.
"It really woke our guys up," said Nutt, who spent a large part of his allotted time talking about Burlsworth. "I'd say for 12 or 15 guys, it really changed their lives."
Burlsworth, 22, was killed in a traffic accident in May as the 6-foot-3, 318-pound lineman drove home from working out at Arkansas. He had been drafted by the Indianapolis Colts a month before the accident.
Nutt said the hardest part is learning to cope with Burlsworth's absence. Most recognized for the thick, black glasses he wore, Nutt said Burlsworth was always the first player at practice and the last one to leave.
"What he did when the lights weren't on is what I strive to be," said quarterback Clint Stoerner. "He was never satisfied and it was a tragedy for the whole team."
In honor of the All-American who earned two degrees while at Arkansas, Nutt said the Razorbacks would leave Burlsworth's locker intact and use the slogan "Doing It Burls' Way."
"You all can't be Brandon Burlsworth, but you can do it the right way, Brandon's way," Nutt said. "If we said run 10 sprints and we got done, Brandon would run two more. Now they feel like we have to work as hard as he did, not only on the field but in the classroom."
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