No sophomore slump - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No sophomore slump

December 23, 2004

Athens, Ga.-- When you're six foot seven inches tall and weigh 250 pounds it's pretty hard to take anyone by surprise, but that's exactly what Georgia sophomore Leonard Pope did this year.

After catching only 3 passes for 57 yards in Georgia's first five games of the season, Pope stormed onto the scene in week six. Since snatching his first career touchdown against Vanderbilt, Pope has been, you guessed it, the epitomy of excellency.

"The Lord has really blessed me this year to come out and play well. I just try to stay focused with it and stay humble with it because a lot of distraction can come within that," Pope said.

The Americus native closed out the season with touchdown catches in five of the last six regular season games, including two against Florida. He credits some of his success to having played safety in high school.

"Well, it really has (helped) because you have to be physical on the defensive side of the ball and with me coming off blocking wise, I just got to continue to try to be physical in my blocking," Pope added.

And Pope will need to be extra physical come New Year's Day when he lines up across the Big Ten defensive player of the year in Wisconsin's Erasmus James.

"He speaks for himself, I mean he's up there with Pollack. We just got to do a great job of containing the guy."

 But it's the Georgia senior's that Pope will be really concentrating on. After four terrific years, the kid they call Country would love to send guys like Pollack, Greene and Gibson out on a winning note.

"I got to play my hardest because it's going to be my time sooner or later. I told the guys when we were playing Georgia Tech, we need to win. I wanted to have four years winning against Georgia Tech. And I just got to go out and play hard for those guys," Pope said.

Posted at 11:06 p.m. by kevin.mcdermond@walb.com