Monday, December 7, 2015

Kirby Smart Introduced As Head Coach

Kirby Smart was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Georgia during a press conference held Monday at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. He offered the following comments:

Photo By David Rogers
Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement…
“I don’t think words can express how honored and privileged I am to stand before you as the head coach at the University of Georgia. I’d like to first thank President (Jere W.) Morehead, Greg McGarity and the athletic board. I also want to express how much I
appreciate the last nine years I spent at the University of Alabama. Coach (Nick) Saban has been a great mentor during that time and I would not be before you today were it not for him.

“I’ve thought about this day all of my life. As the son of a high school coach and the best English teacher in the world, I've always aspired to be a head coach. Thanks, mom, thanks, dad, for the example you set for me and for so many others. As most of you know, I spent five of the greatest years of my life here in Athens as a student-athlete. As I look throughout this very storied program, there are several coaches that had a great impact on my life here.

“Coach (Vince) Dooley has meant a lot to me in this community and a great man. Coach (Ray) Goff, who, God bless him, brought me here. I wasn't a very good player. Probably the reason he's not here is because I wasn't a very good player. And Coach (Jim) Donnan has been a great asset to me as I've grown as a coach.

“I'd also like to thank Coach (Mark) Richt for the opportunity he gave me as an assistant here in 2005, and also for laying a foundation of integrity at this university.

“But the most important thanks goes to my best friend, my teammate and partner for life, my wife. She is my rock, and as a coach's wife, she plays the role of both parents a great deal of time at our home. And the best part, she's a born and bred Bulldog. From the time I met her, she's been a Bulldog. We met here in Athens, Georgia, married here in Athens, Georgia, so it is in a sense a homecoming for our family.

“Her father Paul is here helping with our three wonderful children, Weston, Julia and Andrew. Without you, MB, none of this would be possible.

“Now, a little bit about my vision for the University and our football program. Our student-athletes will represent the University with class and integrity. We will demand that. The greatest satisfaction I've received as a coach is going into a 17, 18-year-old's home and, recruiting that young man, and then watching them walk out the door as a graduate five years later.

“We'll do everything in our power to help these kids be successful as true student-athletes. That student comes first. Although we know these young men will not be perfect, they'll be held to a higher standard of behavior. Our ultimate goal is to educate students, and we'll do this the right way, which is the Georgia way. Now about our football team and our brand of football. Our teams will display great mental and physical toughness. We'll play with great confidence and pride on the field. We'll work toward this with relentless energy and passion, and I will demand that everyone in the organization does that.

“In closing, I'd like to issue a call to action of sorts to the Georgia people. We need to channel our faith, trust, and energy in the same direction to support this team and this university. Thanks again. It's an honor and privilege to be here before you, and I'll now take any questions.”

On his family…
“It's a special moment for me being able to see them and see what Mary Beth has been through. The coaching profession is tough on the wives, and she's done a great job with our children, raised them in a Christian home and that makes me proud. It makes me proud to be back in Athens and be part of this great community.”

On his staff at Georgia…
“We don't put a timetable when we make those decisions. It's a very fluid situation, constantly moving and changing. I won't put any timetables on anything. Right now we're worried about getting on the road, getting recruiting, and trying to assemble staff and talking to as many people as we can.”

On coaching Alabama in the College Football Playoff…
“First off, both President Morehead and Greg were very supportive of me doing this the right way. It's very important to me that I finish things the right way over there. A lot of these young men playing for the University of Alabama I sat in their homes three, four, five years ago and convinced them to come to the University of Alabama. And I don't think it would be doing justice to turn and walk away from those kids.

“I think that President Morehead and Greg both supported me fully, continuing to finish that, I'll at the same time honor my duties here. Regulating your time will be very critical in the next probably month while we get ready for this game, and also recruiting is in an active period right now. So it will be a challenge, but a challenge I'm up to.”

On when he felt prepared and ready to be a head coach and on any challenges of stepping into that role…
“I think the growth you get from working at a place like Alabama and with a program under Nick Saban, it helps me immensely. A lot of people have said why not take a smaller school head job? I honestly feel my growth was better being in a large program, being around Coach Saban and learning how to manage a lot of the tough situations you deal with in the media. So for me, the most difficult thing for me is the timing of this and trying to move forward and grow and get the recruiting going.

“But as far as the challenges they present, it's there for every head coach in the country. It's no different for anybody hitting the ground running. Put your nose to the grindstone and deal with one issue at a time. That's what we plan to do here as a staff.”

On opportunities over the years to become a head coach…
“I don't think I need to validate the opportunities. To me, the biggest thing is I've had opportunities to go places, stayed at Alabama because I thought it was a good place. I waited on a great opportunity which is here at the University of Georgia right now. No better place in the country to be, one of the top programs in the country, top storied programs, very fertile recruiting ground, very supportive administration. So I'm so excited to be here right now and be here before you guys.”

On what his days will be like preparing for the College Football Playoff and his message to Georgia’s recruits…
“I'll be honest with them, that's the first thing. Be honest with recruits, be up front. There is change going on and change is inevitable. I think it's really important they understand that, and it's important they get to know me.

“You ask what I'm going to be doing, I'm going to be real busy. I've been real busy and I'm going to continue to be busy. But that's the relentless energy and passion. That's the reason I am where I am today. I'm going to do that recruiting, I'm going to do it coaching. I'm going to work for the playoff game with the same energy and passion. That's what I hope to achieve.”

On things he might implement at Georgia from his time at Alabama…
“The process is hard work, that's what it is. It's hard work through commitment and doing things the right way. A commitment to excellence on the field, off the field, in the classroom, and every social aspect we have for our players. The only way you achieve that is by getting a great organization, a great support staff, surrounding yourself with great people and great coaches. That's what I hope to do here at the University of Georgia.”

On his message to the Georgia team on Sunday night…
“I spoke to the team last night. I talked to them about the same things I just talked about here, having a commitment to excellence off the field, especially right now studying for finals and making sure they stay committed to the classroom. Finishing this season the right way with a chance to win 10 games, which helps in recruiting.

“I spoke to those guys about doing the right things off the field. If they can continue to do that, they can be successful. But I talk to them about change. I told them, I guess it was 20 years ago, I sat in the same place they were and had a new coach coming in. The uneasiness about having to prove yourself again and start over sometimes as an upperclassman is tough. I want to be here for them for that. We're going to challenge them and demand toughness and effort out of every person and every aspect of their life. We're going to push them harder than they've ever been pushed. But I think to be excellent, they have to do that.”

On instilling confidence in the Georgia fans that the team will move forward and be in a better place fairly quickly…
“The only thing I can do is look forward. I've tried to assemble the best staff possible to go out and get as much depth and good players as we can in recruiting. Make sure those are the right kind of student-athletes that will make right choices and decisions when they get here. Then to get back here in January and get back to the grind assembling this team and making this team the best it can be.

“I firmly believe that you can take and develop players and you can show improvement within a team, and we need to do that here.”

On how close Georgia is to competing for national championships…
“That's not a question that I like to answer, hypotheticals. To answer that would be really difficult to say to put a pinpoint on a time on that. We want to develop a really tough, physical team. We want to get great recruits in here and do it the right way. That's what's important to me. Continuing on the foundation of integrity is utmost importance for us here at the University of Georgia.”

On the single most important element he wants to instill in the program right away…
“Character, toughness, determination, a lot of those factors, relentless effort. That's what we talk about all the time. That's what we're going to sell this program on. Making sure every kid is buying into the team aspect of that. Once you get that, you can achieve every goal you want.”

On Nick Saban’s reaction to Smart getting the Georgia job…
“He was great. His reaction was he's excited for me. He and I have a great relationship. We spent 11 years together, nine consecutively there at the University of Alabama. He's been a great mentor for me, and he was very supportive. Said he'll do anything he can to help me and continue that development. He's always been supportive. He's got a lot of guys he's worked with out there in this profession.”

On whether he will be more hands on with the defense, not leaving it to assistants…
“Oh, no, I'm hands on with the whole program. I'm going to be involved with everything. I mean, for me, that's one of the biggest strengths I think I have as a coach is managing the whole thing, being involved in special teams, being involved in the offensive and defensive sides and being involved with coaches. The big thing is making sure everybody's on the same page. Demand excellence out of everybody and make sure you get that. If you don't, you've got to make a change.

“That's what being a head coach is about, and those are the hard, tough decisions you've got to make, and that's what I'm ready to do.”

On how to get people to believe that Georgia can win big games and compete for titles…
“I think you do that day-by-day. W-I-N, what is important now? You build that faith, trust and confidence in your program by what you do with your players. I think first and foremost these players at the University of Georgia have to believe in themselves. We've got to do a good job of instilling them with that as a staff.

“There are good players here, we've got to do a good job with them. We've got to improve the depth. We've got to improve the quality of the depth throughout the team. Both offensive and defensive lines, skill areas, there is no area here that doesn't need improvement and depth. But that can be done, and I think it will be done.”

On the 2005 season at Georgia and what he took from that season…
“That's a unique question because that year I was the running backs coach. It was a unique year for me because I was coaching on the opposite side of the ball. I still think that was one of the greatest learning experiences for me. To this day, I still use thoughts on defense that I learned from being with Mike Bobo and the offensive staff, Neil Callaway here at the University of Georgia that helped me become a better coach.

“So I advise every young coach, you can spin over to the other side of the ball as a graduate assistant or another position coach, you do that, because that helped me grow in 2005 to be on that side of the ball. There were a lot of great players here that year, and it was a fun group to coach at running back. We had a lot of good players in there.”

On how to handle the dynamics of getting out to the recruits he wants to see this week…
“I'm going from here to go out and start recruiting and use every minute I have of this contact period, in fact I'm ready to go right now to see some guys. I've got to go see them. I've only got so long to go see them and then it gets dead again and we go back to work on our bowl games and bowl preps. So we have a detailed list of people we're going to see and attack and see them one last time before it goes quiet again.”

On how long he will work in Athens before returning to Tuscaloosa…
“It's not set yet. It's probably until Monday, Tuesday of next week when we start bowl practice. I think Georgia starts around the same time Alabama does. So I'll head back over to Tuscaloosa to start bowl prep with them. Even while I'm over there, I've got a lot of good mentors in this business, and one guy I want to thank is Dan Quinn of the Falcons. He called and said, hey, look, if there is anyway I can help you, I went through a similar process when he was with the Seahawks and also trying to take over the Falcons. He talked about time management and managing your time the right way. Spending every free moment you have and having people help you. I've got a great organization and support structure here in place to help me time-wise to have calls set up and ways for me to manage it better and utilize that time to be fair to both places.”

On his offensive philosophy…
“I think a lot of offenses, we've tried to defend have been difficult. The media would say that the spread teams are Alabama Kryptonite, but I would argue it could go either way. I think offensively, you have to have balance. You want to be able to run the football and throw the football. It's proven overtime that if you're one dimensional, you'll eventually get stopped.

“So to have balance, you've got to have good depth on the offensive line, especially in this conference. You have to have big, grown men that need lots of depth, because it's hard to get through it without having injuries. But we want to make explosive plays on offense, which means you have to have good skill people.

“To me, you have to recruit great skill people. They're here in the state. They're here within a five-hour radius. You've got to go get them and get them in your program so you can make explosive plays. I think that was lacking in somewhat last year here on this team. The perimeter guys, you want to be able to make explosive guys.

“So to do that, you've got to be great on third down on offense. So those three target areas you have to have. Now to say are you going to be spread or are you going to be pro? I don't think you can pigeon hole yourself into that. I like to think you've got to be both in both situations. You've got to utilize the talent you have on your team. What kind of players do you have on your team? What does it set up to be successful? Do you have a lot of good tight ends? Do you have a lot of good backs how about using those guys? You get the best players the ball. I've learned that from the coaches I've worked for. They've been the most successful when the good players got the ball. So you need to go get good practice players and get them the ball. That's what we plan to do.”

On his interactions with Mike Bobo and Will Muschamp…
“Obviously Mike, I guess it was announced yesterday, texted me and called me. We're close friends, family friends, kind of grew up together. His dad's a high school coach as well as mine. Mike's been very supportive of me. Been very helpful talking to and bouncing ideas off of. It was the same way last year with him. He used me as a resource, and we used each other because we both have different networks.

“Will, I've talked to Will. We're good friends, I'm happy for Will and happy for his family.”

On the trend of five coaches in the SEC East now with defensive backgrounds…
“For me it's just how it happened. It's what kind of people you are, what kind of person you are. It just so happened that way. It could change in four years and go back the other way. Obviously there's been a large trend towards offensive coaches as well. It goes highs and lows, ebbs and flows, who is stopping who and who is doing well.

“For the most part I've always thought of the SEC as a defensive league. The highest ranked offensive statistical group might be 33rd in the country out of our conference where there are a lot of tough defenses. It's a tough, physical league. So you want to play good defense. Historically, the teams with the best defense have been near the top of the conference. So I think that's important to a trademark to have a good program in an SEC Championship is good defense.”

On whether he has been given limitations on his staff…
“Absolutely not. They've been totally supportive of any decision I want to make, and that's the way it should be. I also want to mention I see (UGA basketball coach) Mark Fox out there. I appreciate him reaching out to me today. He's been a great asset to me already. I look forward to meeting him and visiting with him.”

On retaining current members of the current UGA staff…
“I don't want to put a timetable or any speculation. That's really unfair to those coaches and their families. There will be consideration there, obviously, but I do think it's very important that I hire my staff and put my staff in place.”

On whether he feels a certain pressure to deliver a higher level of expectation right away?

“No greater pressure than I put on my self, I can promise you that. That's the way it should be. You put pressure on yourself and you demand excellence from everybody in your organization. We're going to go out there and have the intent to win in every game we play.”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference - Defense

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's game against Southern University in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

On senior linebacker Jake Ganus’ marriage proposal following the South Carolina game…

“Jake did ask his girlfriend to be his wife, so she is now his fiancee officially. He said it worked out really good. I didn’t get to witness it but he said it went as good as he could have hoped. A lot of his teammates were out there with him to enjoy the moment.”

On Jake Ganus’ performance so far this season…

“For a guy to come in on such short notice and play significant time and be able to get out there and make some calls, get people lined up and all that kind of thing, it is impressive. He is a seasoned football player. I guess he led the team in tackles maybe the last two years at UAB, so it was not like he was a mystery as far as a football player. He has done very well. Glad we got him”

On the process of getting Jake Ganus to come to Georgia…

“When they (UAB) dropped football, obviously everybody was eligible to play immediately. So, we got film — just like you would a high school tape — and just started looking at tape and trying to see was there anybody we thought could help us, and Jake was definitely one of them. To be quite honest, I don’t know who made the initial contact. I can’t remember how all that went, but I know his film went through the process of any other recruit, basically. Get the position coach, the coordinator to take a look and make a decision. The fact that he could play right away, and he was here all spring, so it just worked out good for us. Was I surprised? I don’t know. I don’t remember him out of high school, so I don’t know what he looked like the day he left high school. He might have been a guy who was not all that big and was skinny and developed and proved to be a great player, so I have no idea how he looked at the end of high school.”

On freshman safety Johnathan Abram’s playing time against South Carolina…

“He’s just very eager to strike people. He plays hard. He’s very coachable, teachable, but young. He still makes mistakes that freshmen make. But he’s in there with a bunch of veterans compared to the kickoff coverage team where we've got eight or nine of them that are true freshmen. When you have too many of them at a time that’s when it gets a little scary, but it was great experience for him. You learn through making mistakes sometimes. You learn by doing it right and reinforcing that. It’s just like when you start riding a bike – how many times do you fall down before you start learning? It’s just like riding a bike, you fall down before you start learning.”

On the overall play of the defense through three games…

“I think our defense is playing well. Very few big plays, plays of 20 yards on the pass or 15 yards on the run, very little of that. Our red zone defense has been close to spectacular, denying people touchdowns. We’ve done a good job of getting turnovers. I think most of the balls that could’ve been picked have been picked. There have been a few balls that have been dropped but we’ve been very opportunistic in that way. Tackling has been pretty good. Part of the reason that you tackle well is that guys are pursuing the ball and gang tackling. People have been respecting their gaps in the run game. I think they’ve done a nice job."
Senior Linebacker Jordan Jenkins

On freshman DT Trenton Thompson’s hit vs. South Carolina...

“If he keeps working and listening to the coaches the sky is the limit for him. You see how big he is now and he’s a heck of a player. I really enjoyed seeing that and I know the whole sideline did. If he keeps his head on right, the future is bright for him.”

On how film works for the defense...

“Every Monday on the first day back we sit and watch the good, the bad and the ugly as Coach Pruitt likes to call it. We watch certain parts of the game and then break off and watch it with our segment.”

On keeping focus towards Southern...

With the way last season happened with the Florida game and everything, I feel like that was a learning experience for us. With the guys we have this year, I feel like that’s not going to be a problem this year. We’re going to make sure that we take this one game at a time and treat every opponent the same.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference - Offense

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's game against Southern University in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

On the offensive line…

“Our line is doing a very good job. I know pass protection, especially this past week, was really outstanding. It’s one thing to not get sacks but it’s another thing to really provide a big pocket and Greyson has a lot of space. His vision was pretty clear as far as not having guys squeezing the pocket on him and things of that nature. There’s always plays where the back will go for 60 or something yards and they’ll look around like, ‘hey man, did you get your guy?’ Those backs can make them look good at times, but there’s a lot of times where are our linemen make our backs look good. You can’t run the ball like we are running it without the linemen doing their job. They also know it is a week-to-week proposition, too. You start getting a little too happy and that’s when you tend to maybe not focus like you should.”

On the importance of getting the ball to Malcolm Mitchell…

“We try to. Again, when I was talking about the ‘RPOs,’ the run-pass options, a lot of times it depends on how the defense plays as to where the ball goes. Most of our system has a progression read, meaning Malcolm might be the first progression of a certain read like those little hitches we were throwing. If they’re playing cover two, he’s not the first option. Quite frankly, he would’ve not been an option at all. It would’ve been the tight end down the middle, to the flanker on the go route, to the check down. It happened to be soft coverage weak side so he got the ball two times in a row if you remember. We hit him twice to start the second half. He was the first read in that coverage but if it was a different coverage he might not have seen the ball on those two plays in a row. There are some things where you try to make him a primary target, but if you start trying to force it to anybody then you’re going to throw picks, you’re going to throw incompletions. You must be willing to take what they give you. There are some things, like a little tunnel screen, where you can make sure he gets the ball. But you can’t have too much of that because if everybody’s like ‘we’re going to stop this particular guy,’ then you’re going to be battling uphill.”

On senior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s quote about him having fun again…

“I think a big reason he is having fun is I don’t think he is worried too much about his wheels anymore. He’s just playing again and he’s producing and doing some of the things he hoped to do all along. I think you see a lot of his energy in practice. I mentioned to him before. I don’t know what setting I was in talking about his work ethic, but he had a great summer, a great fall camp. He missed very little, and if he missed anything, it was just us trying to be careful with him. I’m happy for the guy. Anytime a guy overcomes an injury, and when you come back from an injury you are not automatically 100 percent because mentally you are wondering if this could happen again and all of that. You are just trying to test it out — first time you get hit, first time you make a hard cut — all these things start running through your mind. So, for him to just be able to play and enjoy it means he is not thinking about that, which is good.”

On sophomore tailback Nick Chubb’s 100-yard rushing streak and his playing time…

“We don’t really think much about it. At the end of the game we just look at the stats and think well he did it again, but we are not sitting there tracking it, I can tell you that.”

On Greyson Lambert’s response to a strong performance against South Carolina…

“I don’t know how he feels, quite frankly. I’m sure he was excited about having a good performance, and I’m sure that helped his comfort level somewhere along the way. But if he was uncomfortable going into the last game maybe we need to make him uncomfortable again, I don’t know. I think we all — and I say we all as myself, the offensive staff, players, quarterbacks — I think we all know we’re doing the right things. We know what we’re doing, we’re teaching it right, we’re doing the right things against the right defenses. It all comes together. Are we going to have a performance like that every week? I don’t think that at all. But I think it’ll be somewhere in between the first half of Vanderbilt and what happened this last game.”

Junior Center Brandon Kublanow

On having a quick start against South Carolina...

“I thought we just had a good week of practice. We were prepared for them. I thought we just came out and did what we needed to do.”

On confidence gained from early play against the Gamecocks...

“We had a pretty good idea of what we were going to do against them. We had a good game plan. As long as we went out there and executed I knew we were going to be okay.”

On a botched snap in the third quarter...

“It was just a mental error on my part. I’ll fix it. It won’t happen again.”

Senior Wide Receiver Malcolm Mitchell

On having fun on the field...

“I think the previous years were a challenging time in my life personally. I wasn’t on the field. So the comment ‘I’m having fun again’ just relates to my ability to perform on the field.”

On advice for freshmen contributing to Georgia...

“(I would tell them) To just relax and play the game as you’ve been playing for the majority of your life. That’s what I tell them. When you start worrying about other things that you can’t control, that’s when you begin to make senseless mistakes.”

On freshmen being overwhelmed playing in front of a Sanford Stadium crowd...

“I went to a high school, we didn’t have 92,000 people in the stands, but I went to a high school where the games were pretty packed. So I’m not sure that it bothers the freshmen that are playing now. It didn’t bother me. I know as a receiver group we like the bigger the crowd because that’s a bigger group that’ll see you do well.”

Junior Tailback Keith Marshall

On not overlooking Southern…

“We hear it around campus, but in this building we’re focused on Southern. They offer a good challenge. Coaches will make sure that we stay focused and the older guys will make sure we stay focused, so it won’t be a problem.”

On challenge of covering Southern’s kick returner Willie Quinn…

“We have seen have seen a little bit on him. I know that he has taken a good amount of kick returns back during his college career. It will be a good challenge, but we’re going to fly down there and try to make plays.”

Sophomore Tailback Sony Michel

On wide receiver play vs. South Carolina...

“Being able to throw the ball always opens up the run game in any football game.”

On quarterback Greyson Lambert’s performance vs. South Carolina...

“He had a great game. A successful passing game, which helps us a lot. It let teams know that we are able to throw the ball.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's game against Southern University in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

Opening statement…

“Alright, I got a chance to say hello to big Kyle, got to meet him. He is a star. We are going to wear our Coaches Curing MD patches, and we have Kyle Eggleston. Just so glad he is here. He is 10 years old. He is an MD (muscular dystrophy) patient. He and his family are here, and I welcome them.

“Getting ready to play Southern here. Coach Dawson Odums does a great job with his team. A year ago, they had eight wins, 8-1 in league play, and they are 2-0 in league play today. They are scoring a bunch of points. I’ll start off offensively. They are impressive, score 38 points per game. They are passing for about 275 yards and rushing for about 170 yards per game — so very good balance there. They are right at 44 percent of their third-down conversions, which is keeping drives going and allowing them to control the clock and put those points on the board. They have a tremendous running back in Lenard Tillery, No. 21, he’s averaging 95 yards a game. He has five touchdowns already. Their number two back, Malcom Crockett, has 83 yards per game and already has a couple of scores himself. Their quarterback Austin Howard — I am very impressed with him. He is averaging over 200 yards per game passing and already has 70 yards rushing. He is a dual-threat guy hitting over 65 percent of his passes. He is an impressive, fundamental quarterback who does a great job. His top receivers — a couple of guys have over 10 catches. Randall Menard, No. 87, and Willie Quinn, No. 25, both have 10 catches. While I’m at Quinn, I want to mention him in particular, he is a 5-foot-5, 145 pound senior, but he is a stick of dynamite right now as an athlete. Their tackles are big men, averaging about 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, and are impressive athletes upfront.

“On defense they have six returning starters. They line up mostly in a 4-3 alignment. Last year, they showed a little bit more 3-4, so we are not exactly sure what we will get. Their leading tackler is linebacker Kentavious Preston. He is a guy who has 19 tackles and also leads the team in tackles for loss with 2.5… They have two really big men inside doing a great job. Their down linemen have a lot of tackles, which usually means they are athletic. They can get off blocks and make plays all the way across the board.

“That gives you a little bit to where we are at with Southern. We are looking forward to playing the game. I am excited about being at home again. I thought our fans were phenomenal, I thought our band and student body were great, and I’m just looking for more energy. We feed off our fans and, like I have been saying for years, nobody does it better than Georgia, so I am excited about playing between the hedges again.”

On Southern wide receiver Willie Quinn’s 5-foot-5 stature posing a problem for Georgia’s defense…

“He is so quick, fast, (and has) good ball skills. He really is a dynamic player. He’s just not a big player, but he plays big. When you see him you’ll be like ‘that guy is a special talent.’ I think you’ve just got to guard him like anybody else, or at least try to. Morgan State had a back one year who was not very tall at all, and they started running zone plays and you literally could not see him in the gap, from what people would say, and I could see that. But he’s more on the edge, more on the perimeter, so I don’t think that will be an issue.”

On where non-conference games fall on the schedule…

“I’ll be honest with you, I think the SEC decides who we are going to play and when we are going to play, and then we just kind of fill in from there, so I don’t know if we have much of a choice on that. We would love to have as many home games as possible. There are certain years where in league play we might only have three home games because of the year where our home game is in Jacksonville we lose a home game there. We would like to have as many home games as possible for our fans and for our team, and sometimes that means getting out of conference people to come play us.”

On the amount of freshmen who have played so far this season…

“We’ll play freshmen, and I think we have played 21 true freshmen. I think they are learning how to play. They play with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and athleticism. All of those things are great, but we talked about it today as a staff. Fundamentally and technique wise, we have to get better — those guys in particular. The group that struggled the most was probably our kickoff coverage team. We were offsides. We had one called against us, but we could have had four called against us. There were a couple of creases that came out where they had one return at the end, where our kicker had to twice make a tackle, and some of that is how you place the ball — it’s not all those guys. But when you have nine true freshmen running down the field, or whatever it was, you have them all learning at the same time and that is not really healthy. If you are sprinkling two or three and you have a bunch of veterans to show the way it is not so bad, but we’ve got a bunch of puppies in there right now. We know we are coaching the right guys. They just need more work.”

On the balanced attack against South Carolina in contrast to the previous weeks on offense…

“I think that what you saw against South Carolina is the type of balance we’re looking for, the type of run-pass ratio on first down. We absolutely don’t want to get away from running the football. We’re good at it, we’ve got good backs, but the better you run the football the better your play-action pass can be. The term we use is RPO, it’s a run-pass-option, people are doing it all across the country. Like I said last night, we didn’t invent it by any means. It’s a running play but there’s a pass tied into it. A quarterback may stick the ball in the back’s belly in the gun, and if the defender totally sells out to the run then it creates a little passing lane, a throwing seam to someone. So you pull the ball and get a quick passing game. So some of those throws were run-pass options where if the defender would have stayed at home a little bit better we would’ve run the ball. So you call those 10 times a game, sometimes nine times out of 10 you run it, sometimes nine times out of 10 you throw it. That’s part of the game, too.”

On taking two instant-impact transfers in Greyson Lambert and Jake Ganus…

"Part of the attraction is that they were able to be immediately eligible. We’ve taken junior college transfers obviously that can play right away, but a true transfer from a four-year institution to another four-year institution, we haven’t done much of that at all. But because these guys were eligible immediately, and in Ganus’ case could come in in the spring when we needed more people. We saw the potential that he had and we said let’s get him in here and see what he could do. We thought for sure he’d help us on (special teams), and we thought maybe help us on scrimmage downs. Sure enough he’s doing that for us. The thing with Greyson, we only had three (quarterbacks) on scholarship. That’s really under the number. We’d like to have four on scholarship, so just to get that number corrected was important to us. When you are in a QB competition, maybe in this day and age more than in other times, there’s maybe more of a chance someone will go when it’s all over at the end of the spring, so you certainly don’t want to be sitting there with two. It just so happened that there were a few QB transfers around the country that were at least available to look at and try to recruit, and it worked out for us and Greyson.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Robinson, Seymour Named to Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame

University of Georgia football greats Rex Robinson and Richard Seymour have been tabbed as UGA's 2015 inductees into the Merrill-Lynch/Bank of America Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame.

The 20th annual luncheon and induction ceremony, sponsored by Ruth's Chris, will be held on Friday, October 30 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The event is part of the annual Georgia-Florida football weekend.

A two-time All-America placekicker for the Dawgs, Robinson lettered at UGA from 1977-1980 and was a key member of the 1980 national championship team. The Marietta native led Georgia in scoring as a sophomore and junior, and his 56 career field goals were a school record at the time. Robinson's 101-of-102 career PAT kicks were also a UGA accuracy record that has since been surpassed. After his collegiate career, he kicked one season for the New England Patriots in 1982.

One of the top defensive linemen ever at Georgia, Seymour was a four-year letterman (1997-2000) who earned All-SEC honors twice and earned All-America honors his senior season. Over his career he recorded 223 tackles, 10 sacks and 26 tackles for lost yardage. A first-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2001, he helped the franchise win three Super Bowl titles in four years, himself earning seven Pro Bowl selections during his 11 NFL seasons. The Gadsden, S.C., native was also selected to the Patriots' 50th anniversary team in 2009, as well as the NFL's All-2000s team.

Florida's 2015 inductees into the Hall of Fame include quarterback Chris Leak and receiver Jabar Gaffney.

The Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame was created in 1995 to recognize the players, coaches and representatives of each school who have made their mark on the rivalry. Each year on the Friday before the game, two members from each school are inducted.

All of UGA's inductees are as follows, listed in chronological order:
1996: Herschel Walker, Frank Sinkwich
1997: Linsday Scott, Terry Hoage
1998: Wally Butts, Jake Scott, Bill Stanfill
1999: Matt Robinson, Richard Appleby
2000: Mike Cavan, John Rauch
2001: Charley Britt, Robert Edwards
2002: Bob Etter, Ray Goff
2003: Kevin Butler, George Patton
2004: Larry Munson, Erk Russell
2005: Kevin McLee, Cy Grant
2006: Rodney Hampton, Willie McClendon
2007: Dan Magill, Tim Worley
2008: Gene Washington, Eric Zeier
2009: Garrison Hearst, David Pollack
2010: Zeke Bratkowski, Knox Culpepper
2011: John Brantley, Bill Saye
2012: Charley Whittemore, David Greene
2013: Matt Stinchcomb, Peter Anderson
2014: Ben Zambiasi, Pat Dye
2015: Rex Robinson, Richard Seymour