Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players met with the media during the Bulldogs weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

Its an exciting time. You can feel the fall in the air. Its cooling down and becoming football weather. I want to encourage all our fans to get jacked up and ready to go. I want the Dog Walk to be wild. I want the students to be crazed as always and make the pregame warmups an exciting time and get it the stands as fast as you can because its going to be a special day for college football. Its the kind of game that everybody dreams of growing up. If a kid wants to play college ball, he watches SEC football and dreams about games like these. Were excited to be in a game that has the magnitude that is does.

LSU, what can you say about them? In all the years that Ive been here, they won the most games of anybody in the SEC. They have two national championships and three SEC championships. Its just a great program. They did it under Nick Saban and they are doing it under Les Miles. You certainly could say they are the team of the 2000s. The past decade they have been one of the best if not the best football team in the country.

I would have to think its going to be a beautiful day for football at 3:30 in the afternoon. I cant imagine a better setting to have it in than Sanford Stadium, so were all pretty jacked up about this one.

On whether the Dawgs and LSU would try to establish the run:

I dont think there is any doubt. I think both teams are going to be very intent on running the ball and running it in a very physical way. I dont think either team is going to back away from trying to run that football.

What usually happens when you don't do well in a particular area where you have history, you arent going to say lets bail out on it. Youre going to say lets get back to the basics and do it better than we did and establish our ability to run the ball. Im sure theyll be emphasizing it and I know well be emphasizing it.

On how Mississippi State stopped the run against LSU:

I did'nt study every single down of that game. I started out watching their offense versus Washington. So Ive seen more of that game than Ive seen of the other. But Ill get a chance to study that a little more, so I cant really say what they did. I saw a little a bit of it and it looked as if, just by sheer numbers that wanted to outnumber LSU in the run game. So I know that was part of their plan.

On the Dawg's turnover ratio:

Were 3-1. We put ourselves in position to be in this game this weekend and have it be very meaningful and thats really what you want at this point. Have we peaked? No way. Theres no way this team has peaked. Will we peak is the questions? Will we become solid enough and consistent enough to be able to win a game like this. Time is going to tell. A very short amount of time will tell. What weve done in the past is the past. We have put ourselves in position to be undefeated in SEC play. Playing a team that is ranked No. 4 in the country at our house, we have a chance to see what we are all about.

On his expectations of the team entering the season:

There was a lot of mystery to me. Not for sure knowing what Joe (Cox) could do. Not for sure knowing what our running backs were going to do. Who might be able to make a play besides A.J. Green? All those questions everybody else had, we had.

In the offseason we were a little bit more healthy up front. Losing Tanner Strickland and Trinton Sturdivant hurt us. There's no question about that. If we had those two guys we would be more solid up from than we are right now. Im not saying were bad by any means, but losing two guys like that that would have been starters for you, hurts you.

Defensively, I think we are still finding our way a little bit. I was very pleased with how we played last week. One thing about the defense in the three victories, in the fourth quarter we have played extremely well. In crunch time we have played well. Last weeks fourth quarter I think we held them to minus 13 yards total. The last three drives of the game were three and outs for Arizona State. And without it were not 3-1 right now.

Have we played lights out? No, but we've also played some pretty good football teams. I had a guy call me last night on my show and wanted to gripe about defensive statistics and I didnt mention it, but first of all the 3-1 is more important than where you are ranked offensively or defensively. If you play a couple of teams that you just totally out match and you hold a team to 150 yards total and three points, you get a couple of games like that, thats going to look good on your stats for six weeks or the entire year. But when you play Oklahoma State and Arizona State, you dont have that luxury to be padding stats. We knew that going in, and we know that what matters the most is on any given Saturday do we play good enough to win and thats been the most positive thing that I can say right now.

The other thing that I can say is positive is there have been times when the offense has been outstanding. There has been times when those six special teams have been special at one time or another. The defense has played extremely well at times and certainly in the red zone all year long. There are a lot of positives that have happened but theyve all kind of taken their turn. Thankfully, one of those segments has maybe been the difference in wining these last three games. Now, if we could all come together at the same time and play that kind of football then we will have a chance. If we dont it will be another barnburner I would imagine.

Quarterback Joe Cox:

On the Dawg's offense and sophomore flanker A.J. Green:

We need to make sure we are executing in the run game, and we need to make sure we are executing in all our other aspects of the passing game with me throwing to running backs, tight ends, Mike Moore and Tavarres (King) and Rantavious. Really, just being productive all the way across the board. I think that will free up A.J. even more the same way it kind of worked out with Arkansas. There's going to be a lot of attention on A.J. with anybody we play, and we need to be able to take advantage of other match ups that we can find with other guys we have.

On facing talented safeties:

It just makes you want to make sure you know whats going on that much more. You want to get into the film room more and pick up on anything that you possibly can with what they do pre-snap or right at the snap, so you can get a good read on what their coverage is. Its going to be a great challenge, and its going to be a great opportunity too. I think we match up well with who we are playing, and I think if we execute we can get the job done. Its just a matter of us executing.

On the Dawg's first four games all having a different feel to them and if he expected the season to be as unpredictable as it has going into week five:

I know that after week one if you would have asked us where we wanted to be going into the LSU game, we would have said three and one. Thats where we are. We found ways to win. We stuck together. When the defense needed to make plays, they've made plays. When the offense needed to make plays, we made plays. Theres a lot of things in between that we need to correct that could make us pretty good football team, and we are fully aware of the things we need to work on. I think once we correct those things I think we can be a good team.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A. J. Green Defeats The Sun Devils

FINAL SCORE: DAWG'S 20 - ARIZONA STATE 17

He's been called "Superman" by one of his fellow receivers, that may still be an understatement of his ability. Anyone that witnessed the Dawgs and Sun Devils between the hedges Saturday night saw A. J. Green catch 8 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown. In addition he blocked a field goal. The numbers don't come close to telling just how much he changed the outcome of the game that the Dawgs won on the final play 20 to 17 when Blair Walsh kicked a 37-yard field goal. The kick was set up by Green's last reception of the game, a 36-yard catch on third down and six at the Dawg's 42-yard line. His first catch of the night was a career long 56-yard touchdown that gave the Dawg's an early lead, in between the two he fueled the growing legend that will certainly make him the best receiver to ever wear the Red and Black.

NOTES

Redshirt freshman safety Bacarri Rambo had his first career interception during the second quarter. Georgia has six points off three turnovers this season.

Junior Chris Davis returned to the starting lineup at LG after coming off of the bench the last two games. Also of note, junior DT Brandon Wood saw his first action of the season after returning from off-season surgery (shoulder, wrist).

Freshman receiver Rantavious Wooten had his first career catch after hauling in a 27-yard reception. He added a 11-yarder on a third down conversion late in the 4th quarter.

Game Day - Arizona State

FOOTBALL

The 17th-ranked Dawg's will host the Arizona State Sun Devils tonight at 7:00 pm.

The Dawgs, 2-1 after defeating South Carolina and Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference will welcome the Sun Devils (2-0) of the Pacific-10 to Sanford Stadium for a showdown "Between the Hedges." It will mark Arizona State's first-ever trip to Athens after the two teams met for the first time last season in Tempe, Ariz., with the Dawgs winning that contest 27-10.

"I have never really thought of that," head coach Mark Richt said when addressing Arizona State having to travel from west to east as opposed to the Dawgs going west last year. "The only thing I have thought about is that it would probably be more humid here than what they are used to, and humidity, when you are not used to it, is just as tough as going to that thin air is tough on you if you are not used to it. I don't even know what the humidity is going to be but I'm hearing a pretty good chance of rain, and I don't even know if they see rain over there. They may come here and it rains and they haven't seen rain in months. I don't know if that could be a factor either – just things they are not used to is never usually easy to deal with."

Richt also addressed playing a non-conference game in between two Southeastern Conference contests.

"Our focus, beside studying the opponent and getting the plan, has really been to try to get better at what we do," Richt said. "That's been the biggest focus during the week, but when I talk to them tomorrow night we'll talk about what this game means in the big picture and all those kind of things. To this point, the focus has been on what we have to do to improve at every position on a daily basis."

On the injury front, Richt noted that junior safety Quintin Banks would "probably not" play and that junior cornerback Vance Cuff is "doubtful," and that with the injuries freshman Branden Smith and redshirt freshman Sanders Commings would see more snaps at defensive back.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media Tuesday during the Dawg's weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Punter Drew Butler

On his punting career…

“I always knew I was a more natural punter and I had the potential to punt at the SEC level. My dad was great to have as a personal coach and to be able to talk and ask him questions after practice. I actually did not start punting and kicking for the football team until my sophomore year of high school. Growing up I always just played soccer and golf. My junior year I realized that I might have college ability and here I am today.”

Defensive End Demarcus Dobbs

On having to go back on defense when offense turns the ball over…

“We just tell them to keep their heads up and that we will get it back for them and they will make it up. And this past game they did just that.”

On putting pressure on the quarterback…

“Our defense is centered on stopping the run first. But we are so focused on stopping the run that we have to do a better job at converting to pass rush and getting to the quarterback. I think that will come with experience and being able to read stats better and studying their offensive line.”

On the high scoring games…

“It is a bitter sweet feeling. We are glad we came out with a win, and we think we did some good things on defense, but when you look up at the score board and see all the points that were put up against you, you will start looking at things within yourself and ways to get better and change that. “

Linebacker Rennie Curran

On the one team he would love to play…

“Southern Cal because they are respected across the nation and they get a lot of hype. Also, because of the kind of program they have. I was hoping we would get them a couple years ago in the Sugar Bowl, but they had their rule with the Rose Bowl. I think that would have been bigger than the National Championship.”

On traveling to other parts of the country to play…

“It makes me realize that we have the best fans in the world. For us it is just a business trip when we go, but it is cool to see the different atmospheres and what type of things they do.”

On the high scoring games…

“It is frustrating as a defense. We want to hold the offense to the least amount of yards and least amount of points as possible, but we are definitely doing the right things. We are keeping a good attitude, working hard and encouraging each other. There were a lot of times in the last game that we could have pointed fingers and got discouraged, but we didn’t and it has really helped build us up. We know where we are at as a defense, and I feel that we are not very far from being great. We just need to take care of some of the details and I think we can be a great defense and shut people down.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media Tuesday during the Dawg's weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On the Dawg's biggest issues it needs to shore up.....

“I always make the analogy of the team being a train. You want to get that train on the track and you want to get it rolling down the track and gain momentum and energy as you go. It’s hard to get that train going from a dead start. After losing that first game, we didn’t’ get it moving it all. The second game took a lot of effort to get it rolling, and now we are getting it rolling pretty good, but I think we’ll roll a whole lot faster if we don’t have the two anchors out the back of the caboose that are stuck in the ground dragging behind us, and that is our turnover ratio is very poor and penalties have cropped up on us. If we can just cut those anchors lose, I think we will fly even better and if we just improve in those two areas, I think everything will improve.”

On shoring up the Dawg's pass defense…

“It’s always the same answer, a combination of pressure and coverage. Which comes first? What helps the other one the most? The better you cover, the longer that quarterback has to throw the ball. If you’re in zone coverage, or man for that matter, we have some man coverage where it’s still only a four-man rush. We have a couple of high-hole and a low-hole player that are playing zone, a robber-type coverage. The better you cover, the longer the quarterback has to hold the ball and it allows your pressure to get to him. We also know that if we put pressure on the quarterback he tends to throw the ball too soon or a little bit off balance, and that helps your coverage. It’s as simple as that. We have to cover better and we have to put more pressure. One area where I thought we might be putting a little more pressure on the quarterback where we really haven’t up to this point on a consistent basis is right up the middle. We need to get more from the inside push. If the quarterback does step up he’s got nowhere to be comfortable or no space and we’ve had too much of that.”

On the Dawg’s defense against the run…

“We have been stout against the run. I think some of the passing yards have to do with the fact that people haven’t had a lot of success. Coach (Steve) Spurrier and Coach (Bobby) Petrino like a balanced attack. They found more success throwing so they did throw. Is it very unusual to be able to stop the run and not pressure the passer. I wouldn’t say it’s highly unusual. There are certain body types that can maybe stuff the run better than they can get after a passer but I wouldn’t categorize our guys that way. If you looked at it from a statistical point of view, you might start drawing that conclusion. But I’ve seen Jeffrey (Owens), Geno (Atkins), Kade (Weston), DeAngelo (Tyson), I’ve seen all those guys, and even young Abry (Jones), they all have the ability to rush the passer and push the pocket. We just haven’t done it well enough on a consistent basis. So that’s definitely a big point of contention for us.”

On the Dawg’s defensive identity…

“Game one, I think they actually played an outstanding ball game. Games two and three we certainly gave up a lot more passing yardage than we thought we would. Our defense to this point has been outstanding in the red zone. Once the team has gotten into the red zone whether it’s through a drive, which doesn’t happen that much, or more with the turnovers and the kick return yardage.

“Over half the time, they force field goals instead of touchdowns, which is a huge victory. We’ve had to start playing defense on the six, on the eight, on the 23, on the 42, on the 37. Before the last game we had six times where they started the drive in field goal range; three times we forced field goals and three times they did score touchdowns. We had three turnovers in the first quarter the last ballgame. We had a wonderful stop to start the game, and we are going to get great field position, and we fumble the punt. All of a sudden they have to roll back out there and play ball again. Then we fumbled the pitch to Richard (Samuel) and all of a sudden they have to go play defense on the short field again. The pick wasn’t quite as bad, because they did have the two penalties that pushed them back, but again two more turnovers where we put our defense in a very bad spot. I would love to see what would happen if we don’t have to deal with that kind of thing. When we’ve defended the long field, we’ve defended it extremely well. Going into last game, it was a rate of 28 percent that they scored on the long drives. Any drives over 50, the only scored 28 percent of the time, and one of those drives was aided by a fake punt, which ended up being one of the drives. Of course we had a snap over the head, we had an interception for a touchdown. As a team we have not helped our defensive unit when it comes to those things. We need to do a better job of getting our field position right. I would just like to see what happened if we did that quite frankly.”

On whether the stats are an indication of how well the defense has played…

“After two games we were averaging 19 points a game that we pretty much gave to them if you take the six drives that I think one was 43 and the rest were 32 or less where the drive started, and a pick six and the snap. That was a total of 38 points that was given up in those situations. It’s a miracle with our turnover ratio that we’re 2-1 right now and undefeated in the league. You can look at it a couple of ways. You can be upset about everything, which I’m not pleased with some of those issues, but you also can say if we could just clean up things that are very correctable, who knows how good we can be? I just want solid improvement. If we just keep getting better and better and better as we go, we are going to have a chance to be pretty good.”

On Richard Samuel’s turnovers…

“I’m not too thrilled about it. I don’t know if we are ready to move him from the No. 1 position, but I would say if that kind of thing continued, we’d have to really consider whether or not he should start for us. You can’t have two a game, that’s for sure, and continue to play the kind of football you need to to win. You just have to do a better job.”

On how criticism affects the team…

“I think people don’t understand how busy we are. We are working our tails off. I would guess we are working somewhere around 80 hours a week. We are going. We are looking at the next opponent. We are getting prepared for the next game and trying to correct any mistakes that we made in this game, but we are moving forward and constantly doing that. We don’t get too caught up in that kind of thing. We are a very, very strong team. The one game that we didn’t play that great offensively is the one game we lost; we won the next two. Winning is what it’s all about. You are not going to see anyone pointing fingers. You are not going to see anyone do anything other than encourage their teammate and their fellow coach. That’s just the way we’ve been operating here for the last nine years and that’s not going to change.”

On whether Vance Cuff will play Saturday…

“He’s possible. He won’t go today. At this point, I’d say it’s possible that he plays. We’re more hopeful than not. If he can’t do anything at all tomorrow, we’d probably get a little discouraged, but Ron (Courson) feels like he is going to have a chance.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dawgs - Gators To Stay In Jacksonville

FOOTBALL

The University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors at its regular quarterly meeting Wednesday approved a recommendation by Director of Athletics Damon Evans to move forward with negotiations to extend the contract for the annual Georgia-Florida game to be held in Jacksonville.

The current contract runs through 2010. Evans will move forward with discussions with the University of Florida and the City of Jacksonville to extend the contract six years through 2016.

“An extraordinary amount of study has been done on the various options available and a great deal of input has been gathered,” said Evans. “After all the fact-gathering and evaluation of those factors, I’m convinced that moving forward with discussions on extending the contract in Jacksonville is the appropriate way to go. I’m delighted the Board feels the same way.”

Evans cited several key points in the recommendation including the history and tradition of the game and the fact that it has become “a national game and part of the fiber of college football.” He also noted among other things the economic impact on the southern part of the state of Georgia as an important consideration along with the exposure provided in the state of Florida as a recruiting ground for UGA.

In addition to the Georgia-Florida discussion approval, the Board also approved funds to develop plans for two facility enhancement projects: a Stegeman Coliseum concourse renovation and expansion; and a project behind the north stands of Sanford Stadium that would provide a multi-function amenity supporting both the game day event and the campus on non-event days.

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt....

On mixing the tailbacks…

“There will definitely be a plan to play both of them. I’m not even sure we have settled on who will start, though I will say Richard (Samuel) will start the game; I’m pretty sure that’s going to happen. Caleb (King) did very well. He ran the ball well. He pass protected well and secured the ball well. He showed no signs of the hamstring becoming an issue for him, so it was a very good performance for Caleb. I think our tailback position just got stronger by virtue of that. Carlton (Thomas) certainly has done a nice job for us, and we still have confidence that he can go in there and play ball for us.”

On the Dawg's punting game and long snapper Ty Frix…

“Ty’s Frix, of course his daddy snapped for Georgia and was on the national championship team. I think he was on a couple of SEC championship teams. I didn’t want to mention Ty much in the preseason, because when you have a brand new snapper, you don’t really want to tell the world about it, so I didn’t say much. Then we he sailed that snap over the punter’s head, everybody knew who he was. There was a lot of juice on that, by the way. He really has a strong snap, so I guess we could say there was a silver lining there. Other than that snap, he’s been extremely accurate. He has a great operation time. Between he and (Drew) Butler, we get the ball off pretty quickly; maybe as quick as all the years I’ve been at Georgia, which is great. He actually has a couple of tackles under his belt. A lot of times a snapper is a guy who you just hope he can get that one job done, and if he happens to fall into one as far as a tackle is concerned, you are happy. He actually gets down and does a good job of breaking down and made a couple of nice open field tackles, so that’s a bonus with him.

“As far as our punter, Drew, what can you say other than he’s been fantastic. There is still improvement to be made. When he has decided to kick it deep, it’s been over the heads of the return men. We do still need to be very conscious of hang time, because there are so many great return men that we’ll face throughout the rest of the year. A 55-yard punt and a 60-yard punt is exciting, but if it doesn’t have the hang time that it needs to get our people to cover, it’s too much space for dangerous runners, so we have to continue to be conscious of the hang time and not get too enamored with the distance. It’s hard to do when you are leading the country in that category or first or second in that category, but he has to stay unselfish for the team’s sake.”

Quarterback Joe Cox:

On being named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week…

“I was pretty surprised. That’s a pretty big honor to get. I knew we had a good game, but anytime you get an award like that it’s definitely something that you are really proud of and feel really honored by.”

On talking with former Dawg quarterback D.J. Shockley…

“He wishes me luck before the games, but it’s not like we have long conversations with him telling me everything that I should be doing. He just tells me to have fun with everything that comes with the job and to just play loose and play football. I think that’s what our offense has been doing the past two weeks that we didn’t do week one. We just wanted to have fun, cut everything loose and just worry about playing hard. I think that’s been the difference.”

On if he has watched any of the Arizona State game film from last season…

“Yeah, and we’ve watched a lot of their tape. They’re a good team with a good defense, especially this year. You can tell that they are playing really hard and flying around. They’re going to want to prove something when they come here Saturday, so we need to keep practicing like we’ve been practicing, working hard and preparing for this week they way we have the past couple of weeks.”

Tailback Richard Samuel:

On the play of the offensive live…

“I feel the line is playing real good. They’ve gelled together and they’re playing real good. We lost Trinton Sturdivant a couple weeks back, but we put another guy in and continued going.”

On quarterback Joe Cox’s performance against Arkansas…

“Joe’s performance was real good. He just showed what he’s capable of doing no matter what happens or what people say.”

Wide Receiver Tavarres King:

On what sophomore flanker A.J. Green does that amazes him the most…

“Nothing. Not a thing. That’s Superman right there. He really is. Nothing he does surprises me. He’s just awesome.”

On if defenses are playing the Dawgs as the team expected this year with the presence of A.J. Green…

“We knew coming into the season that his name was out there and that people were going to try to double team him and maybe even throw triple teams at him. We knew that was going to happen, and things are going as planned so far.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Breaking News

FOOTBALL

The College Football Hall Of Fame is set to announce this week that it will be relocating from South Bend, Indiana to Atlanta. The current hall location is just a couple of miles from the Notre Dame campus in downtown South Bend and is very limited in it's display area due to the size of the building, parking is also an issue, especially on game days.

Atlanta will give the hall a much larger population base and will be a huge attraction to fans all over the southeast as well as visitors traveling through Atlanta.

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media today during the Dawg's weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt
Opening Statement…

“I want to talk to the Dawg fans and tell you that I love you and appreciate everything that you do. The Dawg Walk will be at 5:00. We will not be there before 5:00 like we did last time. We jumped the gun, and there were probably fans getting ready to go to the Dawg Walk and realized that the players had already come through. We need to do a better job of that, so we are definitely going to do a better job in that regard."

“The other thing I wanted to mention with our fan base is how we take care of our campus. It’s one of the most beautiful campuses in the country and we want to keep it that way. We are Georgia and I am encouraging everyone to put the trash where it belongs and if you have to bring some baggage, bag your trash. Let’s do that, because it is a beautiful place and we don’t want it to look like the city dump after a ballgame. I want to encourage everyone to do that, and if everybody takes care of yourself and helps the guy next to you, it will be looking good when we’re done. It’s OK to pick up someone else’s trash if you want to; I do it all the time."

“Jeff Owens was named to the AFCA Good Works Team. There are only 11 in the country that got that, and Jeffrey did that and it’s wonderful."

“One more announcement is this week the American Football Coaches Association is getting involved in the Coaches Cure for Muscular Dystrophy, and we are going to participate in that. We want to show our support for the fight against muscular dystrophy."

“We are playing Arizona State for the second year in a row. We were fortunate to go to their place and get a victory. I was very thankful last year that it ended up being a night game. By the time the game started, we were in the shade, which was nice. Our sideline was actually on the shaded side of the stands. It was good for us. We didn’t quite get the 100 degree heat that we thought we might get after it cooled down. Now they are coming to play us. I’m sure they aren’t too thrilled about the fact that we beat them last year; they’ll be ready to go. They are outstanding all the way around. They are undefeated. I’m sure they are excited about the opportunity to come and play an SEC team and maybe get a little revenge. Coach (Dennis) Erickson, we all know, has won a couple of national championships. He’s been coach of the year many times. We are going to have a heck of a game. I’m looking forward to it. It’s good to get a couple of wins under our belt and grab a little momentum. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

On how A.J. Green has developed since the Arizona State game last year...
“He’s close to 20 pounds heavier than the day he came to Georgia, so he’s definitely a stronger receiver. I’ve seen no drop-off in speed or quickness. He’s a much better blocker. He certainly has a greater understanding of what we are trying to do. Last year we had some guys guiding him almost every play early in the year. Of course as the season went on he got more comfortable. He has changed the game for us to a certain degree. I don’t think there is any question that Arkansas and really everybody that we’ve played has had a very strong awareness of where he is. Arkansas, as you look at the tape, you can see that they definitely were rolling their coverage to A.J., no matter where he was."
"A lot of times in a three-receiver set, not many coaches are going to double the receiver in the boundary and leave that three receiver set to the field in some kind of quarters coverage. Everybody is running an overload where they get a backside safety involved on that three-receiver side and play a lot of man coverage on the back side, but they didn’t do that very much. What happened throughout the game is we began to throw the ball to Michael Moore, Aron White and Tavarres King. The guys that were opposite of A.J. began to make plays; the tight ends down the middle, I mentioned White and we also had Orson Charles catch a couple of big balls down the middle. They are all beginning to benefit from the types of coverage A.J. has been seeing. Then it got to the point where they had to go back to running the overload and playing press coverage. That was the one time we happened to throw the fade to A.J. for a touchdown. So A.J., in turn, benefited from those guys making plays."
"That is something we had talked about all offseason where early in the year we felt like the receivers opposite of A.J. were going to benefit from some coverage looks and they were going to have to take advantage of it. If the played well enough, maybe we could free up A.J. to get some single coverage opportunities, and that’s what’s happened. I think Mike (Bobo) did a good job of scheming to get the ball to A.J. even though they were playing some double coverage on him. We still got the ball to him and he still was a factor in that regard too."
“I don’t think there is a certain type of route that you’d say he is best at. He can run very route. I wouldn’t say he’s just a deep ball guy, I wouldn’t say he’s just a quick-screen guy. He can really run just about any route that we want him to run. When you take his combination of height and the range of his arms, his speed and agility; a lot of guys who are tall might be fast and can make a play on a deep ball, but A.J. can outjump people, he can run by people. He can make them miss, and he’s becoming a pretty darn good blocker."
"There isn’t much that you’d ask a receiver to do that he can’t do well. He’s pretty good. I’m glad we have him.”

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cox Named National Player Of The Week

FOOTBALL

Senior quarterback Joe Cox has been named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Bowl Championship Subdivision National Offensive Player of the Week following his performance versus Arkansas.

Cox, a native of Charlotte, N.C., completed 18-of-25 passes (72 percent) for a career-high 375 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes. He led the 21st-ranked Dawgs to a 52-41 win on the road over the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark.

Cox now joins Matthew Stafford (Georgia Tech, 2008), D.J. Shockley (Boise State, 2005) and David Greene (LSU, 2004) as the only Dawg quarterbacks to have five touchdown passes in a single game.

For the year, Cox is 50-of-79 for 738 yards and has eight touchdowns and only three interceptions. Cox connected on scoring plays of 21, 25, 50, 44 and 28 yards against the Hawgs.

"Joe’s got outstanding touch,” said head coach Mark Richt. “He has a knack for hitting the guy on the run. We’ve seen him do it in practice for years. He’s very accurate. Joe has been the most accurate practice passer for a while. He has the touch and feel for the game. He knows when and where to throw it, it’s a nice catchable ball and now he’s doing it in the game.”

Dawgs Outlast Hawgs

FOOTBALL

Joe Cox silenced any doubters with a record tying performance in the Dawgs 52 - 41 conference win over the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville. The senior quarerback tied a school record with 5 TD passes. He had a career night, going 18- for-26 for 375 yards and 5 TDs. Cox tied a school record shared by Matthew Stafford (Ga. Tech 2008), D.J. Shockley (Boise State 2005) and David Greene (LSU 2004) with 5 TD passes in a game.

Meanwhile, Razorback QB Ryan Mallett tied a school mark for Most TD passes by an opposing QB with five. Florida's Danny Wuerffel had five versus the Bulldogs in 1995 in Athens.

Sophomore wide receiver A.J. Green (7-for-137, 2 TDs) had his 3rd career game with 100+ yards receiving and first this year. Last year, he had a career-high 159 vs. Arizona State and 132 against Vanderbilt. He had a career-high 2 TD catches today and finished with 137 yards on seven catches, his catch for a two-point conversion was the first one since Matthew Stafford connected with Kris Durham vs. South Carolina last year.

Sophomore tailback Richard Samuel scampered a career-long 80 yards for a TD in the second quarter to make it 21-17. It was the longest rushing TD for a Dawg since 2007 when Knowshon Moreno went 80 yards versus Troy. It was the longest rushing TD by a Dawg in an SEC game since 1997 when Robert Edwards went 80 yards versus Kentucky. Samuel had his first career 100-yard game, tallying 104 yards on 16 carries.

Sophomore tightend Aron White's 21-yard TD catch was his fifth career catch and three have been for touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman Tavarres King caught his first career TD, a career-long 50-yarder.

Freshman Orson Charles caught his first career TD, a 44-yard strike from Joe Cox.

Redshirt sophomore punter Drew Butler, who leads the SEC, had another big night. He averaged 55.2 yards on four punts including a 64-yarder than pinned UA at their own nine with 5:25 left in the contest and the Dawgs leading 49-41. Three of his punts were inside the 20 and three covered 50+ yards. At #9 Oklahoma State in the season opener, Butler registered a 57.0 average, the second best in school history.

Junior linebacker Rennie Curran led the Dawgs with 11 tackles, sophomore defensive end Justin Houston playing his first game following a two game suspension had 7 tackles. Redshirt freshman Cornelius Washington and junior Demarcus Dobbs each recorded a sack.

Senior reserve fullback Justin Fields injured his right shoulder in the first quarter and did not return. Junior cornerback Vance Cuff injured his right knee in the third quarter and did not return.

With tonight's 52-41 win, the Dawgs (2-1 overall, 2-0 SEC) improved to 25-4 in SEC opponents stadiums under Mark Richt including six straight wins dating back to 2007. Overall, Georgia is 31-5 in opponents stadiums under Richt. Also, the Dawgs are now 9-3 in the series with Arkansas including winning the past six meetings. Overall, the Dawgs are 4-0 all-time in Fayetteville. They are 5-0 against the Razorbacks under Richt.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Game Day - Arkansas

FOOTBALL

QB Joe Cox

On what the last two weeks have been like for him in regards to surrounding speculation.

Pretty funny, actually. Its definitely been interesting to see how crazy it can get just based off of what somebody says, but it hasnt been something that has been a distraction. Its honestly something that weve all kind of laughed about.

On the progress of freshmen wide receivers Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten.

I definitely think they can help us, but we want to make sure they know what to do. It gets crazy trying to hear my call in the huddle and then we start moving tight ends and doing certain motions with them. We just want to make sure they have it down. They definitely have the ability, but you dont want to have them come in and miss something important because they werent sure. They are definitely coming along. You can tell they are learning every week and theyre anxious to play. They want to get in, and thats good. I cant wait for them to get in there and help us out because I know they can.

On the importance of having a player like sophomore flanker A.J. Green.

It helps a lot. He takes a lot of pressure off of me, and you can tell how much defenses key on him. They know where he is every single time we break out of the huddle. The thing that is sometimes difficult is you watch teams on film and you think you know what they are going to do, but then you have A.J. Green, and they come up with a totally different thing to try and keep him in check. Hes a blessing to have. Hes an awesome receiver. You all see what he does. Just being able to find ways to get him the ball and watch him make plays is really fun.

LB Rennie Curran

On a night game with Arkansas.

I love the night atmosphere. We have extra time to sleep in the morning. We have time to watch film and to prepare and get our minds right. Its definitely good. The only bad thing is how late we get back from the game. We dont have much time to recover with practice the next day. But we realize that when we travel its a business trip. We try to go over there, take care of business and come back home.

On Brandon Boykin replacing Asher Allen.

A player that was as smart and experienced as Asher you are going to miss a little bit, but Brandon Boykin has done a great job at stepping in, learning his place, and growing as a student of the game. His has an incredible ability to jump, and he has so much ability, and I dont even feel like hes reached his full potential yet. I am excited about him, and I am glad he is on the short side with me.

DB Branden Smith

On his 61-yard reverse run against South Carolina last week.

All I was thinking about was redeeming myself after the fumble I made. I just told the receivers to just give me a crease and just block for a second and Im just going to run through it and score a touchdown.

His preference on offense or defense.

Right now I am staying focused on defense. Just trying to get this game down. I am still studying plays and looking at film.

On kickoff returns.

I think it is a good thing that Coach (Tony) Ball has confidence in me knowing that I have made a couple of bad plays. At Oklahoma State I ran deep from the end zone and fumbled against South Carolina. By him putting me back out there I think that is a very good thing.

On his campus experience this week since last week.

It has been hard walking around campus and people asking for autographs and everything. But right now I am just trying to stay focused on schoolwork. It has been a little weird that no one before asked me for my autographs, but I had a good game Saturday and now they ask me for autographs. It felt a little good.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dawgs Set To Go Hawg Hunting

FOOTBALL

The captain's for Saturday's game are Clint Boling (offense), DeAngelo Tyson (defense) and Brandon Boykin and Rennie Curran (special teams).

Richt noted that having two special teams captains was rare.

"We've probably done it before while I've been at Georgia but I can't really remember a time off the top of my head,­ at least recently­ when we've done so."

"Going to Arkansas will be tough, they will be ready for us. They have had pretty much the whole offseason to work on us, and also an open date, so I'm sure we will be getting their very best shot scheme-wise and their very best shot physically, mentally and emotionally."

"It's their first SEC game, and you know how important it is to start off on the right foot," Richt continued. "They will have a tremendous atmosphere there. It's not our first away game, but it is our first away game in the conference. It's huge for us. It's huge for them. Second-year coaches tend to do extremely well, and that's where they are right now. So hopefully we can stave off all the crowd, the excitement and energy and settle the game down and play good Dawg football."

Arkansas leads the SEC and is ranked second nationally in passing offense (447 yards per game), and they are second in the league and third nationally in total offense (591 yards per game). Richt said the Dawgs hope to tighten up their pass defense after the Gamecocks tallied 313 yards through the air.

“It doesn’t matter if you play zone or man, there was too much space and not enough resistance,” said Richt. “We’ve got to squeeze the quarterback in the pocket and the receivers too. Offensive football is about getting that space out there for the receivers and Coach (Steve) Spurrier is good at that and Coach (Bobby) Petrino has proven that too.”

Richt went on to mention several Dawgs who would be back and ready to play this weekend including sophomore linebacker Nick Williams, redshirt sophomore tailback Caleb King, redshirt sophomore defensive end Justin Houston and junior offensive tackle Josh Davis. However, Richt also indicated that junior safety Quintin Banks (knee) would not play this week but could return next week.

The Dawgs own an 8-3 edge over the Razorbacks in the all-time series including wins in the last five meetings. The teams last met in 2005, which was a 23-20 Dawg win in Athens. The Dawgs are 3-0 all-time in Fayetteville and 4-0 overall in the series under Richt.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Part 3

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media during the Dawgs weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

On Abry Jones

Abry is getting a lot of playing time as a true freshman. He has a lot of ability. He has a ways to go on his fundamentals. He has a ways to go on every little thing that you have to learn, but we feel like he is going to get better in a hurry, which he is. I mentioned the special teams kids that went leaps and bounds from week one to two, and Abry is moving very rapidly into a very fine player and I think the sky is the limit for him.

On Georgias pass rush

We pressured a lot. We had two sacks. We definitely flushed him. We flushed him out almost half the time, but he had enough space to come up in the pocket, here comes a wave of bodies and he gets through there. We might get a guy with one arm on him, but we couldnt get him down. But as he comes up in the pocket, now he has time, and he's able to find open receivers. There were times when we went up and underneath, and he did a good job of breaking containment. He was able to buy time that way also. We pressured him and made him move, but we didn't squeeze him like we should. The pocket just didn't collapse on him where he had nowhere to go. We have to get better in that regard. You can also cover better where he doesn't have as much time, but then on the other hand you can also bring blitzes that can either fool or outnumber their blocking scheme. We need to make sure we have a little bit of that too. I would have liked to have seen the big men inside squeeze it better than they did and make more plays than they did.

On Caleb King

The goal is to get him in there. We hope to get him in there Saturday.

On whether Nick Williams and Darius Dewberry will play this week

Nick has a chance this week. Dewberry, I would say no. Hopefully Nick will be ready; that will help. Darryl (Gamble) can play the sam, but he has so much work inside, either mike or will is where we would rather have him. Sometimes we will get safeties involved in covering (tight ends) too, but it would be nice to have all those guys healthy. Dewberry was playing extremely well, and Nick was another one of those young guys who was getting better everyday at practice, and you hate to slow down that progress.

On Quintin Banks

He's able to play; he's been given the OK to play, but he hasn't had a lot of practice reps. He hasn't done a lot of things full speed. I wouldn't say that he is 100 percent back to the best Quintin Banks can be. All those things together is the reason why.

On Joe Cox having a normal week of preparation

We were going to tell him to wear an eye patch to the media day and give you something else to talk about. Usually those stories don't break until Thursday, so I'm sure something will happen by Thursday that we could talk about. I think he's doing good. We are very optimistic about Joe. He's going to throw today. He's not going to throw tomorrow, just so everybody knows. Hell throw Thursday and well go play. I thought he threw the ball well. I think he threw close to 70 percent in this last game and made some really pretty throws.

On Joe Cox throwing on Tuesdays and Thursdays in practice

Everybody kind of understands thats the way it is. Nobody really gets too bent out of shape. It's always nice to get your second team guy a lot of work. A lot of coaches won't do that, but we've always done a pretty good job of letting our second team and our third team get a little work, but it's even more so this year because of that situation. It's definitely helping Logan (Gray).

On A.J. Green

A.J. is special. He's a special player. You guys don't understand this kid in that how bad he just wants to do right and do great. In practice, if a ball hits his hands and he's not catching it, he is sick about it. He hates it. When he fumbled that first play, you saw in his eyes how miserable he felt. It means a lot to that kid. It's great to have him, because he can make plays when he is single-covered or double-covered. Just get it in the area and there is a very good chance he will come down with it.

On whether Marcus Washington will play at end or linebacker this week

I'm not sure where we feel like its most important. It's kind of a one-for-one trade. With the injury of (Rod) Battle and with (Justin) Houston coming back, we felt like we needed to have Washington at linebacker mostly because of the issues at linebacker. If Nick (Williams) comes back, I don't know if that is going to free up Darryl (Gamble) to go back in the middle and push him back to end. That may be the case. The good thing is he has so many reps at linebacker, when we throw him back there it wasnt a shock to his system. He handled it well.

On whether Reshad Jones has a reputation has a headhunter

I hope not. I hope that's not the case. I love the way he is playing. I love the energy he is playing with. I don't think he has tried to hurt anybody. As far as the sideline play recently I think he was trying to tackle the guy. You are running full speed, and reaching out and grabbing what you can. Going back to the other play at Oklahoma State, I think he did everything right. He did not leap at the guy. He did not hit with his helmet; he struck with his shoulder and arm. His aim point was his chest, and the player ducked down into it. Thats when the contact was made. I didn't say anything to Reshad other than keep playing hard and make sure everything is below the neck when you make contact.

On his relationship with Bobby Petrino when he was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons

I never got to know him at all. I think the first time I met him was at the first SEC meeting we were both at. I can't say that I spend a lot of time with any of the Atlanta Falcon head coaches. I did happen to run into coach (Mike) Smith once or twice. He was at our pro day, and I got to talk to him there. We've had a few phone conversations, because he planned a clinic for all the high school coaches in the state, and he invited all the collegiate staffs to come. He personally called every one of the head coaches. He reached out more so maybe than others, but I don't expect anybody to reach out. Everybody is busy and doing their job, and I respect that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media during the Dawgs weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

On getting the best shots from the Dawgs opponents

It's going to be that kind of game. If you look further down the schedule, Arizona State has an open date involved. The Georgia game will be their first big test. No disrespect to who they are playing, but if you look at their schedule, they are going to be building up a frenzy for us considering what happened last year and I bet they spent the majority of their summer working on us too. We are getting everybodys best lick, but we are going to be ready.

On the Dawgs carrying momentum into the Arkansas game

It's like that old song. You have to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and dont mess with mister in between. Thats what we are trying to do. We are trying to really look at the positive things and build off of them, eliminate the negative things and well be OK. Well keep getting better if that happens.

On penalties

Well keep disciplining it. Some games get wild. That game got wild. They had a bunch of penalties. We had a bunch of penalties. If you have to chose between the team playing the way we played with the amount of energy, fire and enthusiasm the whole game, and if the byproduct of that is penalties, I'll take that over a team that doesnt have a penalty but doesnt have a pulse to go with it. I dont like it, but it doesnt make me crazy. Its such a subjective thing. These men are out there doing their best to make calls. Sometimes they call things and sometimes they don't. It's hard to know exactly how everybody is going to call each game. Even within our league, each group kind of has their own personality on what they are going to call and what they aren't going to call, what theyre going to warrant and what they are not going to warrant. There are some things that are flat out and straight up; you jump offsides, you jump offsides. You get 12 men on the field, you get 12 men on the field. Those are the things we better straighten out. Those other things, you have a guy playing defense and hes trying to defend the ball. He's trying to time it our perfectly. Its not an easy thing to do, but there is no excuse for some things.

On the advantage of Arkansas having a bye week

I think the biggest advantage is the time to plan and focus on you opponent and even observe us. Sitting there and watching that TV copy is different than just watching the film that shows up. I think that, more than anything else, is the biggest advantage. Now they have to go 11 in a row. I'm sure they aren't too thrilled about that.

On Justin Houston and whether he will be the next great Dawg defensive end

He has potential for sure. He was practicing that way in the spring. He has practiced well in the fall. Everyday after practice he stayed and made sure he stayed in the best condition he could. He worked on his fundamentals on his own. He's very, very hungry right now. He could not stand not being there. It was tough on him, but he handled it like you would hope a young man would. I'm proud of how he handled his discipline. Now he's fired up. The guys are happy for him, I'm happy for him. I think the DawgNation should be happy for him.

On the depth chart at offensive line

I didn't ask Coach (Stacy Searels) about it. If Chris does start, Justin will play. If Justin starts, Chris will play. It may be a week-to-week decision on that. While we are talking about guys who are going to play, Josh Davis has been given the OK to play, we will observe him in practice of course. We've given him limited contact and scout team work. He's done extremely well. He'll go through a Tuesday practice and a Wednesday practice, and well have a lot better gauge. My guess is he'll play some, probably not the whole game.

On Josh Davis playing left tackle or right tackle

He's sharp enough to play both. He could play right and (Clint) Boling could go to left if we needed to spell Vince (Vance), but he could play either one, Clint could play either one, Vince could play either one also, but we are a little more apt not to let Chris (Davis) go to the right.

More to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBAL

Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon today. They offered the following comments:

Opening statement (Coach Richt) …

“We are ready for another game. Last week of course was very exciting and took a lot of physical and mental energy, but I think the guys are pretty resilient. They came in the next day and got a good lift in. They got a good run in, and they are ready to go, so we are excited about that.
Going to Arkansas will be tough. They will be ready for us. They have had pretty much the whole offseason to work on us, and also an open date, so I’m sure we will be getting their very best shot scheme-wise, and their very best shot physically, mentally and emotionally. It is a big game for both teams certainly. Now it’s their first SEC game, and you know how important it is to start off on the right foot. They will have a tremendous atmosphere there. It’s not our first away game, but it is our first away game in the conference. It’s huge for us. It’s huge for them. Second year coaches tend to do extremely well, and that’s where they are right now. So hopefully we can stave off all the crowd, the excitement and energy and settle the game down and play good Georgia football.”

On the areas he saw the most progression from week one to week two…

“I’ve been excited about the progress period. Some of the things that got me excited are the young guys playing on special teams really improved a lot. They have a lot of confidence. The kickoff return team probably first and foremost, we have six freshmen on there and two sophomores with (Fred) Munzenmanier and (Shaun) Chapas the juniors and (Justin) Fields the senior. From week one to week two it was astounding. Week one the front five, I don’t think there was ever a time when three out of five got their block. There might have been one time two out of five got it. There were one or two times that zero out of five got their man. They got called out, not in a real bad way, but we must have production; we got nothing. The first kickoff, four out of five really handled their (responsibilities) well. The fifth guy got a good piece of him, but didn’t quite keep him off the runner; he’s the one guy who Branden (Smith) had to break the tackle on. But he wasn’t in the greatest position; he was a little off balance. He made the hit, but he was blocked well enough where he didn’t have a solid shot at him. When we got to the wedge, all of those guys did their job so well. With the kickoff coverage team, for all the fans who want us to drive it out of the end zone every time, that was one of those where we drove it, the kid caught it five yards deep, and there wasn’t enough hang time. Hang time is important. All the fans want to know why we don’t kick it into the end zone every time, that’s the reason why. Those guys who were covering did a beautiful job. Every time but that one kick, we kept them right around the 22 to 25, 26 yard line. Even the one we had to kick from the 20, if that ball would have been kicked from the 35 it was more of the same. I saw guys beginning to get more confident. I saw more offensive players get involved and begin to make plays. I just thought we looked like a fast football team. I watched the TV copy, and I saw everybody playing hard and playing fast. I’m talking about both sides of the ball and special teams. We looked like Georgia should look. The penalties of course weren’t exciting. You fumble one at the 23, you fumble one at the eight, you have a pick six, you have a punt faked on you, you snap one over the head. All those things are bad, no doubt, and could have gotten us beat. But ultimately they didn’t get us beat, so if we can continue to get excited about the progress we are making and eliminate some of the bad things, we could become a pretty good team. We are not there by any stretch, but I’m optimistic that we aren’t as good as we can be, and that gives you hope and gets you excited.”

On whether he is surprised about how the first two games have been played…

“You can’t predict it. You can try, but it’s very difficult. I would have never dreamed that many points would have been scored, period. You watch their first game, you watch our first game, I think both offenses struggled really in the first ballgame, so you think it’s going to be tough to get anything. You knew turnovers and special teams could light up a game, but it was more than that. The offenses executed well. The defenses probably didn’t play nearly as well as they thought they would on both sides. This game, I don’t know. All I can say is fasten your seat belt and get ready for another 60-minute war. I would see no reason why this thing might not go down to the wire also.”

More tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dawgs Honored By SEC

FOOTBALL

Junior right tackle Clint Boling and sophomore defensive back Brandon Boykin have been given Southeastern Conference weekly awards. Boling was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week and Boykin was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Boling, a 6-5, 304-pound native of Alpharetta, Ga., graded out at 94 percent during the Dawg's 41-37 win over South Carolina. The Chattahoochee High School graduate registered 10 knockdown blocks as the Dawgs managed to pile up 308 total yards on offense. The offensive line helped give senior quarterback Joe Cox time to complete a career-high 17 passes for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns while only allowing two sacks. The Dawgs are currently tied for No. 1 in the conference in Red Zone offense since they have scored all six times they have been inside their opponent’s 20-yard line.

Boykin, a 5-10, 185-pound native of Fayetteville, Ga., set a new record by returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against the Gamecocks. This was the longest scoring play for the Dawgs in Sanford Stadium history and he is only the 36th player in SEC history to have a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Boykin also had another return for 48 yards and finished with 187 kickoff return yards, which stands at the No. 2 mark in school history (Scott Woerner, 190 yds. in 1977 vs. Kentucky).

As a team, the Dawgs had 252 kickoff return yards on seven returns, which topped Woerner’s record and is the fourth-best total in SEC history.

Defensively, Boykin snagged the Dawg's first interception of the season and his first career pick, setting up one of two field goals. In addition, Boykin finished with a career-high four tackles (all solo).

This is Boykin’s first SEC weekly award.

Boling was also named the league’s Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Dawg's win over Tennessee in 2008.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Battle Out For Remainder Of Season

FOOTBALL

Senior defensive end Rod Battle is the latest Dawg to be lost for the season due to a knee injury.

A 6-4, 259-pound native of Atlanta, Battle left the South Carolina game in the second quarter due to an injured left knee. He has appeared in 36 career games for the Dawgs including 22 starts. He started the first two games this season and had registered three tackles. Battle was redshirted his first season in 2005.

“Rod has an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury that will cost him the season,” Richt said. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the situation to see if he can get another year. It’s sad, he’s a classy human being who was practicing and playing hard, doing all the right things, being a leader and then this happens.”

This marks the second Bulldog in as many weeks to be lost for the season due to a knee injury.
During the season opener at Oklahoma State, offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant went down with an ACL injury for the second time in his Bulldog career.

“We lost another key player, it’s tough on us, but first and foremost, it’s tough for Roderick,” said Richt. “However, that’s why you recruit, train guys and teach guys to play both end positions. You try to get prepared for these moments.”

Georgia does get sophomore defensive end Justin Houston back this week. He was serving a two-game suspension to start the season due to a violation of team rules. “Justin made a mistake and paid his price,” said Richt. “He was hurting, he wanted to play, but he understood the situation. He’s working on getting in shape, and he was working on his own too. He’s had a great attitude, he knew his time would come and now it’s here.”

LADIES GOLF

The No. 14-ranked lady Dawgs golf team put together one of the most impressive days in program history on Sunday.

The Dawgs played the first and second rounds of the College of Charleston's Cougar Classic at a combined 13-under to build a a dozen-shot lead entering today's final round. In addition, four Dawg golfers are among the top-12 leaders on the individual leaderboard.

"It was a great day," head coach Kelley Hester said. "Everyone played well and played confidently. As good as it was, I think it could have been better. We hit the ball long, but we really didn't play the par fives that well. We just got our putters going and made a lot of birdies."

Chicken Soup....Good For The Dawgs

FOOTBALL

After last week's flu bug, Joe Cox needed a little chicken soup to make things all better within the DawgNation and Saturday night in Sanford Stadium he got just what the doctor ordered. The offense showed flashes of what they are capable of doing by putting 34 points on the board against a better defense than what confronted them in Stillwater. Throw in Brandon Boykin's 100 yard kickoff return and what is usually a low scoring defensive slugfest turned into a high scoring defensive slugfest with the Dawgs Rennie Curran making the deciding play on fourth down at the seven with less than a minute to play and the Dawgs win 41-37.

Curran is the heart and soul of this team, Cox is the brains and even with a bum shoulder, gives the Dawgs the best chance to win.

Cox finished the night 17 of 24 with one interception for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Curran tied his career high with 15 tackles and for the second year in a row made the play that sealed the win against the Gamecocks. Their supporting cast wasn't bad either.

Branden Smith simply smoked the Carolina defense on a reverse that resulted in a 61 yard TD, his speed will become more important as he gains a little experience.

A. J. Green is the best receiver to ever wear the Red and Black, he had 86 yards on 6 receptions and sent most of his old neighbors home feeling that they had been robbed by letting him get away.

Richard Samuel averaged 4.3 yards per carry ending the night with 67 yards and a touchdown,
he caught three passes for another 23 yards.

Boykin had 187 yards returning kicks and set a new Dawg record with the 100 yarder for a score. Thomas Brown (2006 in Athens, Tennessee) and Lindsay Scott (1978 in Baton Rouge, LSU) both owned the previous record after returning kickoffs 99 yards for TDs. The other 100-yard TDs in school history were Jimmy Campagna (punt return, Vanderbilt, 1952 in Nashville) and Charlie Britt (INT return, Florida, 1959 in Jacksonville). Boykin also had a 48-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. He finished second on the all-time list for most kickoff yards in a single game, the record is 190 by Scott Woerner on six returns against Kentucky in 1977. Boykin also registered his first career INT after picking off Stephen Garcia early in the second quarter. This was the first turnover caused by the Dawgs this year.

The Dawgs set a school record with 252 kickoff returns yards on seven returns including 204 in the opening half. The previous record was 190 yards versus Kentucky in 1977. The Dawg's tally ranks fourth best in SEC history.

Blair Walsh kicked field goals of 50 and 42 yards, his two kickoffs for touchbacks had Sanford buzzing.

Sophomore defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson blocked the first extra point for the Bulldogs since Kedric Golston blocked one against LSU in the 2003 SEC Championship Game.

The defense was forced to play 83 plays as Carolina used a short passing game to control the ball for nearly ten minutes more than the Dawgs.

South Carolina recorded a safety against the Dawgs after a snap sailed over punter Drew Butler’s head in the end zone late in the third quarter. The last time the Dawgs surrendered a safety was 2006 against Western Kentucky (holding penalty in end zone).

All the news was not good for the Dawgs on the night as senior defensive end Rod Battle injured his left knee in the second quarter and did not return, he is scheduled to undergo an MRI today.

The Dawgs will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas to meet the Razorbacks next Saturday night, kickoff is set for 7:45.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's Just A Matter Of Timing

I was standing in the endzone taking pictures last Saturday in the newly renovated T. Boone Pickens stadium when Oklahoma State lined up near the Dawgs five yard line with Dez Bryant split out wide left. Just to my right was a photographer shooting for Sports Illustrated, he was focused on the OSU quarterback calling signals. I had turned my lens to the right and had a clear shot of Bryant as the ball was snapped, he cut to his right, caught the ball and dove between two Dawg defenders to score.

I took a series of shots and as I looked down at my camera, the SI guy tapped me on the shoulder and said "Thanks, I saw you turn on Bryant and I did the same thing, I got a great shot that I would not have gotten if I had not seen you over there."

As it turned out, that shot has made the cover of this weeks Sports Illustrated and it is almost exactly the same shot that I got, just a slight difference in the angles.

















Was The Hit Legal?

FOOTBALL

Much has been said and written on the play that Reshad Jones made to break up a pass deep in the Dawgs territory during the Oklahoma State game last Saturday. Was it a clean legal blow or was it too high? Did he lead with the crown of his helmet or with his shoulder? Well all I can say is that if a receiver has the ball in hand and a defensive back is not allowed to knock the ball out, then we might as well just put flags on their hips or play touch.

The call of unnecessary roughness on a receiver gave the Cowboys a first down, kept the drive alive and resulted in a touchdown, it did impact the outcome of the game and was one of three
very questionable calls. Not an excuse, just a fact.

Take a look and see what you think.













Monday, September 7, 2009

Dawgs Lose Sturdivant For Season..... Again.

FOOTBALL

For the second time in his Dawg career, sophomore offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant has been sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

A 6-5, 306-pound native of Wadesboro, N.C., Sturdivant injured his left knee midway through the third quarter against ninth-ranked Oklahoma State and did not return for the remainder of the game.

“I saw Trinton today, and he was a little surprised by it,” said Coach Richt. “He didn’t figure that it was that serious after the game, and it was a surprise to him and to us. He did tear the ACL in the same leg, and he will be out. He was more philosophical this time. He said he’s got two choices, either give up or fight again. We know, and he knows he will be back.”

Sturdivant missed the entire 2008 season and spring drills in 2009 due to reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation after the first ACL injury.

In 2007, he earned Freshman All-America honors after starting all 13 games for the Bulldogs at left tackle.

The first knee injury happened during preseason practice in August of 2008.

“Psychologically, it’s tough, he will have to rehab and come back,” Richt said. “I’ve coached guys who have had it happen more than one time, and they’ve come back and played great. He’s going to battle, and he’ll be back next year.”

Senior Vincent Vance replaced Sturdivant for the remainder of the game Saturday.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dawgs Drop Opener

FOOTBALL

As the sun rose over Lake Carl Blackwell just outside Stillwater, Oklahoma on this opening Saturday of the 2009 college football season, there were small rain drops hitting the water. By the end of the day all that was falling were the dreams of Dawg fans.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys lived up to their number nine ranking with a 24-10 victory in the newly renovated T. Boone Pickens Stadium.

The Dawgs took the opening kickoff and marched eighty yards in ten plays to score when Joe Cox hit Michael Moore on a four yard fade pass in the right corner of the endzone. The most interesting thing about the drive though is that it may well be the first time in Georgia football history that three different players took a snap at quarterback on the first drive of the season.

Not a soul in the state would have believed that it would be the Dawgs only trip into the Red Zone for the entire game.

Dez Bryant got behind Bryan Evans with 2:24 left in the first half on a 46 yard pass from Zac Robinson and made an over the shoulder catch that would have made Willie Mays proud to tie the game. The Dawgs fumbled the ball right back to the Cowboys and Dan Bailey kicked a 28 yard field goal with five seconds left in the half to put the Dawgs in a hole 10-7 at halftime.

The Cowboy's Perrish Cox returned the second half kickoff 74 yards to the 24 and eight plays later Robinson scored from the one to give them a ten point lead.

Blair Walsh kicked a 53 yard field goal with 6:49 remaining in the quarter to put the final points on the board for the Dawgs.

Following the second Dawg fumble of the afternoon deep in their own territory, everyone knew that Dez Bryant was going to get the ball thrown to him. The Dawg defense was not up to the task of stopping Bryant, he made the catch around the four, turned and put the ball in the endzone for TD number two on the day.

Joe Cox said after the game that turnovers are the most critical stat in football, the Cowboys got three and scored on two of them. Cox was sporting a rather large bruise on his forehead but it was not nearly as large as the emotional one that was evident in his eyes following the first game that he had started and lost since he was in the 8th grade.

The Dawgs saw left tackle Trinton Sturdivant go down in the second half with another injury to his left knee, the same one he just spent a year rehabing from a torn ACL and MCL. The extent of the injury will not be known until an MRI is performed on Sunday in Athens.

The Dawgs fell to 30-5 in an opponent’s stadium including 10-3 against ranked teams. It was the first non-conference road loss in an opponent’s stadium under Richt and the first season-opening loss since 1996 when Jim Donnan’s Dawgs lost 11-7 to Southern Miss in Athens.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Flu Bug Hits The Dawgs

FOOTBALL

Senior quarterback Joe Cox is suffering from the flu but is still expected to start for the Dawgs. Precautions are being taken by the coaching staff to keep any player showing flu symptoms isolated from the rest of the team for as long as possible.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Season Opener Finally Here

FOOTBALL

The 13th ranked Georgia Bulldogs will kick-off the 2009 season in Stillwater Oklahoma against the 9th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys.

5th year senior Joe Cox is the starting quarterback and will have Richard Samuel lined up at tailback and Shaun Chapas at fullback behind him.

A.J. Green and Mike Moore will start at the wide receiver positions and Aaron White at tightend.

The offensive line is deep and experienced with the return of Trinton Sturdivant at left tackle along with Chris Davis, Ben Jones, Cordy Glenn and Clint Boling.

The offense won’t be as flashy as the 08 version but is solid at every position and with Cox’s knowledge of the system; we should control the ball and move the chains.

The return of Jeff Owens and a healthy Roderick Battle is huge for the defensive front four, with Geno Atkins and Demarcus Dobbs along side them we have plenty of size and speed.

Juniors Rennie Curran and Akeem Dent are two of the best linebackers in the SEC. Senior Darrius Dewberry is back from a shoulder injury.

Brandon Boykin is the new kid on the block in the secondary and will be making his first start at short corner. Senior Prince Miller will start on the other side with Reshad Jones and Bryan Evans between them.

As you can see we will only have one player starting on defense that has not played extensively before and he may well be the best athlete on the field. The only real question mark for the defense is at defensive end. The Dawgs are very strong up the middle and should shut down the Cowboys running game.

Blair Walsh returns as the place kicker with Drew Butler taking over the punting duties, Walsh has the leg to be consistent up to 60 yards out. It may be a game time decision as to who will handle the kickoffs, either Walsh or Brandon Bogotay.

The pass happy Big 12 and the Cowboys have put up some fantastic offensive numbers but the suspect defenses make it hard to read much into them. Oklahoma State must run the ball first to be successful on offense and their all world receiver Dez Bryant didn’t really show up in their biggest games last year. Look for the Dawgs to stop the run, blanket Bryant and keep Cox and company on the field as long as possible.

The Dawgs will be without Caleb King and Kiante Tripp due to injuries as well as Bruce Figgins and Justin Houston due to suspensions.

Game time temperature is expected to be around 82 degrees with a 40% chance of a thundershower. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has decided against the pre-game handshake.