Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement:

We have Florida this week. They are No. 1 in the nation, 17-game winning streak. No ones had a lot of success versus Florida lately. Coach (Urban) Meyer has done a great job with that program, no doubt.

On changes on the offensive line:

We really don't have a lot of choices, so I don't see a lot of change there. The guys that have been playing will continue to play. We may move them around a little bit, but Im not even sure of that. But the same guys will play that are playing the two Davises (Josh and Chris), Cordy (Glenn), (Vince) Vance, (Clint) Boling, Ben Jones and (Justin Anderson). They will all play.

On Florida's defensive line:

They are outstanding. It's probably not a one-man job to block those guys. We will do what we do against a lot of the great pass rushers and try to get some help from backs, get some help from tight ends, get some help by just sliding a protection toward a certain guy and know that if a tackle gets beat inside there will be a guard there hopefully waiting to help out. All those types of things will have to be considered. Then we just hope we dont get into too many situations where we just flat out have to throw the ball. We hope to be in downs and distances that will afford us not to get into that type of situation.

On playing in the warm weather on Saturday:

The heat and humidity can certainly become a factor in the game. We know early in the season it does become a factor, so we have to make sure we are ready to substitute, no doubt.

On the comparison of Tim Tebow to Herschel Walker:

I think they are both legends. One is still playing and the other one of course hasn't played in quite some time. There is no question that Tim Tebow has made his mark on Florida football, on Southeastern Conference football and on the entire nation. He'll be one of those guys who will be remembered as long as people care about college football. Herschel is the same way.

On Herschel Walker:

He was the man. You'd see him running guys over and diving over the top. He was just such a big, strong man to be able to do some of the things that he could do physically. I do recall him getting interviewed some where along the way and thinking that he was very, very humble and pretty country. He just looked like a Georgia boy. He was something special.

On whether there is carryover from the 2007 and 2008 games into the game on Saturday:

I don't know. I think every season has its own issues. We certainly have ours and they don't have many. Any issues they have, they've been able to solve with victories. I think we are most concerned about what its going to take to win the ballgame more than anything else.

On whether the era of big, fast tailbacks like Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson is ending:

I just think one day another guy will come along that fits that description and somebody will probably decide not to let him play linebacker in high school and let him run the ball. I think Herschel was one of a kind. Not to say Bo Jackson wasn't special, because he was. They were a little bit different in their type. I wouldn't be surprised to see another big, giant guy become the thing again. They just don't come along that often period, I don't think.

On whether Mike Bobo will coach from the field again:

I didn't even ask him, but Im assuming yes.

On whether the team made strides against Vanderbilt:

We did. We definitely got better. I thought we got better as a team in general. We ran the ball better than we've been running it offensively. We didn't have the big turnover issues. Defensively I thought we played very sound really all but one drive. I thought they played dominating football other than the first drive of the second half. I thought our special teams overall played very well that day. I think if you look and see what everyone has done against Vanderbilt this season, we performed pretty well against them when you look at what other people have done. Vanderbilt, I know their record isn't all that great right now, but they're in just about every ballgame they play.

On Joe being a first-time starter in the Georgia-Florida game:

The only thing that is really unique about it and it doesn't really affect the quarterback as much because he's only in there half the time, but it is live the whole game. When you have half-and-half as far as the fan base, you have enough people to create enough noise to cause problems. When we have the ball we know Florida is making all the noise they can, and when Florida has the ball we know Georgia fans are making as much noise as they can. What's different about it is the constant volume of the noise throughout the entire ballgame, where if you were playing at Alabama, they are going to be loud, LSU is going to be loud, but when they have the ball they are going to be quiet. There is really no quiet time, maybe on a punt or something or at the commercial breaks, but the fans will definitely get a workout.

Tightend Aron White

On making his first-career touchdown reception against Florida last year
It's definitely bittersweet to score a touchdown like that. I hadn't got a whole lot of playing time up to that point in the season, and to get put in with about two minutes left you want to go in there and play hard. At the same time, its hard to come in and have a lot of fire and fight when you already feel the game is beyond your control and you can't do a whole lot. Luckily, I got a chance to get in there. Joe (Cox) put a great ball up and I made a play. To catch that ball meant a lot to me.

Safety Bryan Evans

On playing Florida after Urban Meyer called two timeouts with one minute to go last year:

It is a big motivating factor. We have it hanging up in the locker room and every time we see his hands in that time out position it reminds us of what happened last year and hopefully that can drive us as a team. We will never forget that image and that is something that we don't want to experience again.

On the game being in Jacksonville, Evans hometown:

I do like it. I wouldn't say its a neutral site on both sides just because of the distance, but I think its a good atmosphere for the game and its big down there.

On the constant stadium noise:

It is never quiet at this game. It is a game that just has so much emotion in the crowd and on the field at the same time. It is just a different atmosphere and it is something that we can't experience at any other game but this one.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Green Semifinalists For Biletnikoff Award

FOOTBALL

Sophomore flanker A.J. Green has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2009 Biletnikoff Award, according to an announcement from the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation.

The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate receiver.

The award is named for Fred Biletnikoff, who was an All-American receiver at Florida State before becoming a member the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The next vote for the top three finalists will take place Nov. 16 and close on Nov. 19. A third vote starting on Dec. 4 will determine this year’s winner.

Green, a 6-4, 207-pound native of Summerville, S.C., is leading the Southeastern Conference in total receiving yards (682), receiving yards per game (97.4) and receptions per game (5.9) through the Dawgs first seven games. Green is tied for the league lead with six receiving touchdowns. He has a pair of 100-yard receiving games this season (137-Arkansas, 153-Arizona State) and has four career games with more than 100 yards receiving.

In addition, Green blocked his first career field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Arizona State to help secure the Dawg’s win.

Green is the only player from the SEC picked as a semifinalist.

The other nine semfinalists are: Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green), Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Eric Decker (Minnesota), Marshwan Gilyard (Cincinnati), Jordan Shipley (Texas), Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech), Golden Tate (Notre Dame) and Mike Williams (Syracuse).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dawgs Ready For Commodores

FOOTBALL

Saturday's contest is the second of three consecutive road games for the Dawgs. They fell to Tennessee in Knoxville, 45-19, on Oct. 10 to open the road swing. After this week's game against Vanderbilt, the Dawgs will have a bye on Oct. 24 before meeting top-ranked Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 31. The Dawgs will have gone 35 days without playing a game at Sanford Stadium when they return home to face Tennessee Tech on Nov. 7.

"We need momentum," coach Mark Richt said in regards to the importance of the game against Vanderbilt prior to the bye week. "You gain momentum by executing well and by ultimately winning the ball game. It's like I said Sunday to the team – priority one. There's no priority but to focus on the preparation of this football game. The best thing that can happen to us right now is to win this game, but we got to earn it. This game is crucial. It's big."

Richt named this week's team captains. Three of the four captains will be tackles -- Geno Atkins and Kade Weston on defense and Clint Boling on offense. Redshirt freshman Sanders Commings earned the first captain's "C" of his career to represent the special teams.

The last time the Dawgs played in Nashville was in 2007, they defeated the Commodores, 20-17, with a Brandon Coutu field goal as time expired. Last year, UGA won its second-straight game over VU by a score of 24-14 in Athens. Vanderbilt's only win against UGA during the Richt era came in 2006 in Sanford Stadium by a 24-22 margin. In the all-time series between the schools, the Dawgs lead 49-18-2 overall including a 22-7-1 mark in Vanderbilt Stadium.

Junior linebacker Rennie Curran has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, according to an announcement from the award’s committee late Wednesday.

Injury Report:

Starting fullback Shaun Chapas is doubtful due to “burners,” which are injuries to one or more nerves between your neck and shoulder and are common among athletes who play contact sports like football. If Chapas is unable to play, junior Fred Munzenmaier would be in line to make his first career start and senior Justin Fields would be the backup.

Gymnastics

Courtney Kupets received the Sportswoman of the Year Award for individual sport athletes Tuesday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. She was honored at the Womens Sports Foundations 30th Annual Salute to Women In Sports Dinner.

As a senior in 2009, Kupets led the Dawgs to their fifth straight NCAA Championship title, and she won the all-around, bars, beam and floor individual competitions. She became the first gymnast ever to win a national title in all four events and received five First-Team All-America honors, making a total of 15 for her career, the maximum for only competing three years.

Kupets is the all-time NCAA leader with nine individual championships and was named SEC Athlete of the Year, as well as the AAI National, NCAA Southeast Regional and SEC Gymnast of the Year. Kupets became the third Gym Dawg ever to record a 10.0 in all four events, and she had seven 10.0s in 2009, including three at the NCAAs.

She was a National Honor Society member, was chosen as ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American and was a recipient of NCAA and SEC postgraduate scholarships. She was also a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and a recipient of the Richard B. Russell Student Leadership Award. She won UGAs Marilyn Vincent Award as the senior female student-athlete with the highest GPA.

It was a great night and a great honor for Courtney and our program as a whole, head coach Jay Clark said. It was a who's who of female athletes and former female athletes in New York and it was great for her to be able to share the stage with them. It was a tremendous honor for her personally and we are awfully proud of her.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Part 3

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt and several football players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawg's weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

On his role in playcalling:

What I do, and again I think it's the way to do it right now, I will watch film separate from the staff because if you sit in there with the staff you are all kind of thinking on the same line sometimes. One guy might want to look at one thing and another guy might want to look at another thing. I have the ability to look at film without having to put all the nuts and bolts together of the run checks and the protections. I can just basically be a resource for Mike (Bobo) for ideas. If it's base or certain personnel groups or field positions or down-and-distance tendencies, if there is something I see that I like I will jot it down and hand to him and say if you like it, use it and if you don't, don't. I understand being in his position.

There are always good ideas but you have to decide how many of these ideas do we use in this game plan that we can execute properly. I don't want to get him off of the train of thought that he has too. I've had times when coach (Bobby) Bowden, especially game day, would want to insert this or that idea. It was difficult sometimes to keep my focus on where I was going. We laugh about it now and we'd laugh about it on Sunday, but there were a couple of times I went into the office and said, Coach, if you would like to take this thing back over I've got no problem or if you want this series or that series its fine with me. If we are going to have some of these suggestions, let's at least get them in between series. He would always say, I wasn't trying to mess you up, buddy. I can understand where Mike is in the heat of the game, he's in the heat of the battle. If I do make a game suggestion, I try to make it in between series.

There are many times where we are crossing the 50 and I'm saying, Mike you have four downs to get this thing or you have three downs to get this thing. He needs to know on third down if he has two plays to get this thing or one. A lot of things like that happen even to decide should we try to move the ball down the field on a two-minute drill before the half or should we just let the clock run or whatever it may be. I'm heavily involved in those types of things. I might say if its fourth and less than a yard we are going, if it's more than a yard we are punting, so I have to alert those guys too. Those are more of the decisions that Im making game day.

On the Dawg's defense:

I think when we get people in the third and long situations, the possession down, we need to nail it more often. We need to get off the field when we get them there. There are a lot of things we have to improve on all the way across the board with the entire football team. We've gotten ourselves in that position on enough occasions where if we could just finish it I think the outcome of a couple of our games would have been different too.

Safety Bryan Evans

On feelings after the loss on Saturday:

Kind of struck. We are 3-3 now, so we are 500. Last time I remember being 500, was in 06 when we went 4-0 then we lost four games straight. We had a pretty strong finish so that is just something that we have to get turned around.

Comparing the 06 season to this season:

In 06 it was worse than this. We lost 4 straight including losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. We just have to go out and win against Vanderbilt and try to get this win streak going.

On contributions that helped turn around the 06 season:

Just never giving up. There were a couple of days where you felt like throwing in the towel, but it's just not our nature to give up so anytime that we can go out and try to get a win and get our win streak up that's what we are going to do.

On not being a front runner in the SEC East:

It's very strange. This loss really set us back a lot. The way the SEC is played it can change at any minute, so you can never say it's not going to happen. Right now, it just feels very weird.

Linebacker Rennie Curran

On feelings after the loss in Knoxville:

Everybody is just ready to get back to work. We all realize what we need to do to get better. Getting in the film room more and doing everything that it takes. We realize as players that our time is limited being college students. At the same time, we have worked so hard this season, and in the off-season, so we can't just let that go for nothing. We just have to continue to fight hard and bounce back, and that is what everybody is doing. We are staying optimistic, not getting down and realize that there are going to be failures, but we just have to continue to fight hard.

On playing smarter and having less mental errors as a defense:

We all want to win, we are all fighting hard and playing our hearts out every single game, but at the same time we have to focus on playing smarter and that starts with our preparation. Coach Martinez could coach his heart out, but it's up to us to stay in the film room for an extra 30 minutes or whatever it may take to learn those formations and those tendencies that will help us on the field when the offense comes out and does something that you haven't seen before. That is only going to come with the time you put in as a player and being a student of the game.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

FOOTBALL

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

Coach Mark Richt:

On the Dawg's running backs:

No one has really stood out. No one has really asserted himself to the point where he's our guy. Part of Caleb's issue has been messing around with injuries all the way throughout. Richard (Samuel) has been solid. I think they've all been kind of solid, nothing spectacular. No one really has made the offensive line look better than maybe they are blocking at times. We have pretty much been getting what we've been blocking for, which statistically hasn't been a whole heck of a lot.

I do see improvement. Guys don't get better until they get experience. I think there's improvement. Washaun (Ealey) has shown some sparks here and there. He's still learning what to do on all the little things. Carlton (Thomas) did a nice job this last ballgame. We may see a little bit more of him. It has been a situation where no one man has really separated himself.

On Damon Evans:

I think he said he had concerns about the season if I'm not mistaken. I have concerns about the season of course with the way we've played. As far as the program, we have a very strong program, finishing in the coaches poll No. 10 last year and No. 2 in the AP the year before and six out of seven years in the top 10, that's not bad. That's the past, I understand that. But when you start talking about a program I think you have to start looking at where we've been in the recent history here.

The other thing is the season is not over, its just not over. When some of your main goals not necessarily fall by the wayside, but become less attainable, it's tough on everybody. We are very concerned about how this season has gone, and we are battling as hard as you can possibly battle to get things moving in the right direction this year.

On Marlon Brown:

Marlon is smoothing out his game, I guess is the best way to put it. He is a very good worker, he has a very good attitude. He is a talent, he just needed to get more reps to become a smooth competitor, a smooth receiver. He has proved to be a pretty tenacious blocker. You can tell he wants it, you can tell he's getting better. He has earned a right to play more snaps for us and hopefully he'll get more opportunities to catch the ball because he has good hands.

He's big, he's strong, its just taking him just a little while to get used to college football. He came from a relatively small program. When I say that I'm not trying to demean where he came from because they've done a wonderful job, but I guess the competition level that he played against was an awful lot different from the Southeastern Conference. I think he's just learning how to play with the caliber of athletes on our team and in our league.

On drawing from the 2006 team and they way it finished the season:

It's hard to measure a team's ability to withstand pressure. I think a lot of teams fold under that kind of pressure. A lot of coaching staffs fold under that kind of pressure and we never did. We were very resilient. We were very persistent. We stayed the course. We didn't make a bunch of wholesale changes, whether it was players, coaches or anything like that. We just kept grinding, we kept banging away. You just never know how close you are to success until you live it out. I was pretty proud of that team considering what they went through and how we finished. Even that last ballgame I think we were down 15 or 18 at the half to the No. 1 defense in America. It didn't look like we had much of a chance, but we found a way and there is a lot to be said about that. I might be as proud of that team as I was any team at Georgia considering what everybody went through.

Quarterback Joe Cox:

On Vanderbilt:

They're a good team. You hear about them struggling and think they are having a down year, but they're not. You watch them on film, especially on defense, and they are a real hungry team that's really played well against everybody. They played LSU well, they played Ole Miss well, and they lost a couple of close games that could have gone the other way. They are a well-coached team, and they are every year. They're always disciplined and have really smart players. This year they're hungry. I know they are going to want to get a win versus us more than anything, and we need a win versus them. It's going to come down to who executes the game better and who really wants it more.

On the importance of big plays:

It's huge to have anybody make big plays. Big plays build momentum, and we didn't have any this past game. It's definitely something that we need in this weekend's game against Vanderbilt. Big plays turn the momentum for both sides of the ball, especially big plays in the running game. If you run the ball well, a play-action pass works out a lot better. It just helps out everything about your offense, so we know what needs to be done and we know we need to put a lot more big plays up this weekend.

On the running game:

That's probably been the most frustrating thing is that we know it's there but it hasn't been working. It's something that we got to just keep chipping away at. We know we have good backs, we know we have a good line and we just got to get it going so we know we can do it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBALL

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

Coach Mark Richt:

Opening statement:

We certainly had a disappointing loss last week. We have to get back on the winning track against Vanderbilt, that's our hope. Coach (Bobby) Johnson has done a really fine job there. Since we've been playing them for so many years, we'll go back years on the video and it seems like every year you progress, they are getting faster and more athletic. They are really playing extremely well, especially on defense. They have had their struggles on offense, but defensively they are really giving everybody a bunch of grief. Overall they are a very well-coached team. It is a team that Im sure is just as hungry for a victory as we are. We are looking forward to getting over there and getting back on the winning track.

On the Dawgs no longer controlling their destiny to win the SEC East:

I told them (the team) that. I said we don't control it. I said we aren't mathematically out of it by any means, but we can't sit here and say that is the goal. It may become the goal again depending on what happens with us and everybody else in the east. The main focus really is beat Vanderbilt. That's it, and that is what it is on a weekly basis anyway. That is not in our control anymore, so we are not really focusing on that right now. No one is happy. No one is excited about what happened by any means, but these guys are resilient. They are pretty tough guys, and its never easy to get it going again after a tough loss like that, especially one where you end up losing control of your destiny in the league. Those things are not easy to deal with, but they lifted hard, they ran hard. I think theyll be able to focus on whats important and start moving this thing in the right direction again.

On having promise going forward similar to 2006:

That's our goal. That's what we are shooting for, that's what we are fighting for. (Matthew) Stafford was a true freshman that year and I redshirted (Knowshon) Moreno that year. We were scrambling, fighting, scratching, clawing back then and dealing with some of the things we are dealing with now in regards to trying to keep a positive focus on the future. We've been there before. We don't like being there, but that's where we are at, so we are looking to have a very strong finish.

On Vanderbilts defense:

When you watch the film and you watch Ole Miss struggle like mad to get it in there, no one is just driving the field on these guys. If they are making something happen, a guy is making a play. Some where along the way, some guy makes a play. They get themselves in position to score touchdowns, but they've held people out of the end zone a good bit in the red zone. They've forced a bunch of field goals. The LSU game was very close at the half. Same thing with Ole Miss. They did a very good job defensively in the last game dealing with an offense that is not normal for them to participate against.

They are doing a good job defensively. You'd like to say we are going to line up and methodically move it down the field, but I haven't seen anybody do it yet. Guys are going to have to make plays, guys are going to have to get in situations and do something to kind of break the dam. The one thing as you watch those games, you'll watch the defense play, and the next series you'll see the scoreboard and a lot of times there wasn't a lot of offensive production from Vanderbilt. It helped the teams that were struggling against them. It helped Ole Miss, it helped LSU as they were trying to get some points on the board that their defenses were playing extremely well that day. I think they are underrated to answer your question.

On the team dealing with increased negativity:

On Sunday I just talked to them about making sure they stay focused on the important things. There are certain things you can control in life and certain things you can't control. What people say about you or your team or your coaches, you can't control that. All you can control is how you focus, how you prepare and how you keep your mental frame of mind. We have control over that, so those are the things that I talked about and really helped them understand that the only thing we can do that can be the most productive thing for us right now is to really focus on this ballgame. Everyday that we come in, whether it's lifting, running or practice, whatever it might be, lets focus on whats important and thats the only way well move in the right direction here.

On players who might see more playing time:

We mentioned Reshad Jones is probably getting too many reps. To get every rep is not good for anybody in my opinion. I think there needs to be a time when you are not on the field every single down. Prince Miller is getting a ton of reps. He's getting a ton of defensive reps, he's been the gunner just about every play on the punt team. He's been the punt return man, he's the safety on the kickoff team. He's playing a lot of reps, and we need to get Branden (Smith) in there more. Once we get in the nickel, we get Branden in there a good bit because Prince moves to the nickel. Again, I think he could use a break in there. Right now, offensive line I don't see any options other that what we've been doing right now. At receiver, I think our two freshmen have earned more playing time. I don't think there is any doubt about that.

On whether Logan Gray will see more playing time:

He's been practicing well the past two weeks, I know that. I wouldn't say thats out of the question.

On Caleb King:

I think Caleb is going to be OK. Caleb is going today in a non-contact situation. If everything goes well, which we expect it to, he would be able to go tomorrow and get any contact that we get. I'm not sure with this weather forecast what's going to happen. We may end up inside. Thursday, even though we dont put the shoulder pads on, we can still simulate some contact and actually get some contact with him to see how he responds to it. Everything is pointing thumbs up on him and Tavarres King for that matter. Vance Cuff is ready to go. He was really ready last week. He didn't get much playing time because of the amount of work that he had going into it. He should have a full week of practice. (Marcus) Dowtin, we thought would have a chance this week, but it's pretty doubtful. I think it's pretty much out of the question for Dowtin if I remember correctly. (Akeem) Dent, we are very hopeful for the next game for both of those linebackers.

On Joe Cox:

Joe has been a little bit up-and-down these last couple of games. I would say that yes he is still our starting quarterback. A lot of things go into the quarterbacks ability to play at his peak level. I think quarterbacks get maybe a little more blame than they deserve and maybe a little more credit than they deserve. I think if we all played together as a unit, I think Joes productivity will rise like it has in other games.

Tightend Aron White:

On the teams focus:

We can't be thinking about what's happening with everybody else with the SEC, what bowl we are going to get in or if we are going to get a bowl. Coach Richt said our main focus has to be our next opponent. He's always big on saying take one game at a time because right now the only thing that should be on our minds is Vanderbilt because thats our next opponent. He said nobody likes to lose and you should feel bad about it and sick to your stomach, but come your next practice you have to get in there and start working on the next team. You've got to forget and move on. Every season is not going to perfect and obviously not live up to your expectations, but right now we just got to focus on making the best out of the rest of our season. We've still got a lot of games to play.

Cuff Arrested

FOOTBALL

Junior defensive back Vance Cuff was released from the Clarke county jail today after posting bond on charges of "emerging from alley" and having a suspended license. He had been booked into the jail at 3:24 pm by the University of Georgia Police and was there less than an hour.

The suspended license charge is not a new one for several members of the football team but personally I have never heard of emerging from an alley being a crime.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boykin Sets Conference Record

FOOTBALL

Sophomore cornerback Brandon Boykin became the first SEC player to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in one season in SEC history when he returned a Tennessee kickoff to even the score in the second quarter of Saturday's game.

Boykin had already broken the school record after taking a kickoff 100 yards back for a touchdown versus South Carolina.

Boykin’s return versus the Vols also ties the longest scoring play on the road in school history.

The Dawgs had a 100-yard punt return for a touchdown in 1952 at Vanderbilt by Jimmy Campagna and a 100-yard INT return by Charlie Britt in 1959 versus Florida in Jacksonville. Since 1941, the NCAA put a maximum length on all plays at 100 yards.

Sophomore punter Drew Butler had to punt six times for a 49.8 average with four covering 50+ yards and one inside the 20. His first punt was his longest at 61 yards. He came in today leading the nation with a 49.8 average.

Redshirt freshman safety Bacarri Rambo caught a tipped passed for an interception and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. This was Rambo’s second career interception and the first defensive touchdown for the Dawgs this year. The Dawgs have had four INTs this year with Boykin also having two. This was the first interception return for a touchdown since Darryl Gamble returned a pair of picks for scores at LSU in 2008.

Redshirt sophomore split end Zach Renner blocked a punt with :23 seconds left in the opening half to give the Bulldogs two points on a safety as it went through the endzone. This was the third blocked punt of his career after he tallied one against Alabama and Arizona State in 2008. Renner tied the school record for blocked punts in a career along with Corrie Collier, Kendrell Bell and David Pollack. Renner’s latest punt block was the 17th for the Bulldogs in the Mark Richt era.

Sophomore placekicker Blair Walsh drilled a 52-yard field goal late in the second quarter. He is 5-for-8 from 50 yards or more in his career and 3-for-3 from that distance in 2009.

Sophomore flanker A.J. Green led the Dawgs with 60 yards receiving and tied his career-high with eight catches. It was the third time he had eight receptions in a game.

Freshman receiver Marlon Brown had his first career reception on a 9-yard catch in the 2nd quarter.

Freshman tightend Arthur Lynch started the first game of his career. The Dawgs started two tight ends on offense, six linemen and no wideouts after starting their first drive on their own 1-yard line.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot...........Tennessee won 45 to 19.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dawgs Ready For Tennessee

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs are on the road this week in Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Vols in Neyland Stadium before an expected sellout crowd of 100,000-plus fans, kickoff is at 12:21 pm.

Tennessee leads the all-time series with the Dawgs, 20-16-2 overall and 8-6-1 at home, but the Dawgs have won five of the eight meetings since Richt took the helm of the program in 2001 including three of the last four games in Knoxville.

The first question addressed by coach Mark Richt before Thursday's practice was who the starting tailback would be with redshirt sophomore Caleb King out with a concussion and fracture in his jaw. Richard Samuel will start and split the carries with true freshman Washaun Ealey, who rushed for 33 yards on eight carries in his Dawg debut last week against fourth-ranked LSU, he has done well this week in practice preparing to play the Vols.

One of the featured matchups looks to be Tennessee’s offensive line versus the Dawg’s defensive front. “They’ve had a few injuries but they got five guys that play together on the line and do as good a job as anybody, and it will test us,” said Richt. Tennessee has allowed just six sacks through five games and they did not allow a sack last week in the loss to Auburn. Meanwhile, UT running backs are averaging five yards per attempt, which ranks fourth in the SEC.

Linebacker Rennie Curran

On the defense being on the field so much the last game:

It is just something you have to continue to be positive about. Not everybody is going to have their best day every game and at the same time you have to keep working hard, encouraging your guys and trusting each other. We are all in this together so we just have to improve on the little things and details because sometimes that what it is. All it takes is for one guy to not do something right and the whole entire unit will not do well.

On how close the team is to playing a complete game:

We are real close. If you watch us on film there is really only a few things that hold us back. Like I said, it's all about details and about every single guy doing things right on every play.

On some things going wrong every week:

Most of the time it is the same thing. Guys are not focusing when they are tired. The most apparent thing is when the fatigue sets in because guys start making mistakes that they normally wouldn't.

On Tennessee's offensive line:

Their line is senior-driven and they have guys that have had a lot of experience. They have backs that can carry the load as well. They got two very talented backs that can break tackles and make things happen if you let him.

On both UGA and UT being unranked playing each other for the first time since 1937:

Well it's a huge game every time our two teams meet up. There is a lot of tradition involved, a lot of emotions and goals that can be achieved for whoever wins. It is going to be a big game for both teams.

Injury Report:

Not traveling to Knoxville:

Caleb King - Concussion and Fractured Jaw
Tavarres King - Concussion
Akeem Dent - Hamstring
Marcus Dowtin - Finger

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Part 3

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media during the Dawg's weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

On Tennessees new staff:

Anytime there is a new staff anywhere, the dynamic changes. Everybody has their own style of recruiting. You kind of get a pretty good feel of what each coach is like or what their program is like. Anytime a coach comes in new, one of the greatest things that he does have is that he is new and he can say this is our plan and this is a vision of what we want to do, and that can sell. Tennessee, Auburn, even when coach (Houston) Nutt went to Ole Miss last year, when those guys come in new they definitely create a buzz.

On Georgia tackling in practice:

We are still live tackling in practice today. Tuesday is the only day we will take guys to the ground, and well do it again today.

On the art of tackling:

I think people probably tackle less in practice than they did 20 years ago. It's hard to simulate tackling without tackling, thats for certain and thats why we spend time tackling in space. When I say space, some of our perimeter drills without the linemen, and well definitely tackle our inside running game. We used to tackle a lot in 11-on-11 situations, but we do less of that. There is an art of thudding. If you thud properly, you will do everything in a fundamental tackle other than toss the guy to the ground. If you thud properly, you can still keep your fundamentals of tackling. It's safer, but if you thud properly, you must move your feet, you must get in front of the man and you must bend your knees. If you are tackling, you might can lay out and grab a guy with your hand and rip him to the ground. In a thud situation were never looking to reach out and snatch a guy. The goal is to get in position to strike him. I say tackling has gotten worse, but I don't know if it has or not. I think the numbers are an issue. When you start grabbing and throwing guys to the ground, somebody is going to get leg-whipped or something is going to happen where you cost a guy a week, month or season.

On Rantavious Wooten:

Rantavious is a very high-energy young man. He has great body control, good speed and good hands. He seems to play extremely well under pressure. The week before he had two third down catches, two key grabs. Both of them were not easy plays by any stretch. He is getting better on a daily basis. He is a sharp kid and doesnt have trouble learning what to do any more than a normal freshman I guess. He is doing a good job.

Fullback Shaun Chapas

On the offensive struggles:

Well it is encouraging to know that although we still have a lot to improve on, if we put it all together I think we will have something pretty special. So it is something we strive to do and we are going to try and put everything together.

On playing with young guys and if their inexperience is hurting the team:

That might have something to do with it, but the young guys aren't the only ones messing up though so you can't necessarily say that. But experience is definitely huge and helps out a lot when it comes to making mistakes.

On how close the team is to playing a complete game:

I have full confidence in our ability to do that. If we just all go out and played focused and play hard like we know we can then we can do it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

FOOTBALL

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

Coach Mark Richt

On what position hasn't played like he thought it would:

The position that has been the most effected by injuries has been the offensive line. Some of it is a little bit of a residual of a year ago. A lot of our guys were rehabbing some fairly serious injuries. Chris Davis has a hip injury and had surgery. Josh Davis had double shoulder surgery. Trinton (Sturdivant) had his deal and came back and got hurt again. Trinton and Tanner Strickland got hurt in the offseason and preseason, so we're just not as strong as we need to be.

When I say strong, strong in numbers. Even Chris Davis, as he was battling his tail off, he was not able to squat all summer long. His power base just because of the nature of the injury, he was not able to do that. Everybody has problems. Everybody has issues. Everybody has injuries. Regardless of all those things, we need to block better. We definitely need to run block better. I actually think we've pass protected pretty well, but we need to run block better, and that includes tight ends.

There are times that the offensive line does it and the tight ends get tossed around. Every once in a while well have everything blocked to the T, then the fullback takes an edge off a linebacker and doesn't go right down the heart of a guy. Our run blocking needs to improve, and as I study our runners, we need to continue to mature and see these blocking schemes and understand them better and hit it where it needs to be hit. When they get in situations where its just one guy, we need yards after contact. So its a little bit of everything right now in the running game.

On the Dawg's offensive identity:

I guess no one has an identity until they are consistently playing something where you could define that team to say this is what we do well. Right now we've not been consistent offensively, defensively or in the kicking game quite frankly. I feel like we are gaining a lot of positive momentum defensively. Some of our special teams have played outstanding and a couple have struggled. Offensively, we've pretty much run the gamut of emotions and productivity. Again, I guess the one word I'm looking for more than anything else is a more consistent effort all the way around.

On the Dawg's offensive line benefitting from an open date:

I'm sure that can help. I think it would help the whole team. Everybody is dealing with one open date. Ours is probably in a pretty good spot. Some people had it the first or second week, then you go 10 or 11 in a row. Some people have it right before the 12th game so you are still going 11 in a row. It's probably in a pretty good spot strategically in the middle of the season. I guess we are hitting seven and then having an open date. I doubt anybody would tell you that they don't know it's going to happen here in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, everybody has to grind. Do I think the line will benefit from it? Yeah I do. But I think the whole team will benefit from it. I know the coaching staff will benefit from it.

On the Dawgs spending more time on special teams:

It's very, very difficult as far as time. We are crammed to the gill on this 20-hour rule. Every minute is accounted for and even if you add five minutes to that team, you are going to pull five from something else. Whoever is losing that five minutes is screaming and squawking and rightfully so because they feel like they don't have enough time to get it just like they want it. That's one of the challenges of college football is to whatever you do, do it in the time frame allotted.

As I compare special teams field time and meeting time compared to most people in the country, I think we are probably more. I know for a fact we do more than most people I've talked to. To answer the question about personnel, some people think you can just throw a guy in there and all of a sudden he's good. There is technique involved in that just like there is technique involved in playing linebacker or anyone else. It's not that easy just to throw someone in there. All that stuff takes reps and time to get better at.

The other thing that changes on a weekly basis is the scheme that you are going to play. You can say this is what we do, but every week if the team you are playing has a little twist here and there, you have to understand it, you have to rep it. It's not that easy. We are hoping that we continue to grow as we go. That's usually what happens with young guys. I think they will be a lot better game six than game five, I hope. Those guys are learning as they go, and I think they are getting better.

Quarterback Joe Cox:

On freshman tailback Washaun Ealey:

I think he did pretty good. The best thing about him is he is hungry. He's wanted to play and finally go this chance. You could tell he was running really hard and that he was just excited to be in the game. A lot of times that is the type of spark you need is having somebody that just really just wants the ball in his hands. Hopefully, he can be that player all the time because I'm sure he's going to be getting a lot more carries as the season goes on.

On Tennessee's defense:

They definitely do a lot to stop the run first. They like brining down safeties into the box and being able to have that extra run support. A lot of times you can tell they are just lining up saying you are not going to run the ball or were going to make you beat us throwing the ball, so that will be tough because you want to have a balanced game plan. We're just going to have to find ways to open up holes against all their looks and still be able to be effective on the ground.

Wide Receiver Tavarres King:

On facing Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry:

He flies around the ball. He's a heck of an athlete and a heck of a player. I'm excited for the opportunity to get to go against somebody like that.

On playing in front of a large crowd on the road at Neyland Stadium:

It's exciting to know that you're about to step into an environment like that. You probably can't even simulate how loud its going to be in that stadium, but I'm looking forward to it and I'm excited about it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBALL

Head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media during the Dawgs weekly press luncheon today. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement:

It's Tennessee week and we are going to the big orange house. I guess this will be the fifth time that I've gone there as head coach of the Dawgs, and it never gets any easier. They have an unbelievable atmosphere there. We have to do our best to try to help educate our young players of what its going to be like. Until you go there, you just don't really get it. We've had a couple of away games and the atmospheres have been outstanding, but when you get the numbers over 100,000 it does make a difference. We have to get our guys ready for that.

Last time we played away, we had a rain day that Thursday and did not get in the stadium and did not get the noise. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but as it turned out at Arkansas we probably jumped offsides five or six times. I don't know if it was that many and it could have been more; I don't know, but more than you would like. That's probably the reason you go to the stadium on Thursday, to get the crowd noise issue taken care of. This is a game where both teams want to get back on track. We certainly had a tough ball game this last week. All of our games have been tough to this point. All of our games have been close. To come out on the losing end after winning three thrillers was a little tough to swallow. The bottom line is Tennessee is not going to feel sorry for us. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We have to buckle it up and get ready to go. Everything that I've seen so far from our guys has been outstanding. Sundays weightlifting and running and practice; they were back at work, so it was good to see that.

On keeping the emotions of the team high:

The main thing today is we have to get the work done. It's a heavy work day. We have to continue to get better blocking. We have to continue to get better tackling. We have to make sure that whatever we implement, that the kids understand it well and they can get it ingrained enough where they can play full speed and let their fundamentals take over. Today I'm more worried about are we going to get the work done. I really don't care what mood they are in today, to be honest with you.

But as you get closer and closer to the game and as we taper down on the physical aspect of the practices, it becomes much more mental and psychological. When it comes to the kind of energy and spirit they bring to the game, you worry about that a little bit closer to game time. You can try to get them too excited during the week and by the end of the week they are exhausted. From the point of view of trying to get them jacked up for practice or for the game on a Tuesday, I'm not too worried about that. But I'm most concerned about what type of work are they going to put in today.

On Caleb King:

Caleb has a fracture in his jaw. I'm not sure which side of the jaw. There are different kinds of fractures. This one the doctors don't feel will need any type of surgery, and actually, they feel like relatively soon we can protect him to the point where he can play. So it's not a season-ending thing by any stretch. It might be a stretch to say this week, but were not really counting that out.

There's a concussion that he also had from the shot that he took, and that's probably more of a concern right now. He can't do anything until the concussion symptoms clear. As soon as they clear, I think they would let him practice immediately with the no-contact and they might OK him to play as early as this week. I don't think thats out of the question, but it's probably not likely.

On who might start at Tennessee:

We'd probably start Richard (Samuel). We haven't had an in-depth discussion about that, but Richard would start.

On Caleb Kings injury:

I know I saw it because I watched the whole tape, but as I was watching the film I didn't say, Hey that was the shot that he got hurt on. As a matter of fact, I probably saw the film before I even got the report. To say I didn't see it would be a lie because I saw all the film, but I didn't say, Hey show me the film where Caleb got hurt. I couldn't tell you right now when it happened. I didn't study it and go back and say, Hey Ron (Courson), show me the hit.

Really, I'm going to now, because somebody upstairs asked me the same question. Really the first time this has come up is from the media, so I didnt know there was some question from that. Again, if you watch film you see those kind of shots every single day, every single game. It's not that unusual to have that. If you are tackling a runner, you have to stick your face at the guy and sometimes a runner at the last second drops his head. There are so many times helmets hit. But again I've not seen the shot, so I couldn't tell you. From what I understand he played after the tackle.

On Georgias celebration penalty against LSU:

I haven't been reading everything and watching the TV, but through Claude, (Felton) he's telling me its gaining a lot of attention. I don't know if I'm surprised because there have been other times in years past where in the Florida-Vanderbilt game a year or two or three ago, when Vanderbilt was preparing to go for two and had one of those. It's been talked about before.

I think that we need to have good sportsmanship. I think the kids absolutely need to celebrate good things happening. I think they probably have to understand how to go about it, and I think thats probably been the biggest issue, really understanding what you can and can't do. I did watch the video of A.J.s (Green) reaction after the catch. Thats basically how we coach it, go find your teammate and go celebrate with him. Also saw a local television station show video until he got to the sideline. I didn't see him do anything that would have warranted that call. It definitely changed the dynamics of the game, no question about that. Whether or not it would have ultimately changed the outcome of the game, no one really knows that.

One thing I'll say about Rogers Redding and his leadership of the officials is he has always been willing to say if he thought they made a mistake.. I appreciate that about him. No one is perfect. As far as philosophically on that question should we look into changing the rule? I think it might be time to look at that and say we just have to be careful not to take the joy out of the game for the players and the ability to celebrate something good. I do think that it has to be in a certain way. If it involves taunting an opponent, there certainly should be a flag for that.

On Rogers Redding:

He's always been willing to say if he thought it should'nt have been called. He'll say this should have been called or should'nt have been called. He'll shoot you straight and I appreciate that about him.

On Georgias midseason issues:

We have been inconsistent enough in the ball placement of some of our kicks. We are very, very immature on that team. We have too many young guys side-by-side on those teams, on the kickoff coverage team in particular it's probably the youngest bunch we've ever had out there. Even some of the guys that have some good experience on it, we've had some injury issues with that.

A guy like Chad Gloer, Chad is becoming a star on that team for us, and he pulls a hamstring on Wednesday or Thursday. Thats one more guy that had to get thrown in there that didn't really have the experience. We are learning. You only get good at something through experience. You hate to have bad things happen to you in the process, but they have.

We've also gone up against the two teams that hurt us the most had the two most prolific returners in the nation probably; maybe two of the top three in the country over the last couple of years. So it wasn't like we were going up against chopped liver. We have to continue to work on our consistency on the hang time and ball placement and guys abilities to basically execute whats being coached

Monday Notes

FOOTBALL

Tailback Caleb King suffered a broken jaw during Saturday's loss to LSU and is doubtful for this week's game against Tennessee. It is described as a clean break and should heal in four weeks.

The SEC head of officials stated today what most everyone knew Saturday, that the unsportsmanship call against A.J. Green following the touchdown was a bad call and should not have been made.

I would be willing to travel back to Athens and return to my seat if we can kickoff again and play that last minute over.

For the first time since 1937, the Dawgs and Tennessee will meet when neither team is ranked in the AP or USA Today Coaches top 25.

The Dawgs and Volunteers have met 38 times (25 times since the 1937 game) and only started meeting annually since 1992. UT leads the series 20-16-2, but the Dawgs have won three out of the last four games at Neyland Stadium.

The Dawgs posted a 26-14 win over the Volunteers in Athens last year while Tennessee won 35-14 in Knoxville in 2007 that included a 28-0 halftime lead by the Volunteers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dawgs Lose Heartbreaker To LSU 20-13

At least it wasn't a slow and painful death, it happened very quickly. The Dawgs had just taken the lead on a 16 yard touchdown reception by A. J. Green who made yet another unbelievable catch in the corner of the endzone with 1:06 remaining in the game. The officials threw a flag for excessive celebration and forced the Dawgs to kickoff from the 15 yard line, LSU returned the kick 40 yards plus another 5 for an illegal kick formation on the Dawgs and had the ball on the Dawgs 38 yard line. Two plays later and it was all over, 23 seconds had run off the clock.

The Dawgs held LSU to just three points during the Tigers’ first three trips to the Red Zone and 10 points total in four trips. The Dawg’s first stop came on an interception by sophomore cornerback Brandon Boykin in the first quarter. The Dawgs also held LSU on a fourth-and-1 late in the second quarter on the Dawg’s 10-yard line. The Dawgs have held opponents to nine field goals in 20 trips to the Red Zone and were 11th in Red Zone defense in the league going into this game.

The Dawgs came in with five sacks through four games and then recorded three consecutive sacks to start the second half against the Tigers and finished the day with six, the most since the win over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl last year. Sophomore defensive end Justin Houston had a pair of sacks and senior defensive tackle Kade Weston had the third in the flurry to start the second half.

The Dawg’s offense had just one first down and gained only 49 total yards on 18 plays in the opening half. This is the first scoreless half for the Dawgs since last year’s Alabama game. In the first half, the Dawg’s defense was on the field for 42 plays surrendering only six points and 236 yards with two stops in the Red Zone. Overall, LSU ran 72 plays for 368 yards.

Sophomore sensation A.J. Green, the SEC’s leading receiver, had five catches for 99 yards and one TD. He has five TDs this season and 13 for his career.

With the Dawg’s offense struggling, sophomore Drew Butler had to punt five times in the first half and averaged 50.4 yards. Currently, he leads the nation with a 50.1 yard average and today he averaged 49.1 yards on seven punts versus #4 LSU.

Freshman tailback Washaun Ealey made his debut with 7:07 left in the third quarter. Ealey finished with 33 yards on eight carries, gaining the Dawg’s second first down of the game and the only one rushing for the day.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Game Day - LSU

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:

On his role in the Dawg's playcalling:

My input is mostly throughout the week. I will look at film and personnel grouping, down and distance tendencies and field position. I'll write down things that I like, I'll make a copy of it, and I'll hand it to Mike (Bobo). Some things I might discuss with him if its a little bit different and if I need to explain. Most everything that I write down he knows exactly what Im talking about we've worked together for so many years. I'll say if you like it, use it; if you don't, don't. The coordinator has to decide how much goes in and there are a lot of good ideas; we just can't have too much. Game day, the decision to go for it on fourth and very short, thats my call to make.

There are certain things that I'll do. I might say lets take a shot to A.J. right now. I might insert something like that here and again. If we are rolling into a third down, I'll tell Mike we have two downs to get this first down instead of one. Or if we go into a third down situation I'll say if we don't make it, I want the field goal team, or if we don't make it, I want the punt team. Or if we get the ball inside the 35-yard line, its a field goal. If we don't, well pooch punt. There are things that have to be decided about a play in advance so everybody knows what to do. I'm still involved in that kind of thing, calling timeout when a quarterback is not ready to either call timeout or get the ball snapped before the 40-second clock. You have to be ready to do that too. You have to be ready for those. And have conversations with the officials throughout the game.

On the Dawg's turnovers:

On the two picks, one there was a lot of pressure in his face on the very first one. (Joe Cox) probably threw the ball a little sooner than he wanted. The second one, he just basically threw it behind the receiver, not a very good ball. The fumble was actually caused by our own man. Ben Jones was blocking and trying to get second and third effort, and as he was moving to the second level and was pursuing a linebacker, he actually ran into Caleb (King) and hit the ball with his shoulder pad and helmet. Still, Caleb still has to be able to hang on to the ball no matter who hits him and when they hit him. We had a fumble on the kickoff where young Branden Smith was just running out of there and the thing just flew out of there. Why does that happen? I don't know; probably because he's a rookie. The one punt fumble, I don't know if Prince Miller could have done much about it, it was a very short punt. He was coming up to try to field it where he doesn't let it bounce for 20 yards and as he's running up full speed, (Brandon) Boykin was blocking one of their gunners as hard as he can and he runs into Prince, and the ball is on the ground. We've had a little bit of everything. It hasn't been that much of a common thread.

On whether Akeem Dent, Vance Cuff and Kiante Tripp will play Saturday:

Dent, probably not; Cuff, more than likely and (Tripp), no I wouldnt think Kiante.

On Caleb King:

He's been progressing as he's been able to play. I think he'll certainly get a good share of them. I'm not going to sit here and try to predict if he'll get more than Richard (Samuel). Right now in my mind they are 50-50 in my thinking. One guy might be running a little bit better than the other, and he may get more. We're not to the position where we're saying 75 percent of the totes here and 25 percent there. We're looking more to let's play them both, keep them fresh, see how they're doing and kind of go from there.

On Brandon Wood:

Brandon is a guy who is big enough and strong enough to play in the interior defensive line. He may go back there next season. Right now he is healthy enough to play and he's had some experience outside. He's a little bit bigger end that we might normally have, but he's a good athlete. He's strong, he has good quickness. He just needs playing time. He's been hurt almost his whole career so this has been really good for him to be able to play and jut get a taste of it.

On the Dawgs-LSU series:

All the games we have played against them have been very meaningful in season, and twice for the SEC crown. They got one and we got one. When you think of LSU you think of the cream of the crop and a team that if youre able to beat them, you've accomplished something special. That's just how we look at them.

On how A.J. has improved from a year ago:

I think he's better in that he's about 15-20 pounds heavier. I don't think he lost any speed or agility. He certainly understands the system better. Considering that (Mohamed Massaquoi) is not on the other side of him and Knowshon (Moreno) is not taking some of the pressure off by being able to run the ball as well as we did a year ago, I think he's earning every yard that he has maybe a little bit more than he had a year ago. He showed up with tremendous confidence in his ability to catch anything within range, and he's continued with that.

Safety Bryan Evans

On the big game atmosphere and the national stage this weekend:

Hopefully it will be a plus for us when we get this win Saturday. They are ranked No. 4 in the country and we are ranked No. 18, and any time you can get an SEC win and a win against a No. 4 ranked team it is big for your program. I think this can be a very big momentum booster.

On Bacarri Rambo:

Baccari Rambo is capable of coming in and playing for me or Reshad (Jones) if either of us goes down. He looked very good out there. He is making plays on special teams and when coach calls him to come in on defense he is making plays as well.

Linebacker Rennie Curran

On the performance against ASU:

We just have to build off what we did last week and the good things. I really feel like we had a good week of practice. We got some turnovers that we needed at crucial times in the game, and we got pressure on the quarterback. It all starts with our preparation: how much film we are watching, how we are attacking the scout team, and the attitude that we have during the week.

On putting together a good defense and offense:

You are not always going to have a perfect game. No matter how well we play, there is always something that we feel that we can do better. At the same time, we have to be able to capitalize on our opportunities and not make mistakes that are going to keep the team in the game and give them momentum. The main thing for us is to continue to encourage each other because we all believe in each other.

On LSU this weekend:

When we play a team like LSU, we have to have a perfect game. We can't give them any room to breathe. We have to get ready to play our best game of football. We have to put all the mistakes we made behind us, get ready to have a great game and put it all together.

The Dawgs have won the last three meetings against LSU, although the Tigers lead the all-time series 14-12-1 and the series is tied 6-6 in Athens.

In their last encounter in 2008, the Dawgs outgunned the Tigers 52-38 in Baton Rouge.

In 2005, the Dawgs captured the 2005 SEC title with a 34-14 win over the Tigers in Atlanta.

The last time the two teams squared off on Georgia’s home field was in 2004 when the Dawgs exploded for a 45-16 victory. LSU has not won at Sanford Stadium since 1987, when the Tigers came out on top 26-23.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued

FOOTBALL

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

On how games that go down to the wire help a team:

Right now I feel very energized. Right now I feel very excited about where we are and where we are going. I think a lot has to do with LSU coming to town and us having a chance to play well and hopefully get a victory that could put us in great position. We're competing for the SEC and it's an SEC game, national TV, very highly ranked and highly regarded program. It's the challenge that most competitors get excited about, this kind of game. Thats just kind of how I feel right now.

I think it builds confidence. I think when youre in the middle of a game and you hit that adversity everybody can look at each other and say, here we go again; lets go do it, rather than, here we go again, were in trouble. I think the first attitude is the one that we have at this moment and hopefully we continue to have it. I've said it ever since I've been at Georgia; I think we're a good football team. I think we're good enough to win the East and win the SEC, but the teams that win the close games are going to be the champions and so that has to be the first and foremost thing of importance is winning that football game. Thats what we are preparing for right now.

On Chad Jones and the LSU safeties:

They do match up well. They probably match up the best of any secondary that we have played so far this year. They match up in that they are talented but they are also bigger men. (Patrick) Peterson, is 6-1, 211. Thats a huge corner for a guy that can run like he can run and jump and have the ball skills. Sometimes you have a big corner like that and you put him in the boundary and expect him to be the eighth guy in the box and bring him on corner blitzes. He can do all those things but he'll be the wide corner, their right and left. He can play out in space. Of course (Chad) Jones as weve mentioned already, his size and strength and athleticism, they match up well. When you look at (Chris) Hawkins, he's not as big of a kid, but he has some pretty good height, and he's 6-1. Were not going up against some small corners that wouldn't have a chance against the jump ball situations that A.J. has been winning all along. Im sure by scheme and just by pure athleticism and size they will match up better than anybody we've played.

On similarities between what John Chavis is doing at LSU and what he did at Tennessee:

They are doing the same thing and for good reason. Coach Chavis has been one of the finest defensive coordinators in the SEC for years. Even last years team was second in the league, second in the country in some categories. What they do is very, very sound very difficult to deal with. When you insert the type of athletes that Tennessee and LSU have theyll have nothing but success.

On defending Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver:

It's going to be tough. LaFell is one of the finest in the country. I think he's a very high draft pick. I'm not saying Tolliver won't be one day either but I think LaFell has proven that he has star quality and he's a mismatch for anybody one-on-one, let alone whether they are our guys or not. When you look at Tolliver's size, 6-5, 206, we might have one over 5-11 but most everybody is 5-11 or under. So I think just their shear size is going to be an issue for us.

On whether Georgia will use different backs besides Richard Samuel and Caleb King:

Not really. I think Richard and Caleb will be the guys. Im not saying we won't see some of Carlton (Thomas), but right now those are the guys we are going with.

On whether Washaun Ealey would redshirt:

Its still too early to say.

On Fred Munzenmaier:

Fred has good running ability as a fullback. He's definitely big enough to play the fullback position. He does have agility and good running skills. We saw that in his high school tape. Over the years weve had him play tailback for us in the spring, and he's probably carried a couple in a game.

On balancing the desire to get the ball to A.J. Green relative to the turnover ratio:

You have to throw the ball. If you are going to get it to A.J. you have to throw it, thats for sure. Every time you throw it there is a risk of a pick, and every time you run in there is a risk of a fumble. You just have to play ball and keep working on the fundamentals of ball security and the fundamentals of making good decisions and good throws. The better we block, run block and pass block, the better chance we have of not having turnovers. It does all work together but we can't say lets not throw it because we could throw a pick. We just have to play. Turnover ratios are important; what's happened in the past I dont think is very important at all. The turnover ratio that is most crucial is what happened in this game. I'm more concerned about the turnover ratio Saturday than I am what weve had to this point, so hopefully we'll get that thing turned around and be in a whole lot better shape.

Fullback Fred Munzenmaier:

On scoring touchdowns on each of the first three carries in his career and that streak coming to an end with multiple rushing attempts against Arizona State:

It was fun having a little streak going, but I was glad to get several carries the other night. Contributing is more important to me than getting the ball once in a while on the one-yard line, so I felt good to be able to help out more in those key situations.