Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekly Press Conference

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

“This Kentucky team is hot. They are very talented and well-coached. Coach (Rich) Brooks has done a fantastic job with them. It’s a big game for us, no doubt. It’s our last game between the hedges for 2009. It’s senior day. It means a lot to me, it means a lot to the seniors and I think it means a lot to their underclassmen to play the best they could possibly play to let these seniors leave our field with a great memory.

It’s going to be good memories no matter what because the pregame ceremony is awesome. I love how we line the field with our underclassmen, and the seniors get to run through them and see the faces of their teammates and kind of have the flashbacks of all the great memories with their teammates. At the end of the gauntlet are their families waiting on them proudly, and I get to be right in the middle of it. I get to take the picture with the family. I get to watch the players hand their ball to one of their family members. It’s a proud moment, no doubt. It’s an emotional moment, and I enjoy it quite a bit. I’m sure it’s going to be good.

I also want to say to any of the fans who are reading this, please get there on time to honor those guys. There is nothing like hearing the crowd roar one more time when their name gets called. It makes for a great ceremony when the fans are ready to go. That will be within just a few minutes after pregame warmup, so if y’all could get there that would be awesome.”

On finishing second in the SEC East…

“I think the guys would take great pride at this point finishing second in the Eastern division. It’s certainly something we can obtain and something we can control. I think that is meaningful. I definitely will mention it to them. I think I might have already mentioned it to them Sunday; I’m not certain if I did or not. That’s certainly one thing I would bring up to their attention for some motivation.”

On Washaun Ealey’s pass blocking…

“He’s improving. I’m really not trying to beat him down anyway, but when you ask the question how things are going, I want to obviously say that he is progressing in that area, but I also want to make a strong point how important that job is. Some young guys want to fancy themselves as a running specialist and the passing is not quite as important or the route-running is not quite as important, but it really is important. He’s gotten better no doubt about it."

"While we’re talking about pass protection, our first touchdown of the game Caleb King threw a beautiful block that really set up the opportunity for Joe (Cox) to have the pump fake and still have time to throw the ball. Just to give you an example of why I emphasize it so much, if Caleb doesn’t do the job he does on that play, we don’t score and maybe we don’t win the game. That’s how crucial it is, but he is coming right along. Every time we have blitz pickup on Tuesday and Wednesday we get our scout teamers to go as hard as they can go and we make sure Washaun is getting a good bit of that action. He’s definitely getting better.”

On whether Caleb King’s improvement in pass blocking served as a template for Washaun Ealey…

“They are going to get it. If a guy wants to get it, he’ll get it. And if a guy wants to play, he’ll get it. I don’t see any issue at all with him not wanting to get better at it, but it’s a skill. It’s not an easy one. You’re out there in space with the linebacker who is sometimes big enough like right now I’m talking about 260 pound linebackers. They are big enough to run you over, but they are also agile enough to make you miss and you’re out there with a lot of space."

"You have to learn to take away the inside rush and if he does anything, he beats you outside, but we don’t want him to beat you but he’ll take the outside rush and you have to run him past the quarterback. Or if he decides he is going to try to run your little rear end over, you better be ready to hunker down and strike a blow, because good ones will lift a back out of his shoes and just plant him on the quarterback, so it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s something that they rarely do a lot of in high school and it’s just the one skill that usually holds a young man back from really getting a lot of playing time.”

On Georgia’s running game…

“I think when we made a change in the lineup up front it really helped us. We wanted Cordy (Glenn) at guard all year long, but Trinton Sturdivant got hurt again, so we had to move Cordy, who is a tremendous power guard run-game blocker, we felt like we needed to move him outside. Josh Davis wasn’t healthy yet. He was still coming off his shoulder surgery, so we were kind of figuring if we move Cordy out there we are going to be better at tackle."

"If we move him inside we are going to be better at guard, so finally once Josh came through with his health, we just decided to get him out there and see what he could do alongside of Chris Davis and put Cordy back at guard, leaving (Clint) Boling at tackle and Ben (Jones) has always been the center."

"That combination, I just think it clicked better. That group as a whole is playing better. They are communicating well. They have very few missed assignments, and they are blocking with some tenacity, which it takes. Sometimes it’s not the biggest man who blocks the best; it’s knowing what to do and where to put your hat, where to put your hands and fighting."

"Then I think our backs have matured too. I think they’ve learned to run the ball better. They’ve learned to see where these schemes are putting them, learning to press the line of scrimmage a little bit farther before they try to cut back and not give up on the front side of a run too quickly. All those little nuances that take time and experience are coming together and I hope it will continue."

"I will say this, these guys (Kentucky) are outstanding at stopping the run. There are some statistics of them maybe having some people running the ball against them relatively well, but most people that have hurt them running the ball have hurt them with the option game. The more traditional zone, power, sprint draw, the things that we do the most, they’ve been much more tougher and physical against those types of runs. It makes you want to put some option in, doesn’t it?"

Wide Receiver Israel Troupe

On addressing his limited amount of playing time throughout first part of the season…

“I kept my head up the whole time. I knew that sooner or later my chance would come around, so I went out and practiced hard every week and practice pays off.”

On his touchdown catch against Auburn…

“I just couldn’t believe it was coming to me actually. I just blocked everything out and just concentrated on the ball, and when I caught it and saw the end zone I was just like ‘get there as fast as I can.’ I kind of stumbled getting in there, but I made it.”

On having a big game against Auburn…

“I went out and worked hard everyday. I knew that one day, and you don’t want it to happen the way it did with A.J. (Green) going down, but I knew that one day my opportunity would come. It came, and I made the best of it.”

On his perspective looking forward for the rest of the season…

“I’m just trying to be level-headed and work hard like I do at practice. I’m not really worried about starting this week. We’ll see what happens when game day comes along, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get my snaps as the day goes along. We’re just working on preparing to beat a real good Kentucky team. We watched them on film. They are a real physical team. Their defense has played well and they actually held Auburn to less points than we did, so they are going to come out ready to play. We got to be on our ‘A’ game to play them this weekend.”

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