Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs held a two-hour practice Wednesday as they continue preparations for their upcoming SEC contest with Mississippi State.

Along with providing an update on practice Wednesday, coach Mark Richt announced a couple of Dawgs have left the team with intentions to transfer to another institution.

Derek Owens will transfer from Georgia,” said Richt. “Also, I had a young man walk in to my office prior to practice today and tell me he thinks he has fallen to far behind in the competition, and he would like to go to another school to get a fresh start and a better opportunity, that was Ken Malcome.”

Richt said dealing with student-athletes opting to leave the program comes with the territory of being a head coach.

“Generally, what happens is most everybody on the team was the best or one of the best players on their high school team, and they are used to playing,” said Richt. “Some guys are just better, and they play, and some guys have to compete to get playing time, and you have to learn how to do that. Some see that mountain too high and decide to go somewhere else, and that’s fine. I want our guys to have an opportunity to compete and to get an education. There’s value in fighting for your job and players have doubts sometimes. Some choose to fight and some move on. If Ken came back tomorrow and said ‘I lost my mind, I’ve decided to stay and compete here at Georgia, ‘I would give him a big hug and welcome him back.”

Malcome, a redshirt freshman running back from Decatur played in one game this year. Owens, a sophomore cornerback from Jacksonville had appeared in three games this season with two tackles.

When talked turned to practice, Richt said he saw some bright spots and praised the scout team for their efforts in helping the Dawgs get ready. In injury news, Richt said that junior split end Marlon Brown and junior linebacker Christian Robinson practiced Wednesday and are expected to see action Saturday and that sophomore offensive guard Chris Burnette did not practice but is making progress.

UGA leads the all-time series with MSU 16-6 including 9-2 in Athens. UGA has won the last eight meetings with MSU in games played “Between the Hedges.” MSU’s last win in Athens came in 1956 by a score of 19-7. The most recent matchup here was in 2006 when UGA won 27-24. UGA had a nine-game winning streak in the series until MSU posted a 24-12 win last year in Starkville.

MSU (2-2 overall, 0-2 SEC) opened the year with a 59-14 road win over Memphis and then lost a 41-34 thriller at Auburn. Third-ranked LSU spoiled the Dawgs home opener with a 19-6 decision. Thanks to strong special teams play that accounted for 14 points, MSU held off Louisiana Tech in overtime, 26-20 in Starkville last Saturday.

NOTE:

Malcome has reportedly reconsidered his decision to leave and may rejoin the team after meeting with coach Richt today.

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 3

FOOTBALL

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On Bruce Figgins…

We pretty much have a tight end body at fullback right now. We have a guy who can catch the ball and he knows what to do with it once it’s in his hands. It’s not like most fullbacks, who grew up just blocking with a catch here and there. He’s grown up with the ball in his hands, making receptions at tight end and we feel very comfortable releasing him out in the field and getting open. He’s done a great job with the ball in his hands, he’s picked up some pretty good yards.

On starting quick and scoring first in every game…

I think it comes down to our tempo in practice, how hard we’re practicing, how much extra time guys are putting in to study film and just executing better. The past few weeks we’ve definitely executed better when it comes to blocking, route running and things like that. We’ve just done a tremendous job at understanding the game plan and executing come game day.

On last year’s Mississippi State game…

We weren’t having the best start to the season last year. We weren’t on the right path and it was definitely a big upset for us, to feel like our chances of winning the SEC were slipping out of our hands last season. Right now we’re still 1-1, we feel like we’re still contenders in the East. This is a big game; all SEC games are big. They’re a very talented team offensively and defensively. They’re going to come out there and try to hit us. They’re 0-2 in the league and they’re wanting their first win. They’re hungry and we just have to go out there and match their intensity.

Tight End Orson Charles

On last year’s Mississippi State game…

I was very upset because I felt like we gave them the game. We had a couple of fumbles that we didn’t show early on this year and I’m very happy of that. We have a mature running back like Isaiah that can touch the ball thirty times and not have a fumble. Something I remember from that game was just being very disappointed because I walked off the field knowing that we should have won that game and I felt like I could have done something better in order for Georgia to win.

On the importance of winning this week…

We need to realize our dreams and hopes are still alive. Beating Ole Miss last week, we’ve just seen a lot more people smiling and we’re not used to seeing that right now. I want to keep that feeling. Me being a captain, I want to make sure my team is involved and keeps that feeling around.

On Georgia’s tight end’s role…

We understand our role. Against South Carolina, we didn’t catch a ball so we knew we had to dig down and block. There are certain games where our role is to block all game. If we win, when we win, I’ll be just as happy if I caught ten balls or a hundred passes. There is some time that will be open and Aaron will throw the ball and there is some time where we’ll just do what Coach Bobo says and execute that.

Linebacker Chase Vasser

On Mississippi State…

Mississippi State always plays us tough. It is a really physical team and we have to make sure that we play physical against them too. We need to focus on not backing down and to remember that if we get beat on one play, we need to forget about it and move on to the next one.

On Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf…

Chis Relf is a very athletic player and Mississippi State can do a lot with him. We have to make sure that we contain him and not let him get out in the open. If he gets out in the open, he has the ability make a lot of plays.

On if this is a must win game…

All SEC games are must wins. Last year they beat us and were really physical with us and we remember that. We want to go out there and do the same to them.

On the Georgia defense…

The defense has some momentum going into this week. We have gotten better each week and we want to make sure that we keep getting better. Everyday in practice, we need to get better, learn their offense and know how to line up so that we can execute our game play properly.”

Defensive End Abry Jones

On his improvement from last year to this year…

I think just having another year on the defense has made me better. I am trying to go out there and make plays for my teammates. I know that the defensive line is a big aspect to the type of defense that we are trying to have, so I am trying to put a lot of weight on my shoulders to go out there and play well.

On his numbers…

I think it’s everyone’s goal to put up some big numbers, but I like what I am doing right now. I like being first on the team in some categories, so I’d like to push my numbers up a little bit.

On Mississippi State’s offense…

Mississippi State has a great offense and I think they really utilize their star players well. I think Relf does a great job of running their offense and finding holes in the defense so that he can get the yards that he needs.

On defending against the Mississippi State offense…

We just have to take the coaching that our coaches give us and just do our job. We don’t have to be superheroes and do everyone else’s job. We need to contain their players and wrap him up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 2

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

On if last year's Mississippi State game was a tipping point with what all happened in that contest…

We had a penalty call back an interception that we had. We had a penalty called with Kris Durham catching a slant getting inside the 10 or something like that. We had the fumble. We had a lot of things happen. But they made their breaks too though. They had some things bad happen to them that could have been big plays for them too, so it wasn't like it didn't happen both ways. It was a frustrating day because it seemed like every time something really good happened to us that could have sparked us ended up with either a penalty or a turnover. We're talking about the Durham touchdown. We're talking about Washaun Ealey getting hit on the one-yard line after really a heck of a call by Mike Bobo. We had our tailback vertically hot down the middle of the field, which not many people do. We caught them in the right blitz. We executed perfect and gained 15 or 20 yards and then the ball spits out. They knocked the ball out. They did their job. They earned it certainly. It was a frustrating day. I'm not looking forward to another one like that.

On if last year's game carries over to this year…

For me it does personally. I don't know if the players are looking at it that way, but I do.

On what Michael Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera will face against Mississippi State…

It’s a big day for those guys. They are a very physical team. Most everybody who watches college football probably watched them play LSU on that one Thursday night. Most of the country got to see that game, and what I saw is what everybody else saw, two teams just having a bloody battle up front. LSU wasn’t trying to keep any secrets about what they were going to do. They just lined up mostly in the I-formation and just hammered the ball at them, and Mississippi State was holding up pretty darn well I thought. You could just see all their players and how physical they were in that game.

We definitely have one of those games where we better roll up our sleeves and get after it. Thankfully I think we’ve played more physical to this point than we did a year ago. It always comes down to your defensive front first. Are you creating some kind of havoc up front? If the D-linemen get moved, there aren’t many linebackers in the country who are going to stand a big 300-pound lineman on them and really come off of that block and make a play. Usually the D-line has to do such a good job of holding that line that these guys have a hard time coming off. If a guy comes off, usually you double-team a lineman and you work up to a linebacker when you run a lot of the combination blocking. If one lineman can handle our down guy, and then another one can freely get up on a linebacker, we have problems no matter who the linebackers are.

The big key is going to be will we free those guys up to make some hits. Then when it does come and there’s a lead blocker on them, that they do have to fit properly and try to get things to bounce outside. That’s what you hope to do with a team like this. If they start splitting you vertically, you are in trouble. Your safeties are trying to make tackles and it’s going to be a long day.

On the injuries of Damian Swann, Marlon Brown, Chris Burnette and Chris Sanders…

Swann, I would say right now is doubtful. Marlon, we are hopeful. Marlon actually got a little work yesterday. Chris Burnette, we are hopeful there too. We are not counting him out, more hopeful that a week ago. Chris Sanders is going to end up having some season-ending surgery on his shoulder in the next week or two.

On Garrison Smith…

I like how Garrison has done. I really like Garrison period. He's a guy that has a great attitude, great personality. He's always got a smile on his face and works real hard. It's fun to start seeing him make some plays and get excited and create more depth upfront. He's a very quick defensive lineman. He's very powerful. He's got great positional.

On what has been different for Bacarri Rambo this year aiding his success with interceptions…

He's had opportunities. The ball has got to come your way. He's caught them all but one. I think there was one against South Carolina that he could have got that might have been a big difference in that game. He's been making the play when it comes to him. He's been benefiting from the defensive line or linebackers pressuring the quarterback to force bad throws. He had a great spring. I think he's totally recovered from his injury that he had at the Auburn game early in his career. He's got a great focus. He had a great camp, and he knew all along he wasn't going to play game one but he didn't mope or cry, he worked. I think he's an outstanding player. We got a pretty good perimeter right now in my opinion.

On updates of the status of Kolton Houston and Derek Owens…

Nothing new to report on Kolton. On Derek, I hope to have some information by the end of the day to be able to address that.

On assessing the team a third of the way into the season on what he is proud of and disappointed with…

I'm most proud of how hard they are playing, how much they are enjoying the game, how much they are enjoying each other and how hard they are competing. I really like that. I like what we are doing with the no huddle. We are seeing the benefits of it, and to just run and pass the ball as well as we did last week. I think we are still a very balanced football team but now with a different pace and a different tempo, which I think is very good. I like the energy that the young players have been bringing to this season.

There have been some key freshmen and redshirt freshmen doing something big things for us. I like that. I'm not really disappointed. I get disappointed when guys don't try hard. I get disappointed when guys don't act right. I don't get disappointed in the guys if they don't execute. You're not happy about it. If he doesn't execute because he's careless, because he doesn't study the game or because he’s not trying hard enough, I'll get mad at those kind of things.

We've got to not give up some of these big plays that we've been giving up. The turnovers against South Carolina were just monstrous. The fake punt was big. The special teams issues – sometimes you have issues that don't cost you the game or don't cost you a touchdown, but we've had some pretty big ones that have cost us. We've got to get better at that.

On if Texas A&M being in the SEC will open up recruiting in the state of Texas more…

Definitely to the SEC in general, but I would think more so to the Western Division because of the proximity of the teams on that side or that area of the country. But not to say it wouldn’t help the Eastern Division teams to get into Texas too. We still like our state a lot. We have no complaints about the amount of talent based in our own state. There'll come a time when there will be some more efforts to get into Texas I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 1

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

I want to talk to our crowd and our fans and want to educate our fans just a little bit. We need a lot of crowd noise. I know the fans know that part, but when teams no-huddle some times you are cheering and you might not be cheering at the right time. You might get exhausted, so I want to talk a little bit about what we hope will happen in the game. Chris Relf, their quarterback, gets into his cadence and then he looks for the ball and it doesn’t come and then he looks to the sideline. When he looks to the sideline, that’s when we need the fans to go berserk, because that’s when they are going to try to communicate to the line what they’re going to do. So we don’t want them to be able to communicate well. We want them to have trouble hearing each other. We want offensive linemen to jump offsides. So UGA fan base, that’s the time to go crazy. When the quarterback looks to the sideline after he starts his cadence, he’ll look to the sideline and that’s when you go crazy and make all kind of noise. Of course if they are down on the goal line, do that every play every moment.

Mississippi State, they are an extremely talented and physical football team. Of course they beat us a year ago. They did a great job against us. They really haven’t lost a lot of people. They have eight starters back on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, they do spread the field, but they spread the field to run it maybe as much as they spread it to throw it. They are very balanced. Chris Relf actually has more rushing attempts than anyone on their team. Ballard has the most yards, but Relf is definitely a dual threat quarterback, a guy who can run well and a guy who can throw well. He’s an outstanding player, big guy, really a good player. We caught him last year just when he was getting going and now he’s really become a dangerous player.

Vick Ballard, their running back, is a very physical runner. We think he has a lot of ability to run downhill and run through people and break tackles. He does have good speed, but we think his greatest attribute is his balance and his power. Perkins has had 30 rushing attempts, and he has some speed to get on the edge.

At receiver, their No. 1 guy is Chad Bumphis. He’s mostly a slot receiver, and he’s leading their team with receptions right now. The other outside receiver is Arceto Clark, an extremely physical guy. He’s not huge but he will come and crack linebackers and does a very good job with that. Their receivers are a very integral part of their running game too because of how they block.

Offensive line-wise they have had some issues with injuries. They’ve been mixing and matching a little bit. We think Quentin Saulsberry is they guy who is most solid up there right now, but they’re all talented and have ability. I’m not sure how they are going to line up. I’m not even sure if they know how they’re going to line up on Saturday. From what I understand they are going to try some things out today in practice and try to make a determination on what to do there.

Defensively they are still a pretty heavy-blitz team. They’ll probably blitz at least half the time. They have two interior defensive linemen, Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox. We think they are really special players. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for our guards to handle these guys. They normally don’t line up head-up on the center much. They’ll do that from time-to-time, but it’s going to be a challenge for our inside three to handle those guys. They are really outstanding in that area.

Their linebacking corps, Cameron Lawrence and Brandon Wilson have 33 and 32 tackles. They are the second and third leading tacklers on the team. I think Brandon Maye started out the season as a starter ahead of Wilson, but Wilson, as of late, has come in and played a lot and has played extremely well in our opinion. Their entire defensive backfield is back from a year ago. They have two outstanding corners in Johnthan Banks and Corey Broomfield. Banks is a guy who already has three interceptions and is the big playmaker for them. He has range and he does a good job. Their leading tackler is Charles Mitchell, a safety. He’s a very physical guy. The corners get involved a lot in their run game too. They like to blitz their corners, they like to let their corners support the run at times. They’ll roll their coverage where safeties get down in the running game, but they’ll roll the perimeters where the corners will become the main support for the run, so a very physical bunch of guys there.

As far as their specialists, their placekicker who has the most reps from what we’re seeing is Brian Egan. Most of his kicks are returnable. He is left-footed so we have to be aware of where that ball is going to end up coming off the left side. Their punter, Baker Swedenburg, is averaging 41 yards per punt and 38 net, which I think is around fifth or sixth in the league. People are only averaging 2.3 in return so they are doing a great job of covering those kicks. They do have twin safeties back there on the kickoff return. We think both of them are dangerous and both of them are capable. Their punt returner is Banks, the corner I mentioned earlier. I believe either he or Bumphis in the last ballgame kind of bobbled one, picked it up and ended up scoring their first touchdown of the game. As we all know, we’ve had our issues with the punt return, so we have a challenge there too.

We know it’s going to be a heck of a ballgame. We’re glad to be home between the hedges, and we’re looking forward to everybody being there early.

On Georgia’s strategy at the end of the first half against Ole Miss…

We were very aware of what was going on. We knew how much time was left. We knew that we were pretty much having our way with them offensively. We had momentum. Our defense got a stop and we were trying to score. We wanted more points, and we felt like we could move the ball against them. The first pass was a screen, which is usually a pretty high percentage play. Their linebacker actually tackled the back, which I’ve never seen an official call that one yet, but really they’re not supposed to do that. That’s what happened on the first one. The second one we actually took a shot downfield and we had the coverage we wanted, but we just didn’t place the ball where it should have been. The third one was a run-pass option.

If they had stayed in the two-deep look, we would have run the ball in that situation. If they came up and played the single safety look, which they did, we checked to the slant in this case, which was wide open for a first down and probably 15 or 20 yards. Then we dropped the ball. When you are trying to score at the end of the half, if you run it three times you run out of time. You are not going to score. If you throw it you have a chance to save the clock and get a first down. If we had caught that ball and gotten a first down, we would have all been excited about it. After we end up punting and they scored, I slammed my headset. I wasn’t happy about it and we certainly could have said we are going to get the ball afterwards and have a good lead. I can’t tell you what I would do next time around because I don’t know. It just depends on how the game is going and what I think we might need to win the game or if I think we can effectively move the ball. They are good decisions when we execute, that’s the reality of it.

On in the involvement of tight ends in Georgia’s offense…

You saw it this past week. Like I’ve said over and over again, there are very few passing plays that we have that will be directed to any one guy. If you throw a screen it’s going to that guy, quick screens and things of that nature. There are some plays where the tight end is the primary receiver but the coverage a lot of times will dictate who is going to get the ball. Sometimes an accurate pass or an inaccurate pass makes the difference. Sometimes the protection might break down when you have a tight end wide open on that particular play and that might be the reason why the tight ends don’t get it.

We have a system that our tight ends play a lot and our tight ends catch a lot of balls. I think Orson Charles is either second or third in the nation of all tight ends in the country as far as the amount of catches and yards. We are using our tight ends pretty well compared to everybody else in the country. They are a big part of what we do. I don’t know if we’ve ever had a set this year where we didn’t have at least one tight end in the game. A lot of people go three receivers and two backs and not even have a tight end in the game. We hardly ever snap the ball without a tight end or two in the game.

On whether Georgia is spending extra time this week on special teams…

We’re taking some extra time, meeting and field time, yesterday and today and maybe even Thursday we’ll do a little bit of that too. We just have to make sure we have the right people on it and we are doing things the way we need to be doing them.

On opponents using the rugby style punt…

You can’t tell them how to punt it. If they want to rugby style kick it, they can do it. It’s one of the biggest changes in college football over the last five or 10 years. It’s very difficult to field those punts. There are two things that are difficult. One is it’s usually low and hot. It’s going fast, and once it hits the ground you don’t know how it might bounce. That’s a little dangerous. The other thing is the way they protect. They’ll have two or three guys in front of the punter. They’ll have a front line of guys who might line up in all kinds of different ways, but mostly they’ll have a shield of three guys right at the punt. As he’s punting right behind it, they’re the last line of defense, but if you go around it, he’s up in the pocket and he punts it. If you try to go through them, they are usually big men so it’s a good scheme.

What it allows the front line guys to do is not sit there all day and protect. They will try to redirect a guy or knock him off his track to make it a little bit tougher to get to the punter, but then they are gone. They don’t sit there and block until the guy is punted and then release. So they have two, three, four, five, maybe six guys running down there full speed covering these kicks. Not only is that punt a hot ball to catch and field, but you are also dealing with a lot of guys running down the field at you instead of maybe just two gunners running down there. It’s an outstanding scheme, do doubt.

Even last year’s Ole Miss team, their punter is one of the finest traditional punters in the country, and most of his punting was in a traditional manner coming into this ballgame. If they were at midfield he might do some rugby kicks, but really hadn’t shown it with a lot of grass; he was just booming them. This game, he did a little bit more of the rugby style, which was a little bit of a surprise to us. They did a good job of that. Of course Mississippi State is mostly a traditional punter, not to say he couldn’t start rugbying either, so we’ll have to be more prepared for that.

On the play where Bruce Figgins catches the ball out of the backfield…

That play that Bruce has been catching is called 344 fullback. He's the fullback, and the fullback is the primary guy. We actually called the play – I don’t know if you remember but Orson Charles caught a ball – You got the fullback out in the flat and then you got Orson running a deeper route and then you got a receiver that's clearing it out if there is a receiver there. Sometimes we do it the backside of a twins to the left. Sometimes we just run it to the open side. But the number one guy is the fullback and the number two guy is the tight end. Both those guys get the ball quite often.

What happens is that people are in man coverage you might be in I-formation and your tight end is being covered man-to-man, and usually an inside linebacker is covering your fullback. When you come downhill as we do running the power play where Bruce takes an angle to block the defensive end, that linebacker isn't 100-percent sure if it’s a run or pass right away by the track of the fullback. When he ends up splitting out into the flats that guy is a little bit behind normally.

Also, when the release of the tight end goes vertical and he tries to get through sometimes he just gets picked off, gets knocked around or has to redirect to chase. So he's in a chasing position. Sometimes they just flat out miss him. The other day he was wide open and no one was even covering him, but Aaron Murray didn't quite drop it in to him on a blitz. It's a pretty effective play, and it's one that is so simple sometimes that you don’t call it enough. I'm glad that Mike Bobo has called it a good bit and we've had a lot of success with it. We hit the tight end on the very same play when Orson caught the touchdown pass. That was the very same play with the fullback in the flat and him in the back corner of the end zone.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crowell & Rambo Honored

FOOTBALL

Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell and free safety Bacarri Rambo have been awarded weekly honors following their performances during the win at Ole Miss over the weekend.

Crowell was named Southeastern Conference Freshman Of the Week for the second time this season while Rambo was named the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Defensive Back of the Week.

Crowell, a 5-11, 215-pound native of Columbus finished with a pair of career highs with 30 carries for 147 yards rushing. This was his second game with more than 100 yards after tallying 118 versus #12 South Carolina. Crowell’s 30 attempts were the most for a Dawg since Knowshon Moreno had 33 carries in 2007.

Through four games, Crowell is averaging 102.8 yards a game, which tops all freshmen in the league (second in the nation for freshmen) and is tied for fourth overall in the SEC. This is the second time Crowell has garnered this honor during the 2011 season.

Rambo, a 6-0, 218-pound native of Donalsonville grabbed a pair of interceptions and had four tackles (all solo) to pace the Dawg defense against the Rebels. He is now the team’s active leader with nine interceptions, including a team-high four this year.

Rambo is leading the NCAA in picks per game, averaging 1.33 per contest after snagging four through three games.

Tennessee Kickoff Set

FOOTBALL

The Saturday, October 8th, SEC football game between Georgia and Tennessee in Knoxville will kick off at 7:00 p.m. and be televised by one of the following ESPN platforms: ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.

The televising network will be determined after the games of this coming weekend have been played.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dawgs Get Ready for Bulldogs

FOOTBALL

The Georgia football team continues Southeastern Conference play this weekend as the Mississippi State Bulldogs come to Sanford Stadium.

Speaking on his weekly teleconference, coach Mark Richt said, “I think this is going to be a really physical game. Mississippi State can line up and play physical football with anyone in America. They play that way in all three phases of the game. They run a spread offense, but spread the ball to run as much as they spread the ball to throw. They just play tough football.”

Georgia is looking for its second Southeastern Conference win, after defeating Ole Miss 27-13 last weekend. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2 SEC) is coming off a 26-20, overtime victory over Louisiana Tech and is still looking for its first league win.

“Getting a win would be great,” added Richt. “It would put us over .500 on the year and in SEC play. If we do come away with the win, I know it will be a hard earned one. These guys are good. Their losses are to two very good teams in Auburn and LSU, so its not like they have had any easy games.”

Richt is hopeful that Christian Robinson might return to the lineup against Mississippi State, providing a boost to the defense. He is also excited about what he sees in the run game.

“I think that there are times where we blocked and our guys ran well,” continued Richt. “There were also times that we got some tough yards when we didn’t block so well. There are not going to be many wide-open spaces in the SEC, so you have to learn to get the tough yards and take advantage of the runs that get you to the safeties.”

Top 25–Week 5

FOOTBALL

 

Team

Record

Opponent

1.

Alabama

4 - 0

Florida

2.

LSU

4 - 0

Kentucky

3.

Nebraska

4 - 0

Wisconsin

4.

Oklahoma State

4 - 0

OFF

5.

Wisconsin

4 - 0

Nebraska

6.

South Carolina

4 - 0

Auburn

7.

Florida

4 - 0

Alabama

8.

South Florida

4 - 0

Pittsburgh

9.

Virginia Tech

4 - 0

Clemson

10.

Clemson

4 - 0

Virginia Tech

11.

Georgia Tech

4 - 0

North Carolina State

12.

Michigan

4 - 0

Minnesota

13.

Illinois

4 - 0

Northwestern

14.

Houston

4 - 0

UTEP

15.

Oklahoma

3 - 0

Ball State

16.

Boise State

3 - 0

Nevada

17.

Stanford

3 - 0

UCLA

18.

Texas

3 - 0

Iowa State

19.

Baylor

3 - 0

Kansas State

20.

Iowa State

3 - 0

Texas

21.

Kansas State

3 - 0

Baylor

22.

Texas Tech

3 - 0

Kansas

23.

Arkansas

3 - 1

Texas A&M

24.

Penn State

3 - 1

Indiana

25.

Oregon

3 - 1

Off

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dawgs Win 27-13

FOOTBALL

Freshman RB Isaiah Crowell rushed for a career-high 147 yards on a career-high 30 carries versus the Rebels. This was his second game over 100 yards after racking up 118 on #12 South Carolina. The 30 attempts was the most by a Dawg since Knowshon Moreno had 33 vs. Florida in 2007. Today, Georgia had a season-high 56 rushing attempts, the second most under Mark Richt (the most was 57 in the 51-7 rout of Ga. Tech in 2002). The Dawgs tallied 207 yards on the ground while the Rebels were limited to 34 yards on 26 carries.

Georgia scored on a 99-yard, eight-play drive that took 4:00 to give the Dawgs a 17-0 lead in the second quarter. TE Orson Charles hauled in a two-yard touchdown from redshirt sophomore QB Aaron Murray to give Georgia the longest drive in the SEC this season. This is the longest scoring drive for Georgia since the Dawgs had a 99-yard touchdown drive versus Central Michigan in 2008.

Senior PK Blair Walsh connected on a 36-yard field goal in the opening quarter to give the Dawgs a 3-0 edge. However, he had a pair misses from more than 40 yarder after going wide from 46 in the fourth period and 48 yards in the third quarter. Walsh was 14-for-17 from 40 to 49 yards coming into the game. In the fourth quarter, he missed a 35-yarder and then made a 43-yarder. For his career, he is 60-for-78. This season, Walsh is 5-for-10.

Murray made a one-yard scoring plunge late in the first quarter. Murray’s second rushing touchdown of the season came at the end of a seven-play, 53-yard drive that lasted 3:27. Murray also completed the longest pass of his career after connecting on a 69-yard strike to freshman Malcom Mitchell. His previous longest was a 66-yard touchdown to senior Kris Durham versus Georgia Tech in 2010.

Murray finished the day 17-for-26 for 268 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. Following his first touchdown pass to Charles, Murray connected with senior TE Aron White for a 35-yard touchdown pass at the 2:38 mark in the second quarter.

Junior FS Bacarri Rambo had his team-leading third interception of the year at the 4:00 mark in the second quarter. Rambo returned the pick 26 yards and the Dawgs scored three plays later. Rambo has now had at least one pick in all three games he has played in this season. Georgia has converted eight turnovers this season in 24 points. Rambo added another interception, team-leading fourth late in the fourth quarter. Georgia just about ran out the clock with a 27-13 lead under a minute. Rambo becomes the first Dawg to have a two-interception day since Darryl Gamble tied an NCAA record with two INT-returns for a TD by a linebacker against LSU in 2008. Murray bounced a pass off Charles and Ole Miss intercepted it early in the second quarter. The Rebels were unable to score and punted four plays later. Opponents have scored 28 points off of six Dawg miscues.

Georgia posted a 27-13 road win for its ninth straight victory over the Rebels in the series. Georgia now leads the series 31-12-1 including 10-5 in Oxford. The Dawgs are 35-10 in an opponent’s home stadium.

In a matchup of the two top punters in the SEC and among the best in the country, Dawg senior Drew Butler averaged 55.2 yards in his four punts. That average ranks in a tie for third best in school history, matching what he did against Arkansas in 2009. Ole Miss punter Tyler Campbell punted nine times for 50.8 yards today.

Ole Miss’ Nickolas Brassell had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter. The last time an opponent ran a punt back for a touchdown was Arkansas’ Marvin Jackson’s 74-yard return during the 2001 season.

Junior ILB Mike Gilliard led the Dawg defense with seven tackles while freshman ILB Amarlo Herrera added six.

Junior Shawn Williams returned to his starting spot at SS after starting at ILB versus Coastal Carolina last week. Freshman Amarlo Herrera made his second career start at ILB. Also, junior Sanders Commings returned to CB after getting the nod at SS last week. On offense, sophomore Kenarious Gates returned to action at RG after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. Also of note, freshman receiver Chris Conley played for the first time in his career during the second quarter.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday are junior TE Orson Charles, redshirt sophomore QB Aaron Murray, senior DE Abry Jones and junior SS Shawn Williams.

Up next, the Dawgs (2-2, 1-1 SEC) return home to host Mississippi State (1-2, 0-2 SEC) in Sanford Stadium. FOX Sports South will televise it at 12 noon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 3

FOOTBALL

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the challenges of going on the road…

The biggest challenge is the communication, especially in the no-huddle offense, being able to communicate to the receivers, the line and the running backs and making sure everyone is on the same page. Our guys have done a great job all camp and all summer learning the signals and understanding them. I feel comfortable just giving them a signal and they know what’s going on; I don’t have to yell to them. We just have to work on that a little more this week, especially with the younger guys who don’t know what it’s like to be in that kind of environment, but I think we have enough veteran guys that we’ll make sure they get through the week.

On the loudest crowd he’s faced…

South Carolina my freshman year was pretty loud, and they stayed loud the entire game. Once you get going in the rhythm of the game and you start moving the ball, the crowd noise goes down a little bit, so we just have to execute and that will help out with the crowd noise.

On deciding between making the plays and getting rid of the ball…

It’s hard. You always want to make the play, you always want to get the completion or if nothing is there, you want to get up and run. You have to be smart, sometimes you have to throw the ball away, get down or take a sack. You never want to do that, but at the end of the day it’s the smarter play that matters most.

Tight End Aron White

On achieving All-State Good Works team…

I’m extremely honored to be a part of such an elite group of guys. (All-State) only choose eleven football players in the nation. I’ve very honored and blessed to be a part of that group.

On community service…

Coach Richt has done a great job of giving us ample opportunities to give back. That’s something that he believes in a lot and I think it reflects in a lot of the activities of my teammates and myself. It’s really important to give back when you do have things or when you are blessed with a position where people look up to you. When I was younger, there were people who came by and spoke to me and it meant a lot to me and really resonated. I took something from it. You never know how much someone is really going to take from that. Setting a good example for young people means the world to me.

On communicating on the line….

We have to do a really good job of communicating. It’s definitely a whole lot more complex than people at face value may realize, especially when people are shifting around. We are a very big part of the line and the blocking scheme. You’ve got to step up and do maybe a little more than your asked to do. It’s definitely something we take very seriously to work together on the line.

Safety Bacarri Rambo

On getting ready for Ole Miss…

We still have a chance to win the SEC East. We know we should have won at least one of the games we lost so we have a lot of frustration built up. We’re taking this game against Ole Miss as a business trip. We’re ready to go and focused on getting the win.

On the competition in the SEC each week…

We’re alert every week because you never know what is going to happen in this conference. You get a team’s best every week in the SEC. You can’t underestimate anyone in the SEC. You have bring your “A” game every week because you never know what is going to happen.

On leading the team in tackles last week…

I don’t pay too much attention to that. I am focused on running to the ball and making a play. I go out there and do my job. Sometimes the defensive scheme is set up for safeties to make tackles. We play defense to make tackles. The linebackers don’t have to make all the tackles. There are two linebackers, which means nine more guys have to be tackled by someone.

Linebacker Michael Gilliard

On playing linebacker…

I’ve spent this whole month since the season started learning the inside linebacker position. We’ve had some injuries so I have just tried to step my game up and prove to everyone that I can go out there and play. I am continuing to do that now by watching more film and studying the playbook more.

On teammate Shawn Williams…

Shawn is a football player. For him to make the transition from safety to linebacker shows that he is a football player. Not everyone can do that. He asked me a few questions here and there but the majority of the things he figured out on his own.

On the mental approach to playing Ole Miss…

The mental approach is still the same, especially since this is a SEC game. Both teams want the win to improve to 2-2. We’re going to do our best to go out there as a team, play assignment football and get the W.

On the importance of the win last week…

Last week’s win helped us out a lot. We needed that win. It gave us confidence and motivation that we can go out there and make the plays we need to make to win the game.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs held a two-hour practice Wednesday in preparation for their upcoming SEC road contest with Ole Miss.

Coach Mark Richt said the team has improved the last two days.

“It was hot out there today, and the guys pushed through it, and we got a lot accomplished and are on the right track,” said Richt. “We’ll look at the film and see what we’ll keep in the game plan and what we’ll throw away.”

Georgia (1-2, 0-1 SEC) faces the Rebels for the first time since 2007, a 45-17 Dawg victory in Athens. Saturday will mark Georgia’s first visit to Oxford since 2006 when the Dawgs edged Ole Miss 14-9. Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1 SEC) is coming off a 30-7 defeat to Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Rebels opened the year with a 14-13 loss to BYU in Oxford and then bounced back with a 42-24 decision over Southern Illinois.

Already this season, Georgia has seen an array of players contribute in a couple of different spots in the lineup. On defense, junior Sanders Commings has played safety and cornerback; junior Shawn Williams has lined up at safety and linebacker; junior Cornelius Washington has played linebacker and rushed the passer; and now freshman Ramik Wilson is getting action at outside and inside linebacker. Richt said it’s nice to have that luxury.

“We’ve got some pretty versatile guys on defense like Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith and then on offense, guys like Bruce Figgins can play fullback and tight end too.”

Boykin and Smith are special teams standouts as returners and have seen action on offense in their career too. Boykin has 450 all-purpose yards this season. He has played 166 snaps on defense, 19 on special teams and 13 on offense.

Meanwhile on the offensive line, Georgia has a veteran starting group but not a lot of experienced depth. On Wednesday, redshirt sophomore Chris Burnette “tweaked his knee,” according to Richt.

“The same thing happened last spring, and he missed a couple of days and then practiced so we’ll see what happens if there’s no swelling,” said Richt.

Sophomore Kenarious Gates finished practiced in Burnette’s spot, and Richt said he hopes to have them both available Saturday.

White Surprised By Richt

FOOTBALL

DSC_6881A look of shock overcame Aron White’s face. What was supposed to be a lunch with a select group of fifth graders from Barrow Elementary became a surprise announcement from coach Mark Richt that the tight end was one of 11 Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team.

“I was definitely caught off guard, but at the same time I was just so humbled and honored to be a part of the Good Works team,” White said. “I am very proud and this will probably be one of the most distinguished awards that I will ever receive.”

White was told that he would be eating lunch with kids who were named Student of the Month in their respective classes. What he didn’t know was that the kids were also in on the secret.

“Coming in here, I was really shocked,” White said. “Coach Richt came down and gave his announcement, and even the kids knew and they didn’t tell me. They even made a banner for me.

“I was kind of mad at them,” White joked. “I didn’t talk to them for a while, but we made up in the end. They are a great group of kids. It was a lot of fun to eat with them.”

Throughout his career at Georgia, White has been an active member of the community. The fifth-year senior spends some of his off time visiting Camps Sunshine and Kudzu, participating in the MLK Day of Service, assisting with Habitat for Humanity, seeing patients at Egleston Children's Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital, playing in the Dawgs Battling Breast Cancer Golf Tournament and talking with local youth at elementary schools and the Boys & Girls Club.

“My parents always taught me to give back,” White said. “They taught me that I’m just the same as anyone else. When you are blessed with stuff, it is important to give to those less fortunate. I think it is important to give back, so I try to give my best and give back to the community.”

With this mindset, the Columbia, Missouri, native said that interacting with young people is one of his favorite ways to give back.

“It is very rewarding in just how excited they get when you walk in and read them a book that their teacher has read to them 20 times,” White said. “Just the fact that you are reading it makes them get excited, and that definitely makes you feel good. It is probably the biggest highlight I have had as far as doing community service because you see right there it is an immediate gratification of what you are doing.”
White’s time and dedication off the field helped make him the 13th Georgia football player selected to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the most of any school in the nation. It also marks the seventh player under Richt to receive the honor since his arrival in Athens in 2001.

“I think it speaks volumes for Coach Richt,” White said. “He definitely does a good job encouraging us to do community service. It is something that he holds near and dear to his heart, and it is reflected in our actions. It is something that we embrace and run with, and I feel that we do a good job getting out and trying to stay involved in the community.”

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 2

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

On John Jenkins…

I think he's done well. I think he's in good shape now. I think he's still learning to play a little bit lower. He's still learning to play with the use of his hands a little bit better, but he is effective in what he's been doing. We did get him some playing time at end with DeAngelo Tyson being hurt last week and part of the reason is because of the condition he's in and part of the reason is that Kwame Geathers is doing very well also. We think Kwame and John are both being productive. Abry Jones has been very productive. DeAngelo has been very productive. Garrison Smith got some good quality playing time, and Garrison is doing well. Our 'D' line is playing pretty stout. Our biggest issue has been being able to generate a lot of pass rush pressure with just a four man rush. That's still a concern for us, but we have got pressure on the quarterback through blitz packages and things of that nature. We've lost contain too often. If you run certain stuff and have your outside guys go in and your inside guys go out or you're stunting or you're twisting or whatever you want to call it up front, sometimes our guys are having a hard time getting off of the offensive linemen to actually contain. Some guys are getting away with stuff as far as holding inside I think, but I'm not complaining about the officiating. Just a statement that its part of the reason. I think those guys are doing a good job overall.

On the best way of gauging how a defensive line is performing…

Really and truly it's watching film and just seeing what they are doing. Are they doing their job? Are they creating some penetration into the line of scrimmage? Are they forcing linemen to stay on them a little bit longer and not get up on a linebacker? Then all of a sudden your linebackers are making some free hits inside the box and things of that nature. You watch the film and if you got a contain rush from the outside and they push the pocket in the quarterback's face and he's uncomfortable because he can't see or he can't follow through well and he feels their presence and he doesn't throw it as well or maybe throws it sooner than he wants to. Those things are so hard to put down on paper as far as the stats are concerned. Certainly, you would like to see a guy make a tackle in the backfield or sack a quarterback and all that. But I remember Johnathan Sullivan having one of his best years. His sophomore year he had all kinds of stats, and the next year, he didn't get the stats but I think the Saints traded up to get him with the eighth [sixth] pick of the draft because of how he played. Those guys are hard to put stats on them and say whether they are doing great or not.

On the status of DeAngelo Tyson and Kenarious Gates this week…

We are very hopeful that DeAngelo Tyson will be back. I can't remember exactly, but I think we are hoping for him to get a little scout team work today if I'm not mistaken. He won't do the inside drill and the 11-on-11 stuff. I think that's where he is at today. Gates we are hoping to get a little scout team work today. I don't think we are ready to get into the other action, and where he'll plug in is a good question. We always try to get him some reps at guard and at tackle. If he was 100-percent healthy and something happened to one of our tackles, he'd be the guy that would probably play tackle first. Fortunately for us, he is a very sharp guy and moving him around a little bit doesn't blow him up. He could end up at guard or tackle.

On how big it was for the defense to get the shutout…

I think a shutout is big. Anytime you get a goose egg it makes everybody feel like they did a good job. I’m not sure but they might not have even crossed the 50. Again, shutouts have a lot to do with defense for sure but it also means your offense did a good job too. It means they didn't have a turnover deep in territory. It means they didn't have a turnover that caused a touchdown or a special teams play didn't cause a touchdown or really bad field position. They were having to drive the long field the entire time, and our defense did a good job of holding them there. I'm sure it gave them more confidence. I'm sure that it also gave more confidence to the young men that have played a lot of scrimmage downs. A lot of times when you have a shutout going you are a little reluctant to pull your defensive guys out if you are fighting for a shutout. You put young guys in there and you hope they don't make a bone-headed mistake that will cost you the shutout, cost some points. Our young guys actually did a nice job, so all those things were very positive.

Let me just back up a little bit on the defense. You hate to go back and open up the wounds of the South Carolina game, but the mistakes that were made in that game cost a lot of points. At least directly responsible for 21, and getting the ball on the five-yard line on another turnover – basically 28 points were hard to pin on the defense. Twenty-one they weren't on the field. The one time on the five, they could have forced a field goal, so you could say four points was on those cats. But they had a chance if everything went well offensively and special teams wise they might have held South Carolina to 17 points that day. It didn't happen that way and it was 45 points and that looks pretty bad. The defense is the one that when people start looking at stats they're 'ah geez, they're not doing very good,' but in reality they're doing better than the stats prove that's for sure.

On the plans for Shawn Williams to remain at linebacker...

Until we can get another answer there with guys coming back from injury and younger guys maturing and things like that. I don't see it as a permanent spot for him.

On his feelings regarding Houston Nutt's situation at Ole Miss…

I hate that for anybody. I've always hated that. I guess I could maybe just talk about it this way. As an SEC head coach, when we go to our meetings in Destin or our meetings at the national coaches' convention, and you all get in that room together -- whether we get mad at each other or not, get in these competitive situations whether its recruiting or on the field -- when you all sit in that room together and we start discussing the reality of our jobs and our responsibilities and just the things that we can control and the things we can't control, there's a heavy dose of respect for everybody in that room. I don't think anybody enjoys another guy going through something like that. We all know that we are pretty darn good coaches, and there's 12 of us in the league and somebody is going to have a good year and somebody is going to have a bad year.

On Cornelius Washington…

Here's one thing about Cornelius – I think he's playing harder than I've ever seen him play. I'm really proud of his effort, and the more he plays with that kind of intensity, the more hurries and sacks and tackles for loss and all that kind of stuff is going to happen. He's practiced hard, he's played hard, and he will reap the benefit as will Georgia.

On if he is offended by the characterization of this week's game being called the "hot seat bowl"…

I knew that would happen. No. That was pretty easy to predict. You think they could have thought of something better than that. I think a couple of kindergarteners could have figured out that one.

Dawgs Move Practice To Turf Field

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs (1-2, 0-1 SEC) moved their practice from natural grass to FieldTurf on Tuesday, a two-and-a-half-hour session in full pads. Georgia will face Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1 SEC) on the same artificial surface at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium this Saturday.

The Dawgs have practiced almost exclusively on their two natural grass practice fields this fall since the expansion of the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall complex.

"We practiced on the FieldTurf because we're playing on FieldTurf this week," coach Mark Richt said. "We're excited about the challenge of facing our first SEC opponent on the road this season."

Just prior to the press conference, it was announced that senior tight end Aron White has been selected as one of 11 players nationwide named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. For 20 years the award, which is administered by the American Football Coaches Association, has recognized a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities. Georgia leads the nation in Good Works team honorees. White is the Dawgs' 13th selection since the award's inception in 1992 and the seventh in Richt's 11 seasons in Athens.

"We're all very proud of Aron and his accomplishments as a football player, student and citizen," Richt said. "Aron is a great representative of our program, and this honor is well deserved. He joins a great list of former Dawgs who have earned this recognition. I think it speaks volumes about the quality of our players that the University of Georgia leads the nation in the number of Good Works Team members."

Saturday’s game with the Rebels is slated for a 12:21 p.m. ET kickoff, with
the game televised nationally on the SEC Network.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 1

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

This is the first SEC game away from home. We are looking forward to that. We don’t get to go to Oxford very often. You play them once every six years or whatever it might be. We are looking forward to that. I do enjoy road games. You get your 70 guys and you go on a business trip and there aren’t a lot of things you have to do other than go and play the ballgame. There aren’t any other responsibilities that I have personally or that the players have or that the assistant coaches might have. So it is nice just to gather up the team, gather up the troops and get busy. We get there in time to have dinner, and we have some meetings. We give them a snack and then they go to bed. They are going to wake up extremely early. It depends on whose time zone you are on, but I think we are going to keep our team on our time zone just to keep them on their normal biological clock, and also make it where they wake up at 7:15 instead of 6:15. I don’t know if that will help or not, but we’re looking forward to it.

Coach Houston Nutt has always fielded great football teams and we are looking forward to that challenge. I’ll talk a little bit about them offensively. I’ll start with their offensive line; they are massive. They just look massive on film, even. They like to run a lot of zone plays, just power plays downhill kind of stuff. They like to maul you, they like to play-action pass off of it. They have some pretty sporty backs too. Jeff Scott is the one leading them in rushing right now. Not a real big man, but it’s kind of tough to find him sometimes coming out of that pile of humanity up front. They do like to play both tight ends a good bit. They will get into a lot of two tight end, two receiver sets. When they do go into two-back sets their fullback, H.R. Greer, is a pretty typical Southeastern Conference fullback. If you aren’t tough you can’t play fullback in this league and in this system that they are playing. He’s a very, very tough guy. Not super tall, 5-11, 235 pounds, but you need a low center of gravity to do the types of things they are asking him to do.

As far as their receivers are concerned, they do a very good job of taking advantage of their skills. Ja-Mes Logan is their leading receiver. Nickolas Brassell, I think he is a true freshman, is a big-time speed guy for them. They are trying to find ways to get him the ball in space. Vince Sanders is the X receiver or split end when they go to two receiver sets. He’s a guy who has done a fine job too. They are relatively young at the receiving corps, but talented.

Their quarterback is Zach Stoudt. He’s a guy who did struggle last week, but when you hear the statistics, you wonder what you are going to see, but when I looked at the film he is a very capable guy. He missed a couple of balls by just a fraction. They had guys open, and I’m sure they’ll make corrections and be difficult to defend.

Defensively they are a 4-3 team. Some people say they are a 4-2 team with five DBs, and that would probably better describe them. It basically would be a nickel SAM, so they do have four down linemen, two linebackers in the corps, and they have Aaron Garbit, who plays what we would call a nickel SAM.

They have two safeties who are really hard-hitting guys, Damien Jackson has caught our eye the most. He has played extremely physical and is a very fierce hitter. He’s the number two tackler on their team. Mike Marry, the leading tackler, is playing the MIKE linebacker. He’s in the box there, and he’s actually third in the league in tackles, a very physical guy. They have a couple of Georgia boys, Gerald Rivers and Joel Kight, guys who I’m sure will be excited about playing the Dogs and getting after us.

They have a guy named Jeff Scott, their punt returner. He’s number two in the United States of America in punt returns. He already has one for a touchdown. He’s a very fearless guy, a guy from Florida who is going to field the ball. He does not like to fair catch. I’m not saying that he never will, but his inclination is to hang in there, make the catch, make the guy miss and then start doing his damage. That’s why he’s as good as he is. He’s not a super big guy, but he’s the same young man who plays tailback for them, just a dangerous football player.

Their placekicker Bryson Rose is doing a great job for them, making his kicks. Tyler Campbell, their punter, leads the league in punting. He’s averaging 47 yards a kick. They’re actually very high in regard to net punt, also. I think they are third in the league and very high in the country. Andrew Ritter, their kickoff man has the ability to knock it deep in the end zone. I think a couple of games they played in the wind was blowing, and when the wind was at his back he was knocking it out. When it wasn’t it was returnable, which is typical for most kickers. I think that they are a team that is obviously is going to be hungry for a victory, a team that is going to be a little wounded, a little mad. But we are a little wounded and a little mad too, so it ought to be a pretty good game.

On how Georgia can reclaim its road success…

Just win. We’ll definitely go in there believing we can win. We feel that every time we play of course. The one thing that over the years I think some of the reasons we’ve had so much success on the road was that our quarterbacks historically really handled the pressure of the communication in those loud stadiums and handled the pressure of if some little thing goes wrong for Georgia, it gets accentuated by crowd reaction and that kind of thing. Our quarterbacks have always had nerves of steel. They handled all that type of pressure really well. Part of the preparation for that will be Thursday’s practice at the stadium. We’ll crank up the noise and do a good job of communication there. While we are talking about practices, we will practice today and tomorrow on our field turf since we are going to play on field turf. We have a little bit of a forecast for rain too, so it will be better not to tear up our grass fields if it is moist out there. We’ll go today and tomorrow on the field turf, Thursday in the stadium, and crank up the noise on Thursday.

On whether Hutson Mason will see more playing time…

Right this second I wouldn’t want to make a comment on that. We haven’t really gone any further with that discussion, not to say we won’t before the week is over. I’m talking about Mike Bobo and myself. But Hutson is practicing well, he’s playing well. He really runs our system well, and he’s earned playing time in my mind. How we’ll manage that, I’m not ready to make any promises I can’t keep.

On the SEC race…

Our focus must be on today’s practice and tomorrow’s practice and Thursday’s practice and getting better. We are sincere about doing that, but we all know we’re also shooting for a prize long term, and the prize is definitely up for grabs. There shouldn’t be any team in our league not believing that they could not win the prize, and we are not one of those.

On Taylor Bradberry…

Taylor is one of those guys who has quietly been learning the system, getting stronger, getting faster, getting tougher, becoming more and more reliable, making plays in practice that everybody feels like this guy can play in the Southeastern Conference. He can help us win. That’s part of the reason why he got a scholarship – because of production. We really have no fear of putting him in the ballgame and letting him play. If he is, in any given week, one of the top six guys at receiver, then he will get his opportunity. With Marlon Brown probably questionable to doubtful, I think that helps Bradberry’s cause to be on the travel team and get in the ballgame this week.

On Marlon Brown’s injury…

I don’t know if it’s a mild high ankle sprain, but it’s been lingering more than we would hope. He did early on just try to strap it up and go, and it just progressively got worse to the point where he really couldn’t function well. Now we’re trying to get him pain-free and give it another whirl. He won’t be going today.

On playing three freshman offensive linemen last week…

Part of it is the depth. They are second team, and one injury and one of those three is probably going to play. That’s part of it. The other part of it is three seniors right now on our offensive line will be gone, and so a year from now there is a good chance one, two or three of those guys will be playing. Even if they play a little bit, any playing experience is very valuable for them this year. The fact that they are second team getting a ton of reps every day is helping them too. These guys aren’t true freshmen hanging out on the scout team line and kind of waiting for their day in the spring. Every single day they have to perform in practice. They are getting coached hard, and they are getting coached with our system, changing game plans weekly and all the things that you mentally go through. So the more we can play the, they better of they’ll be in the future too.

On how the freshman offensive linemen performed against Coastal Carolina…

Not bad, I think David Andrews probably performed the best of that group, which wasn’t surprising. The other two didn’t do poorly, but David really seemed to be on it and played hard and physical. It seemed like he played confident and knew exactly what to do. I’m not trying to slight the other two boys, but I thought David stood out. That was big for those guys. That’s fun. It had to be a great memory. I remember Huston Mason last year, his first play was a touchdown pass so it kind of reminded me of that.

On if you have issues with pass protection does that limit a tight end like Orson Charles…

There's certain times where our tight ends are going to pass protect for us. It's just part of our system. It's a way for us to get seven-man protection. It's one of the ways. We could do it a couple of ways. That's one of the ways we do it. We are probably doing less of that than we were a year ago, so that's not an issue. Some people are like 'why isn't Orson getting the ball more?' The reality is we run routes where we spread the field. If we are stretching horizontally, we are going to have somebody in the middle, we're going to have somebody in the hook and we're going to have somebody in the flat. We might have somebody in the weak hook and the week flat on this side, and then certain coverages will dictate where the ball is going to go.

If you get a blitz – if it's an inside blitz, you may throw a middle hot. If it's an outside blitz, you may throw a hot out there. If you have a roll and the secondary rolls this way, you're probably going to throw backside. Then if it's quarters coverage or some kind of coverage like that, you'll progress number one, number two and number three.

So who's going to get the ball? Out of the five, I don’t know before the snap. Some games the guy gets it six times. Some games he gets it two times or three times. Balls have been thrown to Orson that either protection or some reason he didn't get the completion. I don't know if he has dropped a ball yet. I don't think he has. We are aware of Orson and wanting to use him, but we can't always predict where the ball is going to go. If you say this route is going to him no matter what, you force the ball, you throw picks and you got problems.

Hamilton To Transfer

FOOTBALL

University of Georgia safety Jakar Hamilton, out for the season with an ankle injury suffered in pre-season, has left the team for personal reasons according to an announcement by Bulldog head coach Mark Richt.

Hamilton, who would have been a senior this season without the injury, played in 13 games in 2010 including five starts. He recorded 27 tackles and one interception.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

Fresh off its first victory of the season, the Georgia football team began preparations for its fourth game of the year with a one-hour practice on Monday.

“I thought practice went well,” coach Mark Richt said. “It was nice and cool. That helps. We got 25 minutes of kicking done and another 25 minutes of corrections. I know on offense we spent time on blitz pickup and a little bit on the running game. We’re just slowly beginning to put the plan in.”

Georgia will travel to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on Ole Miss on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.

The Dawgs are 1-2 overall, including an 0-1 mark in the SEC, after rolling past Coastal Carolina 59-0 last Saturday in Athens. Ole Miss is also 1-2 and 0-1 after its 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt last weekend.

“We have a chance to really improve as we go,” Richt said. “After a game when you look at the film, you see there’s mistakes that we made. In some ways, it’s bad that you make mistakes. But it’s also good if you can play well and also make mistakes that you know are correctible. Before you know it, you become a really fine team.”
Richt said the captains for the Ole Miss game will be quarterback Aaron Murray, tight end Orson Charles, defensive end Abry Jones and safety/linebacker Shawn Williams.

In other Georgia news on Monday:

• It was announced the October 1st game against Mississippi State in Athens will be televised by FSN and will have a kickoff time of noon. This will mark Georgia’s first appearance on FSN this season. Georgia has appeared on FSN six times all time and owns a 4-2 record.

Brandon Boykin was named to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll for the third straight week. The Hornung Award is presented annually to the nation’s most versatile player. Through three games, Boykin has 13 kickoff returns for 341 yards, four rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown, two catches for 14 yards, 12 tackles and one interception.

Dawgs–Mississippi State Kickoff Set

FOOTBALL

The Saturday, October 1, SEC football game between Georgia and Mississippi State in Athens will be televised by FSN with kickoff set for 12:00 noon ET.

This will mark Georgia¹s first appearance on FSN this season. Georgia has appeared on FSN six times all time and owns a 4-2 record.

Top 25–Week 4

FOOTBALL

 

Team

Record

Opponent

1.

Alabama

3 - 0

Arkansas

2.

LSU

3 - 0

West Virginia

3.

Nebraska

3 - 0

Wyoming

4.

Stanford

3 - 0

Off

5.

Oklahoma State

3 - 0

Texas A&M

6.

Wisconsin

3 - 0

South Dakota

7.

Arkansas

3 - 0

Alabama

8.

South Carolina

3 - 0

Vanderbilt

9.

Texas

3 - 0

Off

10.

Florida

3 - 0

Kentucky

11.

West Virginia

3 - 0

LSU

12.

South Florida

3 - 0

UTEP

13.

Virginia Tech

3 - 0

Marshall

14.

Illinois

3 - 0

Western Michigan

15.

Clemson

3 - 0

Florida State

16.

Georgia Tech

3 - 0

North Carolina

17.

Iowa State

3 - 0

Off

18.

North Carolina

3 - 0

Georgia Tech

19.

Michigan

3 - 0

San Diego State

20.

California

3 - 0

Washington

21.

Vanderbilt

3 - 0

South Carolina

22.

Houston

3 - 0

Georgia State

23.

USC

3 - 0

Arizona State

24.

Oklahoma

2 - 0

Missouri

25.

Boise State

2 - 0

Tulsa

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dawgs Return To SEC Schedule

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt hopes to use the Dawgs’ 59-0 win over Coastal Carolina as a springboard as the Dawgs return to Southeastern Conference play against Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

“I think we are a team that is getting better as we go,” Richt said. “We do have a lot of room to grow. I think that, minus the huge mistakes, the four or five plays that really got us, we have been making a lot of progress.”

Richt is hopeful that Richard Samuel, DeAngelo Tyson, Marlon Brown and Kenarious Gates will also be back in the lineup against the Rebels.

While Georgia, 1-2, is coming off a week where his offense exploded for 470 yards, with starting quarterback Aaron Murray going 18-for-26 with three touchdowns, Ole Miss, also 1-2, is looking to rebound from a 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt

“Ole Miss has always had a very physical group up front,” added Richt. “Coach Nutt again has a very big offensive line that is very physical. They’ve always played outstanding defense and have solid teams year after year.”

Each team is looking to grab its first SEC win this weekend and stay in the hunt for the title.

“If we want to stay in the SEC East Division race, we have to win,” Richt continued. “It’s a mathematical equation right now. The bottom line is we have to have the best record in the East and if you tie, you better have the tiebreaker on your side. Our goal this week is to win our first Southeastern Conference game.”

Georgia will face Ole Miss at 12:21 p.m., Saturday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dawgs Win Big

FOOTBALL

With today’s 59-0 victory, the Dawgs posted their first shutout since the Vanderbilt game in 2010 and sixth overall in the Mark Richt era and second under current defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Georgia beat the Commodores 43-0 in that contest. Georgia’s 59 points today was the most since the Dawgs trounced Kentucky 62-17 in Lexington in 2004. The Dawgs’ 59-point margin of victory is the most under Richt and the most since 1994 when they crushed Northeast Louisiana here 70-6. Georgia is now 42-7 against non-conference teams under Richt. This was the first-ever meeting with Coastal Carolina.

Sanford Stadium did not sell out on Saturday for the first time since the Georgia Tech game in Nov. 25, 2000, which was Jim Donnan’s final home game as head coach. Today broke a streak of 64 straight sellouts. The official attendance for Saturday’s game was 91,946. A capacity crowd for the facility is 92,746.

Senior PK Blair Walsh set two career marks versus the Chanticleers. With Walsh’s eight PATs in the game, he is now the school record holder with 152 career PATs. Billy Bennett (2000-03) had the record at 148. Walsh finished with 11 points in the game., and he recovered a fumble. At the beginning of the second quarter, Walsh drilled a career-long 56-yard field goal to put the Dawgs up 38-0. This is the longest field goal for Georgia since Brandon Coutu connected on a 58 yarder in 2005. In his career, Walsh is now 9-of-14 from 50 or more yards, which is second only to Kevin Butler’s 11.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray was 18-for-26 in just more than two quarters with 188 yards and three passing touchdowns. Both junior Tavarres King and freshman Malcolm Mitchell hauled in their second touchdowns of the year. King finished with a career-high six catches for 65 yards with 2 TDs while Mitchell had six catches for 43 yards. Murray also shot in for a 1-yard scoring run. Backup QB Hutson Mason also snuck in for his first career touchdown run from one yard out and ended the afternoon 6-for-9 for 68 yards.

In his first career start, freshman RB Isaiah Crowell had a 27-yard scoring run in the first minutes of the opening quarter. This is Crowell’s third touchdown this season after he scored one rushing and one receiving last week versus #12 South Carolina. Crowell finished with 86 yards rushing on 16 carries and had one catch for 12 yards.

Junior LB Michael Gilliard paced the Dawgs with eight tackles today in his first career start. At halftime, senior CB Brandon Boykin led the team with four tackles, including two tackles for loss. Boykin ended up with four tackles total and had one catch for nine yards on offense and one kickoff return for 47 yards.

Junior FS Bacarri Rambo had an interception and a 43-yard return before fumbling later in the play in the second period. This is Rambo’s team-leading second of the year and the fourth of the year for the Dawgs. Late in the third quarter, redshirt sophomore CB Jordan Love forced a fumble that Blair Walsh recovered. Hutson Mason hit junior TE Orson Charles for a 33-yard scoring strike on the next play. Junior Ty Frix then recovered a fumble on a punt to give the Dawgs the ball back deep in Coastal Carolina territory. Junior TB Carlton Thomas finished that possession with a 17-yard TD run. Georgia has now forced four INTs and two fumbles and converted them into 17 points.

The Chanticleers were unable to convert Rambo’s fumble into any points. Opponents have now scored 28 points on five Bulldog miscues.

The Dawgs had three first-time starters against the Chanticleers. Freshman Damian Swann got the nod at CB for the first time in his career. Junior ILB Mike Gilliard made his first career start, filling in for injured senior Christian Robinson. The third first-time starter was freshman RB Isaiah Crowell. Junior SS Shawn Williams started his third consecutive game, but his first at ILB for the injured Alec Ogletree.
Also of note, sophomore OLB T.J. Stripling returned on special teams for the first time since injuring his leg at Colorado in 2010. Four true freshmen – OT Watts Dantzler, OG Hunter Long and OG David Andrews and OLB Ray Drew – also played for the first time in their careers.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday are senior C Ben Jones, senior FB Bruce Figgins, senior TE Orson Charles and senior CB/KOR Brandon Boykin.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 3

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players addressed the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Jeremy Sulek

On the upcoming game…

“This week is a big game for us because we are wanting to get the first win of the season and get things back on track.”

On the fans…

“The intensity of our fans always helps get us up for the game. We get a little extra juice when we hear them get riled up. At the same time, we try not to rely on that all the time because we want it to be the other way around. We want to be the ones that give the fans something to cheer about.”

On going from walk on to playing time…

“It’s a great feeling. All that anyone can ask for is to put in the time and the work and hope to see the results. It’s been such a blessing and I hope that I am able to maximize on the opportunity that I have.”

Jon Jenkins

On the preparation for Coastal Carolina…

“We’re trying to get better. That is the only thing that we have been thinking about. We’re trying to work as a team on every aspect of the game – on special teams, offense and defense.”

On playing in his first SEC game…

“I was trying to be a student of the game and go out there and be dominant. South Carolina’s offensive line had some big guys, but I felt like I did my job, but there is always room for improvement.”

Michael Bennett

On getting his first catches…

“It felt good to get those first few catches, first touchdown. It was a really good game individually, I thought; but it doesn’t matter if we lose. I’ve still got a dirty taste in my mouth. It was good to get those first game catches.”

On his third down catch…

“I just ran a little slant route, got tipped and it just kind of stuck to me. It was kind of a quick reaction. I thought it was going to come up top, but it kind of sunk down low so I just snagged it real quick. I really didn’t think it was that hard of a catch, but I was watching it afterwards on ESPN and was like ‘It might have been kind of a cool catch, I guess.’ Coach Richt shouted me out in front of the team at practice yesterday and said it was a good catch, so that was a pretty cool moment too.”

On using several different receivers…

“We’ve rolled in different receivers a good bit. We didn’t do that at all last year. This year, with everyone that we have, we’ve got fresh legs all the time and it’s always going to be better like that. I feel like the receivers had a really good game, altogether. We all can play, we all can make plays, so it’s working out good.”

On the difference in the receiving corps between the first game and the second game…

“I really don’t know what it was. I feel like we always have the potential to make plays. At the Boise game, we did mess up a little bit, but I feel like in the South Carolina game, we just had this focus. In practice all week last week, we just had this determination that we were going to turn it around and I feel like if you really have a good week at practice then that game is going to be something special. That’s what we’re trying to do every week: practice like we’re going to play.”

Chris Burnette

On the offensive line’s size advantage over Coastal Carolina…

“I feel like Coastal, they may not be the biggest guys, but I feel like they have good quickness, good schemes and they really know what they’re doing as far as taking advantage of their speed. I feel like it would play to our advantage to run the ball, since we are a lot bigger. I feel like that’s probably going to be in the plans, for us to run the ball as much as possible.”

On Coastal Carolina’s size…

“There are some pretty good size guys on the defense, and on their roster in general, but the starters are a little smaller. From watching them on film, they play real fast.”

On the offensive line’s substitutions…

“We’re trying to get guys to be able to play more than one position, so we can switch in and out so guys won’t pass out or anything, especially with the no-huddle offense. We’re definitely trying to condition ourselves to be ready for the game, just in case we have to play every down.”