Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Defense

FOOTBALL

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

Coach Mark Richt

On whether something changed last week with Georgia’s defense…

“That’s a good question. You ought to write a story about that, maybe make everybody mad. That would be nice. I’m serious, I don’t know. I don’t know what they are going to do this week. I hope they play like they did this past week. I hope we continue to get after it with that kind of emotion and heartbeat.”

On whether he thinks Jarvis Jones is the best player in America…

“I can’t think of a better player than Jarvis in the whole United States of America. He’s the best.”

On his conversation with John Jenkins at the end of the Florida game…

“I won’t say what it was about, but I remember. It was a good thing. Sometimes I’ll say some things to the team, and I’ll even forget that I said it to them. Then they’ll bring it up after the game. It was one of those kinds of conversations.”

On Kwame Geathers…

“My best image of Kwame in the last two weeks was in the Kentucky game when he had that big sack and I saw this giant athlete work up the field and change direction and just reach out and snatch the guy. He didn’t go very far once Kwame got his hands on him. He’s playing extremely well. We probably played more of him and John Jenkins in the game at the same time due to Abry Jones’ injury, and they’re both playing well. Kwame does stay in there at the nose, and John will move outside, but I think it’s the time of year when the weather is pleasant enough to play more snaps without the heat issue, because the heat does hurt the big guys a little more I think. He’s been great. He’s kind of an unsung hero. He does his job and does it well, doesn’t say a whole lot, works his tail off and does what he’s supposed to do in school. He’s just a great kid.”

On Jarvis Jones and causing fumbles…

“The fumble thing was huge. We talk about it so much as coaches and you have stats to back it up. It’s amazing how much time we spend on offense, defense and special teams – so much time – but ball security is the number one stat besides the score as far as deciding who wins and who loses. Jarvis has an awareness about him. First of all, when you hustle you have a chance to make plays, just like that last fumble. If he’s not hustling, he’s not making that play. But because he’s hustling, he’s turning and running when they play is already past him, he sees the ball, he sees the guy, but the guy doesn’t see him. Here’s a guy from Florida trying to make a great play, and he’s about to make a great play, but because Jarvis hustled and was in position to see the ball as he’s diving, it’s hard to keep the ball tight when you’re airborne. Instead of just going to tackle the guy, he rakes the ball out of there. David Pollack was a guy who had a knack for that. There are just certain guys who not only want the sack, but they want the ball out.”

On Jarvis Jones and where he ranks with national awards…

“I don’t know if there is a better defensive football player in America than Jarvis. I know the linebacker at Notre Dame is a great player as well. They might be equally great, and they are both so important to their team. Jarvis is a pretty dynamic player to have the pass rush ability and the ability to drop back and make the pick or be the guy who mirrors the quarterback and is athletic or be the guy who stops the run two or three yards in the backfield. He can stone somebody who is trying to block him and make the play. If you take his per game statistics it’s pretty impressive. I think he’s number one in America in sacks per game, maybe forced fumbles per game and fumble recoveries. His stats are really impressive, but when you watch him play it’s equally impressive. I think he’s the best player in America.”

Defensive Back Damian Swann

On Ole Miss’ offense…

“It’s going to be a good challenge for us. They’re offense is very good; they have a veteran offensive line, a pretty good quarterback and good receivers. We just have to play well fundamentally and be ready for when they take shots on offense and play fast.”

On keeping up with the up up-tempo offense…

“It’s going to be a challenge. You never know what they’re going to do and you just have to make the right call. We know that sometimes they’re going to catch you a little off guard. They had a few big plays against Alabama because they caught Alabama lined up off guard.”

On coming into his own as a defender…

“It’s just a confidence thing. I’m starting to build my confidence pretty high and playing with all of the veteran guys really help me. They all have my back when we’re out there and trust me to make the right plays.”

Defensive Lineman Garrison Smith

On motivating the defense…

“I think it’s always just the challenge that motivates us. When someone challenges our manhood or says anything to take a shot at us then we want to respond. We try not to get too caught up in it but we’re going to respond. We’re motivated for every game, but some games have a different effect than others. We’re going to be motivated every time whether we get called out or not.”

On Ole Miss’ up-tempo offense…

“This is a real big challenge for us because of the way they run their offense. They have a great coach that has done a really good job of putting players together in a way that they feed off of each other. It’s going to be a big challenge just to keep guys fresh going against an up-tempo offense. That’s a challenge for any defense, just to get lined up and play against a good offense with good players.”

On how big of a factor fatigue will be…

“Fatigue plays a very big part in the game but that’s why we condition and run during practice. We want to keep up and practice in the game tempo and hopefully that conditioning will help out on Saturday.”

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