Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bowl Press Conference ~ SEC Championship Questions

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media Wednesday during the Dawgs’ Capital One Bowl press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On whether he would have done anything different in the final 15 seconds against Alabama…

“No. When you no-huddle you go with tempo. You want to go with pace. That’s what we’ve been doing all year long. Part of going no-huddle is when you have the defense on the run you snap the ball again. You don’t need to stop play. Play was stopped because we had a first down. With 15 seconds, strategically if you are able to call a play and it’s incomplete you have time for two more plays. You can run three plays. You want to give yourself as many opportunities as you can. If you clock the ball you probably only get two shots, and hopefully you only need one. If we had clocked the ball we would have called the same play. It was the play that we wanted to call.”

“The problem was the ball got tipped and landed in play. It was not intended for Chris Conley, or at least to us it wasn’t intended for him. When a guy runs a fade and a guy runs a speed out, if it’s zone coverage cornerbacks are taught not to go to the back of the end zone. They are only going to go so far. If you put a guy in front of him and a guy behind him you kind of put a stretch on him, so you’re trying to throw the ball to what looks like might be the shorter guy, and he freezes and the ball goes over the top. That’s if it’s zone. If the QB thinks it’s man coverage, then you are going to throw the best ball to the receiver.”

“In this case, Murray didn’t feel like we ran by him. He felt like it was more of an even race, and that’s when we throw those back-shoulder throws. Because he threw a back-shoulder throw it was a lower trajectory throw, which is why the ball was able to get batted. If he thought the receiver had beaten him and was going to throw it more over the top, that ball would have probably not been batted. You throw the ball according to what you see. Murray did right. It was more of a tight coverage. We throw the heck out of that back shoulder throw. Even the catch that Tavarres King had on third-and-one – that was a back shoulder throw. Watch the last two seasons. He’s as good at doing that as anybody. That’s what he was doing. If you run a system when you are used to going fast, it’s no big deal to just call the next play. It’s what we do. If we spike it, strategically you give them time to gather up and get their senses and get their calls in.

“That’s how close games are sometimes. I’ll go all the way back in time with clock management. We had that Auburn game years ago where we didn’t manage the clock well, and that offseason we go see Homer Smith. Homer Smith – if you read his stuff – Homer is not going to clock the ball. He says clocking the ball is for people who don’t have a plan. If you’re prepared and you’ve moved the chains, the clock is stopped and you’ve got the play that you like, then call it. Because if you call it you have a greater chance of getting three plays compared to clocking it and probably only get two plays. That was part of the issue in the Auburn game. We ran a play and could’ve scored, but if we had thrown the ball and incompleted it, I could have given our team two chances. That was the issue; coach didn’t give us enough opportunities to score. In this game it was a matter of two plays or trying to get three plays. Making that a part of what we’ve done that last 10 or 11 years as far as a two-minute drill. Then also once we went to no-huddle it’s not a big deal for us to go to the line and snap the ball. It’s what we do.”

On Malcolm Mitchell's positioning during the final play against Alabama...

"He's just trying to get off the jam and trying to get deep. Sometimes you beat them off the jam. To us offensively, there is no shut-down corners. There's no coverage that if the ball is placed properly, the guy can win. If the guy does a good job on the jam and doesn't get beat deep, than he's more vulnerable to the back-shoulder throw. If he's lagging for that or trying to be a hero, than he can get run by, so the quarterback has to recognize the coverage and throw the ball according to what he sees."

On the possibility of Murray rolling out on the last play against Alabama...

"The play is not designed for Murray to roll out. It was a pocket pass - a quick passing game. You throw it where hopefully we catch it for a touchdown or if it's incomplete, you've got two more plays. So you don't want to complete it to anybody in play, but that play is not designed to go to that guy. That guy is basically a decoy in a zone coverage to try to get the corner to bite the cheese a little bit, so to speak. In man coverage, he's not in play at all because the ball is going either over the top fade or a back-shoulder throw."

On Chris Conley's catch in the final seconds of the Alabama game...

'"For every receiver, his reaction would obviously be to catch the ball. A wide receiver catches the ball. That's his nature. For any wide receiver, if that ball hits in front of his face, he's going to go get it and go catch it."

On the challenges of stopping Alabama's run game...

"Some of it was just wrapping them up better. I told them, "You're not going to be able to knock these guys down. You might knock them down a time or two, but if your goal is to knock them down, you're not going to knock them down. You're going to get embarrassed. You've got to wrap up and run your feet until you get them on the ground." Sometimes it might get ugly, but you have to be able to do that. Really the goal is not to provide a whole lot of space to begin with to get it going. It's just like our backs. If you give them a little bit of space and a little momentum, it's tough for one man to bring them down. But that's just football, and that's defense. We had a couple times where we could have made some stops I think if we just wrapped up better."

On watching film of the Alabama game…

“It might have been Monday when I watched the film. I watched the coaches’ copy and TV copy and saw some things that were obvious to people and some things that might have happened in the middle of the game on second down that could’ve changed. Alabama could look at the film too and say if this would’ve happened or that would’ve happened we would’ve done even better. That’s every game.”

On practicing end-of-game plays...

"We do it two ways. One way is that we go against the defense. We'll call it a situation. 60 yards to go, one minute, one time out, and a field goal wins it, and you just play. You play it out. Whatever happens, happens. You just react to what happens in the practice itself. There are other times that you'll script what you do against your scout team. If we have a first down and the clock is stopped, and we're lined up ready to go, you can snap and spike it or you can snap and call a play. As we're hustling down to the ball, the play was called. It's exactly what we would have called if we had spiked it. It was the same call. The problem was that the ball got tipped and they caught it in play. Do you want to throw it to a guy in play? No. Murray wasn't throwing it to the guy in play. He was trying to throw a back-shoulder ball because it was man coverage. The other thing is why even have a receiver in play? Well, like I said, if it's zone coverage, it will affect their cornerback. It was tight coverage, and that's when you throw on the back shoulder."

On Abry Jones...

"I know his intention is to rehab and get ready to play. He was making progress towards that goal. Do I know whether he'll be ready to or not? I don't know that. We've not counted him out by any means for this bowl."

On the linebacker rotation against Nebraska...

"I don't know how we're going to line it up. Normally, Amarlo Herrera and Michael Gilliard are more apt to play in more of your base defensive looks, and Christian Robinson gets more opportunities in more nickel type situations, so I guess it'll be something like that. Alec Ogletree is pretty much in there the whole time."

Linebacker Christian Robinson

On what the bowl game means to the team…

“I think it’s just another opportunity for us to show that we can finish the season. We haven’t won a bowl game in three years, so I think that if we can do that and go out on the right note and prove that this team is different and win 12 games then that would be a great accomplishment for us.”

On how the bowl game effects the offseason…

“Depending on how the bowl game goes, if you finish a close one then it is motivation and going out on a good note is very positive for the younger guys. They get to experience winning a big game like that. This season, the way we finish will determine how next season goes because guys will learn from this senior class as they move forward.”

On finishing this season on a high note…

“We want to be a team that finished, we don’t want to be a great team that just gave up and laid down because their ultimate goal didn’t happen. We were five yards from being somewhere else but we don’t want to show that we weren’t worthy of it by not finishing.”

Defensive Lineman John Jenkins

On what has Georgia has accomplished during his two seasons with the team…

“When I got here, the program was a little different. It wasn’t the program that we see today but at the same time we all felt that we were going to do whatever we could to turn this program around. That was my job for two years and now we get to leave here having accomplished a lot. If we win the bowl game then we’ve won 22 games in two years, which hasn’t been done in a long time. From three years ago to now, there’s been a huge turnaround.”

On the future of the defensive line…

“I see good things for the line. A lot of people don’t know about the guys we have coming in and the guys we already have. Ray Drew is a great player; we’ve seen a lot of great things potentially from him during the season. We’ve got Jonathan Taylor; he’s going to be a massive guy and someone to look out for. We’ve got Sterling Bailey; he’s an athlete. We have Garrison Smith who’s going to lead them next year and we have two new guys coming in that are supposed to be great guys. You can’t count the line out yet because we are going to have a lot of leadership around next season.”

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