Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekly Press Conference


Head coach Mark Richt and several football players addressed the media during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon today. They offered the following comments:

Opening statement (Coach Richt) …

“We are ready for another game. Last week of course was very exciting and took a lot of physical and mental energy, but I think the guys are pretty resilient. They came in the next day and got a good lift in. They got a good run in, and they are ready to go, so we are excited about that.
Going to Arkansas will be tough. They will be ready for us. They have had pretty much the whole offseason to work on us, and also an open date, so I’m sure we will be getting their very best shot scheme-wise, and their very best shot physically, mentally and emotionally. It is a big game for both teams certainly. Now it’s their first SEC game, and you know how important it is to start off on the right foot. They will have a tremendous atmosphere there. It’s not our first away game, but it is our first away game in the conference. It’s huge for us. It’s huge for them. Second year coaches tend to do extremely well, and that’s where they are right now. So hopefully we can stave off all the crowd, the excitement and energy and settle the game down and play good Georgia football.”

On the areas he saw the most progression from week one to week two…

“I’ve been excited about the progress period. Some of the things that got me excited are the young guys playing on special teams really improved a lot. They have a lot of confidence. The kickoff return team probably first and foremost, we have six freshmen on there and two sophomores with (Fred) Munzenmanier and (Shaun) Chapas the juniors and (Justin) Fields the senior. From week one to week two it was astounding. Week one the front five, I don’t think there was ever a time when three out of five got their block. There might have been one time two out of five got it. There were one or two times that zero out of five got their man. They got called out, not in a real bad way, but we must have production; we got nothing. The first kickoff, four out of five really handled their (responsibilities) well. The fifth guy got a good piece of him, but didn’t quite keep him off the runner; he’s the one guy who Branden (Smith) had to break the tackle on. But he wasn’t in the greatest position; he was a little off balance. He made the hit, but he was blocked well enough where he didn’t have a solid shot at him. When we got to the wedge, all of those guys did their job so well. With the kickoff coverage team, for all the fans who want us to drive it out of the end zone every time, that was one of those where we drove it, the kid caught it five yards deep, and there wasn’t enough hang time. Hang time is important. All the fans want to know why we don’t kick it into the end zone every time, that’s the reason why. Those guys who were covering did a beautiful job. Every time but that one kick, we kept them right around the 22 to 25, 26 yard line. Even the one we had to kick from the 20, if that ball would have been kicked from the 35 it was more of the same. I saw guys beginning to get more confident. I saw more offensive players get involved and begin to make plays. I just thought we looked like a fast football team. I watched the TV copy, and I saw everybody playing hard and playing fast. I’m talking about both sides of the ball and special teams. We looked like Georgia should look. The penalties of course weren’t exciting. You fumble one at the 23, you fumble one at the eight, you have a pick six, you have a punt faked on you, you snap one over the head. All those things are bad, no doubt, and could have gotten us beat. But ultimately they didn’t get us beat, so if we can continue to get excited about the progress we are making and eliminate some of the bad things, we could become a pretty good team. We are not there by any stretch, but I’m optimistic that we aren’t as good as we can be, and that gives you hope and gets you excited.”

On whether he is surprised about how the first two games have been played…

“You can’t predict it. You can try, but it’s very difficult. I would have never dreamed that many points would have been scored, period. You watch their first game, you watch our first game, I think both offenses struggled really in the first ballgame, so you think it’s going to be tough to get anything. You knew turnovers and special teams could light up a game, but it was more than that. The offenses executed well. The defenses probably didn’t play nearly as well as they thought they would on both sides. This game, I don’t know. All I can say is fasten your seat belt and get ready for another 60-minute war. I would see no reason why this thing might not go down to the wire also.”

More tomorrow.

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