Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly Press Conference


Head coach Mark Richt and several football players met with the media during the Bulldogs weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

Its an exciting time. You can feel the fall in the air. Its cooling down and becoming football weather. I want to encourage all our fans to get jacked up and ready to go. I want the Dog Walk to be wild. I want the students to be crazed as always and make the pregame warmups an exciting time and get it the stands as fast as you can because its going to be a special day for college football. Its the kind of game that everybody dreams of growing up. If a kid wants to play college ball, he watches SEC football and dreams about games like these. Were excited to be in a game that has the magnitude that is does.

LSU, what can you say about them? In all the years that Ive been here, they won the most games of anybody in the SEC. They have two national championships and three SEC championships. Its just a great program. They did it under Nick Saban and they are doing it under Les Miles. You certainly could say they are the team of the 2000s. The past decade they have been one of the best if not the best football team in the country.

I would have to think its going to be a beautiful day for football at 3:30 in the afternoon. I cant imagine a better setting to have it in than Sanford Stadium, so were all pretty jacked up about this one.

On whether the Dawgs and LSU would try to establish the run:

I dont think there is any doubt. I think both teams are going to be very intent on running the ball and running it in a very physical way. I dont think either team is going to back away from trying to run that football.

What usually happens when you don't do well in a particular area where you have history, you arent going to say lets bail out on it. Youre going to say lets get back to the basics and do it better than we did and establish our ability to run the ball. Im sure theyll be emphasizing it and I know well be emphasizing it.

On how Mississippi State stopped the run against LSU:

I did'nt study every single down of that game. I started out watching their offense versus Washington. So Ive seen more of that game than Ive seen of the other. But Ill get a chance to study that a little more, so I cant really say what they did. I saw a little a bit of it and it looked as if, just by sheer numbers that wanted to outnumber LSU in the run game. So I know that was part of their plan.

On the Dawg's turnover ratio:

Were 3-1. We put ourselves in position to be in this game this weekend and have it be very meaningful and thats really what you want at this point. Have we peaked? No way. Theres no way this team has peaked. Will we peak is the questions? Will we become solid enough and consistent enough to be able to win a game like this. Time is going to tell. A very short amount of time will tell. What weve done in the past is the past. We have put ourselves in position to be undefeated in SEC play. Playing a team that is ranked No. 4 in the country at our house, we have a chance to see what we are all about.

On his expectations of the team entering the season:

There was a lot of mystery to me. Not for sure knowing what Joe (Cox) could do. Not for sure knowing what our running backs were going to do. Who might be able to make a play besides A.J. Green? All those questions everybody else had, we had.

In the offseason we were a little bit more healthy up front. Losing Tanner Strickland and Trinton Sturdivant hurt us. There's no question about that. If we had those two guys we would be more solid up from than we are right now. Im not saying were bad by any means, but losing two guys like that that would have been starters for you, hurts you.

Defensively, I think we are still finding our way a little bit. I was very pleased with how we played last week. One thing about the defense in the three victories, in the fourth quarter we have played extremely well. In crunch time we have played well. Last weeks fourth quarter I think we held them to minus 13 yards total. The last three drives of the game were three and outs for Arizona State. And without it were not 3-1 right now.

Have we played lights out? No, but we've also played some pretty good football teams. I had a guy call me last night on my show and wanted to gripe about defensive statistics and I didnt mention it, but first of all the 3-1 is more important than where you are ranked offensively or defensively. If you play a couple of teams that you just totally out match and you hold a team to 150 yards total and three points, you get a couple of games like that, thats going to look good on your stats for six weeks or the entire year. But when you play Oklahoma State and Arizona State, you dont have that luxury to be padding stats. We knew that going in, and we know that what matters the most is on any given Saturday do we play good enough to win and thats been the most positive thing that I can say right now.

The other thing that I can say is positive is there have been times when the offense has been outstanding. There has been times when those six special teams have been special at one time or another. The defense has played extremely well at times and certainly in the red zone all year long. There are a lot of positives that have happened but theyve all kind of taken their turn. Thankfully, one of those segments has maybe been the difference in wining these last three games. Now, if we could all come together at the same time and play that kind of football then we will have a chance. If we dont it will be another barnburner I would imagine.

Quarterback Joe Cox:

On the Dawg's offense and sophomore flanker A.J. Green:

We need to make sure we are executing in the run game, and we need to make sure we are executing in all our other aspects of the passing game with me throwing to running backs, tight ends, Mike Moore and Tavarres (King) and Rantavious. Really, just being productive all the way across the board. I think that will free up A.J. even more the same way it kind of worked out with Arkansas. There's going to be a lot of attention on A.J. with anybody we play, and we need to be able to take advantage of other match ups that we can find with other guys we have.

On facing talented safeties:

It just makes you want to make sure you know whats going on that much more. You want to get into the film room more and pick up on anything that you possibly can with what they do pre-snap or right at the snap, so you can get a good read on what their coverage is. Its going to be a great challenge, and its going to be a great opportunity too. I think we match up well with who we are playing, and I think if we execute we can get the job done. Its just a matter of us executing.

On the Dawg's first four games all having a different feel to them and if he expected the season to be as unpredictable as it has going into week five:

I know that after week one if you would have asked us where we wanted to be going into the LSU game, we would have said three and one. Thats where we are. We found ways to win. We stuck together. When the defense needed to make plays, they've made plays. When the offense needed to make plays, we made plays. Theres a lot of things in between that we need to correct that could make us pretty good football team, and we are fully aware of the things we need to work on. I think once we correct those things I think we can be a good team.

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