Friday, October 2, 2009

Game Day - LSU


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:

On his role in the Dawg's playcalling:

My input is mostly throughout the week. I will look at film and personnel grouping, down and distance tendencies and field position. I'll write down things that I like, I'll make a copy of it, and I'll hand it to Mike (Bobo). Some things I might discuss with him if its a little bit different and if I need to explain. Most everything that I write down he knows exactly what Im talking about we've worked together for so many years. I'll say if you like it, use it; if you don't, don't. The coordinator has to decide how much goes in and there are a lot of good ideas; we just can't have too much. Game day, the decision to go for it on fourth and very short, thats my call to make.

There are certain things that I'll do. I might say lets take a shot to A.J. right now. I might insert something like that here and again. If we are rolling into a third down, I'll tell Mike we have two downs to get this first down instead of one. Or if we go into a third down situation I'll say if we don't make it, I want the field goal team, or if we don't make it, I want the punt team. Or if we get the ball inside the 35-yard line, its a field goal. If we don't, well pooch punt. There are things that have to be decided about a play in advance so everybody knows what to do. I'm still involved in that kind of thing, calling timeout when a quarterback is not ready to either call timeout or get the ball snapped before the 40-second clock. You have to be ready to do that too. You have to be ready for those. And have conversations with the officials throughout the game.

On the Dawg's turnovers:

On the two picks, one there was a lot of pressure in his face on the very first one. (Joe Cox) probably threw the ball a little sooner than he wanted. The second one, he just basically threw it behind the receiver, not a very good ball. The fumble was actually caused by our own man. Ben Jones was blocking and trying to get second and third effort, and as he was moving to the second level and was pursuing a linebacker, he actually ran into Caleb (King) and hit the ball with his shoulder pad and helmet. Still, Caleb still has to be able to hang on to the ball no matter who hits him and when they hit him. We had a fumble on the kickoff where young Branden Smith was just running out of there and the thing just flew out of there. Why does that happen? I don't know; probably because he's a rookie. The one punt fumble, I don't know if Prince Miller could have done much about it, it was a very short punt. He was coming up to try to field it where he doesn't let it bounce for 20 yards and as he's running up full speed, (Brandon) Boykin was blocking one of their gunners as hard as he can and he runs into Prince, and the ball is on the ground. We've had a little bit of everything. It hasn't been that much of a common thread.

On whether Akeem Dent, Vance Cuff and Kiante Tripp will play Saturday:

Dent, probably not; Cuff, more than likely and (Tripp), no I wouldnt think Kiante.

On Caleb King:

He's been progressing as he's been able to play. I think he'll certainly get a good share of them. I'm not going to sit here and try to predict if he'll get more than Richard (Samuel). Right now in my mind they are 50-50 in my thinking. One guy might be running a little bit better than the other, and he may get more. We're not to the position where we're saying 75 percent of the totes here and 25 percent there. We're looking more to let's play them both, keep them fresh, see how they're doing and kind of go from there.

On Brandon Wood:

Brandon is a guy who is big enough and strong enough to play in the interior defensive line. He may go back there next season. Right now he is healthy enough to play and he's had some experience outside. He's a little bit bigger end that we might normally have, but he's a good athlete. He's strong, he has good quickness. He just needs playing time. He's been hurt almost his whole career so this has been really good for him to be able to play and jut get a taste of it.

On the Dawgs-LSU series:

All the games we have played against them have been very meaningful in season, and twice for the SEC crown. They got one and we got one. When you think of LSU you think of the cream of the crop and a team that if youre able to beat them, you've accomplished something special. That's just how we look at them.

On how A.J. has improved from a year ago:

I think he's better in that he's about 15-20 pounds heavier. I don't think he lost any speed or agility. He certainly understands the system better. Considering that (Mohamed Massaquoi) is not on the other side of him and Knowshon (Moreno) is not taking some of the pressure off by being able to run the ball as well as we did a year ago, I think he's earning every yard that he has maybe a little bit more than he had a year ago. He showed up with tremendous confidence in his ability to catch anything within range, and he's continued with that.

Safety Bryan Evans

On the big game atmosphere and the national stage this weekend:

Hopefully it will be a plus for us when we get this win Saturday. They are ranked No. 4 in the country and we are ranked No. 18, and any time you can get an SEC win and a win against a No. 4 ranked team it is big for your program. I think this can be a very big momentum booster.

On Bacarri Rambo:

Baccari Rambo is capable of coming in and playing for me or Reshad (Jones) if either of us goes down. He looked very good out there. He is making plays on special teams and when coach calls him to come in on defense he is making plays as well.

Linebacker Rennie Curran

On the performance against ASU:

We just have to build off what we did last week and the good things. I really feel like we had a good week of practice. We got some turnovers that we needed at crucial times in the game, and we got pressure on the quarterback. It all starts with our preparation: how much film we are watching, how we are attacking the scout team, and the attitude that we have during the week.

On putting together a good defense and offense:

You are not always going to have a perfect game. No matter how well we play, there is always something that we feel that we can do better. At the same time, we have to be able to capitalize on our opportunities and not make mistakes that are going to keep the team in the game and give them momentum. The main thing for us is to continue to encourage each other because we all believe in each other.

On LSU this weekend:

When we play a team like LSU, we have to have a perfect game. We can't give them any room to breathe. We have to get ready to play our best game of football. We have to put all the mistakes we made behind us, get ready to have a great game and put it all together.

The Dawgs have won the last three meetings against LSU, although the Tigers lead the all-time series 14-12-1 and the series is tied 6-6 in Athens.

In their last encounter in 2008, the Dawgs outgunned the Tigers 52-38 in Baton Rouge.

In 2005, the Dawgs captured the 2005 SEC title with a 34-14 win over the Tigers in Atlanta.

The last time the two teams squared off on Georgia’s home field was in 2004 when the Dawgs exploded for a 45-16 victory. LSU has not won at Sanford Stadium since 1987, when the Tigers came out on top 26-23.

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