Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weekly Press Conference, Continued


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

Coach Mark Richt

On what position hasn't played like he thought it would:

The position that has been the most effected by injuries has been the offensive line. Some of it is a little bit of a residual of a year ago. A lot of our guys were rehabbing some fairly serious injuries. Chris Davis has a hip injury and had surgery. Josh Davis had double shoulder surgery. Trinton (Sturdivant) had his deal and came back and got hurt again. Trinton and Tanner Strickland got hurt in the offseason and preseason, so we're just not as strong as we need to be.

When I say strong, strong in numbers. Even Chris Davis, as he was battling his tail off, he was not able to squat all summer long. His power base just because of the nature of the injury, he was not able to do that. Everybody has problems. Everybody has issues. Everybody has injuries. Regardless of all those things, we need to block better. We definitely need to run block better. I actually think we've pass protected pretty well, but we need to run block better, and that includes tight ends.

There are times that the offensive line does it and the tight ends get tossed around. Every once in a while well have everything blocked to the T, then the fullback takes an edge off a linebacker and doesn't go right down the heart of a guy. Our run blocking needs to improve, and as I study our runners, we need to continue to mature and see these blocking schemes and understand them better and hit it where it needs to be hit. When they get in situations where its just one guy, we need yards after contact. So its a little bit of everything right now in the running game.

On the Dawg's offensive identity:

I guess no one has an identity until they are consistently playing something where you could define that team to say this is what we do well. Right now we've not been consistent offensively, defensively or in the kicking game quite frankly. I feel like we are gaining a lot of positive momentum defensively. Some of our special teams have played outstanding and a couple have struggled. Offensively, we've pretty much run the gamut of emotions and productivity. Again, I guess the one word I'm looking for more than anything else is a more consistent effort all the way around.

On the Dawg's offensive line benefitting from an open date:

I'm sure that can help. I think it would help the whole team. Everybody is dealing with one open date. Ours is probably in a pretty good spot. Some people had it the first or second week, then you go 10 or 11 in a row. Some people have it right before the 12th game so you are still going 11 in a row. It's probably in a pretty good spot strategically in the middle of the season. I guess we are hitting seven and then having an open date. I doubt anybody would tell you that they don't know it's going to happen here in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, everybody has to grind. Do I think the line will benefit from it? Yeah I do. But I think the whole team will benefit from it. I know the coaching staff will benefit from it.

On the Dawgs spending more time on special teams:

It's very, very difficult as far as time. We are crammed to the gill on this 20-hour rule. Every minute is accounted for and even if you add five minutes to that team, you are going to pull five from something else. Whoever is losing that five minutes is screaming and squawking and rightfully so because they feel like they don't have enough time to get it just like they want it. That's one of the challenges of college football is to whatever you do, do it in the time frame allotted.

As I compare special teams field time and meeting time compared to most people in the country, I think we are probably more. I know for a fact we do more than most people I've talked to. To answer the question about personnel, some people think you can just throw a guy in there and all of a sudden he's good. There is technique involved in that just like there is technique involved in playing linebacker or anyone else. It's not that easy just to throw someone in there. All that stuff takes reps and time to get better at.

The other thing that changes on a weekly basis is the scheme that you are going to play. You can say this is what we do, but every week if the team you are playing has a little twist here and there, you have to understand it, you have to rep it. It's not that easy. We are hoping that we continue to grow as we go. That's usually what happens with young guys. I think they will be a lot better game six than game five, I hope. Those guys are learning as they go, and I think they are getting better.

Quarterback Joe Cox:

On freshman tailback Washaun Ealey:

I think he did pretty good. The best thing about him is he is hungry. He's wanted to play and finally go this chance. You could tell he was running really hard and that he was just excited to be in the game. A lot of times that is the type of spark you need is having somebody that just really just wants the ball in his hands. Hopefully, he can be that player all the time because I'm sure he's going to be getting a lot more carries as the season goes on.

On Tennessee's defense:

They definitely do a lot to stop the run first. They like brining down safeties into the box and being able to have that extra run support. A lot of times you can tell they are just lining up saying you are not going to run the ball or were going to make you beat us throwing the ball, so that will be tough because you want to have a balanced game plan. We're just going to have to find ways to open up holes against all their looks and still be able to be effective on the ground.

Wide Receiver Tavarres King:

On facing Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry:

He flies around the ball. He's a heck of an athlete and a heck of a player. I'm excited for the opportunity to get to go against somebody like that.

On playing in front of a large crowd on the road at Neyland Stadium:

It's exciting to know that you're about to step into an environment like that. You probably can't even simulate how loud its going to be in that stadium, but I'm looking forward to it and I'm excited about it.

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