Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekly Press Conference


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

Coach Mark Richt:

Opening statement:

We certainly had a disappointing loss last week. We have to get back on the winning track against Vanderbilt, that's our hope. Coach (Bobby) Johnson has done a really fine job there. Since we've been playing them for so many years, we'll go back years on the video and it seems like every year you progress, they are getting faster and more athletic. They are really playing extremely well, especially on defense. They have had their struggles on offense, but defensively they are really giving everybody a bunch of grief. Overall they are a very well-coached team. It is a team that Im sure is just as hungry for a victory as we are. We are looking forward to getting over there and getting back on the winning track.

On the Dawgs no longer controlling their destiny to win the SEC East:

I told them (the team) that. I said we don't control it. I said we aren't mathematically out of it by any means, but we can't sit here and say that is the goal. It may become the goal again depending on what happens with us and everybody else in the east. The main focus really is beat Vanderbilt. That's it, and that is what it is on a weekly basis anyway. That is not in our control anymore, so we are not really focusing on that right now. No one is happy. No one is excited about what happened by any means, but these guys are resilient. They are pretty tough guys, and its never easy to get it going again after a tough loss like that, especially one where you end up losing control of your destiny in the league. Those things are not easy to deal with, but they lifted hard, they ran hard. I think theyll be able to focus on whats important and start moving this thing in the right direction again.

On having promise going forward similar to 2006:

That's our goal. That's what we are shooting for, that's what we are fighting for. (Matthew) Stafford was a true freshman that year and I redshirted (Knowshon) Moreno that year. We were scrambling, fighting, scratching, clawing back then and dealing with some of the things we are dealing with now in regards to trying to keep a positive focus on the future. We've been there before. We don't like being there, but that's where we are at, so we are looking to have a very strong finish.

On Vanderbilts defense:

When you watch the film and you watch Ole Miss struggle like mad to get it in there, no one is just driving the field on these guys. If they are making something happen, a guy is making a play. Some where along the way, some guy makes a play. They get themselves in position to score touchdowns, but they've held people out of the end zone a good bit in the red zone. They've forced a bunch of field goals. The LSU game was very close at the half. Same thing with Ole Miss. They did a very good job defensively in the last game dealing with an offense that is not normal for them to participate against.

They are doing a good job defensively. You'd like to say we are going to line up and methodically move it down the field, but I haven't seen anybody do it yet. Guys are going to have to make plays, guys are going to have to get in situations and do something to kind of break the dam. The one thing as you watch those games, you'll watch the defense play, and the next series you'll see the scoreboard and a lot of times there wasn't a lot of offensive production from Vanderbilt. It helped the teams that were struggling against them. It helped Ole Miss, it helped LSU as they were trying to get some points on the board that their defenses were playing extremely well that day. I think they are underrated to answer your question.

On the team dealing with increased negativity:

On Sunday I just talked to them about making sure they stay focused on the important things. There are certain things you can control in life and certain things you can't control. What people say about you or your team or your coaches, you can't control that. All you can control is how you focus, how you prepare and how you keep your mental frame of mind. We have control over that, so those are the things that I talked about and really helped them understand that the only thing we can do that can be the most productive thing for us right now is to really focus on this ballgame. Everyday that we come in, whether it's lifting, running or practice, whatever it might be, lets focus on whats important and thats the only way well move in the right direction here.

On players who might see more playing time:

We mentioned Reshad Jones is probably getting too many reps. To get every rep is not good for anybody in my opinion. I think there needs to be a time when you are not on the field every single down. Prince Miller is getting a ton of reps. He's getting a ton of defensive reps, he's been the gunner just about every play on the punt team. He's been the punt return man, he's the safety on the kickoff team. He's playing a lot of reps, and we need to get Branden (Smith) in there more. Once we get in the nickel, we get Branden in there a good bit because Prince moves to the nickel. Again, I think he could use a break in there. Right now, offensive line I don't see any options other that what we've been doing right now. At receiver, I think our two freshmen have earned more playing time. I don't think there is any doubt about that.

On whether Logan Gray will see more playing time:

He's been practicing well the past two weeks, I know that. I wouldn't say thats out of the question.

On Caleb King:

I think Caleb is going to be OK. Caleb is going today in a non-contact situation. If everything goes well, which we expect it to, he would be able to go tomorrow and get any contact that we get. I'm not sure with this weather forecast what's going to happen. We may end up inside. Thursday, even though we dont put the shoulder pads on, we can still simulate some contact and actually get some contact with him to see how he responds to it. Everything is pointing thumbs up on him and Tavarres King for that matter. Vance Cuff is ready to go. He was really ready last week. He didn't get much playing time because of the amount of work that he had going into it. He should have a full week of practice. (Marcus) Dowtin, we thought would have a chance this week, but it's pretty doubtful. I think it's pretty much out of the question for Dowtin if I remember correctly. (Akeem) Dent, we are very hopeful for the next game for both of those linebackers.

On Joe Cox:

Joe has been a little bit up-and-down these last couple of games. I would say that yes he is still our starting quarterback. A lot of things go into the quarterbacks ability to play at his peak level. I think quarterbacks get maybe a little more blame than they deserve and maybe a little more credit than they deserve. I think if we all played together as a unit, I think Joes productivity will rise like it has in other games.

Tightend Aron White:

On the teams focus:

We can't be thinking about what's happening with everybody else with the SEC, what bowl we are going to get in or if we are going to get a bowl. Coach Richt said our main focus has to be our next opponent. He's always big on saying take one game at a time because right now the only thing that should be on our minds is Vanderbilt because thats our next opponent. He said nobody likes to lose and you should feel bad about it and sick to your stomach, but come your next practice you have to get in there and start working on the next team. You've got to forget and move on. Every season is not going to perfect and obviously not live up to your expectations, but right now we just got to focus on making the best out of the rest of our season. We've still got a lot of games to play.

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