Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bowl Media Day Press Conference


Head coach Mark Richt and several football players met with the media Wednesday during the Bulldogs Bowl Media Day. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement:

Texas A&M is an outstanding football team with a great football tradition. Coach [Mike] Sherman has their team on the rise and playing extremely well late in the year. It will be a tremendous challenge for us.

To start out with their offense, they are No. 1 in [the Big 12] offensively in total yards and in the top three in just about every offensive category. That all starts with No. 1, [quarterback] Jerrod Johnson. Hes 6-5, a 240-pounder, and throws the ball extremely well. Hes hit over 61 percent of his passes, has 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions that ratio is tremendous. He has close to 700 yards rushing and over 3,200 yards passing, so hes really been the guy, absolutely the catalyst of that offensive football team.

They love to spread it out, go fast-paced, go with three-receiver sets, four-receiver sets, a no-back, five-receiver look. They get into certain personnel groups and give you every formation known to mankind and do it in a very quick manner, so itll be a challenge just to recognize whats happening and get lined up properly. Well try to get after it.

Up front theyve got three senior linemen really in the best spots you can hope for as a coach. Both tackles and the center are seniors and have done an outstanding job of paving the way for [Cyrus] Gray and [Christine] Michael, their top two runners. They both have run for over 750 yards apiece and are very much alike, really their statures are pretty close, 5-10, 5-11, and around 200 pounds, give or take a few.

Their running styles are very similar. Receiving-wise, [Ryan] Tannehill is their leading receiver. I dont see him on this depth chart, so I dont know if he got hurt or not. I dont have that figured out yet. Then [Howard] Morrow, and [Uzoma Nwachukwu] is a freshman receiver, very fast and talented. [Jeff] Fuller is their fourth-leading receiver. They throw the ball around a lot. They like to spread it out to throw and so they can get you thinned out and run their running game. Its mostly a tailback running game, with some quarterback running, as you can see in the amount of yards that Johnson has as a quarterback rusher.

Defensively, they have a young man by the name of Von Miller, No. 40, who has 17 sacks and leads their league in forced fumbles and tackles for loss and is one of the better rush hands in the country, Id have to say. As far as leading tackles are concerned, their safeties are their top two tacklers, [Trent Hunter and Jordan Pugh] with 87 and 75 tackles, respectively.

Then their linebackers, [Garrick] Williams, [Kyle] Mangan, and [Michael] Hodges are their next three tacklers all pretty close, and about where it ought to be.

The special teams I havent really spent a lot of time studying yet, so I dont want to start spouting off things that I havent looked closely at. Its been a little different from a normal week. I havent had a chance to sit down with the staff and talk about anything. We gathered today to get ready for todays practice.

Well practice today all the way through to the 22nd, then on the 23rd it will be a travel day. The 24th we are to report around 2 p.m., and will not practice the day we get there. Well practice the 25th and 26th, then the 27th the day before the game do our normal walk-through and meeting routine. We could practice, but more than likely itll just be a normal day-before-game. Christmas day we will treat like a normal Tuesday and the 26th we will treat like a normal Wednesday.

We kind of miss that Thursday practice, but well get plenty of things done and because of the multiple practices I dont see a problem. If I feel like we need a practice day before the game, we may do that. Thats the plan right now, where were sitting. We did have practice yesterday between our class and exam schedule. It was a very spirited practice. We designed it in hopes that it would be short, sweet, and high-tempo, high-competition. Everybody responded really well.

Our players are excited about the challenge and looking forward to working really hard and getting after A&M. From what I hear, the travel time from Texas A&M to Shreveport is about three or four hours, so they should have a strong contingent of fans. We anticipate crowd noise as an issue so well be practicing with that.

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