Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 1


Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

This is the first SEC game away from home. We are looking forward to that. We don’t get to go to Oxford very often. You play them once every six years or whatever it might be. We are looking forward to that. I do enjoy road games. You get your 70 guys and you go on a business trip and there aren’t a lot of things you have to do other than go and play the ballgame. There aren’t any other responsibilities that I have personally or that the players have or that the assistant coaches might have. So it is nice just to gather up the team, gather up the troops and get busy. We get there in time to have dinner, and we have some meetings. We give them a snack and then they go to bed. They are going to wake up extremely early. It depends on whose time zone you are on, but I think we are going to keep our team on our time zone just to keep them on their normal biological clock, and also make it where they wake up at 7:15 instead of 6:15. I don’t know if that will help or not, but we’re looking forward to it.

Coach Houston Nutt has always fielded great football teams and we are looking forward to that challenge. I’ll talk a little bit about them offensively. I’ll start with their offensive line; they are massive. They just look massive on film, even. They like to run a lot of zone plays, just power plays downhill kind of stuff. They like to maul you, they like to play-action pass off of it. They have some pretty sporty backs too. Jeff Scott is the one leading them in rushing right now. Not a real big man, but it’s kind of tough to find him sometimes coming out of that pile of humanity up front. They do like to play both tight ends a good bit. They will get into a lot of two tight end, two receiver sets. When they do go into two-back sets their fullback, H.R. Greer, is a pretty typical Southeastern Conference fullback. If you aren’t tough you can’t play fullback in this league and in this system that they are playing. He’s a very, very tough guy. Not super tall, 5-11, 235 pounds, but you need a low center of gravity to do the types of things they are asking him to do.

As far as their receivers are concerned, they do a very good job of taking advantage of their skills. Ja-Mes Logan is their leading receiver. Nickolas Brassell, I think he is a true freshman, is a big-time speed guy for them. They are trying to find ways to get him the ball in space. Vince Sanders is the X receiver or split end when they go to two receiver sets. He’s a guy who has done a fine job too. They are relatively young at the receiving corps, but talented.

Their quarterback is Zach Stoudt. He’s a guy who did struggle last week, but when you hear the statistics, you wonder what you are going to see, but when I looked at the film he is a very capable guy. He missed a couple of balls by just a fraction. They had guys open, and I’m sure they’ll make corrections and be difficult to defend.

Defensively they are a 4-3 team. Some people say they are a 4-2 team with five DBs, and that would probably better describe them. It basically would be a nickel SAM, so they do have four down linemen, two linebackers in the corps, and they have Aaron Garbit, who plays what we would call a nickel SAM.

They have two safeties who are really hard-hitting guys, Damien Jackson has caught our eye the most. He has played extremely physical and is a very fierce hitter. He’s the number two tackler on their team. Mike Marry, the leading tackler, is playing the MIKE linebacker. He’s in the box there, and he’s actually third in the league in tackles, a very physical guy. They have a couple of Georgia boys, Gerald Rivers and Joel Kight, guys who I’m sure will be excited about playing the Dogs and getting after us.

They have a guy named Jeff Scott, their punt returner. He’s number two in the United States of America in punt returns. He already has one for a touchdown. He’s a very fearless guy, a guy from Florida who is going to field the ball. He does not like to fair catch. I’m not saying that he never will, but his inclination is to hang in there, make the catch, make the guy miss and then start doing his damage. That’s why he’s as good as he is. He’s not a super big guy, but he’s the same young man who plays tailback for them, just a dangerous football player.

Their placekicker Bryson Rose is doing a great job for them, making his kicks. Tyler Campbell, their punter, leads the league in punting. He’s averaging 47 yards a kick. They’re actually very high in regard to net punt, also. I think they are third in the league and very high in the country. Andrew Ritter, their kickoff man has the ability to knock it deep in the end zone. I think a couple of games they played in the wind was blowing, and when the wind was at his back he was knocking it out. When it wasn’t it was returnable, which is typical for most kickers. I think that they are a team that is obviously is going to be hungry for a victory, a team that is going to be a little wounded, a little mad. But we are a little wounded and a little mad too, so it ought to be a pretty good game.

On how Georgia can reclaim its road success…

Just win. We’ll definitely go in there believing we can win. We feel that every time we play of course. The one thing that over the years I think some of the reasons we’ve had so much success on the road was that our quarterbacks historically really handled the pressure of the communication in those loud stadiums and handled the pressure of if some little thing goes wrong for Georgia, it gets accentuated by crowd reaction and that kind of thing. Our quarterbacks have always had nerves of steel. They handled all that type of pressure really well. Part of the preparation for that will be Thursday’s practice at the stadium. We’ll crank up the noise and do a good job of communication there. While we are talking about practices, we will practice today and tomorrow on our field turf since we are going to play on field turf. We have a little bit of a forecast for rain too, so it will be better not to tear up our grass fields if it is moist out there. We’ll go today and tomorrow on the field turf, Thursday in the stadium, and crank up the noise on Thursday.

On whether Hutson Mason will see more playing time…

Right this second I wouldn’t want to make a comment on that. We haven’t really gone any further with that discussion, not to say we won’t before the week is over. I’m talking about Mike Bobo and myself. But Hutson is practicing well, he’s playing well. He really runs our system well, and he’s earned playing time in my mind. How we’ll manage that, I’m not ready to make any promises I can’t keep.

On the SEC race…

Our focus must be on today’s practice and tomorrow’s practice and Thursday’s practice and getting better. We are sincere about doing that, but we all know we’re also shooting for a prize long term, and the prize is definitely up for grabs. There shouldn’t be any team in our league not believing that they could not win the prize, and we are not one of those.

On Taylor Bradberry…

Taylor is one of those guys who has quietly been learning the system, getting stronger, getting faster, getting tougher, becoming more and more reliable, making plays in practice that everybody feels like this guy can play in the Southeastern Conference. He can help us win. That’s part of the reason why he got a scholarship – because of production. We really have no fear of putting him in the ballgame and letting him play. If he is, in any given week, one of the top six guys at receiver, then he will get his opportunity. With Marlon Brown probably questionable to doubtful, I think that helps Bradberry’s cause to be on the travel team and get in the ballgame this week.

On Marlon Brown’s injury…

I don’t know if it’s a mild high ankle sprain, but it’s been lingering more than we would hope. He did early on just try to strap it up and go, and it just progressively got worse to the point where he really couldn’t function well. Now we’re trying to get him pain-free and give it another whirl. He won’t be going today.

On playing three freshman offensive linemen last week…

Part of it is the depth. They are second team, and one injury and one of those three is probably going to play. That’s part of it. The other part of it is three seniors right now on our offensive line will be gone, and so a year from now there is a good chance one, two or three of those guys will be playing. Even if they play a little bit, any playing experience is very valuable for them this year. The fact that they are second team getting a ton of reps every day is helping them too. These guys aren’t true freshmen hanging out on the scout team line and kind of waiting for their day in the spring. Every single day they have to perform in practice. They are getting coached hard, and they are getting coached with our system, changing game plans weekly and all the things that you mentally go through. So the more we can play the, they better of they’ll be in the future too.

On how the freshman offensive linemen performed against Coastal Carolina…

Not bad, I think David Andrews probably performed the best of that group, which wasn’t surprising. The other two didn’t do poorly, but David really seemed to be on it and played hard and physical. It seemed like he played confident and knew exactly what to do. I’m not trying to slight the other two boys, but I thought David stood out. That was big for those guys. That’s fun. It had to be a great memory. I remember Huston Mason last year, his first play was a touchdown pass so it kind of reminded me of that.

On if you have issues with pass protection does that limit a tight end like Orson Charles…

There's certain times where our tight ends are going to pass protect for us. It's just part of our system. It's a way for us to get seven-man protection. It's one of the ways. We could do it a couple of ways. That's one of the ways we do it. We are probably doing less of that than we were a year ago, so that's not an issue. Some people are like 'why isn't Orson getting the ball more?' The reality is we run routes where we spread the field. If we are stretching horizontally, we are going to have somebody in the middle, we're going to have somebody in the hook and we're going to have somebody in the flat. We might have somebody in the weak hook and the week flat on this side, and then certain coverages will dictate where the ball is going to go.

If you get a blitz – if it's an inside blitz, you may throw a middle hot. If it's an outside blitz, you may throw a hot out there. If you have a roll and the secondary rolls this way, you're probably going to throw backside. Then if it's quarters coverage or some kind of coverage like that, you'll progress number one, number two and number three.

So who's going to get the ball? Out of the five, I don’t know before the snap. Some games the guy gets it six times. Some games he gets it two times or three times. Balls have been thrown to Orson that either protection or some reason he didn't get the completion. I don't know if he has dropped a ball yet. I don't think he has. We are aware of Orson and wanting to use him, but we can't always predict where the ball is going to go. If you say this route is going to him no matter what, you force the ball, you throw picks and you got problems.

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