Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 1


Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

We are going to Knoxville. It’s a very tough place to win - at least it has been for us the last two times we were there. We pretty much got drubbed there. We didn’t put up much of a fight the last two times we were in their house, so we need to try to hopefully change that. It will be a challenge for us; we know that and we are looking forward to it.

They are number two in the league in total offense, number two in passing and number one in passing efficiency. Another thing that is pretty impressive is I think they are tied for first in America in third down conversions. That’s why they are also leading the league in time of possession, because when you get your third downs, you continue drives and you burn more clock and you get more yards and score more points. That’s going to be a challenge for us.

A year ago, defensively against third downs we weren’t very good. This year we are so much better, and I’m sure that will be a pretty good matchup to see how the third down conversions go for them. Tyler Bray is playing fantastic. You can look at a man’s statistics and see that he’s doing great, but when you look at the film it’s even more impressive to me. He’s a very smooth, effortless passer, very accurate. He makes it look easy, really just from a fundamental standpoint. He’s very tall, a guy who can see the field well and put in on the money.

They have outstanding receivers. Da’Rick Rogers is the one who has caught the most balls for them. I think he’s leading the league and doing great. I know Justin Hunter was a guy who was playing very well for them also, their great freshman from a year ago. Unfortunately he got hurt, so they are using Zach Rogers a little more. He’s starting to get a lot more play now. They have a freshman receiver, DeAnthony Arnett, who is very quick and more of a slot guy.

As far as their runners are concerned, Tauren Poole is their number one guy. He’s kind of a downhill runner, a physical runner, a guy who has great balance and is an outstanding player. They are getting Marlin Lane in there. He is seeing a little more time. He has also been getting some punt returns.

Offensive line-wise they are still relatively young but they do have four starters back. They played a bunch of young guys last year. They are big, they’re athletic and they’re getting better every week. They are going to be really outstanding; they are already outstanding pass protectors. They are getting better at the run on a weekly basis. The other thing about Tennessee is they have 17 Georgia boys on their team, so there are a lot of guys on that team who I’m sure will be excited about playing us. A lot of them are playing a lot of ball for them too.

They have a right-footed punter and a left-footed punter. The right-footed punter Matt Darr and the left-footed punter Michael Palardy have both been playing. I’m not sure which one’s going to punt quite frankly. We’ll just have to wait and see on that. I mentioned Lane before as the punt return man the first three games, but Devrin Young got in there and ended up breaking one for 43 yards, so he may end up being their punt return man now. It looks like they are trying to get Young in the kick return battle too.

The kickoff returners… it’s been Da’Rick, it’s been Lane, it’s been Poole, now Young is getting some work so I’m not really sure who they are going to put back there. Palardy is the extra point/field goal man. He has a career long of 38 or 39. He’s four-of-six with field goals and has made every extra point.

On defense, they have a couple of corners who are really outstanding. They play man coverage almost every down. They are very confident in their ability to do that. I’ve not seen anybody beat them deep or anything big on those guys. They’ve given up very few big plays, period. Their entire defense has not given up big plays. The defensive backs are the most experienced group. I think they play a lot of man coverage to allow them to outnumber you in the running game.

Their linebackers are very young. They have two true freshmen starting. If you didn’t know they are freshmen, you’d say they are absolutely capable linebackers. Austin Johnson is their senior in the middle, and he’s leading their team in tackles with 23. Up front, Jacques Smith and Marlon Walls are the defensive ends. They do a nice job of pressuring. Smith has 14 tackles and four and a half tackles for loss with a couple of pass break-ups, half a sack and QB hurries. They’re definitely doing a good job up front.

They don’t have a lot of sacks, they don’t have a lot of interceptions, but they also aren’t giving up very many big plays. I think they are really an outstanding defense. Playing there at their place, having to deal with all the crowd noise, having to deal with the things you have to deal with on the road, it’s going to make for a heck of a ballgame. I know that two years ago we got beat pretty bad. Last year we beat them pretty good here, so you can’t go by what happened last year. You have to play this year’s game and that’s what we are getting ready to do.

On being one win away from 100 wins…

I never thought I’d get to 100. I didn’t know if I’d get to 100 games period, but to get to 100 victories would be sweet, no doubt. The sweetest part of it would be if it happened this week. I would think there is a pretty good chance that this season we’ll get to 100, but I sure would like it this week because it is Tennessee and it is so important for where we are right now and the race we’re in.

On if he has noticed a spark in the team after South Carolina and Florida both lost last week…

It's definitely a boost, but I don't think we were desperate for a boost if that makes any sense. I think we have been a team that's been very close knit, very good chemistry, very hard working. I think we've been believing that we are a very good football team. I think we've truly believing that we very capable of winning the East. I don't think anybody has ever lost any kind of faith in that. But when the standings changed like they did it certainly gives you a boost. It was a surge of energy when that was happening, and in yesterday's practice you could tell the guys had a little more bounce in their step. It's been good.

On if it has been a battle for him to remind the players they have a shot at the SEC Eastern Division title after the 0-2 start…

Not really. I think the way we played in the South Carolina game it really helped everybody believe that we are a pretty good team and that we have a chance to compete and win the Eastern Division. We know we didn't win the game and that hurts. It's hard to start 0-1. It's hard to lose control of your destiny after the first game of the year in league play, but I think everybody left that game like, you know what we got a chance to be a really good football team and let's keep getting better and keep fighting. It's a long season and if you look at history in the East, especially lately, there hasn't been many teams go through it undefeated or one loss. So let's just keep fighting and get back in the race and we are there now.

No comments:

Post a Comment