Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dawgs Turn Attention To South Carolina


After a wild 51-44 win over SEC rival Tennessee on Saturday in Athens, No. 5 Georgia will travel to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the No. 6 Gamecocks. Both teams enter the matchup with a 5-0 record, including 3-0 marks in SEC play.

The offensive shootout that took place during the Tennessee game left coach Mark Richt with a few improvements in mind for the game against the Gamecocks.

“Once everything happened the way it happened and we got down to the very end, we needed to make some plays, especially defensively and we were able to do that,” said Richt. “What we need to be able to improve on is our ability to get a couple of first downs at the end of the game and force people to use timeouts, so we run the clock. We just really haven’t done a good job of that in recent memory.

“It’s not like we didn't have a plan, we had a plan, but it just wasn’t good enough,” continued Richt. “We didn’t knock out a first down when we needed it the most to try and take as much drama out of it at the very end, so we had to defend a couple of times. We even had to defend one last time with 15 seconds left in the game; even at that point the game was one play away from being tied up or a touchdown and a two-point conversion away from being lost. I was pleased that we were able to make those plays when we needed to. We’ve got to make sure we can get us some first down at the end if we’re in a position to do that again in the future.”

As the Dawgs look ahead to the Gamecocks, coach Richt is looking at South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore and his ability to improve in the second half.

“Lattimore seems to play even better as the game goes on,” Richt said. “I think when it’s early in the game and defenses are fresh, they run faster, hit harder and make fewer mistakes. As fatigue begins to set in and as a back begins to really finish his runs with some physicality, guys get tired of that. Even with our man Gurley, he was running in such a way that by the end of the Tennessee game, nobody really wanted to take him on, other than just trying to go low and shoot at his legs. I think that’s what happens sometimes; people get tired of that pounding and Lattimore’s been able to have enough stamina and be able to pound people and people begin to miss just a little bit when fatigue sets in, they’re not as strong and the guy starts being able to break tackles. You break one or two tackles and all the sudden you get a lot of space and you get big runs. I think it’s a combination of all those things.”

On the defensive side, Richt is also looking at Gamecock defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor and ways to keep them under control.

“They are outstanding, there’s no doubt about it,” said Richt. “They are tall, athletic and they have outstanding technique. They are much more physical against the run than they were a year ago. They really are complete players.

“You can’t just slide your protection to one guy without freeing up the other to have some type of one-on-one situation,” continued Richt. “There’s going to be times when we’ll probably be doing a little chipping, double-teaming or sliding to them, but there’s going to be times when a guy is just going to have to man up and block them. Hopefully, we’ll have a good enough mix of run, pass and flash and pass, that we’ll keep them where they aren’t 100 percent sure that we’re just dropping back and throwing the football. I think they do the most damage when it comes to pass rush. Hopefully we can do a good job with the combination of slide protection to one of them, chipping a guy on the way out or double-teaming with a tight end and a tackle or whatever, to get the ball off. We just have to be able to find different ways to keep them a little bit off balance.”

As the Dawgs prepare for South Carolina, they are doing so a month later than in the past, which Rich feels can make a difference.

“We’ll be watching this year’s film instead of last year’s film,” Richt said. “You never know for sure what somebody has up their sleeve from one year to the next, having an entire offseason to assess their personnel, think about what type of personality that team has and figure out what their strengths are. When you play them really early, you’re going to see some things you didn’t prepare for, and that makes it a little bit tougher to defend. This far into the season, there will probably be a certain percentage of things that might be new because people tend to have a little bit of a package that might be different from what they’ve done all year long. For the most part, we’ve probably already seen on film or will see on film, the great majority of what they’re going to do in the game.”

South Carolina is coming off of a 38-17 win over Kentucky in Lexington and stands in a three-way tie for first place in the SEC East with Georgia and Florida. The three-way tie is soon to be broken however, as Florida also plays a conference game this Saturday.

“By the end of the day, the winner of our game is going to be tied for first or in first by themselves, depending on the Florida game,” Richt said. “Either way, the winner of our game is going to be in first and in control of their own destiny. It’s a big, big game right now, this deep into conference season with two undefeated teams.”

The Dawgs own a 46-16-2 record against the Gamecocks, including a 19-8-2 record in Columbia. While Georgia has won seven of the last 10 meetings, South Carolina has picked up the last two wins. In the storied series, 26 games have been decided by seven points or less, including last year’s 45-42 loss.

Top 25 ~ Week 5


Five weeks gives a better idea how things are shaping up this season, some early polls were based solely on a team’s reputation. Mine looks at each record and groups the teams based on what they have accomplished this year. Do I think Louisville could beat Florida? No, but they currently have a better record at 5-0 even though I think they are the weakest 5-0 team in the country. The poll offers much more movement and will change each week based on who is playing. Some teams will drop dramatically while others make a huge jump.







5 - 0




5 - 0




5 - 0

South Carolina


South Carolina

5 - 0



Florida State

5 - 0

North Carolina State



5 - 0



Ohio State

5 - 0




5 - 0

Penn State



5 - 0




4 - 0



Kansas State

4 - 0



Notre Dame

4 - 0




4 - 0

West Virginia


Mississippi State

4 - 0



West Virginia

4 - 0




4 - 0

Iowa State



4 - 0



Texas Tech

4 - 0



Oregon State

3 - 0

Washington State



3 - 0

Miami (OH)



5 - 1




4 - 1

Georgia Tech



4 - 1

Ohio State



4 - 1



Arizona State

4 - 1


Poll is based entirely on this season’s results and will change following each week’s games, top 5 win teams ranked ahead of top 4 win teams, etc..

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dawgs Hang On To Defeat Tennessee


The Dawgs hung on to win a 51-44 shootout with Tennessee Saturday in Sanford Stadium. Georgia is 5-0 for the first time since 2006 and is 5-0 for the fourth time under coach Mark Richt.

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…
"It's nice to have a gut check and come out on top. A lot of things in the first half deflated us, but we realized where we were, we knew we had to play another 30 minutes, and we rose to the occasion when we needed to. We kept them out of the end zone when we needed to, we got turnovers when we needed to and we did what we had to do to win. I'm going to focus on the positives because we got the win. … We're 5-0 and 3-0 in the SEC, so we're exactly where we want to be. We're going to enjoy the victory and make the corrections we need to make."

On Tennessee…
"Tennessee is very talented. They have good-looking athletes. They have all the tools to move the ball and make big plays and they did. But the defense got the stops when we needed them and we got the turnovers when we needed them. … Tennessee is very good. I think Derek Dooley has got them going in the right direction. They're going to be a pain in the rear for some time to come."

On Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree…
"Rambo and Ogletree ended up being the top two tacklers. They had some rust, no doubt, but you can't replace their athleticism and their ability to make plays. I'm glad we got them back and they got the rust out. Hopefully next week they'll be even better."

On the South Carolina game…
"South Carolina is a huge game, we all know that. We've got a lot of respect for them. They've beaten us the last two games, so we've got something to prove. If we can keep improving, get prepared and stay together, we have a good chance to get after it. We're going to Columbia for a 60-minute war."

On Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley…
"Marshall and Gurley are really fantastic players. I wouldn't trade them for anything."

Two-Headed Monster: True freshmen tailbacks Keith Marshall (10-for-career-high 164 yards, 2 TDs) and Todd Gurley (24-for-130 yards, 3 TDs) combined for 294 yards and 5 touchdowns. Marshall had scoring runs of 75 yards and 72 yards. This was the longest scoring run for the Dawgs since Brandon Boykin took a pitch 80 yards for a touchdown against Boise State last year. His 164 rushing yards were the most for Georgia since Washaun Ealey had 183 versus Georgia Tech in 2009. Marshall now has two 100-yard games. Gurley came into the game leading the SEC in scoring and scoring TDs. This marks the fourth game in five that the Tarboro, N.C., native has gone over 100 yards.

40+ Yet Again: Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) came in leading the SEC in scoring at 47.5 and dropped 51 points on the Volunteers. This marks a school record fifth consecutive game with 40+ points. In fact, the teams combined for the most points in series history with 95. The previous high was 84 in 2006. UT’s 44 points is the most by a Dawg opponent in a losing effort in regulation. The only game to top it was 49 by Auburn in four overtimes as Georgia won 56-49 in 1996. After tallying 30 point in the first half, UT was limited to 14 in the second half and the Dawg defense forced turnovers on UT’s last 3 possessions.

Opening Drive: The Dawgs have now scored on their opening drive four out of five games. On Saturday, Georgia’s first drive lasted 6:06 (longest of the year) and was a 13-play (longest of the year), 84-yard drive. Gurley, who had 32 yards on the drive, capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. He finished the game with three scores.

Also Through The Air: The Dawgs ended the game with 278 passing yards, showcasing an arsenal of receivers and tight ends. Junior tight end Arthur Lynch finished with three catches for a career-high 75 yards, including a career-long 38 yarder. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray completed the day going 19-for-25 for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sophomore Michael Bennett completed the contest with 5 grabs for 70 yards and two scores. He now has a team-leading four touchdown catches

Blocked Punt: Junior safety Marc Deas recorded the Dawgs’ second blocked punt of the year in the third quarter. Freshman Josh Harvey-Clemons recovered the block. The Dawgs took over at the UT 47-yard line. This marks the 21st blocked punt in the Mark Richt era. Redshirt sophomore split end Michael Bennett caught his second touchdown of the game four plays later to put Georgia up 43-30.

Points Off Turnovers: Junior inside linebacker Alec Ogletree tipped a Tyler Bray pass that sophomore cornerback Damian Swann grabbed with one hand for his first career interception in the second quarter. This marks the first pick for the Dawg secondary this year and the third for UGA in 2012. Gurley later scored on a 51-yard scoring run to put Georgia up 27-10, but the Dawgs missed the extra point. Quarterback Aaron Murray fumbled on the 8-yard line in the final minutes of the second quarter and Tennessee recovered it. UT later converted it into a touchdown, but also missed its extra point. With 1:42 left in the half, Marshall fumbled and UT scored seven more. The Vols also picked off a tipped ball midway through the opening period and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. With 5:55 left, senior Sanders Commings notched his sixth career interception, getting it at the Dawg 36. It led to a punt. With UT driving with 1:22 left, freshman Jordan Jenkins forced a fumble and was recovered by senior John Jenkins. It led to a punt. Commings got his second INT with 7 seconds left for the win., the first Dawgs with two INTs in a game since Rambo against Ole Miss last year. The Dawgs have now forced 10 turnovers and scored 34 points. Their opponents have converted nine turnovers into 36 points. Georgia is now +1 turnover ratio for the year.

50 Yarder To End The Half: True freshman placekicker Marshall Morgan booted a 50-yard field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter to tie the game at 30-all. He is 4-for-5 in field goals this season, including an SEC-long 52 yarder this season at Missouri. For the fourth time this year, Marshall also hit the goal post on an extra point attempt, missing his second in 2012 on Saturday.

Tackles: Alec Ogletree led the Dawgs with a career-high 14 tackles and a tipped pass that led to an interception. This is his fourth career game with at least 10 tackles. Junior free safety Bacarri Rambo also had nine stops.

Starters: Ogletree and Rambo made their first appearance for the Dawgs this season, both starting on defense. Also of note, sophomore Malcolm Mitchell started on offense for the first time in 2012. Mitchell had started the last three games at cornerback after starting nine games at SE. He also finished with 16 kickoff return yards in the first half.

Game Captains: Senior split end Marlon Brown, senior defensive end Abry Jones, junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and redshirt sophomore free safety Connor Norman served as Georgia’s captains.

Up Next: The Dawgs (5-0, 3-0 EC) travel to #6 South Carolina on October 6th in Columbia, South Carolina. The game will be televised by ESPN at 7 p.m.

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the running backs...
“I knew that they'd be good. Keith got here in January and had a great spring. And then with Todd Gurley, we knew that he was going to be a special player after fall camp.”

On the play in the first half...
"It was a little sloppy in the first half just giving away the ball, but we came in at halftime and looked at things. We were playing pretty well except for the fumbles, so we knew we could have a good second half if we could protect the ball."

On his first quarter interception...
"I was upset about it, but you have to move on and try to make plays later in the game."

Tailback Todd Gurley

On the performance today...
"We made some mistakes but it takes a good team to finish like that. I think it says a lot about the team to take the win back like that. I just kept trying to move the ball forward and focus on the next play. I felt good out there and had some space."

Tailback Keith Marshall

On the fumble...
"I put extra pressure on myself after the fumble, but the coaches and the rest of the team kept telling me that everyone makes mistakes and that I had to move on."

On the offensive line...
"The O-line is playing great. I had some huge holes all day. They keep playing better each week."

Cornerback Sanders Commings

On Tennessee's offense...
Hats off to Tennessee, they were manning up to block and we weren't able to get a lot of pressure.

On this week...
I'm ready to get prepped for South Carolina. That's a big test for us and we know that we have to have a good week of practice.

On the interceptions...
”Both of the interceptions felt good. I saw the ball well and was able to get there in time. It's always great to help the team, especially late in the game.”

Free Safety Marc Deas

On the blocked punt...
"It felt like I had just scored a touchdown. It's still pretty surreal--I'm still a little shaken up by it. It makes me feel so good because special teams plays like that don't come about often. I was glad that I saw that weakness and was able to take advantage of it."

Tennessee Head Coach Derek Dooley

Opening Statement…
“You have to give a lot of credit to Georgia. They are a great football team and a heck of an offensive football team. I am proud of this team for fighting. I think we showed that we have some resilience in this ball team, but we a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. We are leaving here a better team than when we got here.”

On his team…
“There is a lot of disappointment. We kept hanging in there but couldn’t get over the hump and get a stop when we needed it. We had the ball in the last possession and had an opportunity to score, but we didn’t get it done. We haven’t been in those situations a lot. We are going to learn from it and next time execute it better.”

On the defense…
“We are better in a lot of areas, but we have to shore up the run defense. Georgia is a great running team but we are a lot better than what we showed out there today. It was frustrating. We have to go back, watch some film and look at our personnel. If we have to make some changes, then we will make changes. We have to learn to play better.”

On the 20-3 run that ended the first half…
“I’ve always believed that this team has some fight in them. We just had to go out there and prove it. We got hit by a freight train early in the game, but we were able to fight back and get back into it. We went toe to toe with a top-10 team that will be competing for a national championship. Georgia was ready to play and we were on our heels early. We showed that we could fight back and make some plays when we
needed too, but we still have room to improve.”

Tight End Michael Rivera
“We came into this game with a lot of confidence, but it just didn’t work out like we thought it would. Through all the disappointment, I think the team grew a lot. We’re disappointed but as always, stay positive and look forward to the next game.”

Wide Receiver Zach Rogers
“We showed a lot of heart tonight, and I think that’s something we can take forward into the rest of the season. We’ve shown we can hang in there with a top-five team and go toe-to-toe with the best of them. We learned a lot about ourselves tonight.”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Munson Honored By UGA


Larry MunsonThe University of Georgia home radio booth at Sanford Stadium will be named Saturday for the late Larry Munson, legendary voice of the Dawgs for 42 years. The “Larry Munson Broadcast Suite” will be officially recognized during pre-game activities at the Georgia-Tennessee game which kicks off at 3:39 p.m. ET.

A plaque will be placed outside the Larry Munson Broadcast Suite that reads:

“Dedicated to legendary Bulldog play-by-play announcer Larry Munson who served as the voice of the Dawg Nation from 1966-2008. His dedication, loyalty, passion and extraordinary delivery over 42 years endeared him to Georgia fans in every city, state, and nation around the world, always urging the teams, and fans, to ‘hunker down you guys.’”

A collage of photos during Munson’s career will be displayed in the broadcast suite.

Munson, who passed away Nov. 20, 2011, wrapped up a lifetime of sports broadcasting in the fall of 2008, most of which was spent with the Dawgs from1966 to 2008. His dramatic delivery, along with an unabashed partisanship for the Dawgs, endeared him to generations of UGA fans.

The Georgia job, which Munson landed in 1966, was the latest and longest lasting in a career that has covered over 60 years. He has been duly honored by several organizations for his outstanding contributions to broadcasting.

Born Sept. 28, 1922, in Minneapolis, Munson is an alumnus of Moorehead State Teachers College in Moorehead, Minnesota. After World War II, he used his military discharge pay to enroll in broadcaster's school back home in Minneapolis. He followed 10 weeks of training by landing an assignment to work at a small radio station in Devil's Lake, N.D.

This job started a series of short-term gigs for Munson behind the microphone, the last of which took him to Cheyenne, Wyoming. He had gotten the job by recording an audition tape of a football game between Ohio State and Minnesota, replete with canned crowd noise and special effects.

During his time in Cheyenne, Munson befriended another young broadcaster who later gained national fame: Curt Gowdy, who was calling University of Wyoming football and basketball games at the time. When Gowdy left Cheyenne for a Double A baseball job in Oklahoma City, he recommended that Munson replace him. It was the break that Munson sought.

In 1949, when Gowdy joined Mel Allen on the New York Yankees radio crew, he again recommended Munson for the job in Oklahoma City. Munson eventually spent three years broadcasting baseball there before making his next move.

He left Oklahoma City for Nashville, Tennessee, in 1952, taking a job calling games for the Nashville Vols, a minor-league affiliate of several teams, including the New York Giants, Cincinnati and Minnesota. It was a career move that led him into other broadcasting directions. He served a stint as a Nashville disc jockey and also started what was believed to have been the first-ever TV show on fishing-- The Rod & Gun Club. Munson continued to host the fishing show long after he left Nashville for Georgia in the mid-1960s.

While in Nashville, Munson also made his second venture into collegiate athletics. He called Vanderbilt University football and basketball games over the powerful airwaves of AM station WSM.

But in 1966 Munson got his big break into major-league baseball when he landed a job calling Atlanta Braves baseball in their inaugural season. As the Braves' first spring training began, he read a newspaper story about the departure of Georgia football announcer Ed Thilenius. He then made an inquiry to UGA athletics director Joel Eaves, whom he had known during his days at Vanderbilt. Eaves offered him the Georgia football job during that first phone call.

During his career as the Dawgs’ play-by-play man, Munson has held a variety of auxiliary jobs. He called games for the Georgia basketball program from 1987-96 and for the Atlanta Falcons from 1989-92. He has also hosted various sports talk shows on radio and TV.

In 1983, Munson was recognized by the Georgia General Assembly “for his role in the Georgia championship football program.” Fourteen years later the same legislative body, led by Governor Zell Miller, honored him with a proclamation celebrating his 50 years in broadcasting.

In 1994, Munson was inducted into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and in 2005, he won a similar induction into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame on May 2, 2009.

Munson was also the 2003 recipient of the Chris Schenkel Award, given annually by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The award recognizes broadcasters with long and distinguished careers in broadcasting college football, as well as their contributions to community service. He was also named winner of the 2008 Furman Bisher Award for Sports Media Excellence presented by the Atlanta Sports Council.

On Nov. 17, 2007, Munson was named a UGA “Honorary Football Letterman” and presented with a letterman’s plaque and jacket at the Georgia-Kentucky game.

Frix Selected As Scholar Athlete


DSC_5233University of Georgia senior snapper Ty Frix has been selected as one of 147 candidates for the National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete Awards, it was announced Thursday by the NFF and College Hall of Fame. Frix and the other nominees also compromise the list of semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.

Candidates for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

A native of Calhoun, Frix has served as the Dawgs’ snapper since 2009. A three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, he graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering and is currently pursuing an MBA.

The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators. The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced Oct. 25. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Each member of the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 4 during the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Since the inception of the Campbell Trophy in 1990, an SEC student-athlete has claimed the award seven times. Former Dawg Matt Stinchcomb won the award in 1998.

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Defense


Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On adjusting to a new 3-4 defense in one year…

“Anytime you do something new it’s tough. There’s a learning curve for everybody. A lot has to do with do you have the personnel to do it. I remember our first year we didn’t have the big nose guards, or at least Kwame Geathers wasn’t ready to be the player he is today. We didn’t have John Jenkins. We were playing DeAngelo Tyson if you remember, kind of an undersized guy for that position. Tennessee has a big beast in there who can do it and edge guys who can do it and play coverage in space as well. It doesn’t really change your perimeter much. They may have had better personnel year one to start it out than we did. Are they going to be better a year from now? I’m sure they will, but they’re still pretty darn good at it now.

On the similarities between Georgia’s defense and Tennessee’s defense…

“It’s very similar. Their defensive thoughts are very similar to the basic 3-4 scheme we employ, same as Alabama. Those three teams are kind of mirroring each other to a certain degree with the basic principles of how to run a 3-4.”

On Tennessee’s edge pressure and whether Georgia’s tackles have been tested to the degree they will be Saturday…

“We’re going to find out. We just have to keep working and start playing. We’ll have the ability to slide protections and chip the backs and use tight ends. We’ll also see if the tackles guys can do it on their own as well.”

On trying to make Tennessee a one-dimensional team…

“I was saying just the other day that if I had those receivers and that quarterback, I’d have a hard time trying to stay balanced. I like throwing the ball, and they’ve got great pass protectors. When you have those tackles like they do that don’t need any help, you can release five guys out and then you’ve got a guy that can spin it like Bray. I don’t know if I would sit there and say that I need to be totally balanced, but I think if you do shut down a running game and you just know someone is going to pass, it’s just much easier to defend. But they’re not that. They’re running the ball well, and they have good play-action pass. They’re really good at throwing and catching, I can tell you that.”

On what unit Malcolm Mitchell will practice with on Thursday…

“Just wherever needed. There will probably be some split time on Thursday.”

On the plan for Malcolm Mitchell in the game on Saturday…

“I would say his reps on offense will increase and his reps on defense will probably decrease, but it’s hard to say for sure on that.”

On the status of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree…

“During pregame we’ll have a really good idea if they are going to play. If they are in full gear there’s a good chance they’ll play.”

On what makes Jarvis Jones so disruptive…

“When you talk about a guy being long, he’s tall, he has long arms. He is very quick off the ball. He has some strength about him. Some guys are just speed rushers. Some guys will beat them on the edge and show them an upfield move and slip underneath. That causes problems. There are some great rushers, and that’s all they’ve got. Jarvis, every once in a while, he just decides to lift them out of there shoes because they are kind of on their heels trying to worry about whether he’s going inside or outside. Then he just runs them over. So he has a big bull rush as well. A guy with that ability and that kind of motor, you are going to make plays. If you notice he’s very stout against the run as well. He’s versatile enough in his knowledge of our system where Coach Todd Grantham can play him in the middle at times, mirror a quarterback if he takes off running or play the run from sideline to sideline rather than just play one half of the field. He’s a special player.”

On Cornelius Washington…

“Cornelius has taken on a big leadership role for us, especially in the spring and the offseason. From what I understand the motto that the seniors came up with was as much or more of Cornelius’ idea than anybody’s. I think he was the one who said we like ‘Finish The Drill” and G.A.T.A. We think it’s important at Georgia, but we’d like to have a slogan for this season that the seniors come up with. He was also very involved when Murray got together with the leaders this summer to divide the team up and have some accountability. He was one of the stronger guys in that area too. I like seeing him correct guys if they need to be corrected. When your veteran players drive the team in a positive way and say this is how we do it at Georgia, you are in a really good spot. That’s where we are right now.”

Linebacker Christian Robinson

On getting off to a fast start against Vanderbilt…

“I think it was really just a matter of honing in quickly. It’s not that we couldn’t make plays in the other games, we just didn’t. It was always a mental thing. We were on point against Vanderbilt this past week; everyone showed up and was ready to play. If you start strong then I think it’s easier to finish because you can just keep up what you’re doing and allow the coaches to just stick to the game-plan.”

On making Tennessee one dimensional…

“Our goal is always to come out and stop the run first. Tennessee has a great passing attack but it’s very tough to win in this league if you can’t establish a balanced offense. Coach Derek Dooley has said that he wants to be able to run the ball a little more, so we’re going to be watching for that. We’ve been good at defending against the run the past couple of years with big guys like Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins plugging up the holes so hopefully we’ll be able to keep it going.”

On Tennessee’s passing attack…

“That’s their strength for sure. They’re all clicking very well right now. We can tell, watching film, that Tyler Bray really trusts his receivers to come down with the ball. Some of the errors that he’s made recently had to do with him not seeing guys dropping out of coverage. We are going to have to bait him into throwing some passes sometimes. If we can change it up while keeping sound coverage and don’t give up any big plays then I think we’ll have a good shot at limiting them through the air.”

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera

On previewing Tennessee’s offense…

“Tyler Bray has a great arm and they have some very good wide receivers. They’ve been playing very well with each other this season. Everyone on their offense is a potential play maker so it’s going to be a challenge for sure.”

On making Tennessee one dimensional on offense…

“We try and make our opponent one dimensional every week. We try to stop the run first and then try and force them to pass. Then we cover their receivers with the great defensive backs that we have. They have a lot of great players in their passing attack but we also have a lot of great defensive backs, so it’s going to be a challenge.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Offense


Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On Georgia’s offense…

“When we finally decided to try to do the no-huddle again, of course when I first got here we were trying to do that, but back then there was a little different attitude towards it I thought. I though that the Southeastern Conference in general wasn’t wanting to embrace it much, and I felt like even the officiating – they weren’t in a hurry to set the ball down and go. Now everybody has bought in, and it seems like if you want to go fast you can go fast. I think there is a lot of advantage to going fast. That helped us I think. The more plays you run, the more yards you get, the more points you score. We’re like anybody else. We’re going to watch people do what they do and try to learn why they do it. When you first start seeing people in the pistol you are kind of wondering why. Then after you experience it a little bit or study it a little bit and see the advantages of it, it’s worth doing. It’s not that hard to do. It’s basically the I-formation or a one-back set. It’s the plays you would run under center with the back six, seven, eight yards deep. Now you’re in the gun, you’re just turning and handing it, but it allows the back to come downhill with his pads square being able to make cuts that are a little bit different from trying to make a cut when you’re running laterally from the gun. Does it allow you to free release your back as quickly as you want in pass protection? It really doesn’t, but if you’re thinking run, play-action, the pistol is a pretty good way to go.”

On the intensity and diligence of Aaron Murray’s weekly pre-game preparations…

“He’s an outstanding student, first of all. So he just finds time to take care of the schoolwork, and then he finds time to take care of studying this game plan and putting the extra time in. I know he’s here on Sundays, and he’s probably here when I’m not looking. I don’t know if we’ve given a guy more responsibility than Aaron. We haven’t. Matthew Stafford certainly had a lot of leeway in what he did and he was a very good student of the game as well, but I think we’ve just added a few more things to put on the quarterback. He just pays the price that I haven’t seen many guys play.”

On Parker Welch…

Coach Mike Bobo is basically allowing Parker and Christian LeMay to compete on a weekly basis to see who earns the right to get in the game first if we get into that type of situation. Parker has been doing well. Parker has been in the system a little bit longer, and he’s very diligent in the way he prepares as well. Coach Bobo felt like he earned the right to go in first, so that’s what we did. We’ll continue to do that.”

On Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall…

“When you have success early you do have fun. They’ve had success early, and they’ve earned it. They’ve worked hard. Of course Keith Marshall paid the price of coming in as a mid-year enrollee, so he went all through spring. He had a pretty good working knowledge of what was going on by the time camp rolled around. Todd Gurley came in the summer and being friends, Keith, I’m sure was helping him. Murray and some of the other boys were helping him learn what to do. Both of them were very diligent in wanting to learn what to do and how to do it. You watch them when they practice our blitz pickup. They are really locked in and wanting to improve every time they get a rep in practice. They know how important that is as well. I’ve been real pleased with them. They are a very mature couple of guys.”

On Georgia’s offensive line…

“They’re doing well. I think the biggest contrast you could have is if you were at our very first spring practice in pads. If you watch that and then you watch them today, the difference is unbelievable. I know Coach Will Friend, Coach Bobo and myself and probably every other offensive coach were trying not to hang our heads, thinking we have some problems, we have some things we have to iron out. To their credit they have worked their tails off. The linemen knew we had some issues. All summer long they decided as a group to get up at the crack of dawn and be the first ones there in the weight room. They worked extremely hard with our strength staff. Going against the defensive front they were going against day after day after day they just had to get better or get embarrassed. They got better.

“I don’t know if they are the best offensive line in America, but they sure have made a lot of improvement, and they are playing well. They are playing well together. If you have five guys who know who to hit and they’ll get after you, they’ll fight hard, they’ll play hard, it gives you a chance. That’s kind of what’s going on right now. We’ve had very few missed assignments, and they are playing together well, they are communicating well. They like each other, and when you’re blocking for these young backs I think it kind of fires them up. When you’re blocking for a guy like Murray, who can get the job done, they know if they give him enough time to get the job done with the receivers we have, it gets them excited. Coach Friend has really done a great job.”

On David Andrews facing Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins in practice…

“That will help him. David has been going against some huge nose guards. Whether you go against the number one or number two guy, he’s a huge man. Whether you are in a pass pro drill or an 11-on-11 just every single day he’s used to blocking guys who are taller and much heavier than he is. The one advantage he does have is he has the leverage as the low man. He is going to get under those guys whether he wants to or not. In some ways that’s helpful, but it won’t be the first experience of going against a big man like that.”

On Chris Burnette…

“Chris is playing great. He’s just playing harder. He’s really making a point of trying to finish blocks. I think just the thought of getting engaged to be married made him decide it’s time to be full-grown man. He’s always had what coaches call punch. Some guys are stout on contact. There might be a big, strong-looking guy and for whatever reason he can’t get movement. He doesn’t have that punch to knock people and move people. Burnette’s body type, when he got here especially, it wasn’t all that impressive frankly, but he had some natural punch about him. Now that he’s gotten bigger and stronger, he’s always been athletic, he just moves people. He’s been finishing blocks better than probably anybody up front. Although David Andrews is finishing blocks pretty good as well. It’s contagious. I see Kenarious Gates starting to want to do that more. They are all trying to finish a little bit better now instead of blocking their guy long enough to let a back go through. Now they are trying to run their feet until the whistle blows and try to get them on the ground. Burnette is doing a good job, and Chris is a very good leader. In order to be a good leader you have to be very strong in your character, and I don’t know if there is anybody stronger in character than Chris. And the guys know it and respect that about him. When he talks they listen. He gives some pretty rousing pregame speeches in the locker room from time to time when it’s just the players.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On his preparation…

“It’s something I’ve always prided myself in – trying to out-work everyone else. I use the analogy of being in school, and if you’ve got a test you want to feel good going into it. You want to feel prepared, not that you wish you’d studied more or read another chapter. I never want to have that feeling come Saturday. I want to know that I know their defense, the game plan, everything, and that I feel confident. I don’t want to go into a game not feeling confident and ready to go.”

On his relationship with Tennessee QB Tyler Bray…

“We met at the Manning Passing Academy Camp and became friends. We text every week, a group of us from the camp. It’s fun – the quarterbacks can check in on each other. Tyler and I text to see how each other are doing. He’s a great kid, a great competitor. He competes hard. We pick each other’s brains on different aspects – playing in the SEC, their offense, our offense. He’s a cool kid.”

Wide Receiver Tavarres King

On the wide receivers’ performance so far…

“I think it’s going great. I said early on we’d have success with our weapons out side, and it’s going well. The opposing defense can’t key in on one person.”

On Aaron Murray’s preparation...

“That guy is here for hours watching film. He puts so much effort into what he does, and he’s passionate about it. He wants to succeed and help others around him succeed. He does his best all the time.”

On the improvement of Georgia’s offensive line this season…

“It’s been amazing. I knew it had to happen and that it would happen. They’ve had to go against our defense every day, and our defensive front is just amazing. There was only one thing the line could do and that’s get better, and they have.”

On the Tennessee wide receiving corps…

“Those guys are great. They play with a lot of energy and passion. They’ve got some good wide outs up there, but I feel like we have some great ones here as well. We’ve got a special group.”

On Tennessee’s defense…

“They’re very good. They’re not going to beat themselves, they’re very fundamental. They’re going to test us – ‘us’ meaning the wide outs. They’re going to get in our faces and press us up a bit. It’s another challenge we’ll see this week, but we’re taking pride in that this week getting the work done and working on our man to man and getting after it.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Larry Munson’s Birthday Recognized


In honor of Larry Munson's birthday this week (September 22, 1922), we wanted to share a film clip tribute.

Courtesy of “1980 Dawgs”

We miss Larry.

Tuesday Practice Report


No. 5 Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) utilized a two-and-a-half-hour workout in full pads on Tuesday to prepare for this Saturday's game against Tennessee (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at Sanford Stadium.

"It was another good Tuesday," coach Mark Richt said. "It's near perfect weather. You can't beat what we had today. I think our scouts played well and set the tone. I saw great effort, and I think we're getting better."

The Dawgs' daily injury update included only four players Tuesday. Defensive end Abry Jones and tight end Cole Trolinger were held out of the workout due to a left ankle sprain and a concussion, respectively. Offensive linemen Watts Dantzler (left ankle sprain) and Hunter Long (left foot fracture) participated on a limited basis with no contact.

Kickoff for Saturday's game has been set for 3:39 p.m. ET, and the contest will be televising nationally on CBS.

Tuesday Press Conference


Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

“Thank you AT&T for sponsoring this Red Ribbon Week. This normally happens in October, but we don’t have a home game in October so that’s why we’re doing it today. I’m starting out the press conference a little bit different than usual. Some interesting stats about the NFL, as former Dawgs accounted for 10.5 sacks this past week and I thought that was pretty cool. Tim Jennings is leading the NFL with interceptions with four. Blair Walsh made NFL history. He’s the first kicker in NFL history to kick a 50-yarder in the first three games of his career. He kicked them and made them. I don’t think he’s missed a kick yet, so they got him straightened out. A.J. Green is second in the league in receiving yards with 311.

It sounds kind of weird to say Coach Dooley with any other team but Georgia, but Derek of course, the head coach at Tennessee, is getting them going. They’re 3-1 right now playing extremely good football, and especially offensively they are. I know the first four games that they’ve accumulated more yards than any team in the history of Tennessee football in a four-game span. They’re also number one in the league in passing and first downs, they’re scoring 38 points per game, and they’re over 500 yards per game so far on average. They’re doing an outstanding job. Quarterback Tyler Bray is a very talented passer, and one of the most talented passers that I’ve seen in awhile throwing the football. They have some tremendously skilled receivers. They’ve got a vertical passing game that I know I envy. We like to throw it down the field, but they can really lay it out there good.

Tennessee coming into Athens historically has done very well in our stadium. They actually have a better record in Sanford Stadium against us than we have. They’ve won 10 and we’ve won nine and there was a tie back in the day when you could have a tie. So we need to do a good job of defending our turf. We’re excited about the opportunity to play another SEC game.”

On the SEC Eastern Division…

“I think the SEC East is an outstanding part of our league. Preseason everybody had an opinion on everybody’s schedules, and I felt like we just aren’t going to know how tough everybody’s schedule is until you play the season and you have a better idea of how tough it is. We felt like we had some very outstanding teams in the East, and so far they are proving it.”

On talking to the team about the 2004 Georgia-Tennessee game…

“I told them that this situation reminded me of that season. We played a game like we played against Vanderbilt when we played LSU in ’04, one of those what people would call a complete game. Everything just seemed to work that day. Everything went well that day. The very next week we were favored to beat Tennessee. Tennessee came in with a freshman quarterback and beat us. I wanted to help them understand that it could happen and we better get our minds right. We better prepare just as hard or harder than the week before. I just want us to play our best. If we lose, we lose, but you want to play your best. That’s what I’m trying to make sure we do.”

On appreciating the SEC officials…

“I think our officials do a good job, and I think Steve Shaw is doing a good job of leading the group. Every week we turn in things that we have questions about, and he gets it back to you in a hurry. We have a system now where we’ll watch the coach’s copy, and he’ll be running it back and forth, and as he’s running it back and forth he’ll have a voiceover. As he’s explaining a situation you’re watching exactly what he’s looking at. With the new technology that we’re using it helps you to understand his line of thinking on a decision that’s been made by the staff. He’ll say we should have gotten that one, or I think this was a good call. He’s real genuine in his approach to it. I like it.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Practice Report


The Georgia football team began preparations for its game against Tennessee with a 90-minute workout on the Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday.

The No. 5 Dawgs are off to a 4-0 start, including a 2-0 mark in the SEC. On Saturday, the Dawgs will entertain Tennessee in a 3:30 p.m. contest at Sanford Stadium. The game will be televised by CBS. Tennessee is 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the SEC.

"Tennessee has a well-coached team," receiver Chris Conley said. "Their coaching staff is doing a great job over there and they have a lot of athletes. It's going to be a great matchup. This is the kind of game we all love to play. It definitely will be a week where we have to put in a lot of work to prepare ourselves, but we're ready for the challenge."

"It was a good practice tonight," coach Mark Richt said. "It was a beautiful night and everyone's spirits were up. Everybody was working hard. I liked the focus we showed tonight. We've got a big challenge in front of us this week, and it's going to take a great week of preparation. I feel like tonight we got the week off on the right foot."

Richt said the captains for the Tennessee game will be receiver Marlon Brown on offense, end Abry Jones and linebacker Jarvis Jones on defense, and safety Connor Norman on special teams.

The injury report included tackle Watts Dantzler (left ankle sprain, limited, no contact) and Abry Jones (left ankle sprain, out).

South Carolina Game Time Announced


The Saturday, October 6th, football game between Georgia and South Carolina in Columbia will be televised by ESPN with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. ET.

This will be Georgia’s first appearance on ESPN this season. Georgia’s all-time record on ESPN is 28-28-1.

Gurley Named SEC Freshman Of The Week


University of Georgia true freshman tailback Todd Gurley has been named the Southeastern Conference Freshman Player of the Week following his performance versus Vanderbilt, according to a league announcement on Monday.

Gurley, a 6-1, 218-pound native of Tarboro, North Carolina, registered his third 100-yard game in four contests after carrying the ball for a career-high 130 yards (8.1 avg.) and two touchdowns in Georgia’s 48-3 rout of Vanderbilt. He also added his second career reception on a 13-yard catch.

Also being named the 247Sports National True Freshman of the Week, Gurley leads the SEC in rushing (101.5/g), scoring (10.5/g) and all-purpose yardage (164.2/g, which is more than 35 yards away from the nearest competitor). He has been the catalyst for the Dawgs to score more than 40 points in four consecutive games for the first time in school history and to pile up more than 1,200 total yards on offense over the last two contests.

Gurley had already been named the SEC Co-Freshman of the Week after the Dawgs’ win over Buffalo in the season opener.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dawgs Blowout ‘Dores ~ Game Notes


Margin of Victory: With a 48-3 victory, Georgia’s 45-point win tonight matched the largest margin in the series history (45-0 in 1976 here) and tied the biggest in an SEC game under Coach Richt. The Dawgs beat Kentucky 62-17 in 2004. Overall, Georgia leads the series with Vanderbilt 53-18-2. Georgia improves to 4-0 for the first time since 2008 and the sixth time under Richt.

Freshmen Sensation: True freshman tailback Todd Gurley went over 100 yards for the third time in his career after finishing with a career-high 130 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries (8.1 avg.). He now has six scoring runs on the year. Gurley came in tied for second in the SEC in scoring (TDs) with a 10.0 average. Fellow true freshman tailback Keith Marshall also bolted for a 52-yard scoring run late in the first quarter and finished with 10 carries for 82 yards and a pair of scores. Marshall’s second career touchdown was the longest run since Gurley had a 55-yard touchdown in the opener versus Buffalo.

40+ In Four Straight: Georgia has now scored 40+ points in four consecutive games for the first time in school history. The Dawgs came into the game averaging 47.3 points a game, which was second in the SEC behind LSU (48.3) who edged Auburn tonight 12-10. After piling up a school record 713 total yards on offense versus Florida Atlantic last week, the Dawgs finished with 567 yards tonight. Also of note, the Dawgs final scoring drive of the first half was a 12-play, season-long 96-yards.

Stingy Defense: The Dawgs held Vanderbilt to three points and just 136 yards on 29 plays in the opening half and blanked the Commodores in the second half. In Georgia’s previous three games, opponents scored 16, 10 and 14 points (Buffalo, Missouri and Florida Atlantic) in the first two quarters. The Commodores finished with just 3 points and 337 yards. Georgia shut out Florida Atlantic in the 2nd half last week too.

Murray Hitting Targets: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray connected on his first 12 passes, which is No. 3 on Georgia’s all-time list behind 15 (Quincy Carter vs. LSU, 1998; Eric Zeier vs. Georgia Tech, 1993). He finished 18-for-24 with 250 yards and two touchdowns in only three quarters of play after Georgia built a 48-3 lead.  Murray hit senior flanker Tavarres King for a 22-yard score early in the third period. He then sent a 6-yard strike to senior splitend Marlon Brown to put UGA up 34-3 in the third quarter. The scoring strikes put Murray into sole possession of the No. 2 spot in school history with 69 career touchdowns (David Greene, 72, 2001-04). Brown finished with the third 100-yard game of his career and the second this year after snagging five catches for 114 yards. King has a team-leading three touchdown catches this season and 15th in his career. He had four catches for 58 yards.

Leading Tackles: Sophomore inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera had a team-high eight tackles while junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was next with seven tackles, 1 sack and 3 tackles for a loss.

Injuries: Senior defensive end Abry Jones (left ankle) went down in the third quarter and did not return.

Game Captains: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray, sophomore strong safety Corey Moore, junior right guard Chris Burnette and senior defensive end Abry Jones served as Georgia’s captains.

Next Week: Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) plays host to Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. (CBS).

Coach Mark Richt

"Start to finish, they all played so hard. We played with our blood a little hot, which was good. They got after it every snap and they played hard. I'm really proud of everyone. It was a great prep week. I don't have any complaints at all. We had a good plan and everybody flat got after it. That's the way you play Georgia football right there. … The offense was clicking and the defense was getting after them. It was a complete victory for our team."

"We talked about how this is the first game of seven in a row in the conference and how important it is to win every single one of them to get where we want to go. But you have to take them one at a time. We have a lot of respect for Vanderbilt."

"The numbers show that we're executing well. You can't do what we're doing without good blocking and tackling. But it's early yet. We have to keep our focus. Our focus has been to get better daily. If we can keep that while we win, hopefully we can finish and reach our full potential."

"We wanted to make amends on special teams, and we played so much better than a year ago. We certainly vindicated ourselves from a year ago when we almost gave it away. I'm proud of the special teams. They took the challenge to not have the kind of game we had a year ago."

"The offensive line is getting there. They've blocked extremely well the last two games. The backs almost always had some sort of crease to start their runs. When you give them space and they can make a move on a safety, they can make a long run. The blocking and the perimeter blocking have been good, and we've got backs who are pretty darn good too."

"We don't want to have an offense centered around just one guy. We want to spread it out so that defensively there's not just one guy to shut down when it comes to throwing and catching. When Murray makes full-field reads, he can hit four or five guys. … Murray prepares so well. Rarely do we run a bad play. He's mature enough and capable enough and he studies the game enough to make the decisions he makes."

Junior Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the game…
“It's always a good feeling to put the hat and headset on at the end of the game. We did a great job tonight on offense, defense and special teams. I think it's the first game all year that every part of our football team has played a complete 60 minutes.”

On the offensive line…
“The line is doing a great job, They only allowed one sack, and it wasn't their fault. I went back to the huddle and told them that it was on me...I'll be buying them ice cream tomorrow night I guess! The receivers are also doing a great job finding space and making plays and the running backs are finding the holes. We're clicking."

Senior Receiver Marlon Brown

On the difference this year than in years past…
“I'm healthy for one. I think I'm faster too which is helping me with everything else. I'm finding ways to get open and Murray is finding me.”

On the win…
“It was just a great game tonight. Murray was throwing perfect balls and I was catching them and trying to make plays.”

Junior Linebacker Jarvis Jones

On the game…
“We wanted to make sure that we closed out the game strong. Coach Grantham called a great game. On the field, we communicated and executed well and had fun. It's a great feeling.”

“I thought that we played well on all three sides of the ball and when we do that I think people can see how good we can be. If we keep preparing, executing and having fun, we're going to continue to win games.”

Senior Cornerback Sanders Commings

On the Georgia team…
“We've played well the last couple of games, but we still have to make some improvements to get better. When we can fix those we're going to be even better.”

Senior Nose Guard John Jenkins

On the Georgia team…
“We just have to keep playing week in and week out. It was a great game though. Our special teams was great tonight and because of that the rest of the team really played a good game.”

Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin

Opening Statement…
“I have to give credit to Georgia. They are a very good football team and are ranked in the top-5 in the nation for a reason. I think the difference in the game was played up front, especially with their offensive line. They did a really good job of running the ball with power and forced us to load the box, which opened up the passing game on the outside. I didn’t feel like we played with the confidence that we normally play with on
the outside.”

On Vanderbilt’s play…
“We moved the ball and part of the problem was us. We jumped off-sides early in the game. We put ourselves behind with those penalties. I don’t think we handled the noise and the crowd as well as we could have. I thought Jordan Rodgers looked as good throwing the ball as he has since I have been here. As I watched him play, he was decisive, confident and the ball was coming out accurately consistently. Zac Stacy
ran the ball well tonight, the problem was that the game got out of hand. We mixed in the run to keep Georgia honest, but we felt like we had to throw the ball. We have to continue to get better and find the big plays that we came up with last year.”

On starting Jordan Rodgers…
“I didn’t feel like we have had anyone who has really taken hold of the quarterback position. We are treating this position like we do some of the other positions. We are going to look at who practices well throughout the week and let them play on Saturday until someone grabs hold of the position.”

Junior Safety Kenny Ladler

“We didn’t stop the run tonight, and if you don’t stop the run, you let the whole offense open up. That’s what happened. Georgia ran the ball extremely well tonight.”

Junior Linebacker Chase Garnham

“Georgia has two very talented backs. They had a lot of help up front, and both are hard to tackle so it was a tough assignment. They ran the ball and passed it well on us. Their offensive line pushed us around a lot. We basically didn’t do our job tonight and we’ve got to get together.”

Redshirt Sophomore Wide Receiver Chris Boyd

“We hurt ourselves with penalties tonight. We were moving the ball well, but set ourselves back and put ourselves in a big hole. We’re a much better team than how we played tonight, and we’re just going to go back to the drawing board.”

Senior Running Back Zac Stacy

“You can’t have a lot of penalties in a hostile environment like Georgia. We have to fix the mental errors because when we execute, we’re a pretty good football team.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Practice Report


Fifth-ranked Georgia conducted a two-hour practice in jerseys, shoulder pads, shorts and helmets Wednesday.

Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) will play host to Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 SEC) Saturday night at Sanford Stadium. Coach Mark Richt started his post-practice media briefing by comparing Tuesday and Wednesday’s workouts plus complimented the Georgia scout team.

“After reviewing the film from Tuesday’s 11-on-11, it was not sporty; the number one defense versus the number two offense, it was not a good drill,” said Richt. “Today, the defense was 8-for-8 in victories so that’s good. I thought we finished strong, and the pass skeleton was better for the offense too. Also, I continue to be impressed with the effort of our scout team. I’m proud of them.”

Richt was asked about the availability of some players for the upcoming game including All-American junior linebacker Jarvis Jones (groin strain) along with junior guard Dallas Lee (ankle sprain). Richt indicated they both saw action against the scout team on Wednesday.

“On Dallas, there’s a good chance he’ll play, and we’re hopeful on Jarvis,” said Richt.

Talk turned to Vanderbilt defense, which ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring defense at 13.3 points a game.

“They have a lot of veterans, and they are playing well,” said Richt. “They held South Carolina to 17 points. We played pretty well against the Missouri defense, but two of our scores were set up by our defense. Vanderbilt will be another challenge.”

Last year’s Georgia-Vanderbilt game was a 33-28 thriller with the Dawgs emerging with a victory. In the final minute, the Commodores had two shots at the end zone after blocking a Georgia punt. However, Georgia’s defense preserved the win.

Saturday’s kickoff will be at 7:50 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised live nationally on ESPN2.

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Defense


Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players addressed the media during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On Todd Grantham’s fire and intensity…

DSC_0771“I knew he had a lot of fire. Sean Jones played for him in Cleveland and Sean said that about him. Brad Johnson, who is my brother-in-law, was on the team playing quarterback at the time, so he got to observe the type of coach he was in practice. I wanted that. That was one of the things I wanted in the guy who was going to lead the way for us on defense. Defenses play a lot on emotion. You certainly had to have good schemes, and Todd had a great reputation for that, understanding not only how to pressure people, but also how to play the back end in coverage and all that. I heard just great things about him in that regard. It’s an emotional game. It’s about playing hard and getting after it. When the guy in charge of that group is that type of personality, it tends to bleed over into the way his players play.”

On big plays given up by the Georgia defense…

“When you blitz and you don’t cover every gap, you are exposed to something popping like it did on that run. If somebody is putting a double-move on you it means that you are pretty aggressive and get after it and try to make plays. You want them to do that, but you want them to try to make plays in the perimeter where they are still in position to collision a double-move. You can’t just go for the pick 100 percent because you are going to get beat like that. In some sense it’s positive that we have some guys playing aggressively. We just have to be a little bit smarter and be a little better fundamentally when they do it.”

On punt returns…

“The main thing is that we’re looking for a guy who will field the ball and communicate well. So I think we’re still searching for that, but it’s a tough job. You’re back there and guys are flying down the field getting ready to pop you as soon as you touch it, and sometimes it’s hard to decide whether to catch it, to let it roll, to fair catch it or to return it. It’s a tough job, and we’re trying to get someone who will go back there and just take the bull by the horns and make good decisions and communicate well to everybody and wrap up the ball.”

On whether Malcolm Mitchell will remain on defense…

“Malcolm will definitely stay with the defense as far as being ready to play. I imagine he will still play. His offensive reps will increase, and he’ll probably start to spend some meeting time with the offense as well. I’m thinking about trying to find a way to split time with him if he can manage it. We think it can work for us. He’s a guy who I think is in good enough condition. I know he’s smart enough to understand what’s going on on both sides of the ball with the experience he’s had. We need him on special teams too. He’s going to play offense, defense and special teams off and on for the rest of the year I would think.”

On whether Georgia has watched film from Wyoming of Austyn Carta-Samuels…

“I don’t know if Coach Grantham got to watch any Wyoming tape or not. We did watch what happened in the Presbyterian game, and he played well. He didn’t have to really run the ball that often and wasn’t pressured much. He did drop back and throw the ball well. It looked like he ran the system well. Everything was pretty smooth while he was running the show, and I can only assume that he’ll start but we don’t know that either. They didn’t change what they would have been done schematically a lot. As a matter of fact, they probably did a little bit less in this game than they had done in the others, probably due to the fact that the first play of the game they took off for a touchdown and the score got out of hand quickly. I don’t think they needed to show much.”

On T.J. Stripling…

“He feels 100 percent. His upper body strength is still a little ahead of his lower body strength. It had to do with the surgery a year and a half ago. I think he’s recovered well. He has no fear of anything right now. He’s just playing football again, and it was great to see him get in there and make plays on scrimmage downs. He’s already been making an impact for us on special teams. I’m happy for T.J that he’s making progress.”

On Amarlo Herrera and his interception returned for a touchdown against FAU…

“Amarlo is doing great. It was a great interception and return for a touchdown. He really looked like a ballplayer there. He’s been very physical tackling. He hustles to the ball. I felt like he’s been a little bit better in the run game than in the passing game. It was really a great play that he made. It was a crossing route where sometimes linebackers get caught up in the play fake and they lose their man. He saw that it was a fake and turned and got in the hip of that crossing route and made the pick. Usually those guys at best will knock it down, but he not only intercepted it, but took it to the house. It was just a great play in the passing game. Anytime another linebacker is out it gives more opportunity for the next guy, and I think Amarlo is certainly taking advantage of his time right now.”

Defensive Back Damian Swann

On defending against the Vanderbilt quarterbacks…

“We haven’t really gotten into their two quarterbacks too much yet. We’ve watched a little bit of tape from last year, which was [Jordan] Rodgers, but we haven’t really gotten into their other guy who could be their starter for this week.”

On the feel of the clubhouse through week four…

“There isn’t really any extra motivation going around. We all have the same mindset and that’s just to play hard. We just want to play hard and execute our game plan so that we can get to where we’re trying to go. It’s the fourth game and we’re about to hit a big SEC stretch that starts this week.”

On playing against Vanderbilt after last season’s match…

“Some of those feelings and emotions might carry over from last year, but also it might not. A lot of teams like to dwell on the past but we aren’t one of them. We’re going to go into the game with the mindset that what happened last year in the past, is in the past. This is a new game, we’re both new teams and we’re both just trying to win the game.”

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera

On last week’s interception return for a touchdown…

“It felt great. It was the first time I’ve scored in my college career and it was a great feeling. I had my eyes on the pylon the whole way. I recognized the play action right off the bat and played underneath the receiver and was able to turn my hips and pick the ball off. I’m working really hard on getting better at defending the pass and the run, but this was a big play for me.”

On the play of the defense thus far…

“I’m not worried that we haven’t played up to people’s expectations so far, it’s only the beginning of the year. We’re on a roll now and I think there are better things to come. Suspensions and injuries may play a factor in our performance, but like I said before. We didn’t have the same starting line up in every game last year so you can’t really say that we aren’t playing as well because certain guys are missing.”

On how the team treats out of conference games compared to SEC games…

“Personally I don’t treat those games any differently. I can’t speak for everybody else but we put the same amount of time in for every game. We go in every Monday and work just as hard every week no matter who we are matched up against for that week. We’re always in the same mood as a team, we’re just trying to win week. We try not to put too much emphasis on off the field hype and what not, we just try and play football the best we can and win the game.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Offense


Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players addressed the media during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On Georgia’s vertical passing game…

“I think we have some god vertical threats, and I think we have a quarterback who can put it on them. I like the vertical passing game. I like the passing game period. It’s the most fun as a coach. Coming up from playing quarterback to today, I still really enjoy a good passing game. There’s pass protection, all your blitz situations you have to deal with. You have your short, intermediate deep ball. There’s great strategy to it and it’s not easy to do. When you get good at it you can really shake some people up. You can really put a hurting on some outstanding defenses. Usually it’s the big play that will get a great defense a little uncomfortable to the point that you can break them down. It’s rare that you can hammer a great defensive football team and make them submit. Somewhere along the way you have to get a big play. It can be through the running game and it can be through the air as well, but most big plays come through the air.”

On Georgia’s running backs…

“I’m pleased with Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome. I think we have a good battery of backs. Everybody is staying healthy, everybody is being productive, everybody is staying fresh. That’s a good thing. I’m not saying any given day one of those three might get a bunch of carries. It could happen, but I like how we are rotating them right now.”

On Richard Samuel…

“He still plays both positions – fullback and tailback. He just didn’t get any reps the last game.”

On Michael Bennett…

“My first recollection of Michael was at a camp. It was actually at a camp where we felt like we had some of the better cover cornerbacks to come and participate in the camp - some kids from around the southeast. We were really anxious to see that these guys could do, and then Michael Bennett showed up and started whipping them. It was one of those camps where you practice a little bit, there’s a lunch break and you come back. During the lunch break we as a staff would grab a quick bite and will try to assess what we’ve seen to that point. We might have a certain position coach make sure they see a certain kid. A lot of times a kid will say who’s coming, but you don’t really know until that day. Michael was very impressive in the first half. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but if he came out in the second half and did as well as the first half, plus I wanted him to match up against the best DBs, we might offer this kid. Sure enough, the second half of the camp he continued to do what he did the first half. So at the end of the camp we offered him and it wasn’t long after that that he committed. He just showed great ability to run routes and had a toughness about him. He seemed to be in great condition, had great hands, very competitive nature, had good size. Of course since that time he’s really muscled up and has even gotten better at what he does. He’s a tough, hard-nosed football player, and he likes every aspect of the game. He plays special teams, he blocks well, he catches balls in traffic. We’ve seen him go deep a couple of times. Last year he had a couple of phenomenal catches – one against Florida on fourth down and one against Auburn early in the game. He’s just been very reliable for us.”

On the status of Watts Dantzler…

“Watts is getting there. He has a chance this week. I don’t know how much he’ll do this week, but he has a chance.”

On whether Mark Beard would start at left tackle if Dallas Lee can’t play…

“I think we would start with that lineup if Dallas can’t play. We’re not certain of that yet. I don’t know how much he’ll go today. He may not go at all today; we’ll just have to wait and see what he does. My guess is we would start with that same lineup that we finished the game with.”

Wide Receiver Michael Bennett

On his skill set…

“As a receiver you need be fast – it’s important to get open and use your speed. I need to show [those who think I can’t run] that I can do everything. I’ve gotta show them differently.”

On his first career 100-yard game…

“It was a goal of mine going into the year. I wanted to be a 100-yard receiver – it’s cool to do it. I know that’s a threshold that, as soon as you get to it, you know you can do it. I want to continue to do well and get yards for my team.”

On three different 100-yard receiving games by three different players…

“It makes it tough for opposing teams because they can’t key in on one guy. We give them three or four different receivers to look after. And with Artie Lynch having a great game on Saturday, there’s a tight end that they’ve got to look after. It’s a lot for a defense to focus on.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the offense’s performance…

“We’re comfortable as an offense. Coach Mike Bobo has put a lot of trust in me and in the receivers to run great routs and get open and make plays. We feel great with our progress. There’s still work to be done and guys who still need to get comfortable in the four-receiver set, but we’re doing well.”

On Michael Bennett…

“Since day one he’s been a kid who has worked his tail off. He’s a very physical receiver – as a quarterback you love a big, strong receiver who can get off a jam and crate space, and he’s able to do that. He’s out there every day in practice working hard, and in the film room watching film making sure he’s ready.”

On Vanderbilt…

“They’re strong in the secondary, they’re strong everywhere. The thing that jumps out about them on film is how hard they play, every single snap. Whether it’s a two-yard run you have defensive backs running up the field, or on a 30-yard pass you have linemen sprinting to get involved in the play – they have a lot of intensity and they don’t give up.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Practice Report


The No. 5 Dawgs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) practiced in full pads for slightly more than two hours on Tuesday afternoon in Athens, the most physically demanding day in their preparations for this Saturday's game with Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 SEC) at Sanford Stadium.

After campus endured a sputtering rain throughout the day, the weather cleared shortly after the workout began and provided for nearly perfect conditions.

"We had plan A and plan B, and we didn't expect to get to plan B," coach Mark Richt said. "Low and behold the skies opened up and it was beautiful day. The players can't quite understand why it can rain all day and then dry up during practice, but that's how it goes here in Athens."

The Dawgs' daily injury update included 10 players. Listed as limited were linebacker Jarvis Jones, defensive end Cornelius Washington and receiver Rantavious Wooten. The following players were listed as "limited, no contact": receiver Taylor Bradberry, offensive lineman Watts Dantzler, linebacker Josh Dawson, offensive lineman Dallas Lee and snapper Nathan Theus. Both offensive lineman Hunter Long and tight end Cole Trolinger were held out of practice altogether.

The Dawgs and Commodores will kickoff at 7:50 on Saturday evening, with ESPN2 televising the matchup nationally.

Tuesday Press Conference


DSC_6836Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players addressed the media during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon on Tuesday. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

“We’re getting back into conference play at home and looking forward to that with Vanderbilt. We have a lot of respect for them. Of course last year’s game was a wild one that went right down to the wire. I can’t imagine it being anything but a battle. Vanderbilt has 17 returning starters, and their offensive line has four of five starters back. They’re just very good at what they do. They ran for over 200 yards against us a year ago. Also, their special teams has just been great. They’re very aggressive as a football team. I think Coach James Franklin is doing a wonderful job of coaching that football team. It’s big for us, and we’re looking forward to it. We think the weather’s going to be nice, and it’s another game under the lights and ‘Between the Hedges’, so we’re looking forward to that.”

On playing a third consecutive night game this week…

“I do like playing under the lights. I don’t like waiting for it to get dark, but it’s nice. I think it’s nice for our recruits because they easily have an opportunity to come, especially if kids need to come from some distance. I think there’s more energy at night, and the weather’s beautiful at night this time of year. From what I see, it’s supposed to be another great weather day in that regard. But nothing has really changed for me. The night before the game, I travel with the team to the hotel and spend time with them. I come back a little bit earlier, usually when the rest of the coaching staff comes in to work on offense and defense, I’m making my way back for some recruiting and that type of thing. But not much has changed. I know when you play at night, it normally means you’re having a good season, so I’m glad we’re playing at night.”

On Vanderbilt coach James Franklin…

“I think any coach that comes into a new program, most of the time unless you are replacing someone who retired, you are there for a reason. You are there because the culture probably needs to be changed in some way, shape or form. It’s not that uncommon to feel like you have to change the culture of the program when you get there. You have to put your stamp on it. You have to be who you are and let your players know who you are and try to motivate and rally people to become special. I think Coach Franklin has definitely done that, and you see it week to week. It’s not just one game here and there. They play hard every game. They get after it every game. They take calculated risks every game and they play to win.”

On any carryover from last year’s game against Vanderbilt…

“I don’t know how everybody is going to feel. I can only try to get the focus on what I think is important, and right now, Tuesday is our practice day. It’s our preparation, it’s our fundamentals, it’s learning the scheme and practicing with the kind of effort that you hope will carry on to the game. Those are the things that I am focusing on with our staff and with our players. I don’t know how everybody is going to feel deep down and how everybody is going to react the closer we get to the game.”

On motivating his team…

“I do think that when I first started as a head coach I would have rather practiced five more minutes than give some kind of rousing speech. I think that emotions do only last so long, then you have to settle down into a game where you have to rely on the habits you’ve created throughout the week of practice, your offseason, two-a-days and that type of thing. Emotion is important, and guys, when they play with their blood hot, they tend to play better. We try to find ways to motivate either by words or motivational tapes. Anything that we can grab that we think will get them revved up and ready to go, we’ll try to use. I think you can give them a little something that might give them a little extra motivation to practice that day, but usually most of that type of thing we save for Friday night and Saturday before we go to the Dawg Walk.”

On strengths and weaknesses of the team

“I just like being 3-0. The Missouri game was a game that was hard fought. It was a game that went well into the third and fourth quarter before it was settled, and it could have gone either way. We had a game where we needed to win the fourth quarter and we did. That was probably the thing I’m most proud of. In a very hostile environment against an outstanding team we found a way to win it. We found a way to make plays when it counted the most in crunch time, which is one of the things I have talked about. People were asking about our defense and how great I thought they would be. I said I don’t know what we are going to look like statistically, but my guess is we are going to have to make plays when it counts the most, and we did do that. That’s one game that we did that. The other two were pretty much settled early in the second half. I’m still concerned that too many balls have ended up on the ground. It hasn’t been that one guy is doing it a bunch, but we’ve had each one of our tailbacks in the last game the ball came out. Malcolm Mitchell tried to be a hero on a punt and ended up fumbling the ball there. We just have to secure the ball better. We’ve had a pretty decent number of penalties, but a large majority of it was young freshmen jumping when they were stemming late and the crowd noise of the Missouri game, that was a mass amount of them. We haven’t had many issues with the personal fouls, and that’s a good thing. A few missed assignments here and there, but overall I’m pretty pleased where we are. I’m glad we are 3-0 and still have room to improve.”

On preparing for Vanderbilt’s special teams this week…

“With the 20 hour rule you can’t change much, because if you add one spot, you are pulling from another. Everything we do we think is important down to the very minute. I don’t know how much more we could do it. You get a negative return on your investment sometimes if you overdo something. I think we have the right amount of time to get the job done in our special teams, and I think we’ve improved. We’ve only had three games, and we are going to be challenged this week on special teams more than any game this season. We’ll get a little better gauge of where we’re at because I know they have a lot of returning players, and they’ve already proved this year they are back on track from where they were a year ago.”