Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Practice Report


The sixth-ranked Dawgs conducted a two-hour workout Wednesday as they are preparing for a Homecoming matchup against Ole Miss.

Coach Mark Richt said practice went well and Georgia is now finalizing its preparations for the Rebels.

“The scout team did their best trying to simulate the tempo of Ole Miss, and our defense was moving around and getting lined up quickly today,” said Richt. “Hopefully, that will help Saturday. Missouri was very fast, I don’t know if you can go faster then that, they played at a high tempo.”

The Rebels (5-2, 2-2 SEC) have already surpassed last year’s total number of wins, points, touchdowns, passing yards and total yards. They are averaging 32.4 points a game and 72 plays a game employing an up-tempo offense under first-year coach Hugh Freeze.

Richt indicated that redshirt freshman fullback Merritt Hall is unlikely to see action this week. Hall injured his right ankle on Georgia’s first possession against Florida last week. Junior fullback Alexander Ogletree filled in for the remainder of the contest. Senior nose John Jenkins did not practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury but Richt said he would be ready by Saturday.

The Dawgs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) play host to the Rebels Saturday at 3:39 p.m. ET (CBS). It will be Georgia’s third appearance on the network this season and second week in a row. Earlier this year, Georgia outlasted Tennessee in Athens and dispatched Florida in Jacksonville last week.

The Dawgs own a 31-12-1 edge in the series history with Ole Miss. It will be the Rebels first trip to Athens since 2007. The Rebels have posted two straight SEC wins for the first time since 2009, beating Auburn on October 13th and most recently Arkansas in Little Rock last Saturday.

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Offense


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

Coach Mark Richt

On whether he’s been tempted to go no-huddle offensively…

“Yes and no, that’s part of the reason why we’re doing as much as we’re doing right now, because we do try and take advantage of that rule. I think there are different philosophies. If you are going to say our main goal is speed, tempo, then you are going to do very little motions, very little formation, the least amount of personnel grouping and changing. If you sub fast and you get up on the ball and you are ready to go, it still creates problems, because defensive coaches want to match personnel with your personnel. Even if you are doing that and the officials are holding their arms out, it’s still faster than they want to operate. We have a little bit of a blend of two philosophies when it comes to no-huddle, but we can go as fast as we want. We also can quickly make substitutions, personnel grouping changes, which also creates problems. It slows you down the more you motion and shift and change personnel, but it does create some issues for the defense. We do a little bit of both.”

On his faith in Aaron Murray

“Aaron is the guy, period. Aaron is the guy.”

On Aaron Murray’s second half against Florida…

“We talked a little bit about what it means to be soft position-by-position. I guess it was the day of the game. One of the things we talked about at quarterback was you’re soft if you can’t get knocked down a couple of times and get back up and trust your protection and throw strikes. I didn’t say throw picks, but that’s the same kind of thing. You’d rather get sacked than throw a pick. That’s a test of a guy’s toughness at the quarterback position. Can he have some bad plays and then shake it off and go make some plays that will help you win the game at the end? I thought he showed real outstanding mental toughness in that area. I thought Coach (Mike) Bobo did a good job of not quitting on the guy.”

On Georgia’s running backs being open in the passing game…

“He could have checked it down a couple of times, I don’t think there is any doubt about that. He could have checked it down.”

On Todd Gurley’s game against Florida…

“I thought it was probably underrated as far as what people talked about at the end of the game. There were so many things to talk about in that game. I thought it was a tremendous performance, that many carries against that physical of a defense. To average 4.4 (yards per carry) and not really have a long run, that was a heck of a game, and his ball security was tremendous. I think early in the game he got hit pretty good. Something was bothering him. It wasn’t an injury that kept him out, obviously, but he got stung pretty good early on and didn’t say much about it. He just kept going.”

On Georgia’s offensive line…

“I thought the line blocked well. I won’t say it was any kind of a dominating performance, but I thought they blocked well. I thought we pass protected a little bit better than maybe I thought we would. I thought the run blocking was what I would hope for, just a battle, creating a little space here and there and having a back that would stick it on in there. Some of our four, five, six, seven yard runs were blocked as well as they could be blocked, and their safeties came up and made the hit. I don’t know how many times their safety was the initial hit man when he was an unblocked player just because of the numbers. There were quite a few times we stuck a hat on everybody and created space and got him to the safety, but their safeties were outstanding at coming up and making tackles. Both are very physical guys and very sure tacklers. It was one of those kinds of games.”

On David Andrews’ status for Saturday and who would play if Andrews cannot…

“We think he’ll play. We don’t think we have to worry about that, but if something happened to David I’m not sure what we would do. It probably would be Chris Burnette. I think early in the year that would have been the answer, and since we’ve played a lot more ball I don’t know if we would change our mind. I don’t know if we would put Preston Mobley in there, but I think it would be Burnette. We do think David is going to play.”

On Malcolm Mitchell’s contributions to the offense…

“It’s helped us a lot, obviously. He’s still practicing some with the defense. He’s still meeting some with the defense. He’s trying to stay up to speed as much as possible in case of an emergency on defense. So he’s not offense in every meeting and every period of practice, but he’s mostly offense. We’re getting him going again, and having him more in tune to what we’re doing and getting the rust off – there was a little rust on the guy at the receiver position, but I think he is shaking most of it off and doing some of the things fundamentally that make you a good receiver. That touchdown, it seems pretty simple, but not many guys will run it all the way to eight yards. It’s a fade-stop type play where you have to run the exact yardage and you have to make it look like you’re going deep and hit the brakes, have a sudden stop and get your hands ready to snatch it. It’s not that easy to do. It takes time and reps. Of course Aaron Murray had to get it out early. There was a guy coming free. The goal is the throw the ball before they get their eyes around, so the ball is on the way and you get your eyes around. You saw it happen to Tavarres King one time. It wasn’t the same play, but it was the same kind where the ball is on the way and you turn around and the ball is on you. The route that TK ran, it doesn’t usually happen that fast, so I don’t want to make TK look bad. The ball was thrown early because of a protection issue again. For Malcolm to run the route the way he should, snatch it strong with his hands and have the presence of mind – Coach Tony Ball always tells them to get off the sideline and wheel back inside and go and see what you can get. It was a heck of a play.”

Fullback Alexander Ogletree

On the Florida win…

“It felt great. It’s a great win. It’s always good to beat Florida – that’s a big-time game and we knew we needed it. We all went out as a team and played really hard.”

On the performance of Todd Gurley…

“Todd’s a work horse. He just went out there and got it done on Saturday. I told him before the game to go out there and play hard – I knew he hadn’t played in a game like that before and I told him it was going to take all of our ability and heart if we wanted to win. And he went out there and got it done.”

Wide Receiver Tavarres King

On the Florida win…

“This one was a lot more sweet. Being my last go-around it meant a lot to me. It’s crazy to beat those guys twice in a row – that’s something that hadn’t been done in a long time. It just topped everything off being my senior year. The defense was lights-out. It was a fun game to watch and it was awesome to be a part of it.”

On Todd Gurley…

“The kid is phenomenal. I’ve never met anybody like him. He works extremely hard, and he’s very poised. He’s a guy who’s just way ahead of his years. I don’t feel like he’s a freshman. He doesn’t act like it, doesn’t play like it.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On Florida…

“It was an unbelievable experience on the field and in the locker room celebrating afterwards. It was a lot of fun to get that victory – this was probably the biggest Georgia-Florida game I’ve been a part of and it feels great to be on top of the SEC east again and maybe be able to compete for an SEC Championship if we do our part these next two games.”

On how his experience helped him respond with a stronger second half…

“It would’ve been rough if I were younger. I think having played in a lot of big games helps. And with our defense playing so well, it gave some more confidence. If I was playing poorly and then Florida goes down and scores a bunch of points, it would’ve been a lot different.”

On getting ready for Ole Miss…

“We want to play every week with the intensity that we did vs. Florida. We are capable of playing with that emotion and intensity every game. Being back in the lead in the East is big – it gives us the chance to play in Atlanta. Like Jarvis Jones said after the game, that wins meant nothing if we don’t win the next two.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lackluster Tuesday Practice


Coach Mark Richt left Tuesday's two-and-a-half-hour practice not impressed with his Dawgs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) and their preparations for this Saturday's matchup with Ole Miss (5-2, 2-2 SEC).

"I was looking for something better than what I saw," Richt said. "I'm not sure we won the right to win today. We'll see."

The Dawgs, who are ranked No. 6 in both the BCS and coaches polls this week and No. 7 by the Associated Press, practiced in full pads, under blustery conditions for a second consecutive day.

There was one change to Tuesday's injury report from the Monday information. Center David Andrews, who will serve as a captain against the Rebels, returned to practice after missing the previous session due to a left knee contusion.

Saturday's game will kick off at 3:39 p.m. and will be televised nationally by CBS for the second straight week and third time this season. Previously, the Dawgs defeated Tennessee in Athens and knocked off Florida in Jacksonville on CBS.

Lady Dawgs Ranked #11


The Georgia Lady Dawgs landed at No. 11 in the preseason edition of the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll released by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on Tuesday.

The Lady Dawgs garnered 409 points in balloting of 31 coaches, which awarded 25 points for a first-place vote and descended to No. 1 point for a No. 25 vote. Georgia fell just behind No. 10 Delaware, which received 411 points.

Five opponents on the Lady Dawgs' schedule were included in the poll – No. 7 Kentucky, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 17 Vanderbilt and No. 20 Georgia Tech. If continuing into the also receiving votes information, additional Georgia opponents include No. 28 South Carolina, No. 32 Rutgers, No. 35 LSU and No. 40 Arkansas.

For just the third time in Andy Landers' 34 seasons in Athens, the Lady Dawgs will return four starters who averaged double digits last season – seniors Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell, Jasmine James and junior Khaalidah Miller. Georgia's roster also includes five additional returning letter winners and five freshmen.

The Lady Dawgs will open their 2012-13 season a week from Sunday when they host Rutgers at Stegeman Coliseum at 2 p.m. That matchup will feature two of the three winningest active coaches in Division I women's basketball. Landers and C. Vivian Stringer currently rank No. 3 and No. 1 in career wins among active coaches.

Season tickets for Georgia's 16-game home slate are just $40 and are available via, by calling the UGA Ticket Office at 877-542-1621 or at the Butts-Mehre Ticket Office from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays.

Reserved seat tickets for the game are $5 for adults and $3 for children and will be available at the Butts-Mehre ticket office from 8:30-4:30 beginning on Nov. 1. In addition, tickets will go on sale at Stegeman Coliseum box office (closest to Sanford Drive) beginning 60 minutes before tip-off.

Tuesday Press Conference


CSC_6367Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

“Hugh Freeze has got them going there at Ole Miss. He’s doing a great job. They’re really excited right now, and they’re winning. They went 16 games in a row and didn’t win a conference game, and then they came very close to beating Texas A&M. I know they had them 27-17 at one time, and the second half looked like they were going to win that one and ended up not winning it. It was kind of a heartbreaking loss for them, but then they ended up winning the next two league games. They’re just doing it in great fashion. Their offense is really high tempo and very productive. They’ve already scored more points, had more first downs, had more touchdowns, more passing yards and just about every stat that you could have. They’ve had more of that now in eight games than they had all of last season, so it’s very impressive.”

“They just have a really good offensive package and a good scheme. It’s a challenging, balanced attack. Like I said before, they’re very high tempo and you have to get lined up in a hurry when you play these guys. They’ll sub some, but to go as fast as they go, they’re doing it without doing a lot of subbing at times. Our biggest challenge is just going to be to line up and get ready because they’ve caught a lot of people not being ready and they’ve taken advantage of that.”

“On defense, they went with the youth movement. They’re playing a lot of young players, but with that, there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They’re flying around hitting people, and they’re really gaining a lot of confidence in my opinion. I think their whole team is gaining a lot of confidence. They’re 5-3, so they’re one game away from a bowl, and they haven’t played in a bowl since 2009 I think. Coach (Freeze) has got them believing.”

“What I see is a team that has a brand new head coach that’s brought a lot of energy to the program. A lot of times, you just never know how close you are to winning and breaking through and having success. When you watched them play Alabama, they played Alabama pretty darn good. I think they might have had the best defensive performance against Alabama all year. When you watch that film, you know they can run and play with the big boys, and they did it at Alabama. You could see that they were getting better and better, and then they go ahead and beat Auburn and get their first SEC victory in a while. Then they actually go to Arkansas and win one there. It was a tight game, and a great ballgame. They also showed me that defensively they can play man coverage with a really good passing attack because we know Arkansas has a very good attack and they did a very good job of doing that and mixing coverage's to try to make things confusing. So I’m very impressed with them. I know it’s going to be a heck of a ballgame. I’m glad that we’re going to be at home. I’m glad that we’re going to have our fan base there and our students there and the Redcoat Band, and everybody else that’s going to be there. We haven’t been home in awhile. We haven’t been home the entire month of October, so we’re happy to be home.”

On Ole Miss’ philosophy regarding snapping the ball…

“If you have 11 guys that can go 15 plays in a row, you don’t have to slow down. Now I don’t know if anybody’s quite doing that, but if you don’t substitute on offense, you can go as fast as you want to go. Those officials now are getting off the ball and letting you play. If you sub anybody, even a running back for a running back, it doesn’t have to be going from three receivers to two receivers, but if you make any substitution whatsoever, you’ll see those officials out there holding everything to see if that defense is going to sub. If they do, they’ll stay on top of that ball long enough for the defense to sub. They really don’t give the defense very long. Once they’re on the field, it’s not long before they walk away. So you’re barely on the field getting the call and trying to get lined up fast enough to play defense. A lot of times you’re not even in the stance. So yeah, that’s been problematic for defensive teams to try to keep up with that.”

On how quickly Ole Miss snaps the ball…

“They snap it faster than we do. We have times where we’ll go fast, but we have times obviously where we’ll try to make it look like we’re going to go fast and then we’ll freeze our count to try to see what they’re in, and then we’ll try to make the call from there. It becomes a little bit of a guessing game at time, but we don’t go as fast as they go.”

On the Ole Miss-Texas game…

“That game was so long ago, it’s not the same Ole Miss defense in my opinion. There are some things that you might could learn as far as some things schematically that they did, but they didn’t play that day like they’re playing now defensively. They’re playing harder, they’re playing faster, they’re believing more and they were playing a bunch of young guys. Those guys are not as young as they were. Even our freshmen, they’ve played seven or eight ballgames now, so they’re not quite the rookies they were early in the year. They’ve gained enough experience to not let some of the things that happened to them early on happen to them now. Texas absolutely had a great game against them, points and yards, but I don’t see the same defense.”

On whether he would favor allowing players to leave for the NFL before three years in college…

“I’m not in charge of all those rules, and I really don’t have an opinion on it right now. I’d have to think it through before I start spouting something out.”

On Michael Bennett…

“Michael understands what happened to him. He’s kind of over the shock and the initial pain of it, knowing that you can’t play the rest of the season. There are going to be long days of rehab and maybe even wondering what could have been. I don’t know if he’ll go there, but I think he knows he has a great future ahead of him. He still has two years of eligibility and people recover quite well from that type of surgery. He’s walking around without crutches and he feels like he’s ahead of the game right now in the rehab process.”

Jones Named National Player Of The Week


Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for games of the weekend of October 27th. It is the second time Jones has won the award this season.

Jones, a 6-3, 241-pound junior from Columbus, had a career-high 13 tackles (12 unassisted) – including 4.5 tackles for 24 yards in losses, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries – in Georgia's 17-9 victory over Florida in Jacksonville.

Earlier in the season, his performance in Georgia's 34-20 win over Missouri on September 8th earned him national defensive player of the week honors.

Jones, a 2011 FWAA All-American, is on the 2012 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. Five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be announced by the Football Writers Association of America on November 15th. The winner will be revealed on December 3rd during a banquet that the Charlotte Touchdown Club sponsors at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

Each Tuesday during the 2012 season the FWAA All-America Committee will select a national defensive player of the week from nominations made by the 11 Division I Bowl Subdivision conferences and major independents.

The FWAA has sponsored a National Defensive Player of the Year award since 1993 and has named a National Defensive Player of the Week since the 2001 season. Last year, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly won the coveted Bronko Nagurski Trophy at season's end.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is given in memory of the legendary All-American lineman at Minnesota (1927-29). Nagurski dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle and could have been an All-America at any position. He then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club's activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.

2012 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week

• Sept. 1: Derrick Wells, Minnesota
• Sept. 8: Jarvis Jones, Georgia
• Sept. 15: Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
• Sept. 22: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
• Sept. 29: Chip Thompson, East Carolina
• Oct. 6: Brandon Sharpe, Syracuse
• Oct. 13: Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
• Oct. 20: Kevin Minter, LSU
• Oct. 27: Jarvis Jones, Georgia

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dawgs Preparing For Rebels


After playing all three of its October games away from home, the Georgia football team began preparations for its contest against Ole Miss in Athens with a 60-minute workout in frigid conditions on the Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday.

Georgia's players and coaches dealt with winds gusting to 25 miles per hour and temperatures in the 50s during Monday's session.

The Dawgs — who are sixth in the BCS standings and the coaches poll and seventh in the AP poll — improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the SEC with their 17-9 victory over Florida last week in Jacksonville. On Saturday, Georgia will entertain the Rebels (5-3, 2-2 SEC), and the game will be televised by CBS at 3:30 p.m. The Dawgs' last home game was Sept. 29 against Tennessee.

"It was good for us to get back to work tonight," Coach Mark Richt said. "Saturday was an emotionally charged game for us and it meant a lot to get that win, but it's time to get our feet back on the ground and focus on an Ole Miss team that's playing with a lot of confidence. They've definitely gotten our attention. Our focus tonight was just where I wanted it to be, and we'll keep working hard throughout this week."

Linebacker Jordan Jenkins said he was especially proud of the Dawgs' defense as it held Florida to three field goals and 266 total yards and forced the Gators into six fumbles (four lost) and two interceptions.

"In our team meeting, Coach Todd Grantham was saying this is how we should be playing," Jenkins said. "There are still a few things we can fix, but this is somewhat close to where we should be playing every game. We've got to finish out the season playing exactly like this."

Richt announced the captains for the Ole Miss game will be center David Andrews, linebacker Jarvis Jones, end/linebacker Cornelius Washington and linebacker Kosta Vavlas.

Monday's injury report included: David Andrews (left knee contusion, out of practice); fullback Merritt Hall (right ankle sprain, out of practice); fullback Quayvon Hicks (concussion, limited, no contact); end Abry Jones (left ankle injury, out of practice); and linebacker Chase Vasser (left shoulder sprain, out of practice).

In other news on Monday:

• The November 10th game between Georgia and Auburn in Auburn will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2. This will be Georgia's third appearance this season (Missouri, Vanderbilt) on the network, and the Dawgs are 21-5 all-time on ESPN2.

Jones Gets Sack Full Of Awards


Jarvis JonesGeorgia junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has been named one of 16 semifinalists for both the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award, according to a joint release on Monday.

The 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus is one of four players from the Southeastern Conference included on the Maxwell list, which is given to the collegiate player of the year. There are a total of eight SEC players on the Bednarik list, which is given to the nation’s outstanding defensive player of the year.

This marks the first time Jones has been a semifinalist for either award.

In his second season with the Dawgs, Jones is third on the team with 49 tackles and leads the defense with 14.0 tackles for loss of 84 yards and 8.5 sacks. He has also grabbed his first career interception this season and has registered five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in just six games played (he was injured versus Kentucky and Florida Atlantic).

Jones has been named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and the SEC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season for his performances at Missouri and versus #3 Florida. Against the Tigers, Jones picked up nine tackles, including two sacks, forced two fumbles and had five quarterback pressures to pace Georgia’s defense during the team’s 41-20 rout of Missouri.

Last week against the Gators, Jones erupted for a career-high 13 tackles (12 solo), including 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, to go along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during the 17-9 upset. Jones anchored a defense that held Florida to no touchdowns and that forced six turnovers.

Jones leads the NCAA FBS with an average of 1.1 sacks per game thanks to 22 sacks in 20 games for the Dawgs over the last two years. The 2011 Butkus Award finalist played the 2009 season at USC before transferring to Georgia.

ALSO OF NOTE: In addition to his earlier mentioned honors, Jones has also been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week thanks to his performance against the Gators. The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, sponsors of the Lott IMPACT Trophy, will make a $1,000 donation to the general scholarship fund at Georgia. Only three-time weekly winner Manti Te’o from Notre Dame has garnered the honor more than Jones this season.

The College Football Performance Awards have also named Jones the National Defensive Performer of the Week as well as the National Linebacker of the Week.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dawgs Enjoying Win Over Gators


One day after taking down archrival Florida in a 17-9 victory in the two teams’ annual matchup in Jacksonville, the Dawgs are still enjoying the victory against the No. 2 ranked team in the nation.

“It’s always going to be meaningful because it’s a great rivalry game,” said coach Mark Richt on Sunday afternoon, one day following his Dawgs’ second straight victory over the Gators. “It’s a unique game, and it’s a unique setting to have the fan base split like that. I would think that if I’m a fan and my team wins that day, and I’m walking out of that stadium and having to deal with everybody, it’s probably a lot more fun than losing.”

Emotions were running high in the annual rivalry game, as evidenced by the Dawgs’ season-high 14 penalties for a loss of 132 yards.

“That might have been one of the most intense games I’ve ever coached from start to finish,” Richt said. “You don’t want to have a lot of penalties that can hurt you and cause you to have to punt or let your opponent get into field goal range. You don’t want that. You don’t want to help the other team at all, but emotions were so high and the officials were in the heart of it. They were trying to do whatever they could to slow it down. They knew our guys wanted to get after each other, and they just didn’t want it to escalate. So, we’ve got to keep them from doing that, but on the other hand, I don’t want to lose intensity. You want intensity with discipline. I certainly didn’t want to slow down anybody’s ability to keep their blood high.”

The Georgia defense was the story of the game, forcing six Florida fumbles and a pair of interceptions. All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones proved to be the spark that led the defense, totaling 13 tackles (12 of them unassisted), two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

“He really was just everywhere with the tackles, the sacks, the tackles for loss, the forced fumbles, the fumble recoveries,” said Richt when talking about his defensive leader. “It was also just the timeliness of his plays. It was very fitting that he was the guy that caused that last fumble.”

After struggling in the South Carolina game back on October 6th, Richt was also quick to credit the Georgia offensive line on Sunday for their part in the Dawgs’ win against the Gators.

“After watching the film from yesterday’s game, they did protect pretty good,” Richt commented. “At times, they did create some space for our runners. Our line did block better than we did a week ago, there’s no doubt about that.”

With the victory, the Dawgs move into first place in the SEC Eastern Division, and wins in their next two games over Ole Miss and Auburn would secure Georgia a spot in the SEC Championship game for the second consecutive season.

The Dawgs will first turn their attention to Ole Miss, as they host the Rebels this Saturday in Sanford Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on CBS. Ole Miss is coming off a 30-27 victory against Arkansas this past Saturday, thanks to a 31-yard field goal in the closing seconds by kicker Bryson Rose.

“They’ve got every reason to believe they can win out,” Richt said about the Rebels. “They have a really good team to be able to win the last two games that they’ve played. They very easily could have won the Texas A&M game, and that would have been three league wins in a row. When you start chasing success, you start getting excited and believing in yourself. They’re on the rise right now, and when you play a team that has a lot of momentum, they’re hard to beat.”

Richt also noted the importance of the team staying focused, getting mentally prepared and continuing to practice hard just as they did last week.

“Like Jarvis said after the game against Florida, this victory really doesn’t mean anything unless we keep winning,” said Richt. “Of course, he’s talking about the race for the Eastern Division. We know that we have to win and continue to play like we did this last game. I’ve been watching film already on Ole Miss, and the first thing I watched on their defense was their first half against Alabama. They played tremendously well. They really did a great job in that ball game in the first half. Offensively, they can move the ball in a lot of different ways. They’re a very high-tempo team, and they do a lot of things that create problems for defenses. We definitely have our work cut out for us.”

The Dawgs will hope for the return of redshirt freshman fullback Merritt Hall on Saturday after he went down against Florida with a sprained ankle.

“Merritt sprained his ankle on the very first play from scrimmage,” said Richt, when commenting about Hall’s injury. “He had some contact with their defensive end, and I guess it got torqued the wrong way. He got in an awkward position and sprained his ankle. But Zander Ogletree came in and played a heck of a ballgame, and he was very physical in his blocking. He didn’t seem to have many mental errors at all. He caught the ball a couple of times and had a nice first down. But, Merritt has played well for us all year, and we’re hoping to get him back as soon as we can.”

Ole Miss Game ~ 3:30 Kickoff On CBS


The Saturday, November 3rd SEC football game between Georgia and Ole Miss in Athens will be televised by CBS with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

This will mark Georgia's third appearance on CBS this season and second straight game on the network. The Dawgs are 2-0 in these games, defeating Tennessee 51-44 in Athens on September 29th and third-ranked Florida 17-9 this past Saturday in Jacksonville. Overall, the Dawgs have appeared on CBS 70 times and posted a record of 40-29-1.

Georgia is 7-1 overall, 5-1 in the SEC while the Rebels (5-3, 2-2 SEC) are coming off a 30-27 road win over Arkansas.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dawgs Take Control Of East With 17-9 Win


Georgia Posts Huge Win: For the first time in the series since 1988, Georgia held Florida without a touchdown. That year, Georgia won 26-3. Also, Georgia handed the Gators their first loss of the season, spoiling a perfect start for the first time since 1966 when they were 7-0 entering this game (27-10 Dawg win). Today’s 17-9 win was Georgia’s first over a top five team since beating fifth-ranked Auburn 37-15 in Auburn on 2006. Also, today marked the highest ranked team Georgia has beaten since winning the 2005 SEC title with a 34-14 win over third-ranked LSU in Atlanta.

Dawg’s Start Streak: For the first time since a three-year stretch from 1987-89, Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) has won two straight over Florida, who fell to 7-1 overall, 6-1 in SEC. The Dawgs improve to 49-40-2 in the series.

Coach Mark Richt

On the win…"I’d say we were not soft. The defense rose to the occasion, and everyone fought their tails off. There was a lot of emotion and two really good football teams getting after it. We came out on top. I’m really proud of our players and coaches, and our fans were tremendous. Our seniors played well, and I know it’s a game they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

On the defensive struggle…“All games with two really good football teams come down to making big plays. We were struggling on offense, but we kept battling. They had their struggles with our defense as well. A lot of times defenses tend to bow their necks in games like this.”

On Malcolm Mitchell’s touchdown…“We had a chance to catch the ball and get in free space, and I’m glad I put Malcolm Mitchell back in the game. I think he learned his lesson. I was very, very impressed with that play in particular.”

On Georgia’s defense…“We held them to field goal attempts early on, and right before the half getting the pick in the red zone was huge. It killed their momentum they had created.”

On Jarvis Jones…“I don’t even know for sure what all he did, but I know he did some big things. It’s unfortunate he hasn’t been healthy, but he just gets right back up. He led like I’ve never seen him lead before. I’m just proud of him and the whole defense.”

On Todd Gurley…“He ran it 27 times and didn’t fumble it, which is huge. I’m proud of him, no doubt. He’s getting yards after contact, and he’s a very physical kid.”

On the Ole Miss game next week…“I saw that Ole Miss won earlier, and I’ve been watching them from afar. I’ve been impressed with what they’ve done. They had a big victory over Arkansas today. I know we have our work cut out for us. We haven’t won the east yet, but we’re in control of it.

Another Monster Game By Jarvis Jones: All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones registered a career-high 13 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 3 sacks. Last year in the win against UF, he had 4 sacks. In his two-year career at Georgia, he has tallied 22 sacks which ranks 7th in school history.

Linebacker Jarvis Jones

On the game this week….“This was a great game for us. Shawn Williams gave us a challenge this week and everyone stepped up. This makes me feel better. We played every snap like it was out last and executed the game plan. Today we came out ready to play. I’m proud—this was a great Georgia win.”

On his career day…“I had a great game, but it’s about what we did as a defense. All of us did what we came here to do. We beat the No. 2 team in the nation and it’s a great feeling.”

Points off Turnovers: Georgia came in on the season even in turnover ratio while the Gators were +11 with only four turnovers on the year. Today, Georgia got 10 points off six Gator turnovers while UF got 6 points off three Dawg miscues. Junior OLB Jarvis Jones recovered a fumble caused by sophomore Damian Swann on a sack on Florida's opening possession. It led to a 10-yard touchdown by freshman Todd Gurley. With 1:44 left in the first quarter, Florida notched an INT off of a tipped pass from Aaron Murray. It led to a Gator fumble at the Florida 48, caused by Jones and recovered by senior Cornelius Washington. It led to an INT on a tipped pass at the UF 5. UF converted it to a field goal. UF got another INT at the UGA 11 and turned it into a field goal.

In the second half, Georgia’s Swann got an interception at the UF 25 as the Gators matched their turnover total for the year. It was Swann’s second this year. It led to a 29-yard field goal by freshman Marshall Morgan for a 10-6 edge with 8:34 left in the 3rd quarter. Jarvis Jones recovered a Gator fumble at the UF 26. It led to a missed field goal of 37 yards. Jones got another forced fumble to stop a UF drive in the Red Zone and recovered by Sanders Commings. The Gators ranked the second in the league with a 93 percent scoring mark in the Red Zone coming in.

Gurley Goes Over A 100: Freshman running back Todd Gurley's 10-yard touchdown gave the Dawgs an early 7-0 advantage. It was Gurley's team-leading 11th TD of the season including 10 rushing with one on a kickoff return. He finished with 117 yards on a career-high 27 carries. He has 739 yards for the year. Georgia improved to 51-5 under Mark Richt when they have a 100-yard rusher.

Running Back Todd Gurley

On Georgia’s blocking…“I had great blocking all day. I couldn’t have done it without those guys. I’ve got to give it to (#46 Zander Ogletree), who came into the game and did great after Merrit (Hall) went down, the wide receivers and then the offensive line.”

On making improvements…“We have to stop the turnovers, but the defense kept giving us great field position. We need to work on finishing, but I thought that we finished better than we started.”

On the first touchdown of the game…“That was a great feeling. To score against that kind of defense, especially when it’s against Florida is a great feeling.”

Impressive Effort By Defense: Georgia’s defense forced a Gator fumble on UF’s first possession that led to a TD, and then the Dawgs stopped UF on downs at the Georgia 35 on their second possession. On UF’s third possession, they forced a three-and-out. UF got an INT and took over at the Georgia 45 on its fourth possession. It led to a Gator fumble in heavy pressure, caused by Jarvis Jones and recovered by Cornelius Washington. Georgia eventually gave it back after they had reached the Red Zone on another tipped pass for an INT. UF drove it 70 yards and then was limited to a 38-yard field goal as the Dawgs kept a 7-3 lead with 7:05 left. UF got another turnover at Georgia 11, and the defense limited them to a field to keep a 7-6 edge with 2:44 left. Then, the half ended with a Red Zone stop, Baccarri Rambo notched an INT in the endzone. It was more of the same in the second half, keeping the Gators out of the endzone for the game.

Rambo Moves Up to 2nd in INTs: Senior Bacarri Rambo moved in to a tie for second in Georgia history with 14 career interceptions. He got his first of the year to end the second half to thwart a Gator scoring attempt as he got it in the endzone. Rambo is third in school history in Interception Return Yards with 259.

Safety Bacarri Rambo

On the mood this week...“I’ve never seen us work as hard as wee did this week. Hats off to all of the guys—they’re all my brothers.”

On the game and moving forward…“We haven’t won the East yet. We still have two more games left. We have to get back to practice on Monday and work hard for next week.”

Rare Picks For Murray: Coming in today, junior quarterback Aaron Murray had only four interceptions on the year in 199 attempts and just 26 in 944 career attempts. In the first half today, Murray had three interceptions and was 4-for-8 for 34 yards. Murray’s career-high for INTs is three as he had three against UF in 2010 and three against Miss. State in 2011. Murray finished the game 12-for-24 for 150 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs. He connected with Malcolm Mitchell for a 45-yard TD to cap a 75-yard drive and a 17-9 lead with 7:11 left in the contest and that ended up the final. Mitchell finished with 5 catches for 74 yards.

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the first half….“I was disappointed but knew that we were still up 7-6 and had an entire half to play. I knew that we could come out and make some things happen in the second half. We got a fresh start and had 30 minutes of game left.”

On the win….“This is a huge win. Anytime that Georgia and Florida play it’s big. It was a No. 2 vs. No. 10 match-up and the east was on the line so it was a big deal.”

On the post game celebration….“It was awesome. Everyone was going crazy. I felt like we were out there for 20 or 30 minutes. There isn’t a better feeling.”

Captains: Today's captains were junior Aaron Murray (QB), redshirt sophomore Connor Norman (FS), junior Chris Burnette (OG) and senior Cornelius Washington (OLB).

Injuries: FB Merritt Hall injured a right ankle on Georgia's first possession. He did not return.

Up Next: Georgia plays host to Ole Miss next Saturday. Game time will likely be 3:30 p.m. or noon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Defense


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

Coach Mark Richt

On Shawn Williams…

“I think Shawn is a real passionate guy. I think he loves Georgia and loves his team and wants us to play the best we can possibly play. I think his comments on Monday were more public than you would like, but I don’t think he meant any harm by it. I think his teammates know that, so it’s really not an issue. I did talk to him this morning about it. It was more of him coming to me. I think he read the comments and didn’t like not necessarily how it was reported, but when he read it himself, that’s really not the tone and what he was trying to communicate in his heart. He’s an emotional guy, and he wants to have success, and he wants to try to help motivate not only himself, but his teammates to play better. So, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you’d just assume not have it as public as it was. I don’t really think it’s a big issue. That’s how he felt about it, so he has a right to say it.”

On the performance of the defense this season…

“We want to play championship defense, there’s no doubt about that. Part of that is being able to stop the run or at least slow it down and force people into some situations where they’ve got to throw the football and force them into situations where they can’t just comfortably do what they do. Whatever they do, we have to find out what they do and make them do something different, and we just haven’t been able to do that enough. So that’s been frustrating for everybody.”

On Jarvis Jones…

“He practiced yesterday, and we think he will be able to play in the game.”

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera

On preparing for Florida…

“We’re working hard and getting after it in practice this week. We have more hitting and full contact periods every day, and we have more live periods for us to practice game time situations.”

On the atmosphere in the locker room…

“We’re all pumped up. It’s now or never for us. We have to get everything together and play a complete game for this week and for the rest of the season or else we won’t be able to accomplish our goals.”

On stopping the run against Florida…

“They’re a great rushing team. Obviously we’re going to have to stop the run, and we’re going to try and make them do what they don’t do a lot of, which is pass the ball. We’re going to try and give them a longer field. Anytime you give a team a longer field to work with, it’s harder to score. We have to do a better job of containing the quarterback and getting pressure on him.”

Linebacker Christian Robinson

On preparing for Florida…

“Today is going to be a physical practice. We’re going to have a few extra periods of first team defense vs. first team offense. It’s going to be a very physical game and if we want to win we have to prepare that way. Emphasis will be on first and second down situations; that’s where they’re most successful. We want to stop the run and make them throw deep and try and be in the right place at the right time.”

On containing Jeff Driskel…

“He’s definitely a running quarterback. He’s the second leading rusher on the team so he’s definitely a threat. It’s going to be all about containing him and taking away running lanes. We want to pressure him to make sure he feels like he doesn’t have time to find lanes and if we can do that then that will be a big help for us.”

On the atmosphere of the locker room…

“It’s the biggest game of the year for us so far, at this point. We have to try and keep our emotions in check because all of the fans are already down there getting ready for the game and we really have to just focus on what we have to do. We want to try and keep everybody positive because if we go in at halftime and things aren’t going the way you want them to, you have to be able to adjust and come back out and win the game.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Practice Report


The 12th-ranked Dawgs conducted a 90-minute workout Wednesday as they are finalizing plans for the upcoming game with third-ranked Florida.

Coach Mark Richt said practice went well and Georgia is close to wrapping up its preparations for the week.

“Wednesday is in the books, and we’ve had a couple of good days and made improvements,” said Richt.

DSC_5998Richt confirmed that senior defensive end Abry Jones is out for Saturday’s game. Jones, who has started 26 games in his career, went down with an ankle injury during last Saturday’s game at Kentucky and underwent surgery that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the regular season. Meanwhile, Richt indicated that junior linebacker Jarvis Jones should return to action against Florida. He missed the Kentucky game due to an ankle injury.

With Abry Jones out, one Dawg who is expected to see more action is sophomore defensive end Ray Drew.

“Ray is going to get a bunch of snaps in this game, and I’m looking forward to seeing him play,” said Richt. “Jarvis is excited to get back in there and help us too. This is one of the reasons he came back this season because he want to play in games like this one coming up.”

One of the keys to any game is winning the turnover battle. This year, Georgia is even in turnover margin while the Gators are plus 11. Richt mentioned that the top teams nationally are also the leaders in turnover margin. Also, he said he showed the team highlights of last week’s Florida-South Carolina contest as the Gators were plus four in turnover margin, and it helped them score a season-high 44 points.

Florida has just four turnovers this year and played four games without one while the Dawgs have had three games without a turnover.

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Offense


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

Coach Mark Richt

On Georgia’s running game the last two games…

“The defenses are definitely trying to gear to stop us in the running game on first and second down especially, maybe a little bit more. We were getting a lot more two-safety looks and a lot more one-safety looks on the early downs rushing the ball. We still need to run the ball better than we have been. Of course to say that against one of the best rush defenses in America, you may run for less yards than you are averaging and still have a heck of a day running the ball when you’re rushing the ball against a team like Florida. We definitely don’t want to abort the run by any means. We have to make sure that we run it well and run it to the point where they have some respect for it and it helps you reduce yardage on third down and helps you have some decent play action opportunities as well.”

On the importance of Aaron Murray’s play in this game…

“I think just about everybody’s quarterback has to play pretty good to win a game like this, but Aaron in particular. He’s just been so valuable to us to get us into the right play as many times as possible in games. We do give him options at the line of scrimmage to try to give us the best chance of success, so that’s huge for him, and I think that the way he studies the game and just historically he’s done a very good job of that at this point in his career. I think that he’s got to do a good job of just making decisions back there when he drops back and reads coverage. He’s got to stay with his progression and not try to go off the beaten path in any way. You know, there’s going to be some situations with a defense like this that somebody’s not going to be open or the protection may not be as good as you want, but how are you going to manage that? Are you going to manage it by throwing it away and not taking a sack, or do you have to take a sack, or are you going to wrap it up where the ball doesn’t come out? That’s really what it comes down to. There will be times when he’ll move out of the pocket, I’m sure. He’ll be in a situation where he’s scrambling, and will he keep his eyes downfield and find an open man or when he crosses the line of scrimmage will he do a good job of not taking a vicious hit if he can help it and protecting the ball as he gets tackled? Those are just the fundamental things that he has to do well. If guys are open and the protection’s there, you’ve got to put it on them. The way that they play defense, it’s going to be tighter coverage than some of the games (we’ve played this season), but not all of the games. Like last year particularly, they played a ton of a five-man rush man coverage and one safety deep, and they matched up on our receivers. We kind of came limping into that game with some receivers and some inexperienced guys, and all of the sudden those guys made plays. But they were tough plays, and even the fourth down catches were hotly contested throws and catches in very tight coverage.

On freshman offensive tackle John Theus…

“The thing about John now is that he’s played for seven games. That’s a lot of plays and a lot of them in the SEC, so he’s not quite just a pure rookie anymore. He’s been trying to protect some pretty good football players, so he just has a better gauge of what it’s all about. But he’s still a rookie. One year from now, he’ll be stronger and more experienced, and he’ll have a little bit more confidence in knowing what’s coming at him. So he’ll certainly be a better player a year from now than he is today but he’s a better player today than he was a month ago or six weeks ago.”

On Malcolm Mitchell…

“Malcolm loves football, obviously. He loves offense, defense, and special teams. He loves to play, and he wants to make plays and be significant every time he’s in the game. We think that he has a lot of bravery and speed and agility to be a good kick return man. You have to have some nerve back there. He’s starting to become much more productive as a wide receiver and getting more opportunities and getting more comfortable. So, I hope he continues to improve in all areas because he’s a very talented guy.”

On Mark Beard…

Mark Beard has really come on for us. He played a little bit more in the Kentucky game than in some of the games prior to that due to Dallas Lee tweaking his ankle a little bit, but he’s an athletic guy. He’s getting more comfortable as we go, and it’s not a bad looking lineup when Beard’s in there. I think Beard will end up playing, and I think Dallas will end up playing. I’m not sure who will start. If Beard starts, Gates is a guard, and if Lee starts, Gates will be a tackle. But he will play in this ballgame.”

Wide Receiver Marlon Brown

On scoring this weekend…

“It’s just about execution – every play, we need to do that. We need to make sure we execute and do what we’re capable of doing, and we’ll be okay.”

On Florida-week hype…

“It’s a different week because everyone makes it a different week. To me, it’s still Saturday. I’m going to work as hard as I always do. It’s Saturday, but there’s probably just a bit more to it.”

On Florida’s defense…

“They’re real physical. They like to press a lot. It’s going to be a real tough match for us, for sure.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the need to control turnovers…

“We definitely need to take care of the ball. Coach Richt has talked to us about that a lot this week. He’s looked back and obviously you can look at some games and see that they were decided by turnovers one way or another. We need to do a good job offensively of protecting the ball when we’re running, and for me, making sure I’m not careless throwing the ball. But at the same time, you can’t go into the game thinking about it too much. You’ve got to go in, play, and react, and have fun. If you’re timid as the quarterback and you try to make a throw, that’s when you’re inaccurate and you don’t give your guys a chance to make plays. I’ve got to go out there and trust my fundamentals and trust my preparation, and what I’ve done all week in practice, and let loose when it’s game time.”

On the mindset of the team…

“The guys are ready. I don’t think it matters heading into this game which team is ranked what – there are so many emotions no matter what. I think we’ll probably play harder than we have all year. It’s a fun game and I love being a part of it. I know I’ll be ready and my teammates will be ready to go.”

On differences in preparation for Florida…

“I think the guys are maybe a little more pumped up during the week in practice. We’re probably practicing a little harder, watching more film, but like I said, you can’t go in there scared. My goal this week is to have positive thoughts, have fun, and let it rip. Sometimes if you’re too cautious you’ll throw that interception. I’m trusting in my abilities and my prep.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Press Conference


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

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

“It’s Georgia-Florida. Looking forward to going to Jacksonville. It’s a big game for us and for them to decide who is going to take the lead in the SEC East. That’s what’s at stake. They’re an outstanding football team, obviously. They’re undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS and really have earned it the hard way, starting out the season at A&M and at Tennessee – two very tough places to play to start the season. I believe they got behind in both games and came back and won both. That kind of set the tone for their season. They’ve played outstanding defense. They are a very solid running football team, and their special teams have been off the chain, and that’s been their recipe for victory. They play tough, hard-nosed football and don’t turn the ball over much. They are No. 9 in the country in the turnover ratio, so that’s been their formula for success. Coach Will Muschamp has done a great job in year two.”

“It’s a game that is going to be a tremendous challenge for us, we know that. They are an outstanding football team and very talented. They have a lot of momentum and confidence right now, and those are tough teams to beat. We have our work cut out for us. We are looking forward to it and looking forward to today’s practice and trying to get better. This will be the only day we’ll be in full pads, so we have to make sure we take care of those fundamentals today as we implement our game plan.”

On how to beat Florida...

“First of all, you’ve got to be just very fundamentally sound. We’ve got to block well and tackle well. We’ve got to be disciplined in our gaps and assignments, and we’ve got to do a good job of protecting the football. We can’t allow them to continue the trend of winning the turnover ratio. If they win that battle, it’s going to be tough to win the game. It’s been historically true in this match-up especially, so we’ve got to do a god job of that and do what we do best. We need to execute well. It’s certainly going to be a game that’s going to take one of our better efforts to have a chance to win it.”

On preparations for the Florida game…

“With the 20-hour practice rule, you can’t change much. We have it planned out to the minute every week, so if you do a little more here, you’re robbing something. Now this particular week on Friday, there’s no school, so you literally can have a four hour day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which is 16 hours plus three hours on Saturday, so that’s the max that we can have this week. But, Friday is unlimited, so you can actually have a little bit more time Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and have a little bit more time Friday. It’s not because it’s Florida week as much as it’s the fact that there’s no school on Friday. So we’re able to do a little bit more of anything that we think is important.”

On the emotions of the Florida game…

“I think it’s just one of those weeks as a coach where you don’t sit there and wonder how you can motivate these guys this week. They are just motivated to play this game, so I don’t think that’s an issue.”

On Florida’s changes from last year to this year…

“They played a lot of young guys last year. When you have eight returning starters on offense and nine returning starters on defense, that’s a lot of playing time. They got a lot of valuable experience and another year within Coach Muschamp’s way of doing things and strength and conditioning. So, they’re one year more experienced and one year just bigger, stronger and faster. We talked about this before, but year two in a lot of coaches’ tenures, there is a lot more of a big jump from year one to year two. Everybody has bought in and everybody understands what the coaches are looking for. In this particular case, they did play a very young football team last year, and there aren’t a lot of players that they lost.”

On Florida’s strengths offensively…

“I think knowing that they have some veteran offensive lineman, and that their running back Mike Gillislee and their quarterback have some great run in them, I think they’ll diversify more in their passing game. But right now, by playing great specials, defense, and running the ball well without turning it over, it’s a very good formula for victory. It’s worked for them. I think Coach Pease is a very smart coach, and he understands as a coordinator that it’s not always what you might like to do best, but it’s what your players can do best. That’s what you have to evaluate year in and year out and play to the strengths of your personnel.”

On motivation the team for this week’s game…

“Let’s think about it. Number one, we’re playing Florida. Number two, we’re playing for a shot to go to Atlanta. That’s huge. Even if we weren’t playing for that opportunity, it’s still a big game and a game that those guys like to play. It’s a game that there’s just so much tradition to it. People know about this game across the country, and it’s a game that people look forward to. People say it’s one of the better rivalry games in the country year after year, so players see that growing up in high school and they want to be part of that game.”

On Aaron Murray’s emotional state entering the Kentucky game…

“Aaron just seemed very normal in his preparation. I think going home was really good medicine for him to see his dad and to see his mom and just to see his family and to know that the surgery went well, and to know that his dad was able to go back to work not too long after that. I think that all just helped ease his pain, and he went back to work.”

On the possibility of assigning a special teams coordinator in the off season…

“First of all, you can assign somebody within your staff to do it, or if you don’t, that means that if there’s no attrition, you’re going to fire somebody to hire a special teams coordinator. So, I don’t know if I’m interested in doing that, but I think one thing that I can do as head coach is at least spend time learning the kicking and punting fundamentals well enough to be their coach. Which right this minute I wouldn’t say that I have enough expertise to do that, but I think this off season it would be wise for me to do something like that because I am freed up enough to do that, and if that’s my contribution to special teams in the future, I think it’d be valuable.”

On the importance of special teams play in this game…

“We’ve had some pretty good punters and kickers over the years since I’ve been here. We’re not doing anything any differently than we’ve done before really. But, they (Florida) have done a very good job on their special teams, and there’s no doubt about that. But there are some people in the country who do a good on special teams and need a special teams coach, and there’s some that do it and split the responsibilities. Some people say they have a special teams coordinator, but he may just be coordinating the practice time, or he may be coordinating the meeting time. So there are a lot of people who have a special teams coordinator and he’s coordinating what happens, but he doesn’t necessarily coach every single team on every single kick. There are a lot of people that are still dividing up responsibilities, but they (Florida) are certainly outstanding at it this year.”

On the coaching staff’s mentality after the South Carolina game…

“I kind of look at things cut and dry when it comes to preparing. When we prepare, we’re going to study film. We’re going to look at their personnel and their schemes, and we’re going to look at what they do. We’re going to look at what we do, and we’re going to try to find ways to get a first down and stop a first down. So I don’t look too much and try to compare this game to that one. I guess the only thing you can compare it to is that you have top 10 teams playing each other and the significance of what it might mean in the Eastern (Division) race. I mean, last week was significant. If we don’t beat Kentucky, we’re not talking about the Eastern Division race, so it’s very big. But, everything put together, it makes for a big game and a game that guys get up for.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dawgs Focus On Gators


The Georgia football team began preparations for its game against Florida in Jacksonville with a 60-minute workout on the Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday.

The No. 12 Dawgs are off to a 6-1 start, including a 4-1 mark in the SEC. On Saturday, the they will take on third-ranked Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) in the annual game in Jacksonville. The game will be televised by CBS at 3:30 p.m.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Florida, and our practices this week have to reflect that," coach Mark Richt said. "I thought we got off to a good start tonight. The guys were focused and they practiced with a lot of enthusiasm. This game means a lot to our team and it means a lot to Florida. Our guys are excited about the opportunity to play this game, especially considering the impact it will have on the division."

Richt announced the captains for the Florida game will be quarterback Aaron Murray, guard Chris Burnette, end Cornelius Washington and safety Connor Norman.

"Having a win over them last year and looking at the film and seeing that they have a lot of the same guys back and we have a lot of the same guys back helps us get a feel for how the game should go," Burnette said. "This game is exciting. I love going against the best competition, and that's what we have this Saturday, the best competition."

Monday's injury report included: end Abry Jones (left ankle injury, out of practice) and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley (left hamstring strain, limited).

The win over Kentucky last Saturday made the Dawgs bowl eligible for the 12th straight year under Richt.

In other news on Monday:

• CBS exercised its six-day option for conference games scheduled for Nov. 3, meaning the kickoff time for the Georgia-Ole Miss game will not be determined until Sunday. However, kickoff will be noon on either ESPN or ESPN2 or 3:30 p.m. on CBS.

Murray And Jones National Finalist


Georgia juniors Aaron Murray and Jarvis Jones have been named semifinalists for the national awards representing their respective positions, according to separate announcements on Monday.

Murray is one of 16 quarterbacks named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award while Jones is repeating as a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which is given to the country’s top linebacker.

Murray is one of three quarterbacks representing the SEC on the list with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron also included.

Despite missing the Kentucky game (ankle) and Florida Atlantic game (groin) with injuries, Jones leads the team in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (9.5) and is third on Georgia’s defense with 36 stops in five games played. Jones, who also leads the Dawgs with three forced fumbles, has 19 career sacks in two seasons at Georgia and is the current NCAA active leader in sacks per game at 1.0.

A 2011 All-American and finalist for the Butkus Award last season, Jones had a dominating performance at Missouri that earned him national player of the week honors earlier this year. He finished with nine tackles, including two sacks, an interception returned to the Tiger 1-yard line, two forced fumbles and five quarterback pressures to pace the defense during the 41-20 rout of Missouri.

Jones is one of three players from the SEC on the Butkus Award semifinalists list.

Murray Named Offensive Player Of The Week


DSC_6919Georgia junior quarterback Aaron Murray has earned Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors following the Dawgs’ road win over Kentucky, according to a league announcement on Monday.

Murray, a 6-1, 210-pound native of Tampa, Florida, wrapped up a record-setting day by completing a career-high 30 passes on 38 attempts for a school record completion mark of 78.95 percent. He finished with a career-high 427 yards passing, which is fourth best in school history and the second best in the SEC this year, and four touchdowns in the 29-24 road win over Kentucky.

Murray took over the school record in career touchdown passes with 75, which is tied for ninth in SEC history. He had a pair of 100-yard receivers as senior Tavarres King (188 yards) and sophomore Malcolm Mitchell (103 yards) each had nine catches. Murray is the SEC active leader in five different categories and is third in the NCAA FBS in career pass efficiency rating for active players with a 154.02 clip.

This marks Murray’s first SEC Offensive Player of the Week selection. He was named the SEC Freshman Player of the Week twice in 2010 after his performances versus Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

With the win over the Wildcats, the Dawgs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) are now bowl eligible for the 12th consecutive time under head coach Mark Richt.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dawgs Sneak Past Cats 29–24


Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

“Very excited about the victory. It’s great to be able to go on the road in the SEC and get the win. I think Kentucky did a fantastic job tonight. My hat’s off to coach Joker Phillips and his team. I’m also pleased with our team to do what they had to do to win the ballgame. A lot of big plays had to be made. We had to play good down the stretch in order to win it. Again, very thankful and pleased with the victory. I want to also, like I said, let coach Phillips know that I thought his team was well prepared and they did a heck of a job.”

On Kentucky…

“I know coach Phillips is a very good coach. Their staff is very sharp. I think they have played much better at home than they have away so I knew them being home was going to be a factor. A lot of times when you do play young guys they tend to play better at home. I expected them to be well prepared and they were.”

On the onside kick…

“It was a great job by (the kicker), if that kick would have rolled just a tad bit faster he probably would have gotten it, but it was just kind of creeping along. Their kicker of course had to wait for it to go 10 and Connor Norman was heads up to go around there and snatch it and be strong enough to convince the officials that it was his. It was a huge play. There were a lot of huge plays in the game, a game that close, but Connor did a great job.”

On the passing game…

“A lot of things have to go well to throw the ball like that. You have to be able to protect, you have to be able to run good routes, you have to be able to put the ball on the money and catch and you have to have a good idea of what you’re doing. You’ve got to have a little bit of scheme involved in there. I think everything came together well, there was a sack or two that we probably could have avoided. There was a ball that probably would have been a touchdown if we caught it, there was another one that was overthrown that I think would have been another touchdown so I think there could have been even more damage done in the passing game.”

On preparation for the game…

“Kentucky had time to get their plan together and they’ve got good personnel. They do a lot of really good things. I have respect for what they have done in the past and how they played tonight. Like I said, I think they have played a lot better at home than they have away. We caught them at home and we got a good SEC victory on the road, I think there is a lot to be said for that.”

  • Murray Sets Career TD Record and Completion % Mark in a Game: Junior quarterback Aaron Murray (30-for-38, 427 yards, 4 TDs) enjoyed a career night, setting the school career touchdown pass record with 75 while completing a career-high 30 passes for a career-high 427 yards. Also, he set a school record for Best Completion Percentage in a Game with at least 30 completions. He had a 78.95 mark, breaking current offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s mark of 76.92 vs. Ga. Tech in 1997 when he was 30x39. And one more note, Murray’s 427 yards passing ranks as the sixth best in school history and most since Eric Zeier had 441 vs. Vanderbilt in 1994. Murray’s 427 yards tonight ranks as the second best in the SEC this year behind Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel’s 453 against Arkansas.
  • Murray opened the scoring with a 2-yard TD pass to senior flanker Tavarres King in the second quarter. Murray also had a 66-yard scoring strike to King and a 22-yard TD pass to sophomore flanker Chris Conley and a 10-yard TD to tight end Arthur Lynch. Seventy-five TD passes ranks in a tie for ninth in the SEC record books with Casey Clausen of Tennessee. Also of note, the Dawgs’ 97-yard scoring drive was its longest this season. It was the longest drive for the Dawgs since Georgia had a 99-yard scoring drive versus Ole Miss in 2011.

Junior Quarterback Aaron Murray

On bouncing back after a loss to South Carolina…

“It was huge for us offensively to be able to go out there, put some points on the board and have some great drives. We know we’re a very talented offense and we had one bad game two weeks ago but that’s far behind us. We understand we still have some work to do to. (We need to) continue getting better but I thought today was a great day offensively.”

On playing No. 2 Florida next week…

“We’re not worried about it. At the end of the day, it all depends on how we play next Saturday. We know we have to play an unbelievable game offensively, defensively and special teams if we want to have a chance to win that game so we just have to be ready to go.”

  • King & Mitchell Lead Aerial Attack: Tavarres King had a career-high 9 catches for a game-high 188 yards and tied his career high with two TDs . This marks his fifth career 100-yard game and his second this season. He leads the team with five TD catches this season and has 17 in his career, which is fifth in school history. Sophomore split end Malcolm Mitchell finished with a career high 9 receptions for 103 yards. Tonight was the first time since the 2010 Florida game when the Dawgs had two 100-yard receivers in a game. That year, Orson Charles (108) and King (104) did it. By the way, Mitchell’s career high in yards is 126 versus Missouri earlier this season. Chris Conley’s TD catch was his first of 2012 and the third of his career.

Senior Flanker Tavarres King

On winning against Kentucky…

“It was big, it was huge. Any time you go on the road in the SEC, you know it’s going to be tough no matter who you’re playing, so it’s huge. It’s a big win for us.”

On going against a 1-6 team…

“It’s the SEC. Anybody can slip up on anybody at anytime and that’s why we’re the greatest conference in the nation. We play great football. That’s a good team, they’ve just had some tough breaks and they gave us their best shot and we survived it.

On quarterback Aaron Murray setting career-high numbers…

“It was neat. I’m just happy for him progressing, getting better and doing his thing. The kid is great and I can’t say enough about him, his work ethic and the way he goes about his business. He’s just like a pro. It’s very classy. He deserves everything he gets. He deserves more than he gets.

Sophomore Split End Malcolm Mitchell

On Georgia’s passing performance…
“They gave up the inside a lot so we just tried to take advantage of it. It is fun, but we have to get the run game in. You don’t want to just keep passing the ball.”

On his playing time as a wide receiver…

“I have to thank Coach Ball. During practice they said something is wrong and they gave me advice on how to get out of my routes. I hadn’t done it in so long. I have to get back into things.”

On the amount of effort it took to win this game…

“I just think about what we need to do as a team not what it’s going to take and did we do our job? Did we do our job well? I don’t know, but we won.”

  • Series History: With tonight’s 29-24 win, Georgia holds a 52-12-2 edge in the series including 25-7 in Lexington and 16-4 in Commonwealth Stadium. The Dawgs are now 14-4 under Mark Richt following an open date.
  • Lead At The Half: Freshman place kicker Marshall Morgan banked a 27-yard field goal off the uprights to give the Dawgs a 16-14 edge as the half expired. He was 5-of-6 on the year at that point. Morgan connected on his first PAT of the game but missed his second.

Freshman Placekicker Marshall Morgan

On the pressure of punting in this game…

“The one before the half, I really tried to do well because I didn’t want to let my team down. And I wanted to be up at the half, so we could have a little more momentum.”

  • Tackles: Senior free safety Bacarri Rambo finished with 11 tackles, senior strong safety Shawn Williams and junior linebacker Alec Ogletree had 10 tackles apiece. Also of note, junior defensive end Kwame Geathers recorded his first career sack. Geathers finished with 4 tackles.
  • Starters: True freshman outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins made his second career start. Jenkins started for junior Jarvis Jones for the second time this season after also getting the start versus Florida Atlantic. Jones missed the Kentucky game with an ankle injury.

Freshman Outside Linebacker Jordan Jenkins

On the start of the game…

“Well the first half was not good for me. The first play I got my neck cut up, the second play I thought I had a stinger and the third play I got my ankle rolled. I couldn’t set the edge because I didn’t want to hurt my ankle. I kept trying to do a soft play hoping that would open the seams.”

On Kentucky’s last offensive series…

“Well I don’t know. I think we are just glad to have this game over with. It seems like God wanted us to win.”

On focusing on the future instead of today’s games mistakes…

“Well Monday we have to look at film, but it is going to be pretty easy because we know we have to focus on next week. We can’t be depressed. It just goes to show that any team can win and any team can lose.”

  • Injury Report: Senior defensive end Abry Jones left the game in the first quarter with a left ankle injury and did not return.
  • Game Captains: Senior nose guard John Jenkins, true freshman safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, junior offensive guard Chris Burnette and senior defensive end Abry Jones served as Georgia’s captains. Harvey-Clemons is the first true freshman to be named a captain since Rennie Curran in 2007.

Up Next: Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) faces No. 2 Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) in Jacksonville next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (CBS-TV).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dawg’s 2013 Schedule Released


Home games with South Carolina, LSU, Missouri, and Kentucky highlight the 2013 University of Georgia football schedule released Thursday by the Southeastern Conference.

The Dawgs will also host home games against North Texas and Appalachian State as well as travel to Clemson, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. Georgia will face Florida in the traditional game played at Jacksonville. Two open dates also dot the Dawg schedule.

The 2013 schedule is considered a “bridge” schedule and not based on any other previous or future scheduling formats. The SEC Athletics Directors will convene in Spring 2013 to begin formulating schedules for the 2014 season and beyond.

“As we began working on the 2013 football schedule, it became apparent that the conference would need another year of the ‘bridge’ schedule to make everything work,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “I appreciate the SEC transition team and our athletics directors, who came together to put this schedule in place. We look forward to starting with our new scheduling rotation in 2014.”

The eight-game conference schedule consists of six games played inside the division and two games against teams from the opposite division. The cross-divisional common opponents that were previously announced by the conference will not take place until 2014.

In order to maintain a balanced schedule for the 2014 season and beyond, there are three games that will have repeat hosts from the 2012 schedule. Those games are Ole Miss at Alabama, Texas A&M at Ole Miss and Georgia at Auburn.

"There were so many variables in dealing with conference games, and the three repeat venue games, while not desired, provided the only solution to the complex scheduling issues,” said Slive.

"The 2013 schedule will obviously be very challenging,” said UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “Our number one priority throughout this process was to protect our long-standing rivalry game against Auburn, and in order to keep this series intact, it necessitated a return to Auburn in 2013. We will start working on the 2014 rotating SEC schedule this Spring, and we can confirm that Auburn will be returning to Athens in 2014."

2013 Georgia Football Schedule

August 31 at Clemson


September 14 Open

September 21 NORTH TEXAS

September 28 LSU

October 5 at Tennessee

October 12 MISSOURI

October 19 at Vanderbilt

October 26 Open

November 2 Florida Jacksonville


November 16 at Auburn

November 23 KENTUCKY

November 30 at Georgia Tech

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Defense


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

Coach Mark Richt

On Jarvis Jones being able to play against Kentucky…

“We’ll see. We’re not counting him out yet. He had been running on a treadmill underwater and did extremely well. We figured when we put him on land, he’d hit the ground running literally, but he wasn’t ready to practice.

If he’s healthy enough to play, we want him to play. There’s no thought of holding him out this game so that he’s 100 percent next game. I don’t know if anybody’s 100 percent this time of the year when you’re six games in. Just about everybody has something bothering them, but if he gets the okay to go, he’ll play this weekend.”

On the play of John Jenkins throughout this season and his career…

“Considering that he’s only been here less than two years and he was a junior college kid that came in for the purpose of trying to make us more stout up front in this 3-4 scheme, I think he’s done very well. He was very productive in the last ballgame, and he’s been difficult to move out of there. He’s put some pressure on the quarterback, and not so much with sacks, but with pushing lineman up in the face and he’s been stout against the run. I think he’s done very well, and he’s been a great team guy. He’s a pleasant guy that shows up every day with a good attitude, and he’s fun to coach.”

On the play of Garrison Smith…

“He’s done well for us. He’s been very productive and pretty stout against the run. He’s had some quarterback pressures, and we think he’s an SEC-caliber defensive lineman and we like what he’s doing for us. I think he’ll just keep getting more and more playing time as he goes.”

On Josh Harvey-Clemons being named a captain for this game…

He’s on three of our special teams, and every team that he was on, each coach felt like he played exceptionally well last ballgame, so he won the honor of being special teams captain for this game. It just doesn’t happen very often that a true freshman becomes a captain, whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams, but he’s got a lot of ability. He’s a great example of a very talented guy that just needs more reps on defense for the coaches to get comfortable playing him on defense on a consistent basis. But when he does, and you add another year’s worth of muscle and conditioning and knowledge, he’s going to be a heck of a football player. But if we threw him out there right now it would be tough on him, no matter how talented he is. That’s kind of what Kentucky’s been through a little bit. They’ve thrown some guys in there faster than they probably would like to do.”

On punt returns…

Rhett McGowan and Malcolm Mitchell have been getting the work at punt returns, but Rhett is our number one guy right now.”

On the play of senior linebacker Michael Gilliard…

“Michael’s done very well for us. When Alec Ogletree wasn’t playing (earlier this season), Michael and Amarlo Herrera did a lot of the work, and Christian Robinson, too. You’ve got some guys that have gotten a lot of opportunity. When Ogletree came back, it did take away from some of Amarlo’s time and some of Michael’s time, but when Michael has been in there, he’s played very well. We have some good experience at linebacker right now.”  

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera

On moving forward after the bye-week…

“We’re ready to move forward. The off week provided us with an opportunity to improve on a lot of things and a lot of people have been working to get better. We’re just ready to work hard.”

On having the full defense back…

“We should never have had excuses for anything, no matter who was in or who was out. We’re ready to get back to the top defensive form we were in last year.”

On the miscommunication that has occurred on defense this year…

“Sometimes it’s something as simple as mixing up who is supposed to be covering the running back and sometimes it’s more complicated than that because we have a lot of things going on. If one person doesn’t understand what they really have to do then it could mess up anything. I’ve had one of those mistakes against Tennessee allowing the running back to score out of the backfield.”

Linebacker Christian Robinson

On the miscommunication that has occurred on defense this year…

“I think a lot of the reason is that we might have a certain coverage in and we aren’t communicating with each other about who needs to be where. I think we have guys in the same position that aren’t executing until the whistle. This bye-week has been huge in allowing us to talk things out and fix these problems. A lot of the reason is that we’re putting new stuff in every week. Because we’ve been in this defense so long we’ve been able to mix things up and add in things but that can cause confusion sometimes.”

On moving forward after the bye-week…

“I think we should perform a lot better moving forward than we have up to this point. I think we could have been doing that a long time ago, but when we sat down as a defense Coach Grantham pointed out on film that if we just need to do our job. That’s where we’ve been messing up, guys have been trying to do too much or they haven’t been doing the right thing at the right time and that’s where we’ve lost games.”

On executing assignments on defense…

“I think we all know what we have to do and how to do it, I think the problem comes in actually going out there and doing it. That’s what we haven’t done and if we can fix that then we will win and we will win big.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Practice Report


The 13th-ranked Dawgs conducted a 90-minute workout Wednesday as they are close to wrapping up preparations for this week’s game.

Coach Mark Richt said practice went well on a beautiful day in Athens.

“We had very few missed assignments with the number one unit, a few with the number twos, and we’ll do it again tomorrow,” said Richt. “We’re working on getting ready to play fast.”

All-America linebacker Jarvis Jones, who ranks among the SEC leaders in sacks with 5.5 this season, was held out of action Wednesday due to an ankle injury. Jones’ backup is 6-3, 257-pound freshman Jordan Jenkins. He started against Florida Atlantic earlier this season when Jones was sidelined with a groin injury. Richt was asked about Jenkins, who has played in all six games this year with 15 tackles and three sacks.

“I like him; he’s very disciplined in what he does,” Richt said. “You teach him something, and he does it. He’s got good practice habits and a lot of physical attributes for a guy at that position. He has good rush skills.”

Richt added that he is pleased with the freshmen class, and that the talent base is great.

“The learning curve for them is normal, and it helps when you get reps like Jordan and the tailbacks Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and John Theus,” said Richt. “They have had the opportunity to learn, and they are better for it, but also they feel like I better learn it because I’m playing and people are counting on me. Then you have a guy like Faton (Bauta), and he is getting work in practice and through film study and meetings and has to get experience that way. I still appreciate his work ethic.”

The Dawgs (5-1, 3-1 SEC) face Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC) in Lexington Saturday at 7:08 p.m. (FSN). The game will serve as UK’s annual Homecoming, and the Wildcats will honor recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and UK football standout Dermontti Dawson. A center for the Wildcats from 1984-87, Dawson had a 13-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a six-time All-Pro selection.

Tuesday Press Conference ~ Offense


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

Coach Mark Richt

On Aaron Murray handling the news regarding his father’s health…

“Sometimes you just have to take off and forget about football, and that was one of those times. I think the family had some news before they told him, and they knew he’d have some time to come see family after the operation. As far as the timing, it was something they could time out in the open date, being a sports family like they are.”

On the experience that the offensive line gained against South Carolina…

“Anytime you play a game and you don’t have the success that you hope for, especially when we were rolling right along with running the ball and protecting well enough to put some good numbers up offensively, it’s disappointing. Then they (the offensive line) ran into a greater challenge and didn’t have as much success, so they had to look in the mirror, and they realize they still have a ways to go and need to get better. After a rough day, most guys want to come back and prove that they’re better than what they showed in the last one.”

On the play of Kenarious Gates…

“He’s done pretty well. We think he’s our best left tackle right now, no doubt about that. I think he’s done a good job. I don’t know (if he’ll stay at left tackle next year), so I wouldn’t say that he has nailed it down for the rest of his career.”

On the play of Malcolm Mitchell this season…

“Malcolm is playing more offense obviously, and getting more opportunities. He’s still getting more reps defensively. Today the majority of his practice will be defense, although he will get some offensive snaps today. Certain things are being installed, and we want to keep him up to speed offensively in case we have some issues with injuries because we don’t want to throw a brand new freshman in there. He’s very good on the kickoff return, although we think Todd Gurley is pretty good, too. Gurley can do it, as well, but Malcolm will start the game there.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On Kentucky’s young team…

“Their young players are talented and capable of making plays, but experience is big in SEC games. The more experience you have, the more comfortable you feel out there. We just need to be ready for whoever they put out there. We know they’ll be ready defensively, so we need to make sure we’re hitting on all cylinders.”

On the bye week…

“Obviously it’s great to have the bye week to get your body feeling better, but I kind of wish we had a game this past week just to get the bad taste out of our mouth from the South Carolina loss. We tried not to be sitting around thinking about it for two weeks – we put that game behind us and we know this is an extremely important stretch for us if we want to reach our goals. We need to win our next six games.”

Wide Receiver Marlon Brown

On Kentucky’s young defense…

“I feel like from playing in this league for a few years our team knows what to expect in these games and has the experience. It’s tough for a freshman at any position to step in there, but Kentucky’s players are doing it so we’ll see on Saturday.”

On Michael Bennett’s absence…

“We didn’t get a good chance to see how much we miss him vs. South Carolina because it wasn’t a big passing day for us overall. I think we’ll be fine as receivers – we’ve got guys with a lot of experience. Me, Malcolm Mitchell, Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, we’ve all got experience.”

On playing on the road again…

“Playing on the road in the SEC is always tough. We’ll need to keep focused and we’ll be alright.”