Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference - Defense

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's game against Southern University in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

On senior linebacker Jake Ganus’ marriage proposal following the South Carolina game…

“Jake did ask his girlfriend to be his wife, so she is now his fiancee officially. He said it worked out really good. I didn’t get to witness it but he said it went as good as he could have hoped. A lot of his teammates were out there with him to enjoy the moment.”

On Jake Ganus’ performance so far this season…

“For a guy to come in on such short notice and play significant time and be able to get out there and make some calls, get people lined up and all that kind of thing, it is impressive. He is a seasoned football player. I guess he led the team in tackles maybe the last two years at UAB, so it was not like he was a mystery as far as a football player. He has done very well. Glad we got him”

On the process of getting Jake Ganus to come to Georgia…

“When they (UAB) dropped football, obviously everybody was eligible to play immediately. So, we got film — just like you would a high school tape — and just started looking at tape and trying to see was there anybody we thought could help us, and Jake was definitely one of them. To be quite honest, I don’t know who made the initial contact. I can’t remember how all that went, but I know his film went through the process of any other recruit, basically. Get the position coach, the coordinator to take a look and make a decision. The fact that he could play right away, and he was here all spring, so it just worked out good for us. Was I surprised? I don’t know. I don’t remember him out of high school, so I don’t know what he looked like the day he left high school. He might have been a guy who was not all that big and was skinny and developed and proved to be a great player, so I have no idea how he looked at the end of high school.”

On freshman safety Johnathan Abram’s playing time against South Carolina…

“He’s just very eager to strike people. He plays hard. He’s very coachable, teachable, but young. He still makes mistakes that freshmen make. But he’s in there with a bunch of veterans compared to the kickoff coverage team where we've got eight or nine of them that are true freshmen. When you have too many of them at a time that’s when it gets a little scary, but it was great experience for him. You learn through making mistakes sometimes. You learn by doing it right and reinforcing that. It’s just like when you start riding a bike – how many times do you fall down before you start learning? It’s just like riding a bike, you fall down before you start learning.”

On the overall play of the defense through three games…

“I think our defense is playing well. Very few big plays, plays of 20 yards on the pass or 15 yards on the run, very little of that. Our red zone defense has been close to spectacular, denying people touchdowns. We’ve done a good job of getting turnovers. I think most of the balls that could’ve been picked have been picked. There have been a few balls that have been dropped but we’ve been very opportunistic in that way. Tackling has been pretty good. Part of the reason that you tackle well is that guys are pursuing the ball and gang tackling. People have been respecting their gaps in the run game. I think they’ve done a nice job."
Senior Linebacker Jordan Jenkins

On freshman DT Trenton Thompson’s hit vs. South Carolina...

“If he keeps working and listening to the coaches the sky is the limit for him. You see how big he is now and he’s a heck of a player. I really enjoyed seeing that and I know the whole sideline did. If he keeps his head on right, the future is bright for him.”

On how film works for the defense...

“Every Monday on the first day back we sit and watch the good, the bad and the ugly as Coach Pruitt likes to call it. We watch certain parts of the game and then break off and watch it with our segment.”

On keeping focus towards Southern...

With the way last season happened with the Florida game and everything, I feel like that was a learning experience for us. With the guys we have this year, I feel like that’s not going to be a problem this year. We’re going to make sure that we take this one game at a time and treat every opponent the same.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference - Offense

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's game against Southern University in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

On the offensive line…

“Our line is doing a very good job. I know pass protection, especially this past week, was really outstanding. It’s one thing to not get sacks but it’s another thing to really provide a big pocket and Greyson has a lot of space. His vision was pretty clear as far as not having guys squeezing the pocket on him and things of that nature. There’s always plays where the back will go for 60 or something yards and they’ll look around like, ‘hey man, did you get your guy?’ Those backs can make them look good at times, but there’s a lot of times where are our linemen make our backs look good. You can’t run the ball like we are running it without the linemen doing their job. They also know it is a week-to-week proposition, too. You start getting a little too happy and that’s when you tend to maybe not focus like you should.”

On the importance of getting the ball to Malcolm Mitchell…

“We try to. Again, when I was talking about the ‘RPOs,’ the run-pass options, a lot of times it depends on how the defense plays as to where the ball goes. Most of our system has a progression read, meaning Malcolm might be the first progression of a certain read like those little hitches we were throwing. If they’re playing cover two, he’s not the first option. Quite frankly, he would’ve not been an option at all. It would’ve been the tight end down the middle, to the flanker on the go route, to the check down. It happened to be soft coverage weak side so he got the ball two times in a row if you remember. We hit him twice to start the second half. He was the first read in that coverage but if it was a different coverage he might not have seen the ball on those two plays in a row. There are some things where you try to make him a primary target, but if you start trying to force it to anybody then you’re going to throw picks, you’re going to throw incompletions. You must be willing to take what they give you. There are some things, like a little tunnel screen, where you can make sure he gets the ball. But you can’t have too much of that because if everybody’s like ‘we’re going to stop this particular guy,’ then you’re going to be battling uphill.”

On senior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s quote about him having fun again…

“I think a big reason he is having fun is I don’t think he is worried too much about his wheels anymore. He’s just playing again and he’s producing and doing some of the things he hoped to do all along. I think you see a lot of his energy in practice. I mentioned to him before. I don’t know what setting I was in talking about his work ethic, but he had a great summer, a great fall camp. He missed very little, and if he missed anything, it was just us trying to be careful with him. I’m happy for the guy. Anytime a guy overcomes an injury, and when you come back from an injury you are not automatically 100 percent because mentally you are wondering if this could happen again and all of that. You are just trying to test it out — first time you get hit, first time you make a hard cut — all these things start running through your mind. So, for him to just be able to play and enjoy it means he is not thinking about that, which is good.”

On sophomore tailback Nick Chubb’s 100-yard rushing streak and his playing time…

“We don’t really think much about it. At the end of the game we just look at the stats and think well he did it again, but we are not sitting there tracking it, I can tell you that.”

On Greyson Lambert’s response to a strong performance against South Carolina…

“I don’t know how he feels, quite frankly. I’m sure he was excited about having a good performance, and I’m sure that helped his comfort level somewhere along the way. But if he was uncomfortable going into the last game maybe we need to make him uncomfortable again, I don’t know. I think we all — and I say we all as myself, the offensive staff, players, quarterbacks — I think we all know we’re doing the right things. We know what we’re doing, we’re teaching it right, we’re doing the right things against the right defenses. It all comes together. Are we going to have a performance like that every week? I don’t think that at all. But I think it’ll be somewhere in between the first half of Vanderbilt and what happened this last game.”

Junior Center Brandon Kublanow

On having a quick start against South Carolina...

“I thought we just had a good week of practice. We were prepared for them. I thought we just came out and did what we needed to do.”

On confidence gained from early play against the Gamecocks...

“We had a pretty good idea of what we were going to do against them. We had a good game plan. As long as we went out there and executed I knew we were going to be okay.”

On a botched snap in the third quarter...

“It was just a mental error on my part. I’ll fix it. It won’t happen again.”

Senior Wide Receiver Malcolm Mitchell

On having fun on the field...

“I think the previous years were a challenging time in my life personally. I wasn’t on the field. So the comment ‘I’m having fun again’ just relates to my ability to perform on the field.”

On advice for freshmen contributing to Georgia...

“(I would tell them) To just relax and play the game as you’ve been playing for the majority of your life. That’s what I tell them. When you start worrying about other things that you can’t control, that’s when you begin to make senseless mistakes.”

On freshmen being overwhelmed playing in front of a Sanford Stadium crowd...

“I went to a high school, we didn’t have 92,000 people in the stands, but I went to a high school where the games were pretty packed. So I’m not sure that it bothers the freshmen that are playing now. It didn’t bother me. I know as a receiver group we like the bigger the crowd because that’s a bigger group that’ll see you do well.”

Junior Tailback Keith Marshall

On not overlooking Southern…

“We hear it around campus, but in this building we’re focused on Southern. They offer a good challenge. Coaches will make sure that we stay focused and the older guys will make sure we stay focused, so it won’t be a problem.”

On challenge of covering Southern’s kick returner Willie Quinn…

“We have seen have seen a little bit on him. I know that he has taken a good amount of kick returns back during his college career. It will be a good challenge, but we’re going to fly down there and try to make plays.”

Sophomore Tailback Sony Michel

On wide receiver play vs. South Carolina...

“Being able to throw the ball always opens up the run game in any football game.”

On quarterback Greyson Lambert’s performance vs. South Carolina...

“He had a great game. A successful passing game, which helps us a lot. It let teams know that we are able to throw the ball.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday's game against Southern University in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt:

Opening statement…

“Alright, I got a chance to say hello to big Kyle, got to meet him. He is a star. We are going to wear our Coaches Curing MD patches, and we have Kyle Eggleston. Just so glad he is here. He is 10 years old. He is an MD (muscular dystrophy) patient. He and his family are here, and I welcome them.

“Getting ready to play Southern here. Coach Dawson Odums does a great job with his team. A year ago, they had eight wins, 8-1 in league play, and they are 2-0 in league play today. They are scoring a bunch of points. I’ll start off offensively. They are impressive, score 38 points per game. They are passing for about 275 yards and rushing for about 170 yards per game — so very good balance there. They are right at 44 percent of their third-down conversions, which is keeping drives going and allowing them to control the clock and put those points on the board. They have a tremendous running back in Lenard Tillery, No. 21, he’s averaging 95 yards a game. He has five touchdowns already. Their number two back, Malcom Crockett, has 83 yards per game and already has a couple of scores himself. Their quarterback Austin Howard — I am very impressed with him. He is averaging over 200 yards per game passing and already has 70 yards rushing. He is a dual-threat guy hitting over 65 percent of his passes. He is an impressive, fundamental quarterback who does a great job. His top receivers — a couple of guys have over 10 catches. Randall Menard, No. 87, and Willie Quinn, No. 25, both have 10 catches. While I’m at Quinn, I want to mention him in particular, he is a 5-foot-5, 145 pound senior, but he is a stick of dynamite right now as an athlete. Their tackles are big men, averaging about 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, and are impressive athletes upfront.

“On defense they have six returning starters. They line up mostly in a 4-3 alignment. Last year, they showed a little bit more 3-4, so we are not exactly sure what we will get. Their leading tackler is linebacker Kentavious Preston. He is a guy who has 19 tackles and also leads the team in tackles for loss with 2.5… They have two really big men inside doing a great job. Their down linemen have a lot of tackles, which usually means they are athletic. They can get off blocks and make plays all the way across the board.

“That gives you a little bit to where we are at with Southern. We are looking forward to playing the game. I am excited about being at home again. I thought our fans were phenomenal, I thought our band and student body were great, and I’m just looking for more energy. We feed off our fans and, like I have been saying for years, nobody does it better than Georgia, so I am excited about playing between the hedges again.”

On Southern wide receiver Willie Quinn’s 5-foot-5 stature posing a problem for Georgia’s defense…

“He is so quick, fast, (and has) good ball skills. He really is a dynamic player. He’s just not a big player, but he plays big. When you see him you’ll be like ‘that guy is a special talent.’ I think you’ve just got to guard him like anybody else, or at least try to. Morgan State had a back one year who was not very tall at all, and they started running zone plays and you literally could not see him in the gap, from what people would say, and I could see that. But he’s more on the edge, more on the perimeter, so I don’t think that will be an issue.”

On where non-conference games fall on the schedule…

“I’ll be honest with you, I think the SEC decides who we are going to play and when we are going to play, and then we just kind of fill in from there, so I don’t know if we have much of a choice on that. We would love to have as many home games as possible. There are certain years where in league play we might only have three home games because of the year where our home game is in Jacksonville we lose a home game there. We would like to have as many home games as possible for our fans and for our team, and sometimes that means getting out of conference people to come play us.”

On the amount of freshmen who have played so far this season…

“We’ll play freshmen, and I think we have played 21 true freshmen. I think they are learning how to play. They play with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and athleticism. All of those things are great, but we talked about it today as a staff. Fundamentally and technique wise, we have to get better — those guys in particular. The group that struggled the most was probably our kickoff coverage team. We were offsides. We had one called against us, but we could have had four called against us. There were a couple of creases that came out where they had one return at the end, where our kicker had to twice make a tackle, and some of that is how you place the ball — it’s not all those guys. But when you have nine true freshmen running down the field, or whatever it was, you have them all learning at the same time and that is not really healthy. If you are sprinkling two or three and you have a bunch of veterans to show the way it is not so bad, but we’ve got a bunch of puppies in there right now. We know we are coaching the right guys. They just need more work.”

On the balanced attack against South Carolina in contrast to the previous weeks on offense…

“I think that what you saw against South Carolina is the type of balance we’re looking for, the type of run-pass ratio on first down. We absolutely don’t want to get away from running the football. We’re good at it, we’ve got good backs, but the better you run the football the better your play-action pass can be. The term we use is RPO, it’s a run-pass-option, people are doing it all across the country. Like I said last night, we didn’t invent it by any means. It’s a running play but there’s a pass tied into it. A quarterback may stick the ball in the back’s belly in the gun, and if the defender totally sells out to the run then it creates a little passing lane, a throwing seam to someone. So you pull the ball and get a quick passing game. So some of those throws were run-pass options where if the defender would have stayed at home a little bit better we would’ve run the ball. So you call those 10 times a game, sometimes nine times out of 10 you run it, sometimes nine times out of 10 you throw it. That’s part of the game, too.”

On taking two instant-impact transfers in Greyson Lambert and Jake Ganus…

"Part of the attraction is that they were able to be immediately eligible. We’ve taken junior college transfers obviously that can play right away, but a true transfer from a four-year institution to another four-year institution, we haven’t done much of that at all. But because these guys were eligible immediately, and in Ganus’ case could come in in the spring when we needed more people. We saw the potential that he had and we said let’s get him in here and see what he could do. We thought for sure he’d help us on (special teams), and we thought maybe help us on scrimmage downs. Sure enough he’s doing that for us. The thing with Greyson, we only had three (quarterbacks) on scholarship. That’s really under the number. We’d like to have four on scholarship, so just to get that number corrected was important to us. When you are in a QB competition, maybe in this day and age more than in other times, there’s maybe more of a chance someone will go when it’s all over at the end of the spring, so you certainly don’t want to be sitting there with two. It just so happened that there were a few QB transfers around the country that were at least available to look at and try to recruit, and it worked out for us and Greyson.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Robinson, Seymour Named to Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame

University of Georgia football greats Rex Robinson and Richard Seymour have been tabbed as UGA's 2015 inductees into the Merrill-Lynch/Bank of America Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame.

The 20th annual luncheon and induction ceremony, sponsored by Ruth's Chris, will be held on Friday, October 30 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. The event is part of the annual Georgia-Florida football weekend.

A two-time All-America placekicker for the Dawgs, Robinson lettered at UGA from 1977-1980 and was a key member of the 1980 national championship team. The Marietta native led Georgia in scoring as a sophomore and junior, and his 56 career field goals were a school record at the time. Robinson's 101-of-102 career PAT kicks were also a UGA accuracy record that has since been surpassed. After his collegiate career, he kicked one season for the New England Patriots in 1982.

One of the top defensive linemen ever at Georgia, Seymour was a four-year letterman (1997-2000) who earned All-SEC honors twice and earned All-America honors his senior season. Over his career he recorded 223 tackles, 10 sacks and 26 tackles for lost yardage. A first-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2001, he helped the franchise win three Super Bowl titles in four years, himself earning seven Pro Bowl selections during his 11 NFL seasons. The Gadsden, S.C., native was also selected to the Patriots' 50th anniversary team in 2009, as well as the NFL's All-2000s team.

Florida's 2015 inductees into the Hall of Fame include quarterback Chris Leak and receiver Jabar Gaffney.

The Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame was created in 1995 to recognize the players, coaches and representatives of each school who have made their mark on the rivalry. Each year on the Friday before the game, two members from each school are inducted.

All of UGA's inductees are as follows, listed in chronological order:
1996: Herschel Walker, Frank Sinkwich
1997: Linsday Scott, Terry Hoage
1998: Wally Butts, Jake Scott, Bill Stanfill
1999: Matt Robinson, Richard Appleby
2000: Mike Cavan, John Rauch
2001: Charley Britt, Robert Edwards
2002: Bob Etter, Ray Goff
2003: Kevin Butler, George Patton
2004: Larry Munson, Erk Russell
2005: Kevin McLee, Cy Grant
2006: Rodney Hampton, Willie McClendon
2007: Dan Magill, Tim Worley
2008: Gene Washington, Eric Zeier
2009: Garrison Hearst, David Pollack
2010: Zeke Bratkowski, Knox Culpepper
2011: John Brantley, Bill Saye
2012: Charley Whittemore, David Greene
2013: Matt Stinchcomb, Peter Anderson
2014: Ben Zambiasi, Pat Dye
2015: Rex Robinson, Richard Seymour

Tuesday Press Conference - Defense

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s SEC showdown with South Carolina in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt  

On Georgia’s pass defense…
“Well, it's early in the year, so stats do get skewed pretty good. Like you said, when teams are behind, they start chunking it. You could have said how great we were in run category and part of it is because people -- we got ahead of people and they were slinging it. They weren't running it. They didn't stay true to maybe what their game plan was. I just think the stats are a little skewed early on. You might use them here or there to motivate them. Last week, there's only one game, but Vanderbilt is the No. 1 rush defense in the SEC. So you might be able to trick your guys for a game and say, you know -- I say trick them, it's only one game. Now, they are pretty salty. We broke some big runs, but how many times did we get one yard, two yards, minus two? A bunch. They stoned our run a bunch of times but we broke free and got those long runs and all of a sudden your yards per carry looks pretty good but they are pretty good at stopping the run.”

On Georgia’s kickoff coverage…
“We looked around a little bit and saw what people do, and quite frankly, most everybody will line up -- if they think there's an obvious on-side or at least the good possibility of an on-side kick, most everybody lines up just the way we did. Some people line up with even their deep return man even deeper.

“But everybody, even on that, everybody has got a job they have got to do and if everybody would have blocked who they were supposed to block with any kind of proficiency, they didn't have to just stone them. We would have had no trouble getting on it. And then there's things like, when you see the approach of the kicker, towards the end -- right at the moment of truth, you get a pretty good feel where that ball is going to go. So we've got to learn to anticipate better. We've got to learn to teach our return men to read that guy a little bit better and get a jump on it, so to speak. Alignment was a little bit of an issue that we didn't align just quite the way we should have. But yeah, we looked around a good bit and we feel like it was more of an execution issue.”

Senior Outside Linebacker Jordan Jenkins

On approaching the rivalry with South Carolina differently...
“I’m just really amped up and realize that my time is running out and I need to step my level of play up.”

On using previous losses to South Carolina as motivation...
“It’s definitely motivation in the back of your mind. You always like to look back at past years and look at some of the plays that you could’ve made but you didn’t and look at the reasons for why you lost and use that to get yourself really ready for the game.”

On South Carolina’s place among UGA rivals...
“In my mind, I feel like we have the most rivals of any SEC school. I feel like every team we play in the SEC is a rival because there’s either some guy you know on that team or some coach you got recruited by. In some way or another, every SEC team is a rival.”

On defending South Carolina’s ‘wildcat’ package...
“Having Pharoh Cooper back there definitely changes the way everyone has to rush. It changes the whole game plan pretty much. The guy is a great athlete. I heard he played quarterback in high school. He does it all. You really have to focus on your keys and see what you’re supposed to see and not worry about someone else’s job. You really have to focus in before the snap.”

Senior Inside Linebacker Jake Ganus

On how he feels going into the game against the Gamecocks...
“I feel good. I think we need to have a good week of practice. Obviously, they’re a really good football team and it’s big rivalry. Whenever it’s a rivalry game you have to put a little more emphasis into everything, so I’m excited.”

On being a newcomer to the series against South Carolina…
“I think it goes back to being a rivalry game. In rivalries at any level some teams get on runs, win a couple more than the other team. At the end of the day, in a rivalry game it’s whatever team plays the best. You see so many times in rivalry games where it’s a highly-ranked team upset by their rivals because that’s just how it is. We’ve got to really be focused and get prepared because it’s going to be a tough game.”

On scouting South Carolina...
“They’ve got some really good running backs. Good offensive line. They’ve got multiple quarterbacks that can play really well and some really good wide receivers outside. They’re a well-rounded offense. Defensively, we’ve got to be really sound, really sharp, and be really focused this week.”

On challenges when facing South Carolina’s offense...
“They do a lot of little things. I think Pharoh Cooper is a heck of a receiver and athlete. I think he can play anything. He’s a guy you’ve got to always be aware of because he can make plays. Like I said, they’ve also got really good running backs so there are a lot of things that we’ve got to just focus in on and it goes back to having a good week of practice.”

Junior Free Safety Quincy Mauger

On dropped interceptions against Vanderbilt...
“It was just one of those things where we’ve got to look the ball from our eyes to the tuck, and I think we just lost focus of the ball.”

On improvement in year two under defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt...
“Ball disruption, turnover ratios, those are very important. Especially in the game, or in a big game, a game changer can kind of dictate the outcome of the game.”

On facing the Gamecocks’ ‘wildcat’ formation...
“Every player has different keys. You just have to know how to play your role, read run-pass, not attack the blockers. Just attack the ball.”

On the overall defensive play through two games...
“We’re getting better. It’s an improvement every day. I can’t say we’re perfect, nobody’s perfect. I think we strive so much for perfection from our technique to ball skills. We were lacking a couple of things so we’re going to lock in and focus this week on perfecting those things day by day.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Practice Report - Wednesday

The seventh-ranked Dawgs conducted a two-hour practice in full pads Wednesday as they continue to get ready for South Carolina.

“We had a lot of good energy out there, and overall it was a good effort today,” coach Mark Richt said. “We continue to clean up a few things, and we strive to be perfect. The weather was beautiful out there and I’ve heard that will continue.”

The Dawgs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) will be looking to stay in front in the SEC Eastern Division race. Georgia leads the overall series with South Carolina 47-18-2. Both teams have produced turnovers and are plus three in turnover margin this year.

“We practice ball security and ball disruption every day,” Richt added. “We’ve had a few interceptions hit us in the hands so we could have even more of a distinct advantage in that stat.”

Last Saturday, the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1 SEC) fell behind 24-7 to Kentucky and dropped a 26-22 decision in Columbia. It marked Kentucky’s first SEC road win in six seasons and second straight victory over South Carolina.

On Saturday, the Dawgs will be wearing two special helmet decals to call attention to a pair of health-related causes.
Georgia and the rest of the SEC will help raise awareness and honor former commissioner Mike Slive, who battled prostate cancer during his athletics administration career, with Prostate Cancer Awareness Games this month.

Also of note, September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To commemorate the “Blow the Whistle on Kids Cancer!” campaign, Georgia’s coaches will be wearing lanyards with gold whistles and wristbands and the players will be wearing wristbands and helmet stickers on Saturday. A donation will be made to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For more information, visit

Tuesday Press Conference - Offense

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s SEC showdown with South Carolina in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt 

On junior quarterback Greyson Lambert…
“He's going to be fine. We're going to be able to throw and catch well. We actually threw the ball and caught it extremely well game one. Greyson was 8 out of 12 game one and every single ball he threw had a purpose. Two balls he threw away, two got batted, which you can't control and the other eight were on the money. We know that Brice Ramsey was 2-for-2 in game one. Game two, we had some issues. Obviously, we had a dropped ball early on. We had a situation where he (Greyson Lambert) actually -- where he was getting ready to step up and slow, he actually slipped on the turf. I think that's why the ball went down. He was off balance, so I've seen him make that throw many a times. I think it's just a matter of getting into the know of a game and into the flow of a season. But if we go based on how we threw it and caught it yesterday, I feel really good. We were really sharp and if we continue to practice that way, my guess is we'll play a little bit better in that area.”

On if Greyon Lambert is the starter because he handles all the ‘other’ quarterback responsibilities well…
“Not really. I thought they all did a pretty good job. I think if any one of our QBs goes in there, he'll be able to function and get us in the right play. But certainly that could have been to his demise, quite frankly, coming as late as he did. If he couldn't do that, it would have been tough on him. All of them have to be able do that and they are able. Like I said, it was a very close race. But now that we've decided who our quarterback is, who our starter is. I know that playing that position, you don't just become super proficient overnight. I know he's played a lot of college ball but he has not played a lot of college ball for Georgia in this league and quite frankly, in this system. So there's a learning curve and things take time, and you get better as you go. Sometimes you've just got to show a little patience and guys will catch on and really play well.”

On what he pinpoints in improving the passing game…
“First of all, be free to call whatever we think is good. Don't feel like we have to run for X amount of yards or get the ball to Nick Chubb so many times. When I've always called plays over the years, you certainly want to use your skill players the best you can and use the talent that you have, but just feel free to attack the defense in the game the way we attacked it all week in the film room. Call what we believe and let's go.”

On sophomore tailback Sony Michel…
“Yeah, (he’s) a special player, a guy like (South Carolina junior wide receiver) Pharoh Cooper, got a lot of skills, figure out how to use this guy and make him more effective. Sony is a great return man, he's a great runner, pass protector, route runner, ball catcher, as a back or a receiver. He's an outstanding special teamer. Punt return and block, he's outstanding as a blocker on that. He was the best guy we had covering kicks a year ago when the season began, or at least one of the best. It is a challenge to get him in as many situations as possible to use his abilities.”

On playing junior quarterback Faton Bauta…
“Right now, again I've said this before, we don't make any promises early in the week about who is going to play and all that kind of thing, because you have just been doing it so long that circumstances come up where you may change your mind. So we try to tell everybody, just get ready for your moment and if you get called upon, take care of it. But it's one of the toughest things in football to be a backup QB and wonder, am I ever going to get a shot; and if you do, will you really be ready. So Faton is a really intelligent guy and he really understands what we do well. I have all the faith that if he was called upon, he would play well.”

Sophomore Tailback Nick Chubb

On Georgia’s offense...
“We can throw the ball, it was just game two and we’re trying to get used to things. We just have to get settled in. There were a lot of protection things that we messed up on. We didn’t give him Greyson Lambert enough time and he was under pressure sometimes. It’s an overall team effort. We looked good yesterday so we have to keep working to get better.”

On South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier...
“I know that he has a great offensive mind. He just draws up plays on the sideline. He’s crazy good, but our defense is crazy good too, so it will be a great matchup for them.”

Sophomore TB Sony Michel
On South Carolina...
“South Carolina is one of those rivalries that we seem to face every year. It’s one of those exciting games of the year. It’s probably one of the most competitive games of the year offensively. They have a great defense. Doing different scouting reports, their defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs all play a great game.”

On what allowed him to get off to a good start this year...
“Hard work. We have been preparing for this time since January. There has been a lot of tough times and a lot of morning of not wanting to work out.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Press Conference

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, along with several players, addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s SEC showdown with South Carolina in Athens. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…
“Okay. Good to see everybody today. It's good to be home. It's good to play between the hedges. We are excited about playing in front of our fans. We actually tweeted out a little something yesterday about asking our fans to wear red and to be ready for the Dawg Walk at 4:25 and for our students to be in place by the time pregame warm-ups start, which is about an hour before the kick. Just create the atmosphere that motivates our players and our staff and myself, but also can become a factor in the ballgame if we do it right, which we do here at Georgia. I've said it many times, no one does it better than Georgia in my opinion.

“Another couple of items that are interesting. We are honoring (former SEC) Commissioner Mike Slive, as he did battle some prostate cancer, and it's Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. We will have a sticker on our helmet and he will be at our ballgame. We are excited about that.

“I guess in regard to the prostate cancer awareness, Coach Mark Fox and I, Coach Scott Stricklin, all three of us got together on a little promo. We show it on the video board during the game. It's pretty corny but hopefully everybody gets the word to get checked because we know early awareness of these types of things can make all the difference in the world and we just want everybody to be healthy and want everybody to be safe.

“Okay, get ready for South Carolina. A team that's always well-coached by Coach Spurrier, we know that. They have got 27 players from the state of Georgia, which is pretty typical in our league. Just about everybody's got a bunch from our state. We have such a great state for football. Our coaches, high school coaches are really tremendous. Coach Spurrier is obviously one of the winningest coaches in the history of the league and a great coach and will provide a great challenge for us as a staff to get our guys ready as he gets his ready.”

On the rivalry with South Carolina…
“We're not thinking much about the rivalry. We're not thinking much about what happened last year or in the past years as much as really are trying to focus on getting better. There's just so many areas we've got to get better. We knew when that game was over against Vanderbilt, there were some things we did really well. We had a team meeting in here. I showed three plays, offensively, things that we did extremely well throughout the season so far and three things that weren't so good. Same thing on defense and same thing on special teams, just kind of challenged the guys that when we do it right, we're pretty good. When we don't, we put ourselves at risk as a team. So our focus is trying to improve, trying to know what to do, know how to do it and add a lot of energy to that. That's really all we can ask of our guys. But as far as what we might learn, any time you're in games that are highly contested and are usually close games, you learn a lot about guys in crunch time.”

On if players have more energy for opponents like South Carolina…
“I don't know if they do or not. They know it's South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, I mean, whoever you want to say, Missouri already. They get jacked up for all those games.You go to Kentucky, you're in a barnburner every time just about. We know the margin for victory is slim and that's why we've got to have attention to detail in what we do and just believe in each other, trust each other to take care of business. That's the thing we focus on the most. Because if you focus on anything other -- just like if you're going to take a math test and you're thinking about, well, my last math test, I got an F. If that's all you're thinking about, what's the chance of succeeding? You've got to be thinking about, how do I do this formula, how do I do that formula. You've got to focus on your job. That's what we try to do, focus on the job.”

On South Carolina’s offense…
“Starting on offense, they have six returning starters. I guess you would start with the quarterback. No. 10, Perry Orth is a guy who apparently got a scholarship going into this season, was a walk-on. But you heard Connor Mitch got hurt and you didn't really know what happened from there really. You just got word of it.Then you watch the film and both those quarterbacks actually played pretty well. But Orth came in, hit 13 out of 20 for about 180 yards and hit 65 percent of his passes and he looked good doing it. Athletic guy, tough guy. A guy that we'll have to contend with as far as a runner. He's got some good wheels on him and will provide a great challenge for our defense at the quarterback position.”

On how South Carolina’s quarterback situation affects their game plan…
“I’m sorry the young man got hurt. But he did get hurt early enough in the game where the other guy got to play. Perry Orth got in there and you got to see him throw it, whatever it was, 20 times. Got to see him execute under pressure. So you got to learn something about him. What I learned about him is he's tough, very accurate passer. Looked like a great competitor. He didn't look shell-shocked in any way, shape or form. He looked like he was ready to play. I'm glad we got to watch a little film on him.”

On the targeting call vs. Vanderbilt…
“I just think the targeting rule is one of the toughest things to officiate and one of the toughest things to coach. I thought Lorenzo Carter was in a pretty good posture. He was wrapping up. He had his eyes up. He was doing a lot of things that we tell him to do as far as form tackling. The problem was he was tackling the quarterback and he wasn't in throwing mode. Although he started out as a passer, began to scramble a little bit and then -- or at least started to move to the left, I think it was, his left. And he ran for 66 yards last week. But when he struck them, there was helmet to helmet contact, there's no doubt about that, and as the rule was written, if you go by the letter of the rule, then he did. But he didn't lunge. He didn't launch at the guy. He didn't go at the top of his helmet or anything like that.It was really a good face-up tackle, but when you're tackling a quarterback who is in a throwing posture, that's when things get changed. They consider him a defenseless player, so that's what happened with him. The good news is he'll be able to play.The other one, I think anybody that watched the game or watched the tape knew that I think there was just a mix up on who the penalty was on on the one you're talking about, hands to the face.”

On coaching longterm…
“I don't know. I don't feel good today, but most days I feel pretty good. I think the older you get, the more you realize you've still got some juice. Coach Spurrier still doing a great job. I don't want to even try to predict what's going to happen down the road. I do enjoy what I do and I want to continue to be influential in the lives of these young men and also win, win ballgames for Georgia. So how long, I don't know. I've always been real open to what I feel like the Lord's got to say to me on subjects like this, and if I feel like in my heart there's some things He wants me to do, I'll do it. I'll try to be obedient. But right now, I think I'm exactly where He wants me and I'm enjoying it.”

On SEC teams scheduling tougher opponents…
“No, I think everybody has a choice. The way we do it now, you have a choice. If you want three like that, go ahead and do it. If you want one, two, whatever you choose to do, I think each team in the league can make that decision for them and what's best for their program. I think only time will tell if it becomes problematic for somebody to get into the playoffs. But we're all, you know, we're pretty confident that if you win the league, you've got a pretty good chance, not a guaranteed chance, but you've got a pretty good chance of getting in there. If you get a one-loss team and a no-loss team at the end of the year, you've got a chance for two.

“I don't know how people rate schedules as far as power ratings, but the bottom line is, let's say you schedule a team that's not an FCS team or however you want to say it. Well, you can go four FBS teams, and then play those teams that you're still probably favored to win every one of them, and you could say you did this or that and then you play your regular season schedule. I mean, how does that compare to the games we play? You lose one or two, you could be done. We play at least -- you know, we play a bunch of teams that can beat us and we can beat anybody we play, too, on any given day. I think our schedule is plenty tough enough, I do.”

Malcolm Mitchell Named To Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

Georgia senior receiver Malcolm Mitchell was named to the 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team on Tuesday. Mitchell is one of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) selected based on their commitment to community service.

For 24 years, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) has recognized a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities. There were also 11 players chosen from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Divisions II, III and the NAIA to comprise the 22-player team. Mitchell is one of three Southeastern Conference players on the FBS 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Georgia leads the nation in Allstate AFCA Good Works team honorees with 16 since the award's inception in 1992. The Bulldogs' previous Good Works Team honorees are Alec Millen in 1992, Travis Jones in 1993, Brian Smith in 1995, Matt Stinchcomb in 1997 and 1998, Brett Millican in 2000, Jon Stinchcomb in 2001, David Greene in 2003, D.J. Shockley in 2005, Quentin Moses in 2006, Kelin Johnson in 2007, Jeff Owens in 2009, Aron White in 2011, Aaron Murray in 2012 and Chris Conley in 2014.

Mitchell, a senior from Valdosta, Ga., was the 2015 recipient of the Hornsby Howell Community Service Award for Georgia's 600 student-athletes in 21 sports. He gained national attention for his "Reading With Malcolm" program, which launched following news coverage about his new-found love of reading while at UGA. In addition, Mitchell's lengthy community service activities include: taking part in Usher's New Look Foundation; speaking at UGA's "Learn, Play, Excel" initiative at elementary and middle schools; visiting Camp Sunshine for children with cancer; assisting Clarke Middle School's Community Enrichment program; taking part in 9-year-old Gage Tanner's "Dawg Fight Against Cancer" fund raiser; and speaking to the Athens Boys and Girls Club.

On the field, Mitchell has started both of Georgia's games in 2015 and has a team-high seven catches for 88 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown pass against ULM. For his career, Mitchell now has started 34 of 36 games played with 120 receptions for 1,573 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Practice Report - Tuesday

The Dawgs worked out for over two hours Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their SEC matchup this Saturday at home against South Carolina.

Georgia leads the overall series against South Carolina 47-18-2 but will try to avenge last season's 38-35 defeat to the Gamecocks in Columbia. No matter the series history between the two teams, Georgia will continue its focus on week-to-week improvement in this early going of the 2015 season.

''We're not thinking much about what happened last year or in the past years as much as really are trying to focus on getting better,'' coach Mark Richt said. ''There's just so many areas we've got to get better. So our focus is trying to improve, trying to know what to do, know how to do it and add a lot of energy to that. That's really all we can ask of our guys.''

The Dawgs will be wearing special helmet decals this Saturday to call attention to a pair of health-related causes.

Georgia and the rest of the SEC will help raise awareness and honor former commissioner Mike Slive, who battled the disease during his athletics administration career, with Prostate Cancer Awareness Games this month. On Saturday, Georgia’s players will wear a commemorative helmet sticker. In addition, video board announcements, game program stories, public service announcements and social media outreach are planned.

September is also National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To commemorate the “Blow the Whistle on Kids Cancer!” campaign, Georgia’s coaches will be wearing lanyards with gold whistles and wristbands and the players will be wearing wristbands and helmet stickers on Saturday. A donation will be made to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. For more information, visit

Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (EDT). ESPN will televise the contest nationally, with Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge in the booth and Holly Rowe on the sidelines.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Practice Report - Monday

The seventh-ranked Georgia football team began preparations for its third game of the season on Monday with a 60-minute workout in shorts on the Woodruff Practice Fields.

The Dawgs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) will entertain South Carolina (1-1, 0-1) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Sanford Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN.

“Not a bad day at all,” coach Mark Richt said. “We did a good job with our execution and I was happy to see that. We’ve got to get better every day with our practices. That’s the challenge – to get better each and every day.”

Richt announced the captains for the South Carolina game will be offensive tackle John Theus, tailback Nick Chubb, defensive lineman Chris Mayes and linebacker Jordan Jenkins. Theus and Jenkins were captains in each of the first two games as well.

In other news:

• Jenkins and return specialist Isaiah McKenzie earned SEC weekly honors on Monday for their efforts in the Dawgs’ win over Vanderbilt. Jenkins was pegged as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after recording a career-high and game-high 11 tackles, including two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. McKenzie was picked as the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt a career-long 77 yards for a touchdown.

• It was announced on Monday that the September 26th game with Southern University at Sanford Stadium will kick off at noon and will be televised by the SEC Network. This will mark Georgia's second appearance on the SEC Network this
 year as the Bulldogs defeated ULM in the season opener.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Practice Report - Tuesday

The Dawgs worked out for over two hours on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their 2015 season opener this Saturday against the ULM Warhawks.

The approaching kickoff to the season showed in the team's overall enthusiasm, coach Mark Richt said. ''We're all excited for the season at this point,'' he said. ''We don’t want to temper the guys' enthusiasm much. I would much rather have a guy with energy and a lot of enthusiasm and make a mistake here and there because he is just going 100 miles per hour — we can deal with that.

'''Our goal is to focus on everything we have been working on. Just taking caring of business in every facet of the game, and we are looking forward to getting out there and playing some. We have had almost 45 practices without playing a game. When you consider spring ball and camp, that is a lot of work with not playing someone else, so we are just looking forward to that game.''