Richt, Dawgs Preview Owls; w/ HD Video

Richt, Dawgs Preview Owls; w/ HD Video

ATHENS – Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Tuesday during the Bulldogs' weekly press luncheon.

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

"Good afternoon, everybody. If you're wondering what happened to my chin, I think it had to be when I was hugging Richard Samuel after the thwarting of the fake punt. It happened right in front of me, and I just started hugging him. I think my chin just rubbed back and forth on his shoulder pad and wore a hole in there. But that was a lot of fun. We're getting ready for this week with Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, right where I went to high school. My house couldn't have been more than a mile and a half from campus, so this game is kind of close to home in a lot of ways for me. Coach (Carl) Pelini has taken the program over and is doing an outstanding job from what I can see so far. Their quarterback (Graham Wilbert) is a tall kid who is very athletic, and they have some very good athletes. They're just a lean, athletic football team and they run very well, which you would expect from a team in South Florida. We're looking forward to getting back home between the hedges and getting a chance to play ball again."

 

On the return of Sanders Commings

"We'll always cross-train Sanders Commings to play both cornerback and safety. He's probably bigger than both of our safeties. He's close to 220 pounds, and he runs and covers really well. He's smart enough to play both positions, so we'll train him at both. I haven't had a chance to talk to Todd (Grantham) much about the plan this week and how exactly he wants to incorporate him."

 

On the play of the defense early in the season…

"There are a lot of good things that happened defensively in the ball game (against Missouri), but there are some things that we have to clean up still. But overall, I think they are running hard towards the ball and they played their gap responsibilities better than in game one (against Buffalo). We call it ‘setting the edge' on plays that go outside, and we want them to turn everything into our big men. I thought we did a pretty good job of that. Todd (Grantham) did a good job of having just a couple ways of trying to rush the passer against Missouri. It was a little bit different and a little more creative. We were trying to do some things to push him to scramble to a certain direction and let the rush guy come all the way from the other side over the top, and basically get him from behind. That's how we got one or two of those sacks, tackles and fumbles. We were disciplined in our rush lanes, and that actually worked pretty good a couple times. We had a breakdown on that big touchdown pass where we just weren't really disciplined there, but overall I think we're playing pretty good, and I think we can get better. We won, but we can certainly improve on both sides of the ball and special teams. To get two guys back at this point is good as well."

 

On Malcolm Mitchell playing on offense and defense…

"Right now he's going to continue to be in the defensive room. For how long, I don't know. I don't know if it will stay that way for the whole year, but for right now he needs to continue to work there. We want to have an offensive package for him. We would have had something for him this past game if it wasn't for the injury and trying to see if he could come back from that. We didn't want to do too much with him to overload the ankle. This week he'll stay in the defensive room."

 

On Amarlo Herrera…

"Amarlo is doing very well. He's better against the run than against the pass right now in his development, but he's getting better in that area. He's been a very sure tackler. He's been one of the guys running extremely hard to the ball. You get a lot of tackles when you play hard, and Amarlo has been doing that. He's been fundamentally sound, and he's certainly improved his strength, agility and speed in the offseason, so it's paying off for him."

 

On Marlon Brown

"Marlon had an exceptional camp. He's in tremendous condition. He made plays just about every day in camp working up to the point where he pulled a hamstring. I think he's an outstanding football player. He was always a very good player and had very good potential I guess you'd say, but he has worked hard. He's made himself to be an outstanding player in my opinion. I think this last ballgame was an indication of some of the things he can do. Both touchdown catches were pretty outstanding. One showed his quickness and agility to turn back and catch the ball over he left shoulder. The ball was placed where we wanted it, and he adjusted the way we wanted him to. Not everybody can do it that well. The one he caught in traffic off to the left of (Aaron) Murray was a very strong catch in traffic. He took advantage of his height. He blocks well and he's playing hard. He's doing great."

 

On whether Marlon Brown is injury prone…

"I don't think he's injury prone. I don't think that term is fair. I think most everybody is unlucky when they get certain injuries."

 

On whether he thought Marlon Brown was raw when he was recruited…

"I thought he was going to take a little time. He played in a league where he was a man among boys and you didn't know what it was going to look like when he was with like athletes, similar athletes to himself. There's a little bit of a learning curve. I think he had to do some things with his flexibility and agility to help him become more of a smooth route runner and just straight-ahead speed. He worked on all those things and I think he's become a really outstanding player."

 

On Jarvis Jones getting attention…

"He does deflect any kind of personal glory to the team. I think he's very sincere. Some guys say it because they think that's what people want to hear, but Jarvis is sincere about it just like A.J. (Green) was. They are humble guys. They like football and they like their teammates, they like their coaches and they like Georgia. More than anything they just enjoy playing the game. He did basically what he said he was going to do. He wanted to come back to get better. He thought he could get better. He got in better condition, he's stronger, he has more stamina, he wanted to become a better student of the game and now he studies film more than he ever has in his career. He wants to be a special player, but he wants to do it in the context of the team. He wants to do it in the context of winning. People talk about big time players make big plays in the biggest games, and that's what he did. The moment that we needed it the most he made some really big plays for us. That happens because of the culmination of all the work he's put into it."

 

On Sanders Commings' readiness to play…

"I think he's ready. He's in good condition, and he stayed focused. He worked hard, but you only get so much work once you get into the game planning of the opponents. You have to rep the guys who are going to play, so he hasn't had a whole lot of reps. So we'll see what kind of rust there is, but he'll get a lot or reps this year."

 

On Russ' promotion to Uga IX…

"Uga is big, I know that. Early in my career I was the head coach, Coach (Vince) Dooley was the AD, Michael Adams was the president. We took a trip to D.C., and when we got there there were lines forming to take pictures with me and Coach Dooley and President Adams. There was a massive crowd around Uga. It was 10-to-1, all of us put together versus Uga. Uga is big. He's been on the cover of Sports Illustrated over the years. It's a big deal. I think Russ has earned his stripes, and I think Russ is ready. He had a good offseason too from what I heard."

 

On his conversation with Missouri's Sheldon Richardson after the game…

"Sheldon basically said it was a good game, and coach I have a lot of respect for you and your team. He said he didn't mean to disrespect. You could tell he was sincerely a pretty good guy. I thought it was big of him to grab me and say that he had a lot of respect for our program and our team. He's a good player."

 

On Georgia's running backs…

"We have to get better. We missed some opportunities this last game maybe more than game one as far as hitting it in the right spot. We missed some good blocking a couple of times I thought, more than a couple of times actually. It wasn't just one guy. I think all three of them really, there was probably a run or two that all of them had that could have gained some years. That very first play where Todd (Gurley) dropped the ball there was going to be space. There was going to be a good gain. If he would have done something to the safety who was in two-deep coverage he might have gone a long way. There were some inside runs that some of the guys missed where it was blocked a little better than they ran. We need to be more consistent. We are getting there. There are some young linemen and some young backs, so it's little bit understandable. Like I told the staff, we won the game, it was a great victory, it was a good fourth quarter win for us, but we have a lot of room to improve and that's a good thing. That's our job as coaches to keep teaching and training and trying to get us to be consistent in what we do."

 

On Georgia's quick inside toss…

"It's basically the old school power. It's a power and we've handed it off over the years. Most everybody in the country still hands it off. LSU has been a team that they've tossed it. If the quarterback brings the ball back to the back, then he just hands the ball off and he might fake like he has it. When you toss it you can stop and help the tackle a little bit off of any kind of an edge. We haven't perfected that part of it yet, but you can see the benefit of it on film when we watched LSU do it. That's the first time I've seen anybody do it that way. I didn't really understand why in the beginning. The other thing too is anytime you toss the ball a lot of times defensive players think it's going outside, so you soften up your linebackers too when you toss it. They don't come downhill quite as much."

 

On John Theus…

"That was his first experience in that kind of crowd noise. Obviously it got to him some. They also were stemming late and moving late. He jumped quite a few times along with our freshmen backs, so he has to get used to that kind of thing. Sometimes when it's loud and you don't have the verbal cadence of the quarterback that you can hear you don't get off on the snap as fast. If you are late off the ball you are going to get beat. That's what was happening to him. A veteran was working on a rookie, and he learned a lot."

 

On the possibility of having a long-range and short-range kicker…

"I would do that if I thought my short range guy didn't have enough range, but I think Marshall has good range for long field goals. I think he'll calm down and be fine. It's not that hard to do. He's a freshman too and that was his first experience being at an away game and a close game. It's new for him, but it was impressive that 52-yarder. He really was kicking well in pregame warmup and he felt like he could have made one from 60 in pregame going in that direction. We were within that range, and at the time we needed three on the board, so it was nice to see him make his field goals. The extra point that we did miss, we were fortunate to score on the two-point conversion that kind of erased the miss. I think he'll be fine."

 

On any other suspensions…

"We'll wait to see for sure what happens."

 

On Alexander Ogletree

"Zander didn't travel, but we only take so many fullbacks."

 

On Sanders Commings' suspension…

"I'll just say that I think Sanders, after listening everything and hearing everything, I felt like he did deserve to stay on the team. He needed to be disciplined for what he did. The amount of time that he was suspended was appropriate. It's one thing to miss a game, and that's hurts them. They don't like it, but also part of the punishment is what you have to live with as a person because of all the attention that it gets. You have to look your parents in the eye, you have to look your teammates and coaches in the eye, you have to go to class. There is a lot of embarrassment to what happens when everything comes to light and is talked about over and over and over. He certainly didn't behave the way he should, and he's paying his debt to society, he's paying his debt to the program in my opinion. I'm glad he's handled everything the way he's handled it, and I think he'll move forward and be a positive person and a positive teammate."

 

Senior WR Marlon Brown

On his big performance vs. Missouri…

"I was doing it for the fans and my teammates. It felt good. Every game is fun but that might be my favorite so far. Now it's time to get past Saturday and focus on Tuesday. Every game is fun."

 

On his confidence…

"I have confidence now after that game. It was a big game for me, and it was a close game, so I'm trying to build on it. It's cool to do those things and make those plays in practice, but to do it in the game is a lot better."

 

On the offense Saturday night…

"We just started clicking. We started passing the ball more, and had four receivers on the field at the same time. It's kind of like ‘pick your poison.'"

 

Junior QB Aaron Murray

On Marlon Brown…

"What you saw last game is what he's capable of doing and what we know he can do. If he stays healthy, the sky is the limit for him. He's a big receiver – 6-5, 230 – he's a quarterback's dream. He's a guy who can go for the ball and create space, and he's hard to tackle. If you get him 1-v-1 in space, it's hard to bring him down."

 

On the play of the receivers…

"I've been saying all along I think our best position is receivers, because they're experienced and they have talent. They also have depth – you can rotate them in and out and create certain mismatches. When you can put four receivers out there, there aren't many teams who can cover our guys at once."

 

On the offense's improvement as the game went on vs. Missouri…

"In the first half I thought it was things here and there, penalties, that were dropping us back. It's hard to get a first down on 3rd and 8, 3rd and 9, 3rd and 10. We had some missed opportunities and when we started cutting back on those, it was easier to convert and we went from there."

 

Senior NG John Jenkins

On the play of the defense in the second half against Missouri…

"We changed up some things at half time. As far as the first half goes, the intensity level of our defense was there. We got beat on a couple of plays and we beat ourselves on a couple of plays as well. I believe that as a defensive unit we played pretty stout throughout the whole game."

 

On getting hyped up for the Missouri game…

"It was an easy game to get hyped up for, being the first SEC game of the year for us. Besides all of the negative talk going on in the media last week, we as a team already knew what was at stake. We have goals for the season and we all know what we want to accomplish, so we are aware of what we need to do to get to that goal."

 

On looking forward to this weekends game against Florida Atlantic…

"Even though this isn't a conference game, it's a game none the less. We can't take games lightly, just for the fact that its on our schedule. We know our goals and we know where we want to be at the end of the season. Just because this isn't a conference game doesn't mean we are going to take them lightly by any means."

 

Sophomore ILB Amarlo Herrera

On the play of the defense through the first two games…

"We've played alright, I think we've been decent. We've given up a few big plays but other than that we have done well. I think we just need to come out and be able to put together a solid effort for the full 60 minutes. We've had two great second halves, we just need to be able to play the whole game like that to be great."

 

On maintaining composure after Missouri took the lead…

"Most of us have played in big time games like this before. We've been in positions where we were down and we've also been in positions where we were winning. We all talked to each other and communicated with each other about what we needed to do. Everyone has a love for each other so no one will get mad at someone else for telling each other to do their job."

 

On his feelings about getting the rest of the starters on defense back…

"The fact that we haven't played with all of our guys out there yet should be scary for everyone else. It's going to be crazy getting everyone back. When I really start to think about that, it's going to be very exciting to get everyone back out there and show what we can do."

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