“I thought we did better today, trying to simulate and defend Georgia Southern’s offense. We’ll put the pads on again tomorrow. I think we need some more work still. Coach Grantham believes we need some more work with full pads on, so hopefully we’ll get as close to game speed as we can get. It’s not the same, but we’re getting there. Offense was pretty sharp today. Sometimes when it’s a little chilly everyone move around faster to stay warm. So I thought we had a good tempo as well.”
Q: How often have you gone in pads every day for a week?
Richt: A normal week is Tuesday only. We did this a year ago before the Georgia Tech game. You can’t hardly practice against it without putting pads on, at least, if you want to get any kind of realism. We felt like the best thing we could do was teach our scout team to go full speed. We let them watch film to see what position they’d play and see how Georgia Southern does it and then replicate it as best they can. Normally we’re not interested in cut blocking our teammates, but if we don’t do it and just try to act like we’re doing it, we’re going to be in trouble. We still may be in trouble. I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Q: Have you had any injuries as a result?
Richt: Thankfully, no.
Q: Does going full-pads everyday this week keep you from doing it next week too?
Richt: I would say we might not have to do it Monday next week. My guess will be Tuesday, Wednesday and part of Thursday.
Q: Has Tavarres King ran wearing Michael Bennett’s number or Marlon Brown’s number again by you?
Richt: He hasn’t said anything to me. I’d be fine with it if he wants though. I knew he would want to do Marlon’s. He’s good friends with Michael too, but he and Marlon are a little tighter being seniors. If he wants to wear Michael’s, I’ll be okay with that.
Richt: ...By the way, John Meshad and his wife had a child today...John and Nichole Meshad had a baby boy—7 lbs. 6 oz. and 21 inches. Michael Clayton Meshad—another miracle.
Q: You all have had some tough luck with injuries this year?
Richt: Yeah. Overall, all through camp it seemed like we were doing really good with that type thing. I guess this will be the fourth guy. Well, Abry is not out. He’s lost significant time. We do believe he has a good shot at playing in the Bowl, so I guess it’s not the rest of the season but the rest of the regular season.
Q: Is Richard Samuel banged up?
Richt: It was some type of abdominal strain from the ballgame.
Q: Josh Harvey-Clemons has been working at OLB. In terms of his future, is he a guy you want to try and nail down a spot for?
Richt: It’d be nice. It’s hard to say exactly where he’ll end up right now. I think he could end up at linebacker or safety. I don’t know where he’s going to end up.
Q: Is using him at OLB this week scheming up for the offenses, or is it possible for down the road?
Richt: It is 100% to do with what we’re trying to defend.
Q: Are you more encouraged in the offensive line than you were a couple weeks ago?
Richt: Our line has blocked pretty good all year. I don’t know if anybody really played great in the South Carolina game. But I went back and looked at film. Looking at our run game, you can look at every single run, I sorted the highest gains to the lowest gains, and there’s certainly been some great runs by our backs, but our line has done a really nice job most of the year. I think we certainly have had some rough spots, but overall they’re doing a good job.
Q: Can you quantify the amount of long runs you’ve had?
Richt: You might could take the last five years and we’ve probably had more long runs than in the last five years. I just can’t remember so many long runs. They just kind of came in droves this year. Some of that is due to the speed of Keith Marshall, as far as the longest runs. But Gurley’s had some long TD runs as well. He’s got some good speed as well. A lot of it has been due to some tackle-breaking ability. I think we’ve gotten our backs to the safeties in the past, but these backs have done a good job at making them miss and having the speed to go the distance or a long way. Or they’ve been able to break the tackles of these safeties that are unblocked. Are we blocking a whole lot better? I think we are blocking better but the backs are a big reason we’re getting long runs as well.
Richt: Brett and Meghan Greene recently gave birth to Hutson Christopher Greene. Brett is our video coordinator. 7 lbs. Another miracle.
Q: How much of a concern is the defenders getting beat up playing against this offense?
If they do a really good job of defending, hopefully they won’t get any more beat up than normally. But we are practicing in a more physical nature than we usually do. So far, everyone seems to be doing a good job with it. Maybe it will make us tougher.
Q: What are your thoughts on Tavarres King and his career here?
Richt: We appreciate him a lot. His teammates and his coaches see his talent and see how many big plays he’s made for us, how he’s lead for us and how he’s behaved on and off the field. I think he’ll play in the NFL. I think he’s good enough to do that.
Q: Against Florida, you fed Gurley the ball a lot, but does it give the offense a new dynamic when both backs are hitting on all cylinders?
Richt: It’s nice to get them both going. I don’t remember why we went to Todd more in that game. Todd’s been more of a tackle-breaker than anybody. The other two have broken tackles too. I think Ken’s style is more of a tackle-breaker and inside runner. It was one of those kind of games, maybe. I think Keith will handle a game like that better than he might have done just a month ago. He’s getting more comfortable as he goes.
Q: Austin Long has been used in the offensive line rotation. Can you talk about his progression?
Richt: Austin is coming along. He had a back injury early in his career. There’s no doubt it hurt his progression. I don’t think he practiced for over a year. So when he started practicing as a redshirt freshman, he was really like a true freshman. So he’s a little bit behind because of that. He’s getting stronger. He’s gotten more knowledge of what we’re trying to do. When he’s been in the games, he’s played pretty good. I think he’s starting to win coach Friend over there just a little it.