Alabama Week: Press Conference Quotes
UGA VI
Publisher
Posted Sep 18, 2007


ATHENS - Quotes from Georgia's weekly press conference.

Georgia Football Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening comments:

"Yesterday was a good day of practice, I think our guys are getting excited for another SEC opponent. I think hearing that the ESPN Gameday crew will be there got them excited also, knowing that the whole country will be focused on our game. Also for us to have an early game last Saturday and then be able to go home and watch what happened in the Alabama-Arkansas game really got our guys excited about the great challenge that lies ahead of us."

On the Alabama offense:

"Alabama has an outstanding offensive line led by Andre Smith. He was a freshman sensation last year, a guy that everyone wanted. He ended up going to Alabama as a true freshman and playing left tackle, and he played extremely well. Now he's playing even better. Justin Britt right next to him is an outstanding guard, and Antoine Caldwell is their center, and those are the three guys who have the most experience and they tend to like to run the ball to that side for good reason.

"I have not studied (quarterback) John Parker Wilson much but I watched him in the Arkansas game and he handled everything extremely well. When bad things happened he weathered the storm pretty well, I thought that was important. He showed he could throw deep, he could throw with consistency and with touch as well. I thought he did a great job. Terry Grant is an outstanding back who is making a lot of great plays, he benefits from some good blocking but also has speed and agility. D.J. Hall gets the most attention in the receiving corps but Matt Caddell does a good job had a bunch of catches last week, and Mike McCoy is a very good player, those are the top three receivers as I see it. I think Hall is pretty underrated for his ability from what I saw and what he has accomplished, he has had a fine career."

On the Alabama defense:

"Defensively Wallace Gilberry is outstanding. Their whole defense is outstanding in my opinion but Gilberry stands out especially. Lineman Lorenzo Washington is a Georgia kid and he is really playing well. Their linebacking corps is full of big, tall kids. Rolando McClain is 6-4, 255, Darren Mustin is 6-2, 235, and Ezekial Knight is 6-4, 235, those are big linebackers, tall and rangy guys. Mclain is their leading tackler, he is a very talented kid. Keith Saunders very versatile, in a three-down scheme he will stand up as a linebacker, then in four-down set he will put his hand on the ground and play as a true defensive end, and he is very good against the run and the pass. Simeon Castille is a great cover guy, he is very confident and very experienced in the one-on-one situations people put him in, he is a good leader for them."

On the Alabama special teams and coaching staff:

"Leigh Tiffin is their plackicker and kickoff guy, he has had a little trouble, they are 6 of 11 in field goals, but I don't think it was totally his fault, I think they had a couple of bad snaps or holds that didn't go quite right. He is talented. P.J. Fitzgerald is their punter and he does a good job. Javier Arenas is their punt return man, he is not listed as the kick returner but we've seen him return kicks. He is fast, a tackle-breaker, and fearless. He will go after some balls that other guys will fair-catch, he goes after it. He is very dangerous and very brave. And of course we know that Alabama is very well-coached with Coach Saban and his group, you can see that on tv and on film. Our guys know it will be quite a challenge to play in this hostile environment and come out with win."

On Georgia's young offensive line in the hostile environment:

"It's a concern. We'll probably do something in regard to the noise factor, there are ways to get our guys a feel of what it takes to concentrate in that kind of atmosphere, but they are about to live through something they have never been through before. I guarantee Trinton Sturdivant has never been through anything like this, same with Chris Davis and Clint Boling, who will play a lot. Even Scott Haverkamp has probably never been through this. Chester Adams and Fernando Velasco have, they should be fine handling it. With Stafford at quarterback, that's a guy who has to handle the situation. He has at least had a taste of it so it won't be a total shock, but it will be a challenge, no doubt."

On closing practice to the media for the week:

"We just wanted some privacy. I think we are always concerned every week with people watching practice. Coaches are always worried about people saying things inadvertently, they might see something and want to say it to a friend, then the friend puts it on the net, and now it becomes a clue. Probably what happened in the NFL recently brought some more awareness that this stuff might be going on, but I think a combination of all that is why we closed practice."

PLAYER QUOTES

Junior Tight End Tripp Chandler

On Arkansas exploiting the middle of the field to get tight ends involved vs. Alabama:

"I haven't really looked that much into that. I'm excited just for the atmosphere that I'm going to be playing in this week. Hopefully it will be a good week for the tight ends."

On having an early season SEC match-up:

"As far as having a pivotal game early on in the season, I don't think it's that much different from any other year. Just about any SEC game is a pivotal game for our team."

On preparations for a hostile road environment:

"We've been keeping a sound state of mind and have been staying focused. Playing in Tuscaloosa's going to be tough. Watching the game last week, watching the stands there, and watching film, their fans are in the game from the first minute to the last minute. It will be a fun atmosphere to be a part of."

On momentum:

"It can go either way. We were coming off of a great win against Oklahoma State and things didn't work out for us against South Carolina, but it can also go the other way just as easy. One game can get you rolling and that can carry throughout the season."

Senior Center Fernando Velasco

On the upcoming game with Alabama:

"We can't look past Alabama. They're a great team and coach Saban will definitely have his team ready to play come Saturday. We need to have a good week of practice, stay focused, and be ready come Saturday."

On what he tells young players going into a hostile environment:

"I just tell them to focus. Don't buy into all the crowd noise. There is going to be a lot of noise. I know it's easier said than done but don't keep looking up at the crowd and listening to the noise. Try to stay focus and make all your calls on the line of scrimmage and go out there and play hard."

On his first road memory:

"We went to LSU. Everything was shaking. It was so loud. It's going to be that type of atmosphere come Saturday too. I've never been to Tuscaloosa before but I've heard a lot of stories about how loud and how rowdy this place can get. We definitely have to be focused as a team in the environment."

On if Coach Searels' experience at LSU coaching with Nick Saban will help the team:

"It might be a little beneficial to us, but not too much. He might know a little, but really not that much. We'll still have to study film just like any other opponent. Obviously they were on the same staff for a couple years, but he really hasn't said too much. We just got to go in there and study film just like everybody else."

Sophomore Quarterback Matthew Stafford

On importance of playing the pass against a Nick Saban defense:

"I think it's really important against any defense. But he has got a great scheme every week and something to throw off the balance of the other team. If you can just complete passes and keep the chains moving, then that's the biggest deal against his defense. Make some big plays too, if you can. Our motto is 'first downs and touchdowns.'"

On being asked if Alabama's defense provides opportunities for opposing offenses:

"It does. You have to match up personnel on personnel and try to get a good matchup somewhere. Alabama can really run and they're a great defense. We just have to keep plugging away and make a few plays here and there."

On memories of playing South Carolina on the road last year for his first road game:

"It was a whole lot of fun, really. Once I got settled into the game, it was really my first game to play, which is a little different than these guys because they have played in an SEC game already. They kind of know what that's like. On the road is definitely fun. It gets you going. Having everybody against you and a kind of 'you against the world' thing is something that I really love and I think a lot of guys on the team love, because we are such a competitive group. It's something that I think we're looking forward too."

On advice given to young players playing in their first road game:

"Just enjoy it. Enjoy the moment and play football. That's really what it boils down to. Don't let things distract you and I think they're doing a good job of that. If they can just settle down fairly quickly and play Georgia football then I think we have a chance."

Senior safety Kelin Johnson:

On how tough it was to be on the sidelines against Western Carolina:

"It was a humbling experience. It was one of those experiences that you have to ask for a little strength - in my mind, my body and my soul - for patience. That's one of those injuries [ribs] that you have to be patient with and just put it in God's hands. It was humbling to know that my team can go out there and play without me. That lets me know that this game is not always promised to me. It can be taken away from you just like that. It tested my leadership too. I think that is good. That was a lesson I learned - you have to become a leader when you can't play and adversity hits. You have to sit back and say 'what can I do to help my team when I can't play.'"

On how important it is to beat Alabama this week:

"It is very important. We have to come together as a team and I believe that win helped us Saturday. Our team morale is much higher than what it was the week before. Going into Alabama is a hostile environment, and we know how to play on the road. History proves itself. We just have to stay focused and continue to keep that tradition going. If we do a good job of that, and I have all faith in my teammates, our team and our leaders that we'll come out of there with a 'W.'"

Junior safety CJ Byrd:

On if he feels Alabama's win provides them with momentum heading into the game with Georgia:"Those guys are coming off of a great win. I'm pretty sure they are rolling right now, and we just have to try and slow them down and try to play our game to come out with a win."

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Kade Weston:

On if the team feels pressure to avoid dropping to 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference:"We'll never worry about dropping to a losing record. We'll just go in there having the mentality that we are going to win. Everybody is going to have us as the underdog, so we will just use that as motivation to go in there and show what we can do."

Sophomore cornerback Asher Allen:

On how important it is for Georgia to get its swagger back in the SEC:

"It is very important. That is the only way you can get to the SEC Championship game and obviously at the beginning of the year that is our main goal - winning the SEC and to win a national championship. Winning games in the SEC is very important, so this game coming up is big."


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Alabama Week: Mark Richt Video
 -by DawgPost.com  Sep 18, 2007
Alabama Week: Fernando Velasco Video
 -by DawgPost.com  Sep 18, 2007

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