Tech Week: Press Conference Quotes
Mark Richt

Posted Nov 20, 2007


ATHENS - Georgia football head coach Mark Richt spent his Tuesday press conference discussing the upcoming rivalry game with Georgia Tech and how important another win is for the Bulldogs.

Opening comments:

"What can you say, it's Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. It's a game everyone gets excited about, I'm sure both teams are getting fired up and ready. I know our guys are getting excited about the opportunity to play. We have a lot of respect for Georgia Tech and what they have done with their football program, they are outstanding team this year. This should be a great game, hopefully the weather will hold out, and I know we are looking forward to the opportunity to play."

On the Georgia Tech offense:

"Offensively they are No. 1 in the ACC in rushing and they have the No. 1 rusher. Their offensive line is doing a great job, to have the No. 1 rusher and have the least amount of sacks in the conference is outstanding. Taylor Bennett has had a very good year and I know Josh Nesbitt plays some as a QB run sort of thing, kind of the way Tebow was used a year ago. No doubt Tashard Choice is the man, he is the one they want to get the ball to. He is the type of back who will pound you until you give in. Jonathan Dwyer has gotten some work too, he is a very talented guy we tried to get but he chose Georgia Tech. Their receiving corps hasn't been the focal point quite as much as a year ago, but they still do a fine job of catching the ball. They are just a bit more serious about running the ball than throwing the ball."

On the Georgia Tech defense:

"Defensively, they have some stats that are really scary. They are No. 1 in the nation in sacks and they are No.1 in the country in tackles for loss. They are No. 9 in rushing defense, they are No. 7 in total defense and they are No. 16 in scoring defense. Coach Tenuta is doing a great job, we have a lot of respect for him and what he is doing."

On the Georgia Tech special teams:

"Their kicking teams are just as impressive. I think there are four teams in the United States that are in the top half in all six categories that people document. We are actually one of those four teams if you combine all the rankings. Georgia Tech is No. 1 in the nation in that category. They are No. 1 in kickoff return defense, No. 3 in net punting, No. 15 in kickoff returns, and then all of their teams combined ranks them the No. 1 special teams squad in the U.S., so that is quite a challenge for us. Their punter, Durant, averages 45.3 yards per punt, again, they are No. 3 nationally in net punting. Travis Bell, their place-kicker, I think is the leading scorer in the ACC and I believe he is breaking all kinds of school records. Scott Blair, a freshman, is their kickoff guy, and he does a great job of that. On the kick return, Jamal Evans averages 26, Dwyer averages 23, Earl averages 27 yards per return, and again they are 16th in the country. On the punt return Tyler Evans is very solid, he averages a first down every time he returns a kick, and that's kind of what you are shooting for. Your goal normally is to get a first down for the offense after you catch the ball."

Further thoughts the Tech running game:

"It is pretty obvious that their offense starts with Tashard Choice and the running game. Taylor Bennett has done a nice job in a lot of ways, but they are very serious about running the ball. Tashard is a good reason why, he could be the first ACC player to lead the league in rushing two years in a row in quite some time. Some backs, no matter what you do, they are going to get their yards. You hate to say it but sometimes 140 yards rushing against you isn't so bad. If they get a total of 140 yards rushing and nothing really broke your back, that's not such a bad day for the defense. Choice is very difficult to stop. Dwyer is a nice compliment to him, he's going to be a great back too. You just hope that those yards don't totally control the game and you hope that at key moments you make a key stop. This year Tech is all about running the ball, playing great defense and playing great special teams. We're not too far from that formula ourselves."

On the effect the Tennessee outcome may have on the UGA-GT game:

"I didn't think much about it. The SEC is over for us as far as what we can do to control it, so this game is a whole different mindset for us. There are a lot of reasons for us to want to win this game. I don't know how someone announcing a Tennessee score at halftime would affect us, I don't know if it would make us happy and we would play better or make us mad and we would play better."

On Georgia's pre-game plans:

"We plan on arriving at Gate 10 at around 1:40 p.m., depending on traffic. I thought I would let the Bulldog fans know that in case they want to show up and say hello as we're getting off the bus. It could be similar to the Dawg Walk, I may not call it that but the Bulldog fans might. Also as we come into to Atlanta, we will be making a couple of stops. Half the team will be going to the Shepherd Spinal Center and the other half will go to Eggleston Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. We will spend about and hour and a half at each place, we want to spend some time with the kids. I think there are a couple of young men playing high school ball in our state that have had some injuries that we are going to visit as well."

Sophomore Quarterback Matthew Stafford, #7

On the Georgia defense:

"They've been making big plays, like in the Vandy game getting a big turnover late. They've just been getting stops when we needed them and doing a great job in the fourth quarter of getting us the ball back. That's really what happened against Auburn, just getting us the ball back, and we were able to get some points on the board."

On the team making comebacks to win games:

"I think our coaches are doing a good job at halftime adjustments and getting our guys in the right spots and then they're doing a great job of playing hard. We take pride in being a good team in the second half and being conditioned and ready to go and they're doing a good job."

On the difference in Coach Richt from last year to this year:

"I think just one thing that is different for him is that he's obviously not calling plays anymore so he's got time to oversee everything now and just get to know everybody a whole lot better. I think it's fun for him, and I know it's fun for us. (Being) 9-2 is a whole lot better than 7-4, so it makes everybody a little more relaxed, but I think he's having fun."

Junior Split End Mohamed Massaquoi, #1

On the Kentucky-Tennessee game this weekend:

"We have a very important game to focus on because we know we can't really control what happens in that game, we can only control what happens on Saturday when we play. We know that we need to go take care of business."

On the different in Coach Richt this year from years past:

"He's getting a chance for the players to get to know him a little bit better, and he's getting to know us a little bit better. We're going out there and executing so I guess that's the big difference."

Redshirt Freshman Tailback Knowshon Moreno, #24

On the play of the offensive line:

They have a lot of confidence, they work so hard, and they're just playing together right now so that just boosts their confidence up a little bit."On if he is familiar with the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry:"No, I'm not familiar at all. It's just another game."

On Rennie Curran's play:

"Rennie is doing a good job. It's exciting to watch him. He runs to the ball, makes big hits, and makes big tackles when we need him. He's just doing a great job for us right now."

Senior strong safety Kelin Johnson, #30

On whether or not he wants to know the outcome of the Kentucky-Tennessee game while playing Georgia Tech:"That's not the focus for our team right now. Our focus is Georgia Tech. Our focus is taking care of Georgia Tech. If we lose to Georgia Tech you all won't even be worrying about the winner of the Kentucky-Tennessee game."

On freshman linebacker Rennie Curran's impact on the defense:

"It's been a quite energy. He's been so electric. He's one of those guys that is not vocal. He's a freshman, and he's trying to find a way. Dannell Elllerbe is showing a way to go. Dannell has been doing a great job of showing Rennie how to get to the ball and make plays. Ever since the Florida game, (Curran) has been like 'Ok now, it's my turn.' It's just one of those things where that man busts his behind. He could be totally wrong on a play, but he's going to be 100-percent full speed and is going to make the play. It's all about energy and what you bring to the game, and he brings a lot."

Sophomore cornerback Asher Allen, #2:

On going against Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice and the Yellow Jacket offense:

"He's a great back. With him being so much a part of that offense it would be great to stop him. That's a big task at hand. They have great receivers and they really work well together. Their quarterback does a great job of managing the offense, so it's a another week and it's another big task."

On Georgia being able to rotate several players into games on defense this season:

"It just shows that everybody is comfortable. It's good knowing you can put somebody else in and still run the same defense and not take a notch off. It keeps people more fresh for the whole year, not just the game."


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