Richt: "Dawgs Will Learn More This Week"


Posted Sep 7, 2008


ATHENS - Second-ranked Georgia will learn a lot more this Saturday when it begins Southeastern Conference action against South Carolina, according to Bulldog head coach Mark Richt.

"We haven't played an SEC defense yet," said Richt during his Sunday evening weekly teleconference. "We've played a I-AA team and a MAC team that doesn't have the athletes that we see in our league. We have been productive in points and yards, we've had balance in rushing and passing, our line is gelling and our receivers are mature. Overall, we have more confidence, but let's see how we do against a couple of SEC defenses."

The Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start after blowout wins over Georgia Southern (45-21) and Central Michigan (56-17). Recent history suggests a much lower-scoring affair with the Gamecocks in Columbia Saturday. Since 2001, five of the seven games between Georgia and USC have been decided by six points or less. The Bulldogs have won four of these while USC recorded a 16-12 victory last year in Athens. Richt said South Carolina features another talented defense.

"They were good last year and with most of their starters back, they would have to be as good or better this year. They are just strong. "Usually if you are big, you may not run as good but that's not the case with them. When you block guys like that, you have to keep your feet moving. We have the ultimate respect for Coach Spurrier and his offense too."

Georgia's starting lineup features three natives of the Palmetto state. Senior safety CJ Byrd (North Augusta), junior cornerback Prince Miller (Duncan) and freshman wideout A.J. Green (Summerville) all are key Bulldogs.

"We do recruit that state, and coach Jon Fabris is in there the most," said Richt. "They have talented players in that state, and it's gone down to the wire with Clemson and South Carolina for players, and we've gotten a few out of there. Every guy we have taken out of there has been productive for us. That's what you hope for when you go out of state."

Richt said the Bulldogs won a very important battle when they landed Green last year much like when junior quarterback Matthew Stafford decided to leave his home state of Texas and become a Bulldog.

"I don't know for sure why he fell in love for Georgia, but when he (A.J.) visited us, he had a comfort level with us," said Richt. "When he set his mind with us, he never wavered, and we're thankful for that. He didn't want a lot of attention during the recruiting process. That's one of the reasons he fit in with us, sort of like Matthew (Stafford). He was comfortable, and we got him too."

A funny part of Sunday's call came when Richt was asked about sophomore running back Knowshon Moreno's memorable play Saturday. Moreno hurdled CMU junior safety Vince Agnew during a 29-yard scamper. Apparently, the play failed to make the national highlight shows.

"They missed the boat or didn't do their homework," said Richt. "I don't know how they didn't use that. It will be on our highlights for years. People ask me how to describe him. He runs with power, he's got a super quickness about him that guys just miss him in a short, tight corridor. It's one thing to miss in an open field, but it's amazing to make guys miss in the box. He's also better at pass blocking and receiving this year."


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