Arizona State Week: Press Conference Quotes

ATHENS - Georgia head coach Mark Richt and several football players met with the media Tuesday during the Bulldogs' weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Opening Statement… "It's good to be back again. We are going into game four already. After this game we are one-third of the way done with the season. It's going fast already. We are playing a great football team—one that had a setback last week. It's obvious that they were expecting to win that game, and most people would have predicted it but they ended up losing to a team that they know in their heart they shouldn't have lost to. It probably made our job tougher. I don't think it made it any tougher to motivate our guys to play Arizona State. I would think they will be playing with an even greater sense of urgency than they would have. That's just human nature when that happens.

"They are returning 39 lettermen. Coach (Dennis) Erickson has won a couple of national championships at Miami, my alma mater. Being on teams that have coached against him in the past, he is a very innovative coach. He is one who does a fantastic job of getting his personnel in the right spots. He has almost always had a great quarterback everywhere he has been. Just him being there has made those quarterbacks even better. I was reading their media information and I saw where he has been responsible for stopping streaks of three teams that had 10 or more straight wins. Now all of a sudden we have hit the magic number, 10, and I'm sure they are going to bring that up to their team and he will have confidence to stop our streak right now."

"Offensively you absolutely have to start with Rudy Carpenter. Rudy is on the Maxwell, Davey O' Brien and Walter Camp lists. He's top 10 among NCAA active passers. He's one of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of their school. He's already a graduate. He has played a lot of football for them and won a lot of games. He's seen everything you can possibly see.

"They have some great receivers. Last year (Michael) Jones and (Chris) McGaha combined for 1,600 yards and 11 touchdowns. Now they have a couple of kids really coming on in Kerry Taylor and Kyle Williams. Both are having big years. Taylor has already caught 11 catches for 204 yards. Williams, who is the third leading receiver, is averaging 21 yards a catch. Plus he is a great—not a good but a great—kick return man.

"They have a couple of returning starters up front. Their tight ends are a big part of what they do. They are very much like us when they use three receiver sets. They are almost in there with a tight end rather than a fullback. We will play more fullback than they will, but their tight ends are outstanding. "Dimitri Nance has done well for them this year as (Keegan) Herring has been recovering from an injury. Herring is a guy who has rushed for over 2,000 yards in his career, so they have some offensive weapons and they are always about scoring a lot of points and getting a lot of yards.

"Defensively Dexter Davis is a great player and I'm certain he is a future NFL player. He has more than 20.5 sacks in his career and more than 30 tackles for loss. He is up for any award that a defensive end might win. We did talk to the UNLV coaches a little bit, and they feel that number 49 Luis Vasquez is an outstanding defensive end. They feel like both of those guys do an outstanding job of putting pressure and coming off the edges.

"They have a very mature group of linebackers. (Travis) Goethel and (Mike) Nixon combined for 129 tackles last year. They are outstanding players. They have a guy named (Gerald) Munns who was a preseason Butkus Award list player. (Morris) Wooten is a guy coming off a suspension who will play this ballgame. He is very big and physical and a big run-stopper. I know they are excited to get him back.

"Troy Nolan had six interceptions last year and is on the watch list for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe and Lott awards. He has had a great career at safety. Omar Bolden is a sophomore and really a standout corner. We think he is an outstanding cover man, and UNLV thought he was a special talent.

"They have the returning Lou Groza Award winner in Thomas Weber. He hit 24 out of 25 field goals, which is unbelievable. He is also their punter and punts extremely well. He is a double duty guy who does nothing but produce for them. Their special teams do a great job. They block extremely well.

"It is a new experience for us. It would have been nice to maybe go a day early and do some sight-seeing, but it's in the middle of the season and we have school to go to. I wish our guys could see more than the horizon, the hotel and the stadium but that is probably all we will see. We will get in there and get to the hotel, we'll meet, eat, wake up, eat some more, get on the bus and go to the stadium. It will be a business trip for us for sure. I think the guys are excited to play someone in the Pac-10 and someone that they have never played before.

"I know our fans are excited. I've heard so many rumors about a lot of Georgia people making it out there. I really hope we have large numbers and can actually create some crowd noise. If the fans are out there listening, if you could all just sit together and get excited and get loud when Rudy is trying to do his thing, you could really help us. I know part of our band will be out there too, so it will feel like a little piece of Georgia out there I hope."

On Tuesday's cool practice weather being a concern…

"It is for me. I'm sure the players will be happy that it is cool. Ron Courson has talked to a lot of people about the weather and how to handle it. It takes longer than a day or two to acclimatize to whether it is going into humidity or going into a lack of humidity, so we didn't think it would be worth it. I didn't want to miss class, and I didn't want to go out there and be bored or be too anxious by the time we play. I thought staying in our normal road game rhythm would be in the best interest of the team. We'll be in the mentality of preparing for an 8 p.m. game. I think we can even keep our biological clocks and our actual clocks. We might just stay on Eastern Standard Time as far as our hotel clocks."

On Georgia's pass protection through three games…

"It's about what we thought. I know it's early but (South Carolina) was the No. 1 ranked defense in the league. I wouldn't be surprised to see them No. 1 by the end. We weren't shocked that we struggled. We had four guys who had never started in the first game. They are really young. We just have to keep banging away and keep improving. We did it last year. If you remember last year I was concerned about the line and the fact that it would take a while to grow up. I was hoping we could win enough games early to be in the race at the end."

On Georgia's defensive ends…

"We are still without Roderick Battle right now. When you miss a lot of work it's tough to be in midseason form. (Jeremy) Lomax missed a lot. (Demarcus) Dobbs missed a lot. The only guy who didn't miss a lot is Justin Houston. He was the only scholarship guy standing when it was all done. We were grabbing Corvey Irvin and Brandon Wood just to practice. I would say Battle is doubtful for this week."

On the similarities and differences between the SEC and the Pac-10…

"They seem to score more points as a whole. I would think the statistics would show that. When we look at the athleticism of this team, it doesn't look much different than what we are playing right now if any different at all. There are definitely guys on this team who would be first team All-SEC."

On the different Georgia receivers who have played…

"If a guy is ready to play and is performing well, we are going to let him play. Early in the season when it's as hot as it has been, if you decide to run your top two receivers ragged they wouldn't make it. That's not an indictment on their conditioning, but I just don't think they would perform that well. You might take the risk of pulling a muscle. We want to keep them fresh and give them opportunities, but we have to be careful."

On Rennie Curran

"Rennie is playing great. He has already been voted team captain twice by our staff for his play. It is amazing to watch him play. His switch has been on since he has been born. He started for us as a true freshman by about midseason. It was a matter of teaching him the whole package and feeling comfortable throwing him out there in the type of games we have to play."

Senior flanker, #1 Mohamed Massaquoi

On wide receiver A. J. Green's development…
"He's gaining more experience. Coming in, everybody knew how talented he was. I think he just understands the game a little bit better and things are developing easier for him. He's a guys who is just going to continue to get better because he's so eager to learn and so eager to go out there and make plays for us."

On the polls…
"We can't control what they value. You can't take for granted a win though. They are hard to come by in this league, and we are going to just keep working to make sure we get them."

On Arizona State's secondary…
"They are a group that plays hard and plays fast. They are athletic back there. They have a great scheme and they trust their athletes."

Junior quarterback, #7 Matthew Stafford

On wide receiver A. J. Green…
"He's a good player. He's got a lot of great skills that can help out our offense. We just have to find ways to get him the ball and let him do what he does because he's been playing well. You don't know how a freshman is going to come in and play, but he played well in the first two games. Then he went up against a really good defense last game and had some big plays for us. It's encouraging to see and I'm excited about it."

On the temperature of the South Carolina game…
"That was a hot game. I've never really cramped like that in game or in my life. I felt like I just couldn't stop sweating. I couldn't put enough (fluids) in me to replenish what was going out. I don't think it could get too much worse for me."

On the offensive line…
"To be a good offensive line unit it takes everybody working together and everybody doing the right thing at the right time. They are playing hard which is good. They may step with the wrong foot or do something simple like that, but they are getting after it and that's good. As long as they are doing that, I've got no complaints."

On the opinions of Georgia's critics...
"I don't care. People are going to talk and say what they want to say. We are just worried about playing football the best we can and trying to get wins."

Redshirt sophomore tailback, #24 Knowshon Moreno

On traveling west to play Arizona State…
"I really didn't think about it until now. I don't know how long it's been since we did something like this, but the thing is that is good for both teams to see where they are going to be at and to do something different. It's going to be a crazy atmosphere, which will be something to get used to, but at the same time it's going to be a good contest." On returning punts…
"I wouldn't mind being back there catching a couple more punts. I was back there one time this week, and it was pretty fun. It brought back old memories. If they want me back there doing that, that's what I'm going to do."

Redshirt sophomore center, #63 Chris Davis
On playing against South Carolina…
"Their defense was really good and really fast and physical. We played well. At times, here and there, we didn't, but we played well enough to win. That's what you want is to have that ‘W' at the end of the day."

On the intrigue of playing a Pac-10 opponent…
"There's a little excitement. We've never gone out there and played Arizona State in the history of the program. It's a challenge and an opportunity that we need to capitalize on to try and do our conference proud."

Redshirt freshman quarterback, #6 Logan Gray

On three or four different players returning punts in games…
"It definitely keeps you on your toes. You have to be ready because you don't know if you are going in or not. It might be an advantage to us. Maybe the other team doesn't know what they are going to get back there because we have a lot of different type guys catching punts with different abilities. It might be an advantage to us, but it definitely keeps you awake during a game."

Junior SC, #2 Asher Allen

On his thoughts about traveling west to Arizona State…
"I like to see different venues and different stadiums and seeing the different kind of cultures and style, so I was really excited when I saw this game. I went to California when I was 5, but I don't remember it at all."

On needing to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks…
"I think as a team, we have to put more pressure on the quarterback and try to use our speed to our advantage. Hopefully we can use our technique and that's something we really need to work on. We have a lot of (defensive ends) who are trying to get into position. Us as defensive backs have to be able to hold the receivers for them to get there. It's something, as a team, we have to work on."

On Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter…
"I think this will most definitely be a test for us. Knowing the kind of history he has, the receivers he has and their running back will be coming back this week, they have all the tools; hopefully we can contain them. (Carpenter) always makes the throws, he can roll out of the pocket and make the correct throws. He never gives up on the play. That kind of leadership that he brings to the game is something that we have to try to contain."

Redshirt sophomore SLB, #51 Akeem Dent

On his initial thoughts of Arizona State…
"They look like they do a lot more passing than the SEC does. Looking at their team, they look like the run more one-back systems and like to spread the ball out more."

On improving their pass defense…
Right now, from a defensive standpoint, (Arizona St.) has a great quarterback and I think we need to apply more pressure than we have the last few weeks. The past couple weeks, we've been playing more coverage and not sending as many guys. We need to put a lot more pressure on the quarterback."

On limiting South Carolina's scoring chances last week…
"That's one of our goals as a defense. When the offense gets into the red zone, no defense wants the offense to score. That's been one of our main goals. I think as a defense we want to play as hard as we can every down. "

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