“We get a chance to play an outstanding football team. I
know they are 2-3 right now but if you look at their season they have an
overtime loss they certainly could have won just as easily as they lost it.
They lose 14-12 to Auburn and they are basically one exchange away, handing off
the ball to the tailback away from winning that game. They very easily could be
4-1 and could be a top 15, top 10-team right now. They are that good, they are
that capable and I just want to make sure everybody understands how good of a
football team this is.
“Just about their entire line is back, four out of five are
back. They’ve got over 112 starts together. They run the ball extremely well.
They got great backs. Arian Foster is one of the best backs they’ve ever had at
the school; he’s tracking down a lot of the rushing records. As a matter of
fact, career-wise if he were to stay healthy, he’ll be the leading rusher, the
best rusher in the history of their school as far as total yards gained, and
(Monterio) Hardesty is just fantastic. We recruited Lennon Creer out of Texas
too and Lennon is a fine back. If he’s their third-teamer right now, they got
two great backs I can promise you because Creer has tremendous talent.
“Wide receiver wise you’ve got (Josh) Briscoe, (Austin)
Rogers, Lucas (Taylor) and (Gerald) Jones. You’ve got four guys and even more
down the line that can play and they’ve got a lot of experience and made a lot
of big plays. Gerald Jones, No. 4, I guess they are calling him the “G-Gun”
over there. The guy that will jump in there at quarterback and do some of the
things that I guess the NFL is calling the “Wildcat” and all that thing with
the Miami Dolphins and what they are doing with Ronnie Brown.
“Jones is their man doing that and not only is Jones a great
receiver, but he’s playing some quarterback. He’s also a great return man; he’s
their punt return man. He’s been at four different positions: punt return, kick
return, wide receiver and quarterback, where he’s had big plays over 20 yards.
So he’s a big play man for them and if you take a guy and make him your
quarterback you know he’s got great skills. And they want to make sure he gets
the ball; they want to make sure he causes problems.
“They’ve got four people at tight end; Luke Stocker has
played the most. Jeff Cottam has been injured, No. 80, I think he’s back and
healthy. He’s big at 6-foot-8, 260 pounds, is a great blocker with good hands.
Brandon Warren, who is a transfer from Florida State, is actually an
outstanding wide receiver/tight end and they do find a way to get him in the
game and give him opportunities because of his skills as a pass receiver.
“The fullbacks are about what you would expect from fullbacks
and that type of system. They are the hammers. They are the ones that are going
down-after-down, running into those defensive ends on the Power O that they run
over-and-over and any kind of lead play they run. They are going to be leading
up on these linebackers; they do a great job of that.
“Their new quarterback, Nick Stevens, I studied that game a
little bit more than the rest knowing that he was going to be the quarterback.
I was very impressed with him. He would stand in that pocket. He would throw
very accurately. He seemed to have no trouble whatsoever getting them in the
right type of play. I didn’t really see any confusion. The only thing I saw I
think once or twice was they jumped offsides and I don’t know if it was a
different situation. But by now that shouldn’t be a problem at all and it
wasn’t a big problem in the game for them, and I’m not even saying that’s why
it happened, but that’s the closest thing I saw to having some kind of ill
effect on the new quarterback. He was highly, highly accurate and just seemed
to have a confidence about him; he’s not scrambling around looking like a guy
who wasn’t sure what he was doing. He stood in there firm and he definitely
delivered the ball and did an outstanding job. Apparently they thought he did
too because they didn’t mess around deciding who’s going to start this game.
There was no discussion about it. He did the job and I think they have a lot of
confidence in him.
“On defense, the front four are all juniors and seniors.
They’ve all played an awful lot. They’re as good-looking bunch of defensive
linemen as you’ll see. That’s never changed since we’ve been playing Tennessee.
Probably when Coach Dooley was playing against Tennessee I’m sure they had the
same type of good looking defensive players on their team that could really
run. I’m not sure; I don’t think (Ellix) Wilson played last game if I’m
correct, their middle linebacker, but I think he could have played. They might
have held him to make sure he was 100 percent healthy. He’s a little bit like
Rennie (Curran) 5-foot-10, 225 pounds, a guy who is a high-energy guy, I think
he’s leading the team in tackles, but their linebackers are very much like we
are used to seeing. Other than him, he’s a little bit shorter than some have
been in the past. Rennie Curran is probably shorter than he is and I wouldn’t
trade Rennie for anything and I’m sure they wouldn’t trade Wilson either.
“In the secondary, I don’t think you will find two more
talented safeties in the country. I think history will prove that they will be
two of the highest-drafted safeties when their day comes of anybody in the
nation. They are big, they are fast, they are physical, they are playmakers and
they are playing with tremendous confidence.
“ (Demetrice) Morley and (Eric) Berry, two not good players
but great players and then (DeAngelo) Willingham’s got most of the experience
there, playing left corner and of course (Dennis) Rogan is also an outstanding
football player. As a corner, he’s also their “kick return man, He’s averaging
25.4 yards a kick return, which is outstanding. Between him and Jones, they’ve
had many, many, many plays 20 yards or more. They are the big-play men for
“I think (Britton) Colquitt’s back as their punter, although
I do believe the young man who punted instead, (Chad) Cunningham, a Georgia
boy, I think he actually punted pretty well for them. Colquitt certainly was
their starter for a reason and he’s back being their starter. From what I
understand, he might be their kickoff man too for this ball game and he’s
always been outstanding in that regard. Colquitt is a 42.4 yards per kick
career man so he is outstanding in that regard.
“Daniel Lincoln their extra-point/field goal man has had his
ups and downs, I think he is 5 for 9. I’m not exactly sure how many were long
kicks, but he’ s missed a couple over 52. I wouldn’t say that our guys
struggled so it’s not fair to say 5 for 9 is real indicative of his abilities
if he’s missed a couple of long ones.
“They are leading the league in total defense I think they
are one of the top 10 in the country in total defense. They are at least very
high. They’ve been very stingy. I know in the last couple of ball games,
they’ve hardly given up a thing in the fourth quarter. I think Northern Illinois had minus-9 yards.
“They’ve actually given up nine turnovers. They’ve had nine
sudden change situations, where the defense had to jump back on the field
immediately. They’ve only given up 19 points in those situations, which is
fantastic defensively. The ball gets turned over and all of sudden you are in a
bad situation. You’ve got to make a stop and they’ve done a great job of
keeping people from getting a lot of points off of turnovers, which is
“So, they are a very, very capable football team. Like I
said before, they could just as easily be 4-1 as they are 2-3. We’re probably
in the same boat too; we could certainly be at least 3-2 at this point with
that tight ball game against South Carolina. I don’t think there are a whole
lot of differences between both of our teams as far as their personnel and
ability to win the game. I think it’s going to be a barn burner. I think it’s going to be physical and
we better be ready for that type of ballgame because that is exactly what
Tennessee brings year after year.”
On the differences
between the offensive line last year and this year…
“Last year’s line, I think they got all 29 preseason
practices in the same spot and just the great majority of the year they were
all in the same spot. I think
(Scott) Haverkamp was the one that got beat out by (Clint) Boling. Other than
that, it stayed pretty solid as far as everybody getting used to each other and
working together at the same positions. I think we’ve settled in pretty good. There’s no question we’ll get better. A
year ago I knew as the season went on we were going to better. Not to bore
everybody, but if you have a third year tackle or even a fourth year junior
tackle, when the season begins to mid-season, he should improve some. He’s
already built his base of his strength and he’s built his base of his
knowledge, so he should improve a little bit as the season goes on. But if you
take a freshman at ground zero and you let him go through camp and six
ballgames, he may not be where that junior is but he may go from here to here.
The improvement should be pretty significant for Cordy (Glenn), for (Justin Anderson), for Ben Jones. Those guys are going to get better. Their level of
play should go up more drastically than a guy who has been around a while. I do
expect those guys to make drastic improvement and they have been improving.”
“It is obvious they’ve made a quarterback. We recruited the heck out of Jonathan Crompton. I think he’s a tremendous talent. I think he’s a very capable
quarterback but for whatever reason they were struggling and they made a change
and a lot of times that can be the spark that makes the difference. I remember
when we were playing Colorado and Matthew (Stafford) was actually playing a
pretty good game. Matthew was putting it on the money and we dropped about
four, five, six balls. We made a
change because we felt like we just needed to make a change not so much that
Matthew was the issue, but for whatever reason it just wasn’t happening. We put
Joe (Cox) in there and things turned and all of a sudden we looked pretty
stinking good on offense that day. Good enough to come back and win the game.
Sometimes a change can make a big difference like that and I’m assuming that’s
why they did it. So far they’ve had
On the bye week being
a benefit to Georgia…
“We have a wonderful opportunity to turn it around. I really
hope we take advantage of it. I see nothing out there to make me feel like we
won’t turn it around. Alabama is undefeated. They are second in the country.
They are pretty good. They are a very good football team and for whatever
reason, we had that slow start but I believe that we have a bright future ahead
of us and this game is huge in how our season is going to be remembered.”
On the significance of
Brannan Southerland’s return…
“I think it’s significant in that he’s one of our finest
leaders on the team. He’s one of the most respected players on the team, and
arguably the most respected player on the team. Our coaches actually voted him
offensive captain and he hasn’t even taken a snap offensively. That gives you
an indication of how the staff feels about his leadership ability and his
playing ability as an offensive football player. Shaun Chapas has played very
well. Not good, but very well. He had a couple of things here and there. There
was an obvious time when he fell down on a route where he could have possible
caught a touchdown pass. You don’t want to ever just base it off one glaring
thing but he’s played extremely well and we will continue to play Chapas also.”
On Georgia’s tight end
“It won’t change a thing. We might be a little more apt to
use him in short yardage and goal line running situations because we have done
that in the past. It wasn’t like those plays were out of the plan, we just
didn’t use them as much.