LSU Week: Press Conference Notes

ATHENS - Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players previewed the upcoming game against LSU during the Bulldogs' weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

"We are going to Baton Rouge and one of the most storied stadiums in the country, a place I can truthfully say is the loudest place I've every been. My strongest memory of being there in 2003 was when we were down 10-3 late in the game and threw a screen pass that went 90-something yards and tied up the score with a couple minutes to go.  I was expecting hush from the crowd.  Usually when the opposing team does well the crowd quiets down.  All I began to hear was a chant L-S-U, L-S-U.  It got louder and louder and louder.  It was the loudest I've ever heard a stadium.  The only other time it got about that loud was when we were playing Tennessee in '01 and they threw that screen pass for 90-something yards and that place started shaking.  Those are the two loudest memories I can remember in opponent's stadiums. 

 

LSU is the defending national champs.  They have won more games than anybody else in our league the last five years.  They have won two national championships and three SEC championships recently.  Coach (Les) Miles is winning at a rate that is unprecedented in the league.  They are big, strong, fast and talented.  They are really, really good.   Offensively, I think (Brandon) LaFell is number one in the league when it comes to catches per game.  They also have Richard Dickson and Demetrius Byrd who get involved.  Trindon Holliday gets involved in everything.  Their offensive line is veteran.  They are big and very physical.  They have a couple of tackles who are athletic as you could hope for.  They have a guard who is 6-7, 375 pounds.  Their runners are tough.  Charles Scott is a very physical, pounding-type back where Keiland Williams is a little bit more shifty.  They have a gigantic fullback who is athletic.  They have everything that you could expect on offense with (Jarrett) Lee and (Andrew) Hatch at quarterback.

 

"On defense, Tyson Jackson was last week's player of the week.  He is a guy who is so hard to block.  It looks like Ricky Jean-Francois is back off of an injury.  When you watch his film from a year ago, you just try to figure out how we are going to block the guy.  They really have eight to 10 interior defensive linemen who can play and play extremely well.  They have a couple of Georgia boys at linebacker in (Perry) Riley and (Kelvin) Sheppard.  They are very good football players.  When they recruit they look for guys who are just a little bigger than everybody else, and they do have that.  That holds true in their secondary.  They have defensive backs who look like linebackers, quite frankly.  The have linebackers who look like defensive ends and defensive ends who look like defensive tackles. They just recruit that way, and that do a good job of getting in the weight room. and they can run.  The have safeties who are big and physical and will hit you good.  The longer the season goes, I keep looking at another set.  Tennessee had two of the finest in the country and now we are looking at two more who are just as good if not better.

 

"In special teams, Colt David has only missed one kick and it was over 50 yards.  He has made everything else.  Trindon Holliday is going to return kicks and punts, and they will let Chad Jones return some punts.  Right now Holliday would be considered number two in the United States in punt returns.  He has already returned one for a touchdown this year.  Their punter is averaging 40 yards per kick.  They actually have two punters.

 

"They are very-well coached.  It's going to be a great challenge and a very, very difficult challenge for us."

 

On how Dannell Ellerbe performed in Monday's practice coming off an injury…

"He didn't look quite as agile as we hoped.  We are still going to let him go today and see how he does.  I wouldn't say I came out of there more optimistic.  I probably came out of there a little less optimistic on his ability to play.  There are still a few more days."

 

On the importance if winning with style points…

"Winning to me is pretty stylish.  If we keep winning I'll be happy, I promise you that.  I think people equate a lot of offensive points to a superior team.  When I first got here I would keep track of where we were nationally ranked in offense, defense, all these categories like I did when I was at Florida State.  Then after a season or two I check SEC stats and that's all I check, because that is the best gauge we have on how we are doing."

 

On Georgia's kickoff returns and punt returns…

"I felt like we were very, very close to breaking them.  We were getting some good returns.  We saw Richard (Samuel) return one in that game.  We thought he could get to that last guy and break a tackle, maybe be a little more fresh than Ramarcus (Brown).  We weren't dissatisfied with Ramarcus.  Here is a young kid who is a freshman, and to see the amount of energy on that one return, we thought maybe he could give us a boost.  Then, quite frankly, we quit blocking as well.  We didn't feel like Richard was hitting it where it should be hit, too, so we put Ramarcus back in there, and Ramarcus will be the return man.  In punt returns, I know we have experimented around pretty good, but we have settled in pretty good as Prince (Miller) as the main guy.  Of course we have Logan Gray back when they are in a punt safe situation.  It's a different type of return I guess.  You don't return many of those kicks."

 

On Tripp Chandler's injury status…

"I would also say Tripp would be in the category with Dannell.  We didn't come out of yesterday's practice more encouraged.  There is some soreness today, which doesn't necessarily end his week of practice, but we were hoping he would have come through it a little better."

 

On Geno Atkins…

"Geno is playing great.  He's not the only one playing great on a consistent basis, but he's one of the guys I will watch during the game.  I get excited when I see him knocking people back and playing as hard as he plays and creating a new line of scrimmage.  Of course he'll probably be tested more this game than maybe other than the Alabama game.  He has played very, very well."

 

On DeAngelo Tyson and Ricardo Crawford getting more playing time…

"Tyson has been playing a pretty good bit, but I would have to say Tyson will play more and Ricardo will have to be ready.  Ricardo would be the next guy to get some work.  He has come a long way.  He is getting himself an opportunity.  When guys know they are going to get an opportunity they tend to step up and play well.  I would hope if Ricardo does get that chance he will do well."

 

On whether A.J. Green leading the SEC in receiving is a surprise…

"To be leading the league it probably is.  I was hoping he would make an impact on the team just watching his high school film and hearing the veterans talk about him in the summer. He has done great.  He has a ways to go but he has done well.  He is still thinking—coming to that line and making sure he has the right split.  He is getting more and more comfortable."

 

Senior fullback, #36 Brannan Southerland

On head coach Mark Richt having such a successful record in opponent's stadiums…

"The last couple of weeks we've made some changes in what we do here in the home games in not going back to the Butts-Mehre but going straight to the stadium. I think that's going to help our home focus. The thing is though, when we go on the road you get on the plane, go to the hotel, you're away from everybody and basically you're right there. You go straight to the stadium for the game, you get dressed and then the game goes. I just think the sequence of events is why it's like that, and I think that's why we changed up how we do things for home games – to try to mimic the way we things on away games."

 

On blocking against LSU's defensive front…

"It's definitely going to be a big key. We are going to need our offensive line to handle their defensive line. We're going to need some time for (Matthew) Stafford to throw, and we're going to need some running lanes for Knowshon (Moreno) and Caleb (King) to run. They are very fast, big, athletic and experienced, so it's going to be a good match up. Our offensive line is going to need to play very well come Saturday."

 

Senior split end, #1 Mohamed Massaquoi

On playing on the road at LSU…

"It's one of the toughest places to play in the country. Their fans come every week with a lot of noise and a lot of passion to pull for the Tigers."

 

Junior quarterback, #7 Matthew Stafford

On if the team is close to playing a solid all-around game…

"I think we are. I think we are working hard towards it. Nobody is ever going to play a perfect game, but you at least try to get a game were all three phases of the game are clicking well and see what happens. We're young in some spots, but guys are playing better and better each week, which is good to see. We'll just see what happens."

 

On whether or not the team left anything on the field the last two weeks…

"Obviously, we could have put up more points the last couple of weeks if we would have executed a couple of times and didn't turn the ball over. But a win is a win, especially in the SEC."

 

On if there is any concern with freshman place kicker Blair Walsh as an offense after the Vanderbilt game…

"No, not a all. I think that guy is a really good kicker and has a really bright future. More than anything, I think that he's got a really good head on his shoulders, especially for kicker. He misses and obviously feels bad for missing but comes right back out the next time and hits the second kick good. If it hit's the post, it hit's the post. Then the third one he crushed down the middle. I'm not worried about him. His kickoffs were great the whole game, and he's been doing a really good job for us."

 

Redshirt sophomore tailback, #24 Knowshon Moreno

On facing LSU's defense…

"It's definitely a challenge. All four guys up front are really good athletes and players. They are really making big plays right now, so I think that will be a challenge for us upfront. Their linebackers are really fast, and they float to the ball really well. The safeties make big hits and make plays also. All-around on their defense they are a really good team."

 

On playing on the road at LSU…

"It's going to be an exciting atmosphere and a tough place to play, but it's a business trip for us. We're going to go down there and play the best we can play."

 

Sophomore WLB, #35 Rennie Curran

On preparing for a loud environment…

"It really starts during the week with your preparation and how your practice goes and how well you communicate during the practices. Once you get into that stadium, and if you've never worked on that communication, it's hard to turn that switch on and get it right."

 

On how to limit the LSU offense…

"Their offense is a team that likes to pound the ball and run it at you with the tailbacks. They like to throw it up when they get into that situation, too. We are going to have to stop the run and we are going to have to make them one-dimensional."

 

Redshirt sophomore WLB, #50 Darryl Gamble

On the atmosphere at LSU…

"I heard it's very loud and the fans are crazy. I think it's going to be a great challenge for our offense, not as bad for our defense because the crowd quiets down when their offense is on the field, but it will be a challenge."

 

On playing in a big game against LSU…

"I'm taking every game as a big chance in my career, I've seen a lot of their teams on TV and LSU just won a national championship. It would be big for me to play well against LSU."

 

Senior DE, #55 Jeremy Lomax

On improving at pressuring the opposing quarterback against Vanderbilt…

"I think it was a step forward. If we aren't getting pressure, then things have to change. But we are getting pressure, we are happy and that's all you can ask for. If we can get the quarterback to throw into coverage or throw off his back foot, we can get turnovers. Whoever wins the turnover ratio is probably going to win the game. Turnovers are key."

 

Senior SS, #47 Andrew Williams

On being able to get on the field more this season…

"It's really fun; I haven't been able to play a whole lot of safety since high school. It's always fun to play. The more you do it the more fun you have."

 

On Georgia's schedule…

"Looking at the schedule, we knew coming into this stretch of games that we wanted to be in the driver's seat. We wanted to control our own destiny. Each win gets bigger and bigger and it's awesome to be in that situation."

 

On the skill of the LSU offense…

"They have some really big skill players. Their receivers are guys that are 220-plus pounds and have legit 4.4 or 4.3 speed. Any time you can combine speed and size, that's a pretty good 1-2 punch."

 

Junior SC, #2 Asher Allen

On what game might have been Georgia's best this season…

"Arizona State was a good game; our defense stopped an offense that was very good at passing and running. Offensively, we were able to put points up and in special teams we were able to do good things there. That's the most complete game we've had so far."

 

On the impact a low-scoring SEC game might have on voters…

"I think on paper it looks better (to score a lot of points) but I think people understand how the SEC is. It's so close in talent level and competition that when a score gets up pretty high, it's usually the offense, defense and special teams scoring when scores are like that."

 

On the competitiveness within the conference…

"Every time you play an SEC team, you know it's going to be a low-scoring game and it's going to be tough. You know you got to play four quarters. The talent level and competition is so high. You know that going into the game. "

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