Arkansas Week: Press Conference Quotes

Posted Sep 15, 2009

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

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


Opening statement…

“We are ready for another game. Last week of course was very exciting and took a lot of physical and mental energy, but I think the guys are pretty resilient. They came in the next day and got a good lift in. They got a good run in, and they are ready to go, so we are excited about that. Going to Arkansas will be tough. They will be ready for us. They have had pretty much the whole offseason to work on us, and also an open date, so I’m sure we will be getting their very best shot scheme-wise, and their very best shot physically, mentally and emotionally. It is a big game for both teams certainly. Now it’s their first SEC game, and you know how important it is to start off on the right foot. They will have a tremendous atmosphere there. It’s not our first away game, but it is our first away game in the conference. It’s huge for us. It’s huge for them. Second year coaches tend to do extremely well, and that’s where they are right now. So hopefully we can stave off all the crowd, the excitement and energy and settle the game down and play good Georgia football.”


On the areas he saw the most progression from week one to week two…

“I’ve been excited about the progress period. Some of the things that got me excited are the young guys playing on special teams really improved a lot. They have a lot of confidence. The kickoff return team probably first and foremost, we have six freshmen on there and two sophomores with (Fred) Munzenmanier and (Shaun) Chapas the juniors and (Justin) Fields the senior. From week one to week two it was astounding. Week one the front five, I don’t think there was ever a time when three out of five got their block. There might have been one time two out of five got it. There were one or two times that zero out of five got their man. They got called out, not in a real bad way, but we must have production; we got nothing. The first kickoff, four out of five really handled their (responsibilities) well. The fifth guy got a good piece of him, but didn’t quite keep him off the runner; he’s the one guy who Branden (Smith) had to break the tackle on. But he wasn’t in the greatest position; he was a little off balance. He made the hit, but he was blocked well enough where he didn’t have a solid shot at him. When we got to the wedge, all of those guys did their job so well. With the kickoff coverage team, for all the fans who want us to drive it out of the end zone every time, that was one of those where we drove it, the kid caught it five yards deep, and there wasn’t enough hang time. Hang time is important. All the fans want to know why we don’t kick it into the end zone every time, that’s the reason why. Those guys who were covering did a beautiful job. Every time but that one kick, we kept them right around the 22 to 25, 26 yard line. Even the one we had to kick from the 20, if that ball would have been kicked from the 35 it was more of the same. I saw guys beginning to get more confident. I saw more offensive players get involved and begin to make plays. I just thought we looked like a fast football team. I watched the TV copy, and I saw everybody playing hard and playing fast. I’m talking about both sides of the ball and special teams. We looked like Georgia should look. The penalties of course weren’t exciting. You fumble one at the 23, you fumble one at the eight, you have a pick six, you have a punt faked on you, you snap one over the head. All those things are bad, no doubt, and could have gotten us beat. But ultimately they didn’t get us beat, so if we can continue to get excited about the progress we are making and eliminate some of the bad things, we could become a pretty good team. We are not there by any stretch, but I’m optimistic that we aren’t as good as we can be, and that gives you hope and gets you excited.”


On whether he is surprised about how the first two games have been played…

“You can’t predict it. You can try, but it’s very difficult. I would have never dreamed that many points would have been scored, period. You watch their first game, you watch our first game, I think both offenses struggled really in the first ballgame, so you think it’s going to be tough to get anything. You knew turnovers and special teams could light up a game, but it was more than that. The offenses executed well. The defenses probably didn’t play nearly as well as they thought they would on both sides. This game, I don’t know. All I can say is fasten your seat belt and get ready for another 60-minute war. I would see no reason why this thing might not go down to the wire also.”


On getting the best shots from Georgia’s opponents…

“It’s going to be that kind of game. If you look further down the schedule, Arizona State has an open date involved. The Georgia game will be their first big test. No disrespect to who they are playing, but if you look at their schedule, they are going to be building up a frenzy for us considering what happened last year and I bet they spent the majority of their summer working on us too. We are getting everybody’s best lick, but we are going to be ready.”


On Georgia carrying momentum into the Arkansas game…

“It’s like that old song. You have to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with mister in between. That’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to really look at the positive things and build off of them, eliminate the negative things and we’ll be OK. We’ll keep getting better if that happens.”


On penalties…

“We’ll keep disciplining it. Some games get wild. That game got wild. They had a bunch of penalties. We had a bunch of penalties. If you have to chose between the team playing the way we played with the amount of energy, fire and enthusiasm the whole game, and if the byproduct of that is penalties, I’ll take that over a team that doesn’t have a penalty but doesn’t have a pulse to go with it. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t make me crazy. It’s such a subjective thing. These men are out there doing their best to make calls. Sometimes they call things and sometimes they don’t. It’s hard to know exactly how everybody is going to call each game. Even within our league, each group kind of has their own personality on what they are going to call and what they aren’t going to call, what they’re going to warrant and what they are not going to warrant. There are some things that are flat out and straight up; you jump offsides, you jump offsides. You get 12 men on the field, you get 12 men on the field. Those are the things we better straighten out. Those other things, you have a guy playing defense and he’s trying to defend the ball. He’s trying to time it our perfectly. It’s not an easy thing to do, but there is no excuse for some things.”


On the advantage of Arkansas having a bye week…

“I think the biggest advantage is the time to plan and focus on you opponent and even observe us. Sitting there and watching that TV copy is different than just watching the film that shows up. I think that, more than anything else, is the biggest advantage. Now they have to go 11 in a row. I’m sure they aren’t too thrilled about that.”


On Justin Houston and whether he will be the next great Georgia defensive end…

“He has potential for sure. He was practicing that way in the spring. He has practiced well in the fall. Everyday after practice he stayed and made sure he stayed in the best condition he could. He worked on his fundamentals on his own. He’s very, very hungry right now. He could not stand not being there. It was tough on him, but he handled it like you would hope a young man would. I’m proud of how he handled his discipline. Now he’s fired up. The guys are happy for him, I’m happy for him. I think Georgia people should be happy for him.”


On the depth chart at offensive line…

“I didn’t ask Coach (Stacy Searels) about it. If Chris does start, Justin will play. If Justin starts, Chris will play. It may be a week-to-week decision on that. While we are talking about guys who are going to play, Josh Davis has been given the OK to play, we will observe him in practice of course. We’ve given him limited contact and scout team work. He’s done extremely well. He’ll go through a Tuesday practice and a Wednesday practice, and we’ll have a lot better gauge. My guess is he’ll play some, probably not the whole game.”


On Josh Davis playing left tackle or right tackle…

“He’s sharp enough to play both. He could play right and (Clint) Boling could go to left if we needed to spell Vince (Vance), but he could play either one, Clint could play either one, Vince could play either one also, but we are a little more apt not to let Chris (Davis) go to the right.”


On Abry Jones

“Abry is getting a lot of playing time as a true freshman. He has a lot of ability. He has a ways to go on his fundamentals. He has a ways to go on every little thing that you have to learn, but we feel like he is going to get better in a hurry, which he is. I mentioned the special teams kids that went leaps and bounds from week one to two, and Abry is moving very rapidly into a very fine player and I think the sky is the limit for him.”


On Georgia’s pass rush…

“We pressured a lot. We had two sacks. We definitely flushed him. We flushed him out almost half the time, but he had enough space to come up in the pocket. He had enough space to come up in the pocket, and here comes a wave of bodies and he gets through there. We might get a guy with one arm on him, but we couldn’t get him down. But as he comes up in the pocket, now he has time, and he’s able to find open receivers. There were times went we went up and underneath, and he did a good job of breaking contain, either by design or by not containing like they should. He was able to buy time that way also. We pressured him and made him move, but we didn’t squeeze him like we should. The pocket just didn’t collapse on him where he had nowhere to go. We have to get better in that regard. You can also cover better where he doesn’t have as much time, but then on the other hand you can also bring blitzes that can either fool or outnumber their blocking scheme. We need to make sure we have a little bit of that too. I would have liked to have seen the big men inside squeeze it better than they did and make more plays than they did.”


On Caleb King

“We’re going again. He’s going to go today. The goal is to get him in there. We hope to get him in there.”


On whether Nick Williams and Darius Dewberry will play this week…

“Nick has a chance this week. Dewberry, I would say no. Hopefully Nick will be ready; that will help. Darryl (Gamble) can play the sam, but he has so much work inside, either mike or will is where we would rather have him. Sometimes we will get safeties involved in covering (tight ends) too, but it would be nice to have all those guys healthy. Dewberry was playing extremely well, and Nick was another one of those young guys who was getting better everyday at practice, and you hate to slow down that progress.”


On Quintin Banks…

“He’s able to play; he’s been given the ‘OK’ to play, but he hasn’t had a lot of practice reps. He hasn’t done a lot of things full speed. I wouldn’t say that he is 100 percent back to the best Quintin Banks can be. All those things together is the reason why.”


On Joe Cox having a normal week of preparation…

“We were going to tell him to wear an eye patch to the media day and give you something else to talk about. Usually those stories don’t break until Thursday, so I’m sure something will happen by Thursday that we could talk about. I think he’s doing good. We are very optimistic about Joe. He’s going to throw today. He’s not going to throw tomorrow, just so everybody knows. He’ll throw Thursday and we’ll go play. I thought he threw the ball well. I think he threw close to 70 percent in this last game and made some really pretty throws.”


On Joe Cox throwing on Tuesdays and Thursdays in practice…

“Everybody kind of understands that’s the way it is. Nobody really gets too bent out of shape. It’s always nice to get your second team guy a lot of work. A lot of coaches won’t do that, but we’ve always done a pretty good job of letting our second team and our third team getting a little work, but it’s even more so this year because of that situation. It’s definitely helping Logan (Gray).


On A.J. Green

“A.J. is special. He’s a special player. You guys don’t understand this kid in that how bad he just wants to do right and do great. In practice, if a ball hits his hands and he’s not catching it, he is sick about it. He hates it. When he fumbled that first play, you saw in his eyes how miserable he felt. It means a lot to that kid. It’s great to have him, because he can make plays when he is single-covered or double-covered. Just get it in the area and there is a very good chance he will come down with it.”


On whether Marcus Washington will play at end or linebacker this week…

“I’m not sure where we feel like it’s most important. It’s kind of a one-for-one trade. With the injury of (Rod) Battle and with (Justin) Houston coming back, we felt like we needed to have Washington at linebacker mostly because of the issues at linebacker. If Nick (Williams) comes back, I don’t know if that is going to free up Darryl (Gamble) to go back in the middle and push him back to end. That may be the case. The good thing is he has so many reps at linebacker, when we throw him back there it wasn’t a shock to his system. He handled it well.”


On whether Reshad Jones has a reputation has a headhunter…

“I hope not. I hope that’s not the case. I love the way he is playing. I love the energy he is playing with. I don’t think he has tried to hurt anybody. As far as the sideline play recently I think he was trying to tackle the guy. You are running full speed, and reaching out and grabbing what you can. Going back to the other play at Oklahoma State, I think he did everything right. He did not leap at the guy. He did not hit with his helmet; he struck with his shoulder and arm. His aim point was his chest, and the player ducked down into it. That’s when the contact was made. I didn’t say anything to Reshad other than keep playing hard and make sure everything is below the neck when you make contact.”


On his relationship with Bobby Petrino when he was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons

“I never got to know him at all. I think the first time I met him was at the first SEC meeting we were both at. I can’t say that I spend a lot of time with any of the Atlanta Falcon head coaches. I did happen to run into coach (Mike) Smith once or twice. He was at our pro day, and I got to talk to him there. We’ve had a few phone conversations, because he planned a clinic for all the high school coaches in the state, and he invited all the collegiate staffs to come. He personally called every one of the head coaches. He reached out more so maybe than others, but I don’t expect anybody to reach out. Everybody is busy and doing their job, and I respect that.”


Joe Cox

On what the last two weeks have been like for him in regards to surrounding speculation…

“Pretty funny, actually. It’s definitely been interesting to see how crazy it can get just based off of what somebody says, but it hasn’t been something that has been a distraction. It’s honestly something that we’ve all kind of laughed about.”


On the progress of freshmen wide receivers Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten…

“I definitely think they can help us, but we want to make sure they know what to do. It gets crazy trying to hear my call in the huddle and then we start moving tight ends and doing certain motions with them. We just want to make sure they have it down. They definitely have the ability, but you don’t want to have them come in and miss something important because they weren’t sure. They are definitely coming along. You can tell they are learning every week and they’re anxious to play. They want to get in, and that’s good. I can’t wait for them to get in there and help us out because I know they can.”


On the importance of having a player like sophomore flanker A.J. Green…

“It helps a lot. He takes a lot of pressure off of me, and you can tell how much defenses key on him. They know where he is every single time we break out of the huddle. The thing that is sometimes difficult is you watch teams on film and you think you know what they are going to do, but then you have A.J. Green, and they come up with a totally different thing to try and keep him in check. He’s a blessing to have. He’s an awesome receiver. You all see what he does. Just being able to find ways to get him the ball and watch him make plays is really fun.


Rennie Curran

On the night game coming up with Arkansas…

“I love the night atmosphere. We have extra time to sleep in the morning. We have time to watch film and to prepare and get our minds right. It’s definitely good. The only bad thing is how late we get back from the game. We don’t have much time to recover with practice the next day. But we realize that when we travel it’s a business trip. We try to go over there, take care of business and come back home.”


On Brandon Boykin replacing Asher Allen

“ A player that was as smart and experienced as Asher you are going to miss a little bit, but Brandon Boykin has done a great job at stepping in, learning his place, and growing as a student of the game. His has an incredible ability to jump, and he has so much ability, and I don’t even feel like he’s reached his full potential yet. I am excited about him, and I am glad he is on the short side with me.”


Branden Smith

On his 61-yard reverse run against South Carolina last week…

“All I was thinking about was redeeming myself after the fumble I made. I just told the receivers to just give me a crease and just block for a second and I’m just going to run through it and score a touchdown.”


His preference on offense or defense…

“Right now I am staying focused on defense. Just trying to get this game down. I am still studying plays and looking at film. “


On kickoff returns…

“I think it is a good thing that Coach (Tony) Ball has confidence in me knowing that I have made a couple of bad plays. At Oklahoma State I ran deep from the end zone and fumbled against South Carolina. By him putting me back out there I think that is a very good thing.”


On his campus experience this week since last week…

“It has been hard walking around campus and people asking for autographs and everything. But right now I am just trying to stay focused on schoolwork. It has been a little weird that no one before asked me for my autographs, but I had a good game Saturday and now they ask me for autographs. It felt a little good.”

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Arkansas Week: Tuesday News and Notes
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