LSU Week: Press Conference Quotes

Posted Sep 29, 2009

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

Head Coach Mark Richt


Opening statement…

“It’s an exciting time. You can feel the fall in the air. It’s cooling down and becoming football weather. We have a big SEC clash this weekend at 3:30 with the nationally televised CBS game. I want to encourage all our fans to get jacked up and ready to go. I want the Dog Walk to be wild. I want the students to be crazed as always and make the pregame warmups an exciting time and get it the stands as fast as you can because it’s going to be a special day for college football. It’s the kind of game that everybody dreams of growing up. If a kid wants to play college ball, he watches SEC football and dreams about games like these. We’re excited to be in a game that has the magnitude that is does.


LSU, what can you say about them? In all the years that I’ve been here, they won the most games of anybody in the SEC. They have two national championships and three SEC championships. It’s just a great program. They did it under Nick Saban and they are doing it under Les Miles. You certainly could say they are the team of the 2000s. The past decade they have been one of the best if not the best football team in the country.


“I would have to think it’s going to be a beautiful day for football at 3:30 in the afternoon. I can’t imagine a better setting to have it in than Sanford Stadium, so were all pretty jacked up about this one.”


On whether Georgia and LSU would try to establish the run…

“I don’t think there is any doubt. I think both teams are going to be very intent on running the ball and running it in a very physical way. I don’t think either team is going to back away from trying to run that football.


What usually happens when you don’t do well in a particular area where you have history, you aren’t going to say let’s bail out on it.  You’re going to say lets get back to the basics and do it better than we did and establish our ability to run the ball. I’m sure they’ll be emphasizing it and I know we’ll be emphasizing it.”


On how Mississippi State stopped the run against LSU…

“I didn’t study every single down of that game. I started out watching their offense versus Washington. So I’ve seen more of that game than I’ve seen of the other. But I’ll get a chance to study that a little more, so I can’t really say what they did. I saw a little a bit of it and it looked as if, just by sheer numbers that wanted to outnumber LSU in the run game. So I know that was part of their plan.”


On Georgia’s turnover ratio…

“We’re 3-1. We put ourselves in position to be in this game this weekend and have it be very meaningful and that’s really what you want at this point. Have we peaked? No way. There’s no way this team has peaked. Will we peak is the questions? Will we become solid enough and consistent enough to be able to win a game like this. Time is going to tell. A very short amount of time will tell. What we’ve done in the past is the past. We have put ourselves in position to be undefeated in SEC play. Playing a team that is ranked No. 4 in the country at our house, we have a chance to see what we are all about.”


On his expectations of the team entering the season…

“There was a lot of mystery to me. Not for sure knowing what Joe (Cox) could do. Not for sure knowing what our running backs were going to do. Who might be able to make a play besides A.J. Green? All those questions everybody else had, we had. In the offseason we were a little bit more healthy up front. Losing Tanner Strickland and Trinton Sturdivant hurt us. There’s no question about that. If we had those two guys we would be more solid up from than we are right now. I’m not saying we’re bad by any means, but losing two guys like that that would have been starters for you, hurts you. Defensively, I think we are still finding our way a little bit. I was very pleased with how we played last week. One thing about the defense in the three victories, in the fourth quarter we have played extremely well. In crunch time we have played well. Last week’s fourth quarter I think we held them to minus 13 yards total. The last three drives of the game were three and outs for Arizona State. And without it we’re not 3-1 right now. Have we played lights out? No, but we’ve also played some pretty good football teams. I had a guy call me last night on my show and wanted to gripe about defensive statistics and I didn’t mention it, but first of all the 3-1 is more important than where you are ranked offensively or defensively. If you play a couple of teams that you just totally out match and you hold a team to 150 yards total and three points, you get a couple of games like that, that’s going to look good on your stats for six weeks or the entire year.  But when you play Oklahoma State and Arizona State, you don’t have that luxury to be padding stats. We knew that going in, and we know that what matters the most is on any given Saturday do we play good enough to win and that’s been the most positive thing that I can say right now. The other thing that I can say is positive is there have been times when the offense has been outstanding. There has been times when those six special teams have been special at one time or another. The defense has played extremely well at times and certainly in the red zone all year long. There are a lot of positives that have happened but they’ve all kind of taken their turn. Thankfully, one of those segments has maybe been the difference in wining these last three games. Now, if we could all come together at the same time and play that kind of football then we will have a chance. If we don’t it will be another barnburner I would imagine.”


On how games that go down to the wire help a team…

“Right now I feel very energized. Right now I feel very excited about where we are and where we are going. I think a lot has to do with LSU coming to town and us having a chance to play well and hopefully get a victory that could put us in great position. We’re competing for the SEC and the SEC game, national TV, very highly ranked and highly regarded program. It’s the challenge that most competitors get excited about this kind of game. That’s just kind of how I feel right now.


“I think it builds confidence. I think when you’re in the middle of a game and you hit that adversity everybody can look at each other and say ‘Here we go again; let’s go do it,’ rather than ‘Here we go again, we’re in trouble’. I think the first attitude is the one that we have at this moment and hopefully we continue to have it. I’ve said it ever since I’ve been at Georgia; I think we’re a good football team. I think we’re good enough to win the East and win the SEC, but the teams that win the close games are going to be the champions and so that has to be the first and foremost thing of importance is winning that football game. That’s what we are preparing for right now.”


On Chad Jones and the LSU safeties…

“They do match up well. They probably match up the best of any secondary that we play so far this year. They match up in that they are talented but they are also bigger men. (Patrick) Peterson, is 6-1, 211. That’s a huge corner for a guy that can run like he can run and jump and have the ball skills. Sometimes you have a big corner like that and you put him in the boundary and expect him to be the eighth guy in the box and bring him on corner blitzes. He can do all those things but he’ll the wide corner, their right and left. He can play out in space. Of course (Chad) Jones as we’ve mentioned already, his size and strength and athleticism, they match up well. When you look at (Chris) Hawkins, he’s not as big of a kid, but he has some pretty good height, and he’s 6-1. We’re not going up against some small corners that wouldn’t have a chance against the jump ball situations that A.J. has been winning all along. I’m sure by scheme and just by pure athleticism and size they will match up better than anybody we’ve played.”


On similarities between what John Chavis is doing at LSU and what he did at Tennessee

“They are doing the same thing and for good reason. Coach Chavis has been one of the finest defensive coordinators in the SEC for years. Even last year’s team was second in the league, second in the country in some categories. What they do is very, very sound very difficult to deal with. When you insert the type of athletes that Tennessee and LSU have they’ll have nothing but success.”


On defending Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver

“It’s going to be tough. LaFell is one of the finest in the country. I think he’s a very high draft pick. I’m not saying Tolliver won’t be one day either but I think LaFell has proven that he has star quality and he’s a mismatch for anybody one-on-one, let alone whether they are our guys or not. When you look Tolliver’s size, 6-5, 206, we might have one over 5-11 but most everybody is 5-11 or under. So I think just their shear size is going to be an issue for us.”


On whether Georgia will use different backs besides Richard Samuel and Caleb King

“Not really. I think Richard and Caleb will be the guys. I’m not saying we won’t see some of Carlton (Thomas), but right now those are the guys we are going with. “


On whether Washaun Ealey would redshirt

“It’s still too early to say.”


On Fred Munzenmaier

“Fred has good running ability as a fullback. He’s definitely big enough to play the fullback position. He does have agility and good running skills. We saw that in his high school tape. Over the years we’ve had him play tailback for us in the spring, and he’s probably carried a couple in a game.”


On balancing the desire to get the ball to A.J. Green relative to the turnover ratio…

“You have to throw the ball. If you are going to get it to A.J. you have to throw it, that’s for sure. Every time you throw it there is a risk of a pick, and every time you run in there is a risk of a fumble. You just have to play ball and keep working on the fundamentals of ball security and the fundamentals of making good decisions and good throws. The better we block, run block and pass block, the better chance we have of not having turnovers. It does all work together but we can’t say let’s not throw it because we could throw a pick. We just have to play. Turnover ratios are important; what’s happened in the past I don’t think is very important at all. The turnover ratio that is most crucial is what happened in this game. I’m more concerned about the turnover ratio Saturday than I am what we’ve had to this point, so hopefully we’ll get that thing turned around and be in a whole lot better shape.”


On his role in Georgia’s playcalling

“My input is mostly throughout the week. I will look at film and personnel grouping, down and distance tendencies and field position. I’ll write down things that I like, I’ll make a copy of it, and I’ll hand it to Mike (Bobo). Some things I might discuss with him if it’s a little bit different and if I need to explain. Most everything that I write down he knows exactly what I’m talking about we’ve worked together for so many years. I’ll say if you like it, use it; if you don’t, don’t. The coordinator has to decide how much goes in and there are a lot of good ideas; we just can’t have too much. Game day, the decision to go for it on fourth and very short, that’s my call to make. There are certain things that I’ll do. I might say let’s take a shot to A.J. right now. I might insert something like that here and again. If we are rolling into a third down, I’ll tell Mike we have two downs to get this first down instead of one. Or if we go into a third down situation I’ll say if we don’t make it, I want the field goal team, or if we don’t make it, I want the punt team. Or if we get the ball inside the 35-yard line, it’s a field goal. If we don’t, we’ll pooch punt. There are things that have to be decided about a play in advance so everybody knows what to do. I’m still involved in that kind of thing, calling timeout when a quarterback is not ready to either call timeout or get the ball snapped before the 40-second clock. You have to be ready to do that too. You have to be ready for those. And have conversations with the officials throughout the game.”


On Georgia’s turnovers…

“On the two picks, one there was a lot of pressure in his face on the very first one. (Joe Cox) probably threw the ball a little sooner than he wanted. The second one, he just basically threw it behind the receiver, not a very good ball. The fumble was actually caused by our own man. Ben Jones was blocking and trying to get second and third effort, and as he was moving to the second level and was pursuing a linebacker, he actually ran into Caleb (King) and hit the ball with his shoulder pad and helmet. Still, Caleb still has to be able to hang on to the ball no matter who hits him and when they hit him. We had a fumble on the kickoff where young Branden Smith was just running out of there and the thing just flew out of there. Why does that happen? I don’t know; probably because he’s a rookie. The one punt fumble, I don’t know if Prince Miller could have done much about it, it was a very short punt. He was coming up to try to field it where he doesn’t let it bounce for 20 yards and has he’s running up full speed, (Brandon) Boykin was blocking one of their gunners as hard as he can and he runs into Prince, and the ball is on the ground. We’ve had a little bit of everything. It hasn’t been that much of a common thread.”


On whether Akeem Dent, Vance Cuff and Kiante Tripp will play Saturday…

“Dent, probably not; Cuff, more than likely and (Tripp), no I wouldn’t think Kiante.”


On Caleb King…

“He’s been progressing as he’s been able to play. I think he’ll certainly get a good share of them. I’m not going to sit here and try to predict if he’ll get more than Richard (Samuel). Right now in my mind they are 50-50 in my thinking. One guy might be running a little bit better than the other, and he may get more. We’re not to the position where we saying 75 percent of the totes here and 25 percent there. We looking to more let’s play them both, keep them fresh, see how they’re doing and kind of go from there.”


On Brandon Wood

“Brandon is a guy who is big enough and strong enough to play in the interior defensive line. He may go back there next season. Right now he is healthy enough to play and he’s had some experience outside. He’s a little bit bigger end that we might normally have, but he’s a good athlete. He’s strong, he has good quickness. He just needs playing time. He’s been hurt almost his whole career so this has been really good for him to be able to play and jut get a taste of it.”


On the Georgia-LSU series…

“All the games we have played against them have been very meaningful in season, and twice for the SEC crown. They got one and we got one. When you think of LSU you think of the cream of the crop and a team that if you’re able to beat them, you’ve accomplished something special. That’s just how we look at them.”


On how A.J. has improved from a year ago…

“I think he’s better in that he’s about 15-20 pounds heavier. I don’t think he lost any speed or agility. He certainly understands the system better. Considering that (Mohamed Massaquoi) is not on the other side of him and Knowshon (Moreno) is not taking some of the pressure off by being able to run the bell as well as we did a year ago, I think he’s earning every yard that he has maybe a little bit more than he had a year ago. He showed up with tremendous confidence in his ability to catch anything within range, and he’s continued with that.”


#14 Joe Cox:

On Georgia’s offense and sophomore flanker A.J. Green…

“We need to make sure we are executing in the run game, and we need to make sure we are executing in all our other aspects of the passing game with me throwing to running backs, tight ends, Mike Moore and Tavarres (King) and Rantavious. Really, just being productive all the way across the board. I think that will free up A.J. even more the same way it kind of worked out with Arkansas. There’s going to be a lot of attention on A.J. with anybody we play, and we need to be able to take advantage of other match ups that we can find with other guys we have.”


On facing talented safeties…

“It just makes you want to make sure you know what’s going on that much more. You want to get into the film room more and pick up on anything that you possibly can with what they do pre-snap or right at the snap, so you can get a good read on what their coverage is. It’s going to be a great challenge, and it’s going to be a great opportunity too. I think we match up well with who we are playing, and I think if we execute we can get the job done. It’s just a matter of us executing.”


On Georgia’s first four games all having a different feel to them and if he expected the season to be as unpredictable as it has going into week five…

“I know that after week one if you would have asked us where we wanted to be going into the LSU game, we would have said three and one. That’s where we are. We found ways to win. We stuck together. When the defense needed to make plays, they’ve made plays. When the offense needed to make plays, we made plays. There’s a lot of things in between that we need to correct that could make us pretty good football team, and we are fully aware of the things we need to work on. I think once we correct those things I think we can be a good team.”


#48 Fred Munzenmaier:

On scoring touchdowns on each of the first three carries in his career and that streak coming to an end with multiple rushing attempts against Arizona State…

“It was fun having a little streak going, but I was glad to get several carries the other night. Contributing is more important to me than getting the ball once and a while on the one-yard line, so I felt good to be able to help out more in those key situations.”


#3 Bryan Evans

On the big game atmosphere and the national stage this weekend…

“Hopefully it will be a plus for us when we get this win Saturday. They are ranked No. 4 in the country and we are ranked No. 18, and any time you can get an SEC win and a win against at team No. 4 ranked team it is big for your program. I think this can be a very big momentum booster.”


On Bacarri Rambo…

Baccari Rambo is capable to come in and play for me or Reshad (Jones) if either of us goes down. He looked very good out there. He is making plays on special teams and when coach calls him to come in on defense he is making plays as well.”


#35 Rennie Curran

On the performance against ASU…

“We just have to build off what we did last week and the good things. I really feel like we had a good week of practice. We got some turnovers that we needed at crucial times in the game, and we got pressure on the quarterback. It all starts with our preparation: how much film we are watching, how we are attacking the scout team, and the attitude that we have during the week.”


On putting together a good defense and offense…

“You are not always going to have a perfect game. No matter how well we play, there is always something that we feel that we can do better. At the same time, we have to be able to capitalize on our opportunities and not make mistakes that are going to keep the team in the game and give them momentum. The main thing for us is to continue to encourage each other because we all believe in each other.”


On LSU this weekend…

“When we play a team like LSU, we have to have a perfect game. We can’t give them any room to breathe. We have to get ready to play our best game of football.  We have to put all the mistakes we made behind us, get ready to have a great game and put it all together.”

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