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Friday, August 29, 2008

Final Preseason Wrap Up

A few bits of wisdom from members of the Georgia Bulldogs as we prepare for the first game of the season:

Mark Richt on what he liked about A.J. Green during the recruiting process:

"Quiet, humble, confident. Just a sincere interest in doing whatever it took to get here. Once he set his mind on Georgia, he was coming to Georgia. That was it, and whatever obstacles where in the way, whatever you say I need to do, I will do it, and he did. He did a great job, and he never wavered."

Richt on Ben Jones' role:

"Right this second, he's not in the starting lineup, no. But we want him to play, so he'll play. Chris Davis could easily play some guard and Vance could play some tackle, and we're creating depth by moving guys around a little bit, which we wish we didn't have to do, but we have to this year. Ben Jones will play. We'll have a true freshman snapping the ball some time during the game. And we hope to get Justin Anderson in the game, and he's a redshirt freshman."

Richt on how comfortable Mike Bobo is a year after becoming OC:

"Once you've been through it, lived through it for an entire season, you've got a lot more confidence, at least the types of things that are coming at you throughout the year. And I'm sure he was able to reflect, look at some of the things he didn't like, didn't get right and try to get better. This year, he still knows he's got to learn what we're capable of doing. A lot of that is going to have to do with the capability of our offensive line. A year ago, I thought he and the offensive staff did a great job of not trying to go beyond the boundaries of what our offensive line could accomplish, and I think they're going to have to do it again unfortunately. There's probably going to be some limitations of what you might do if you have a real veteran offensive line, you can probably just dial a play, but with this group, we'll probably have to be a little bit careful in terms of what we can accomplish."

Richt on how to protect players from preseason injuries:

"You can prevent it if you decide not to block and tackle in practice, but half of our injuries were pulled muscles. When you're teaching guys to play the way the game should be played, guys are going to get hurt."

Richt on the level of depth his team has:

"Everybody has depth. Everybody has enough players. But how many experienced players is kind of what we're talking about. When you look at our next three guys in line to play on offensive line, it's three freshmen two redshirt freshmen and a true freshman. So that's not a lot of experienced depth. It's zero experienced depth, and even some starters have no experience. Safety could become an issue in a hurry if we had something happen. Fullback got dangerously thin, but at least we found out some things early enough to do something about it to provide some depth, but there's no experience behind Chapas right now."

Richt on Asher Allen returning punts:

"He's not out of the mix as a punt returner, and he is still returning kicks, I'm not sure if it will be him or Ramarcus starting. I don't know for sure if both of them will get it, but those are the top two right now. We don't think the other younger guys are quite ready for it yet. I don't mind him doing both just so long as he's not doing every kickoff return and every punt return, but if he's taking some punts and some kicks, I don't think that would be so bad. But to be the guy every single time and play the position he's got to play, I think it would be too much."

Richt on what he likes about Clint Boling:

"He learned what to do pretty quick. He's a quick study. I still don't know if he talks. He hardly says a word, he just works. He works hard, he's tough, he's athletic, and he learned what to do. He got to the point where he was a pretty darn good football player, and we're really looking forward to getting him back."

... and where Boling might play when he returns:

"Right side of the line, right guard, right tackle. If he has to play left tackle, he's got to play left tackle. That's why I'm curious, curious to see what happens with a lot of those guys."

Willie Martinez on Darryl Gamble:

"He's a smart player, an athletic kid that can play all three positions, which is a major advantage to us. He kind of fell into the outside linebacker position. He looked really good there, too. He'd been inside at Mike and Will, and we put him out there because of trying to get reps and a couple injuries, and we really like him there. He looks like a natural at all three of them which is an advantage for us."

Ramarcus Brown on the importance of a national title:

"That's always going to be something coaches and players care about, but you've got to win one before you can win two. You've got to win two before you win three. So we take it one game at a time, but at the end of the day, that's what we're playing for. We're playing to go undefeated and win a national championship."

Asher Allen on the lack of depth at safety:

"I think that going into the season, with the injury to Quintin Banks, that's puts a little damper, especially to our two-deep safety system. But I think that with John Knox there, he's going to provide depth at both safeties. Rambo, he's been doing a good job. Obviously, experience is something that he lacks, but I feel like he's been doing good at practice."

Allen on what it's like the first time freshmen get to play:

"It's big. It's a lot different than practice. At practice you're going up against guys that you know. When you go against them, it's kind of a competition, and you've been going up against them all camp, so you really know them. But now you're going up against another group of receivers every single week. But with every game, you get more experience and grow as a player, so hopefully for the younger people that will happen."

Matthew Stafford on new left tackle Kiante Tripp:

"Athletically, he's about as good as you can ask for. He's unbelievably quick, strong, flexible, he can bend. He's everything you want, you've just got to have experience. But that will come, and I think he's got the mentality to get it done."

Mohamed Massaquoi on the disappointment of not having a shot at a BCS title last year:

"The thing people don't realize is we were never promised or guaranteed to be in that position. We went to a great bowl game in the Sugar Bowl, we had a great time down there, and we're fortunate to be in a good position this year."

Massaquoi on the development of the freshmen DBs:

"They're a talented group, they're a smart group, and they're out there just playing their hearts out. They're going to make mistakes, but at the same time, they're going to do a lot of good things, and they're just going to learn and get better as time goes on."

Knowshon Moreno on his lack of contact during preseason camp:

"Once that first hit comes on, you get a better feel for it, and you're like Alright, cool,' and you're back to normal. I've gotten a little contact, so I don't think it'll be a problem."

CJ Byrd on replacing Kelin Johnson:

"We lost a good guy there, but every year, I don't think you have to replace a certain guy. Every year, somebody's going to be different. It wasn't always a guy like him back there. You don't have to replace exactly what he left, you have to leave your own thing. Maybe next year, people will be saying you left this year. You lead in different ways."

Akeem Dent on defending the spread:

"The main thing is being able to communicate. The spread, they try to hit you fast, most teams run the no-huddle out of the spread offense. So from a defensive standpoint, you've just got to be able to run to the ball and hit that closed space and make open-field tackles."

Dent on what Dannell Ellerbe brings to the defense:

"That's basically how the whole defense wants to play. If anything goes wrong, we can always look at Dannell, he always has energy and everyone can feed off him. He's out leader."

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