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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Richt Press Conference Notes

Some interesting tidbits from Mark Richt's press conference today:

-- Practice will be closed all week. Richt made the same decision last year before the Alabama game, and his philosophy, he said, was that if it worked last year, might as well do it again. Much like not being able to talk to O lineman or Coach Searels, I blame Nick Saban for this.

-- Big news on the A.J. Harmon front: He's moving to offense. Oddly, a few of us speculated about that yesterday because Harmon was not allowed to meet with media after practice, which tipped us off that he must be on the O line now.

Anyway, apparently last week when Georgia was battling a few O line injuries, coaches decided to give Harmon a shot.

"We had guys banged up last week and right in the middle of practice, it was kind of like an on-field promotion, on the battlefield," Richt said. "A couple of guys went down and Coach Searels just grabbed him and said, 'Hey, man, go over there.' And every play, he told him what to do, and he pass protected real good, then he reached a guy and sealed him off, then he pulled out on a screen. He was three-for-three, and everybody's like giving him high fives. We just think it will be in his best interests for his future."

Richt said an immediate decision wasn't made on Harmon's future, but A.J. came to him last Thursday and offered to make the switch. Richt told him a final decision would be made by next week.

"We ended up having a conversation about it over the weekend and everybody felt like it was the best thing for him," Richt said.

Richt called the move "a permament thing" but said, barring an injury, Harmon was still likely to redshirt.

Coincidentally, in talking to Chris Davis about preparing for Alabama's enormous DT Terrence Cody, he said Harmon was actually only scout-team D lineman that could give the Dawgs' O line a comparable challenge to Cody physically.

-- Poor Shaun Chapas. The kid barely missed a touchdown two weeks ago against Central Michigan, getting pushed out of bounds inside the 5. Then he went two weeks without a goal line carry. He failed to punch in two tries at the end of last Saturday's game against Arizona State, too. But he had one of the most wide-open routes for an easy TD you'll ever see against the Sun Devils, too, and he fell down.

"That's your one chance for glory, and he fell down," Richt said. "That linebacker came as hard as he could come, and he just dodged him. He didn't trip, there was no collision. The safeties were way out there. He just fell down. I feel bad for him."

-- Rod Battle will not play this week. Richt said he hopes to have him back for the Tennessee game.

-- Quinton Banks should play, but Richt didn't guarantee anything. "Ron (Courson) has said he's free to play, but that's going to be a coaching decision as to how far along we think he is, if he's game ready," Richt said. With the night game and cooler weather, however, Richt also said the defense would likely do less subbing anyway.

-- Not sure how many of you used to watch "Night Court," but it was one of my favorite shows of the 1980s (I was in love with Markie Post from 1986 through 1991). Anyway, the initial plot of the show was this: On the mayor's final day in office, he needed to appoint a judge. It was a Sunday, though, and every reliable person he called to offer the position to wasn't at home. Finally he got to a young, inexperienced and off-the-wall guy (Harry Anderson's character) who was the only person to answer his phone. Thus, he got the job, and for nine years, hijinks ensued.

Anyway, I couldn't help but think about that when Richt answered a question about punt-blocking expert Zack Renner today.

"He's a guy that has come in and has proven to our staff that he's an outstanding special teams player. The progression usually goes, try to survive mat drills, go out there and be on the scout team for every scout team you're on and do such a good job that you get noticed enough to maybe get a couple reps on one of our main special teams. Part of the reason he's a blocking specialist, a punt blocking specialist is when we have certain things going on throughout the day, through our kicking period, A, B, C, D, we have 20 minutes of kicking. Well, a lot of times, Coach Eason might want A.J. and Tavarres King working on some route running or some other coach might want a guy working on this or that. Well, Renner is always available. So Coach Fab knows he can take that kid and teach him what he needs to know about blocking kicks, because there is an art to it. You've got to have a nose for it, you've got to want to do it, and you've got to practice it. He gets a lot of time to practice it."

-- And finally, I thought this was a good story about Knowshon from Richt:

"I knew he had passion. Most high school tapes you watch, it's pretty bland. You see them playing, some kids will send music, but we turn it off. We just watch the film. There's no commentators, there's no sound to it. But every once in a while, you will actually see the personality of a player jump off the screen, and he was one of those guys. You knew he loved to play the game. He had some flair to him. He's not a showboat, but he gets excited about playing the game."


Anonymous said...

Speaking of slipping wrt Chapas, I noticed that a bunch of our players slipped, and Richt even mentioned Moreno wasn't able to cut like he likes. I never actually heard why that was. The field wasn't likely to be wet with the low humidity, so was it just the kind of grass, or what?

Anonymous said...


Any mention as to why Richard Samuel didn't play in the Az. St. game?

Also, I think it'll be big if we can get soem continuity on the OLine. Did you get the feeling that they'll use the same starting five against Bama?

Finally, what do they plan on doing against Cody? I doubt if a true freshman can block that 360-pound beast matter how nasty Ben Jones is. I'm thinking maybe we go to a couple of two-tight end sets...or run a bunch of misdirection plays. What do you think?

David Hale said...

Anon -- No real work on Samuel. In talking to him, even he doesn't know why he didn't play, and he said he hoped things would be different this week. Coaches are towing the same line -- there is no No. 2, they'll both see the field. In regards to the line, I think we'll see the same look both against Alabama and for the rest of the season barring a major collapse or injury. Coaches really wanted to see Vance at LT, and he looked OK, and they've been pleased with Ben Jones. Regarding that matchup with Cody, check out my story in today's Telegraph/Ledger-Enquirer.

And here's what Richt had to say about the blocking scheme against Cody: "When you zone block you really don’t know where it is going to go. We are going to call the plays we have been calling so we are not going to change that. Normally you want to block the line of scrimmage before you come to the linebacker so two guys will certainly be working on him. We will try to get some movement. I doubt the movement will be straight ahead. We might get some lateral movement out of him because you can create seams."

Anonymous said...

I don't remember where I saw it, but I recall that Richt said it was in fact a different sort of grass and that the players, particularly Knowshon, had some trouble with it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the looked like FieldTurf, which is made of recycled tennis shoes. I've seen lots of players--baseball and football--slip on the stuff, especially outdoors. I don't know if different cleats would have made a difference, but I didn't see ASU slipping as much. Maybe it had as much to do with the Dawgs being on an unfamiliar surface.

Anonymous said...

I was also wondering about Kenneth Harris. I know he was injured in the first game of the year, then he played in the first series vs. ASU, but I never saw him on the field again. I thought he got Offensive POY in the spring. How do you not give him but one series?

Matthew said...

Coach Richt said on his coach's show that the grass was definitely different and that's why footing was an issue. He compared it to winter rye.

Travis_in_Augusta said...

Speaking of ASU's field: A friend of mine was at the game and talked to a 70+ yr old man, who has had season tix ever since the stadium opened. He said that the field was winter rye and that it is watered from underneath due to the dry heat of the desert. He also stated that it was not uncommon for people to slip on it due to this very reason.