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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Practice Notes

Think Mark Richt is a little worried about Alabama spies in his midst this week? He's closed practice for the second year in a row against the Tide, and during his meeting with media tonight he purposely avoided answering questions about injuries, blackout surprises, special teams coverages and whether Quintin Banks would definitely play. I blame Saban for making my job harder.

Anyway, here are a few things we did learn:

-- Entering the news conference, Richt wore a black Georgia shirt and a black bermuda hat. One reporter commented on the hat, asking if it was for the blackout. Richt then made a reference to the now infamous Alabama assistant coach who said Georgia would sport black uni's because it was going to a funeral.

"It is, did you know that?," Richt said, joking about the blackout happening. "I'm going to a funeral."

-- Tavarres King has an ankle sprain and will not play this week. Brannan Southerland will be on the field, Richt said.

"He'll be the personal protector, and he'll probably be on extra-point and field goal, too. You don't have to run too much hopefully. If you get a kick blocked, you might have to run real fast, so hopefully that won't happen."

-- I also spoke with Corvey Irvin, who said his roommate, defensive end Jarius Wynn, was feeling good and would definitely play this week.

-- Richt said the offensive line would look the same to start the game this week as it did last week. As for the grasshopper-eating Ben Jones, who will be matched against Terrence Cody, Richt said he expected the freshman to play as much as he did last week -- which was nearly the entire game.

-- Richt said he was worried about stopping Alabama's impressive kick returner Javier Arenas, but that's as far as he would go.

"I don't want to give away the game plan to be honest, and I think anything I say might give them a hint as to what we plan to do other than to say he's really good."

-- Motivating the players this week wouldn't be too tough, Richt said."I think it's going to be one of the easiest games to motivate forsince I've been at Georgia. It's a no-brainer. If the guys blooddoesn't boil, if they don't get riled up for this one, they probablyshouldn't be wearing red and black."

-- Richt said he wasn't concerned about former Bulldogs coach and current Alabama assistant Kirby Smart sharing any key details of the Georgia playbook with Nick Saban. He said there may be a slight edge because of Georgia O line coach Stacy Searels' familiarity with Saban, however, as the two worked together at LSU.

"I'd say a lot more if Kirby was here while Mike Bobo was the coordinator because things change, just the way we call things. We went right and left instead of tight and split with our line. The verbiage changed. Some of the things stayed the same, but there was a lot of change, and I don't think Kirby would be clued into that because of being at Georgia. Now, Nick's experience with Stacy might help and vice versa. But Kirby being here isn't as big of a factor because we're really not doing what we were doing when he was here. There are some things that carried over, but there's probably been more change than not. Coach Saban's defense right now is not exactly how it was when he was at LSU, when Stacy was there and we played them at LSU. It's just different."

-- No more controversy about ESPN. Richt said he's surprised it has been so long since "GameDay" made a trip to Athens, but he said there's no reason to think it was a conspiracy.

"I don't know what goes into deciding whether you need to come for GameDay' but as you look, there might have been a game or two I thought we might have them come, but there was always another pretty good game going on, too, and I could see why they went where they wend and never felt slighted."

And about the Knowshon non-highlight from the Central Michigan game?

"I know they get highlights from everywhere, but they have to do those things pretty quick. When I said they missed the boat, I wasn't trying to be real critical. I think they got their feelings hurt. I wasn't trying to hurt anybody's feeling. I was like, to me, that was kind of a no-brainer ESPN highlight and it wasn't there, so you're wondering why, but they have to go through a lot of games."

-- Richt said the flight back from Arizona hasn't had a major effect on the players, but it has taken its toll on the coaching staff, who weren't able to catch up on sleep Sunday.

"I have on the coaching staff, including me. I know the staff is pretty tired right now, but they're grinding it out. I think the players were able to take the full day Sunday and rest, and I think a good many of them were able to sleep on the plane, but that whole day Sunday to sleep in as long as you want, to take a nap in the middle of the day if you want, I think that helped them a lot."

-- Asked about A.J. Green and Julio Jones, Richt said both were special players. I'll have a story on the two of them for tomorrow's paper as well, for those of you who still read the paper. Here's what Richt had to say:

"I think they're both big-time players, guys that could be difference makers for their team, guys that will be if they stay healthy throughout their careers. They're going to make big plays, and usually the big plays make the difference in our game because most of them are very close. It takes a guy here and there to make a play to score the touchdown or get the big catch on third-and-long, and I think both these guys have already done it and will continue to do it for a while."

-- In case you were wondering about the bowling skills on the Bulldogs:

"We've got some good bowlers. We've got Adam Fuller, who's baseball. He's a ringer that Knowshon and Demarcus brought in. They knew he could bowl. Stafford, the first day, came in and bowled a 207 and left. He was the high scorer the first week. Coach Bobo didn't want him to come. He averages about one game a week. I bowled a 197 last week, that wasn't bad. Dobbs and Adam have been in I think Adam's bowled one over 200, Dobbs has been in the 180s. Knowshon has been in the 170s, 180s."

-- Richt also talked about his relationship with Larry Munson:

"All I can say is I'm thankful that I was able to get to know him, get to work with him. I really don't hear many of his calls. You hear the ones that people decide are his greatest calls, but I've never heard him do a game. But I got to know him as a person, and I really enjoy him. He's a great Bulldog and a very neat guy.

"For me personally, the hobnail boot was a special game for me and our staff in my first year as head coach here. For that call to become one of his greatest calls from what people say, I'm just glad to be a part of it. When I think of Larry Munson, I'll think of that call."

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