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Friday, October 24, 2008

Deleted Scenes: Week 8

Alright folks, I'm off to the Big Easy. Probably will not have another update until Saturday afternoon, but hopefully these quotes from coaches and players that didn't quite make it into any of my stories this week.

Mark Richt on needing style points in Georgia's wins: "I am not worried about it. I am really not worried about it. Winning to me, is really pretty stylish. We keep winning I will be happy."

Richt on life in the SEC: "When I first got here I would keep track of where we were nationally ranked in offense, defense, all these categories like I did when I was at Florida State. But after living a season or two, I check the SEC stats. That is all I check because that is the best gauge we have on how we are doing. We could be leading our league in scoring and be 25th in the country. But if you are leading our league in scoring you are doing a heckuva job."

Richt on the kickoff return game:
"I felt like we were just one block away around game 3, 4, 5. Right around there I felt we were very close to breaking a big one. As of late, saw Richard return that one in the game and thought maybe he could get to that last guy and break a tackle. Maybe be a little more fresh than Ramarcus. We weren't dissatisfied with Ramarcus. We thought here is a young kid, he is a freshman, he is playing -- we thought maybe he could give us a boost. Quite frankly, we quit blocking as well. We didn't feel like Richard was really hitting it where it ought to be hit, too. So we are keeping Ramarcus there and right now Ramarcus will be the man to return kicks."

Richt on putting a complete game together:
"In any given game, we've had the offense have a good performance or defense in another one or some phase of special teams in another one. Every facet of our team in one game or another has had a very good game. I can't say that everyone really hit their stride in one particular game. Hopefully we can, the opponent has a lot to do with whether or not you are hitting your stride, too."

Richt on Geno Atkins' play:
"I don't know if it has anything to do with Jeffrey being there or not. Geno has been playing great. He has not been the only one playing great on a consistent basis, but he is one of the guys that I will watch in the game because I get excited when I see him knocking people back, playing as hard as he plays an created a new line of scrimmage."

Richt on what A.J. Green is still working on: "He's still thinking. Coming to the line, making sure he has the right split. Looking for a fellow receiver to make sure he is in the right spot, just the little things like that he is working hard on. Still, we change so many plays at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes when you hear a play in the huddle, then you have a chance to go to the line and think about what you are going to do, if the quarterback changes that play then without two or three seconds that ball is snapped, so you have to process that information. Even on an audible you have to change your stance, or your route or your blocking assignment. It is not that simple. He is getting more comfortable, he certainly has a lot to do to get more comfortable there."

Richt on the O line facing a challenge similar to Alabama: "It is very similar. I will say this, every week is a challenge for those guys, really and truly. Were just still feeling our way around a little bit, but I like the way they have been playing. I don't think they feel like they are rookies anymore. They have a very good feel of what is expected from them by coach Searels. The more experience they get the more they don't get caught off guard with something new. I am sure there are some things LSU will do that our guys haven't seen on film yet but for the most part they are getting accustomed to what it is going to take to be successful and what kind of defensive fronts we are going to see."

Richt on the number of injuries: "It's been pretty extreme. You try to not think about it much. You give your condolences to the guys who are hurt, and then you move on. You go with the next guy and expect him to do well, and they have done well. But every once in a while, you look up and see all the green jerseys and crutches and you're like, 'My gosh, it's been pretty bad, hasn't it?' And it has. It's been pretty rough."

Richt on the role speed plays in recruiting: "It's crucial, but you can watch film and gauge speed. Sometimes it's hard to tell when a player is at a competition level where the guys aren't that fast that are chasing him. You really can't have every kid in camp and really you can't just run the 40s in camp and time them any more. There are some that are super obvious and everybody in the country knows they are super fast and everybody is trying to get them. Then there's other guys that are still pretty darn fast, but it's hard to gauge exactly how fast they are. But it's important because you want to match up with people that can run real fast. There are some combines they go to that we can't go to, but you can get the numbers on them. But even so, if you had just one group doing the testing everywhere you went, it would be more reliable, but if you have this group doing that, this group doing it over here, it's just so hard to quantify a guy's true speed. Usually on film, you can say that guy's fast, but is he SEC fast? That's another question."

Richt on handling recruits who get hurt before arriving:
"We have never reneged a scholarship because a guy got hurt. I tell them, once you commit to me, we're committed to you as long as you do everything you're supposed to do between now and then. You have to have the academics and you have to behave, but other than that, you're ours and we're going to take care of you. If you don't embrace this game, you probably shouldn't be playing in it. You should be excited about playing in this game, and they are. And I'm sure LSU's guys are extremely excited, too. It's the game that as you're an eighth and ninth and 10th grader that you're looking at the Southeastern Conference and think, 'Man, I'd love to play in one of those.' When you decide to come to Georgia, it's because you get to play in those kind of games. I think the players are excited and ready to embrace the opportunity."

Richt on the keys to winning on the road: "Quarterback of all positions is the position that has to deal with crowd noise the most, has to deal with adverse conditions. And if your quarterback can handle that, you've got a good chance. Lately, I think our field-goal kickers have been outstanding. There have been a lot of very close games on the road that we needed to have that key kick, and I think our kickers have done a very fine job over the years. I believe our coaches don't panic. I can't remember I don't think there's ever been a time on our sideline where I felt like there was chaos, like there was disarray. Our coaches realize things aren't always going to go your way. My attitude, if something bad happens a pick, a fumble, a penalty, if they throw a long bomb for a touchdown I know those things are going to happen, so I'm not surprised or caught off guard by it. My initial reaction isn't who's fault is it. I don't care whose fault it is at that time. My reaction is, OK, this is where we are, what do we have to do to win? That's been my mentality and I think it's been the mentality of the team. I think that's helped us keep our poise."

Richt on getting big plays against LSU: "It's always nice to get a quick strike. We're always looking for them, and I think we'll always take some shots downfield. You can't rely on them, but when you do get them, they can really change the momentum of the game. ... It will be very difficult to drive the ball against them like we have the last couple games."

Richt on how A.J. Green will handle the LSU crowd: "I would have to say that it doesn't get a whole lot more exciting for A.J. than to go to South Carolina. It's his home state and it was a loud crowd. LSU's crowd is fantastic, but the fact that it was in his home state would probably put more pressure on him than anything you can give him, and he really played well that game. I think he'll be fine."

Tony Ball on Caleb King's growth:
"The biggest change I've seen is his attention, his alertness, his awareness. All that has really created to me what I thought was the biggest problem was an awareness, an alertness, an ability to protect, to pass protect. That was always one of my biggest concerns, as well as knowing what to do. Because of his attention in those things he has seemed to come to life and be a complete back."

Ball on King's attitude:
"I think he's developing a comfort level with the offense, not so much with his position. His position, I would hope would be to be that starting guy, to be that guy who gets the bulk of the reps, the guy we trust and depend on as the starter. I hope that's the role he desires to have, and I think it is. I hope he's not getting comfortable with his current role, but with what we're doing, I think he's developing a comfort level with what we're doing."

Prince Miller on Bryan Evans: "He's a competitor, just as we all are. Some days you don't play up to your abilities and some days you do. There's been plenty of days where other people haven't had their best games. He's going to come out and be fired up. He's not worried about it."

Vance Cuff on Evans: "The thing that surprised me, Bryan's got to be the fastest guy out there, might be the fastest guy on our team. His technique was good. But when you're playing DB, you've got to just forget plays. He's a good player, and I don't know what was going on, but I told him just to think about all he'd done for Georgia in the past, forget about that play and move on to the next one."

Cuff on Georgia's leadership:
"It's very obvious to see that our leadership is stepping up. It's sad to see that a loss made us step up like that, but that put a light under our tails. The leadership is just growing from day to day now. You can hear it in the weight room, the film room, older guys, younger guys, just the time between classes. The leadership is just stepping up."

Cuff on what vocal leaders mean to him: "It's obvious the leaders, their confidence about the game plan, they know it. And you feel good when you're hearing them relay stuff. If you go to them and ask them, you know they know what they're doing because they declared themselves as a leader at practice, putting in extra time on game film. Any question that pops into my head, I know I'm going to Asher Allen because that guy knows his game plan down to the T."

Corvey Irvin on stepping into a leadership role:
"I did put my time in around here, and I feel like I'm that guy. Jeff's gone, and nobody really wanted to talk, we've got Mohamed and CJ Byrd, and I feel like I'm the next guy in line to be that leader. I've played some, made some plays, I'm the captain for the third time this week, so I'm going to have to step up and take control of the defensive line interior and the ends just to get the guys motivated and get them pumped. I feel like it's my responsibility to do that and have us rolling."

Irvin on what the seniors mean to the team: "I did say that, and it all starts with your seniors. Your young guys are going to look at the seniors and do what they do. So I wanted to be a good role model, be a vocal leader, so I wanted to do things right so the young guys will say, 'Look at Irvin, he's doing it right, and I want to do it that way, too.'"

Jeremy Lomax on getting penetration last week: "I think it was a step forward. Coach Martinez did a lot of blitzing last week, and as long as we get pressure, I'm happy. We made him throw into coverage, off his back foot, that causes turnovers, and whoever wins the turnover ration is probably going to win the game."

Lomax on going against LSU's enormous O line:
"Speed and athleticism always gives you an advantage in everything you do, so hopefully we can use that and get around the edge and get to the quarterback, but they're huge, they've got good feet, and they work well together. They're veterans and they're in sync. It's a challenge, but we love challenges, so we'll get after them."

Lomax on the upside of road games: "It's less distractions from home dealing with your family, mom and dad coming up, it's a lot more distractions. On the road, it's just you and the team going out there on a business trip."

Darryl Gamble on finding leaders in the locker room:
"The older guys, they were trying, I knew they were trying. (Last year) we had other guys like Fernando (Velasco), Thomas Brown, and they didn't really have to say too much because those guys took the leadership rolls. Coming into this year, I guess they never established vocally their roles. They were making plays on the field, but just not vocally. Rennie, he was always a talkative guy, so he just took that on himself."

Gamble on going on the road: "I think we're more focused going into a road game because everything gets cut off, all distractions are cut off, it's just the team. We go everywhere together, go to our meetings, back to our rooms, and there's no distractions."

Rennie Curran on Georgia's No. 7 BCS ranking: "I wasn't too surprised where we ended up because even when we were winning everything in the beginning we were still dropping in the rankings, so I wasn't too surprised. I'm just really looking forward to these road games for us to try to win out and let the chips fall where they may."

Curran on Richt's game plan for road games: "Just going on the road, he really does a good job of getting us focused and letting us know we're here to take care of business. He just sets the mood and sets the tempo when we go to away games, making sure that everything we do is ready to go, we're all on the same level mentally and just relaxed. We go in there knowing it's just us and nobody else. We're all we have during the game when we're on the road."

Curran on getting Gamble playing time after Darryl Gamble's return: "I know Coach Jancek and Coach Martinez will do a good job rotating them to make sure we have our best players on the field. It helps just with depth having that experience, and the way that Darryl has come on during the season is really helping."

Gamble on the D line: "I've got a lot of confidence in them and I know they're going to make plays when their time comes. This isn't the first big O line they've played Alabama had a huge O line and I feel the D line is going to be pumped, and they're going to take care of their jobs."

Brannan Southerland on Richt's road game approach: "I don't think he does much of anything different than he does in the home games. When we go on the road, you get on the plane, you go to the hotel, you're away from everybody. You go straight to the stadium for the game, you get dressed and go from there. The sequence of events just is why it's like that, and I think that's why we changed up for home games to mimic what we do for road games."

Southerland on the key to success for Georgia's offense against LSU: "It's going to be a big key. We are going to need our offensive line to be able to handle their defensive line. We're going to need some time for Stafford to be able to throw, open some running lanes for Knowshon and Caleb to be able to run. They're very fast, very big, very athletic and experienced. It's going to be a good matchup, and we're going to need our O line to play very good come Saturday."

Southerland on the growth of the offense: "We're getting more experience for the young guys up front, the young guys at receiver, even the young guys at tight end. We've got a lot of young guys on offense, and you're going to have some penalties and stuff like that, but I think every game they get under their belt you're going to see them get more confidence, and the last couple games, you've seen we've improved."

Knowshon Moreno on Caleb King: "When he steps in there, he does a great job for us. Last year, me and Thomas Brown did the same thing where when one guy needed a blow, the other guy could come in. It's just good to keep everyone fresh and know whoever goes in there will get the job done."

Moreno on how he rotates with King: "I know what my body's saying. Why be in there if I'm tired? I'm not really tired, but if I'm kind of tired, and I can't give 100 percent the next play, why be in there when the guy behind you can come in and do the same thing? I think we're doing a good job of doing that."

Shaun Chapas on losing focus before the Alabama game: "I didn't think about anything like that until looking back on the game, and I kind of realized, yeah, you know there were a lot of reasons why we could have lost our focus. But I guess we learn from our mistakes, and I'm sure that won't happen again."

Chapas on offensive leaders: "Mo's a big leader for us, and Brannan is another big leader for us, and I think they've done a good job. But I think as the season goes on, people step up, and the more you play together, the better you feel together. As the season goes on, you just get more comfortable with each other."

Rodney Garner on injuries: "We can't afford to lose any more D lineman. Well, I guess technically, we can't afford to lose anymore anything. But it's a fine line. I'm sure everybody has injuries, and that's part of the game, but it's a big challenge."

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