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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits: Week 4

A few nuggets from today's early afternoon media session…

-- First off, two administrative things: Mark Richt apologized for hitting the Dawg Walk too early in the team's first home game. This week the Dawg Walk will be at 5 p.m. and Richt promises the team will not be there before then this time. Secondly, Richt followed up on the trash along North Campus. "When we have these home games, it's one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, and we want to keep it that way," Richt said. "I'm encouraging all the fans to put the trash where it belongs because we don't want it to look like the city dump after a ballgame."

-- A few notes of interest from the game notes: First, Arizona State is 0-4 all time against the SEC. Second, Marcus Dowtin is listed as the No. 1 middle linebacker this week. I spoke with Rennie Curran, who said the team missed Akeem Dent against Arkansas, but said he was hopeful Dent would be ready to play in time for this week's game against Arizona State.

-- Richt raved about A.J. Green, and Joe Cox said the Arkansas game was the starting point for the offense in having other guys start to take the pressure off A.J. Remember, Green had his best game last year against Arizona State.

-- Richt said both Caleb King and Richard Samuel would play this week, but he said he didn't know who would start. He said the coaches were extremely disappointed that Samuel fumbled twice and that Samuel is in danger of losing playing time because of it.

-- Richt also said that Vance Cuff would not practice today, but said he was optimistic that the cornerback could return in time for Saturday's game.

-- Willie Martinez and the other coaches haven't been paying much attention to the extensive criticism this week, Richt said. "I think people don't understand how busy we are," Richt said. "We're working our tails off -- somewhere around 80 hours a week. We're going, looking at the next opponent, looking at the next game and trying to correct mistakes. We're moving forward constantly, and we don't get too caught up in those kinds of things."

-- As expected, Richt mostly dodged questions about the defensive problems, mentioning a.) turnovers hurt, b.) penalties hurt, c.) both of the poor defensive games ended with wins, while the poor offensive game ended with a loss.

-- Joe Cox on A.J. Green: "He could end up being one of the best players to ever play here."

-- Cox on how much he fed off the criticism from fans and media: "Anybody who's a competitor, if you have people saying you're not good, you want to play good. That's something I say to myself before every game is that these people don't think I'm any good. It's been driving our offense, too, since Week 1. Everybody says we have a terrible offense, we don't have Knowshon and Matthew, it's the end of the world, we're not going to be able to score any points for the rest of the season. Obviously, we want to prove people wrong."

-- One last thing: I noted in my blog about the defense yesterday that I thought there was a distinct correlation between the success against the run and the lack of pressure and propensity toward giving up big plays. I asked Demarcus Dobbs and Rennie Curran about that today, and they agreed. Dobbs said Georgia's defensive line has been bad at getting off their blocks on passing plays because they were expecting run, and said the defense has been killed by play action. Rennie said it comes down to needing more film study and being better at reading pass formations, while Dobbs said the linemen have to improve on reading the blocks of the offensive line.


Anonymous said...

Great news about Vance Cuff. That injury sure looked worse on the field. I love Mark Richt and I want him to stay in Athens til he retires but just once, I would LOVE to hear something that resembles a "our defensive performances have been unacceptable and we are taking drastic measures to change this." This just feels like last year all over again.

Anonymous said...

How bout we put up the big bucks and bring in Bud Foster. You would have to believe the money and the oppertunity to compete in the sec would be enough. Willie can be asst. to the director of team hydration

NCDawg said...

I too am concerned about defense like any Georgia fan should be. UGA has a tradition of shutdown defenses. Although I must admit to getting a litte giddy about Georgia playing offense like the Big 12. We haven't done that in my lifetime, and I'm old. I have listened to bloggers and viewers much smarter than me, and probably a few less smarter (this language is legal in Georgia). And I have come to my final conclusion (until after next weeks game): Willie did not break the defense, the spread did.

It started with that Sugar Bowl against WVa. The defense is not too focused on the run to get pressure on the quarterback, they are too focused on contain. We put pressure on Garcia, but he squirmed out and beat us. We are in an age that the spread and mobile quarterbacks have permeated the high schools, colleges and the Miami Dolphins.

It was not that long ago that UGA had a shutdown defense with David Pollack, but David is not big for a DE, but he was freakishly quick. I have played DE (150 years ago in high school), and I was rather quick for the day. But once you pressure the quarterback and he squirms away and breaks contain, you start pressuring a little more cautiously.

I do not have the answer. Maybe its more speed rather than size at DE. With 5+ DE recruits coming in next year, I hope we have the right ones. But the spread has changed defenses for everyone. Consider that while SEC offenses are scoring 40+ points on us, we are scoring 40+ points on them. I have been around for awhile, and this double-edged sword is new.