ATHENS — Greetings from Stegeman Coliseum where I will be covering tonight’s game between the Georgia Bulldogs (9-8, 0-3 SEC) and the Tennessee Vols (8-9, 1-2).
I’ll be in a tight deadline situation with tonight’s 8 p.m. tip — the game is being televised on the SEC Network — so I won’t be doing any live blogging. However, I’ll send out an occasional tweet with details from the game if you care to follow me @ajcuga.
COACH MARK FOX
On Tennessee . . .
They’re a team with great athleticism and size and they shoot the ball extremely well. They’re a team that is playing at a pretty high level. Obviously they’ve played a very difficult schedule to begin with. It will be a challenge for us.”
On F/C Donte Williams . . .
“He really has shown some progress. I think if you look at the first three league games, he really went against three all-league players. He is beginning to get comfortable with scoting the ball and really matured as a player. He’s still got 2 ½ years of his career in front of him. But I think we’re startying to see he’s getting more comfortable on the floor and hopefully the game is starting to slow down for him.
“Ideally he would be a 4. He’s having to play a lot of 5 right now. And he’s done it without any complaint. He’s still developing physically and we do worry about the wear and tear on a guy with his body. You know, but he’s ideally going to be a forward.”
On forward/tight end Jay Rome . . .
“The toughest part is he missed all the breakdown drills on defense, he missed the implementation of 70 percent of our system our more, probably three-quarters of it. Then to practice two days, then be gone for five, then be gone for a couple of weeks, that’s a real challenge for any freshman. But he’s a great kid, smart.”
On team’s penchant to foul . . .
“We had three guys foul out at Vandy and a lot of it is tied to just our inexperience. We’re a step behind. When you’re a step behind your often in position to just foul. I have not been pleased with our defensive numbers and a lot of it is, instead of just getting a stop and helping our defensive percentage, we’re getting a foul. So it’s really affected our field goal percentage defense.
“But a lot of it is, you go to the Vandy game and they play differently than everybody else. Nemi aqnd Kentavious and Florveus and Dixon, they’ve never seen that system and they don’t recognize things instinctively as an experienced player would. So lots of times we weren’t in position. We were a step behind and all we did was foul.
On team dealing with losing streak . . .
“They’re great. They realize their challenge. We addressed it from Day One. When Travis and Trey both left, they realized they were in for a unique challenge and that they were going to be thrown into the fire and there was going to be some public growing pains. They’ve had a great approach and they’ve focused on getting better. . . . I thought we played well in some areas at Vandy. I thought our young players were somewhat productive. But we’re also ,making too many miustakes. So for us it’s just about continuting to learn and grow from each and go out the next night and giving it 40 minutes of all we’ve got.
“We haven’t finished the job. We go to Vandy and we do somethings well but we didn’t do it all well. We know we have some deficiencies in our team and we have to play away from those and towards our strengths. And that will be our focus.”
On importance of Tennessee game . . .
“Every game is important. I think for us we’ve played away from home quite a bit. I think it’s good to be back home and certainly you’re usually more comfortable at home. But we need to play well. We need to play well for 40 minutes, not 33, not 36. Forty. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.
On Kentavious Caldwell-Pope . . .
“I think he’s pretty comfortable. I’ve played him way too much since Marcus’ injury. He’s played just a ton of minutes and is getting great experience. But I think he’s comfortable. He has a terrific approach to try and get better and become more complete, and he’s not afraid to look at himself and try to improve in areas he sees weakness.”
On return of Marcus Thornton from knee injury . . .
“The best case scenario would be soon. Marcus went to see the doctor today and we’ll go from there. I think we’re close. But even if we got him back soon I think it would be something we’re still pretty guarded on as far as how much we put him on the practice floor. We want to make sure we get him 100 percent healthy.”
On attitude of team:
“We realize we’re off to a slow start, but we’re not hanging our heads. There’s another game coming and we need to do everything we can doto get ready for it and try to win. As soon as it’s done, win or lose, there’s an other one around the corner from that. That’s the thing in basketball; you have to have that mentality. You don’t have a lot of time to think about it. You’ve got to learn from it and move on.”