Sorry for the delay in getting some of this out to you guys. Hope you saw my STORY and BLOG from the Pigskin Preview on Tuesday at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. If not, you can read them HERE and HERE. Meanwhile, here’s more of what was said from the UGA contingent at the Pigskin Preview down in Macon yesterday:
JUNIOR QUARTERBACK AARON MURRAY
On walkon FB Merritt Hall, who is listed as starter heading into summer camp . . .
“He’s a crazy dude, that’s for sure. He reminds me of somebody like Ben Jones in that he’s just a crazy football player that’s dirty and ready to put his head in the pile and just knock people around. That’s the kind of fullback that you want, somebody that’s not afraid of contact, who’s just going to fill that hole and get it open. Whatever linebacker shows up first, he’s taking their head off. I’m excited about it him. I know we have some other guys, Zander [Ogletree] and the guy who just got here who’s a freshman [Quayvon Hicks]. Hicks is a really good looking fullback, too. So that’s going to be a good competition.”
On college football playoff . . .
“I think it’ll be fun. I know I probably won’t be around to be a part of it, but I think it will be fun for players and fans and teams, too. Maybe a team that had one loss against a pretty good team that might think their national championship chances are down the drain, now they’d be able to play in the playoffs and have that second chance to compete for a championship. So I think it would be a lot of fun and the fans would enjoy it more games and more big-time games between big-time teams.”
On concussions . . .
[Knocks on wood window frame] “I have yet to have a concussion in my career. One time in high school I felt a little woozy after a play, but I don’t know that it was a concussion. Nowadays they consider any dizziness a concussion so it might have been a small one. But to my knowledge I haven’t had one. . . . Any kind of head injury is a pretty big deal and you don’t want to mess around with that. But our doctors to great job. If anybody has any kind of symptoms of any kind of thing like that, they hold them out and make sure they’re completely ready to go before they put them back in for contact.
On whether coaching staff has advised him to run less . . .
“They never told me to stop running. They told me to be more cautious and be a smarter run, I guess, as far as getting out of bounds or getting down and saving my body. I don’t know what my problem. I just really enjoy contact. I grew up playing defense, so I think I just missed all the hitting. I definitely think it’s something I need to work on this offseason. Maybe get out to the baseball field and work with some of the baseball players how to slide properly.”
On whether he thinks Malcolm Mitchell will play any wide receiver this season . . .
“I hope so. This summer I know Malcolm will be out there. He’s already been out there working with us. He’s always out there, whether he’s playing DB or receiver. . . He just goes back-and-forth. I know he’ll be ready no matter what. He still knows the plays still and will run all the routes in the offseason. He knows the yardage and the cuts. He’ll be ready, offense or defense.”
SENIOR SS SHAWN WILLIAMS
On if he likes the preseason top 10 national ranking . . .
“I try not to pay attention to it because everybody expects you to win each and every game anyway. The only way you can take care of that is to take it one game at a time because we know nobody is going to take us lightly. We’ve got to go out and win one game at a time and take it one week at a time and quarter by quarter.”
If he thinks Mitchell can play both ways . . .
“I feel like he can do it. He can come in and play wherever we need him. There’s going to be a lot of guys moved around, so he’s got to be able to play wherever for the betterment of the team.”
On playoffs and changes in college football . . .
“You can’t pay too much attention to that stuff because football is always going to be football. You can’t be worried about what happens if you lose a game or anything like that, so you just have to go out to win and worry about that when the time comes. . . . I just hope Georgia’s in the mix if it ever comes around.”
GEORGIA COACH MARK RICHT
On ball security issues with Aaron Murray . . .
“We talked about it on the way down here. I asked him, ‘what are the three biggest drive killers in football?’ Of course the first thing he said was turnovers. I said right. Shawn helped him out and said penalties and I said right. Then the third one he said ‘knowing what to do’ and we call that missed assignments. If you don’t turn it over and you don’t have many penalties or missed assignments, you’re going to move the ball and you’re going to score. If you have any combination of those three, you’re going to punt or turn it over and make life miserable for everybody. Players can control all three of those for the most part. That’s Murray’s job to make sure we’re not turning the ball over and we’re not in the situation where we don’t know what to do or get penalties. We talk about it. In his defense, he had a couple of tipped balls and some things he couldn’t totally control. But he knows. He knows his job is crucial in regard to respecting and protecting the football. I think we all learned from our experiences.”
On potential of Shawn Williams . . .
“I think [All-American] is a very realistic goal for him. Why? Because he’s about 6-1 or 6-2, 220 pounds and can run like a deer. He’s physical, he’s got good ball skills, he knows the system and he wants to be good. He has become quite a leader for us.”
On possibility of one day playing Georgia State . . .
“That’s certainly a possibility. I wouldn’t count that out. Lately it’s kind of been unwritten rule that we play Georgia Southern every four years, though I don’t think there’s any contract that holds us to that. I mean, I don’t even know how far out we’ve scheduled, quite frankly, on the out-of-conference games. I know we’ve got to wait to see how many conference games we play and all that. But I think that would be a possibility.”
On getting ready for season . . .
“You always just have to pray that guys stay healthy throughout camp. It’s a contact sport, it’s a physical game and guys do get banged up. Hopefully there will be nothing serious.”