Georgia’s Mark Richt: Dogs won’t need much motivation for S. Carolina

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt and selected players visited with media on Tuesday to discuss Saturday’s game between the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs and No. 6 South Carolina in Columbia.

Following is some of the highlights from the news conference. . . .

COACH MARK RICHT

Opening statement . . .

“Here we go. We used to play South Carolina earlier in the year, and now it’s game six for both of us. Normally when we play South Carolina, both teams are undefeated in league play because it’s always been the first one, but this year both teams have found a way to stay undefeated. So I know it’s definitely an exciting time for their program and for our program. We all know that ESPN College Game Day is going to be there, so that’s usually a pretty good sign that it’s a big ballgame. A lot of people are going to be watching and are going to be very interested in what happens, so we obviously have a lot of respect for South Carolina.”

On Spurrier going for 250th career victory . . .

“That’s a lot of ballgames and a lot of victories. He’s one of the best coaches in the country, and he has been for years. I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Spurrier.”

On dealing with the big-game atmosphere Saturday . . .

““It’s going to be our job as coaches to try to get them to focus on the things that will help us win, which is the game plan, playing hard, and just being very fundamentally sound with blocking and tackling. We’re just trying to keep the focus on the process of getting better like we’ve been trying to do all season long and not focus too much on what the game means. I don’t think I’ll have to say too much about that, but I think it’s going to be pretty obvious to them how big of a game it is, so let’s focus on the things that can help them play well.”

On Georgia’s defense against the run . . .

“If you look at Tennessee’s line, they are pretty stout. They are big, they’re physical, they have a bunch of starts under their belt. A year ago they didn’t have a lot of experience, now they do have a lot of experience. They executed well and they physically took it to us to a certain degree. Do I wish we would have played the run better? Yeah. If I thought we were playing a team that didn’t have the ingredients to run the ball well I would have felt even worse.”

On Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray . . .

“We have a lot of confidence in him period, and we’re going to call a game that’s going to put a lot in his hands like we have been. Even at the end of the first half of this last ballgame, there wasn’t a whole lot of time. They decided to kind of have a squib kick, and we got the ball around the 35. At that point with 37 seconds you might say let’s not throw a pick and give up another turnover. They are scoring 20 points in the second quarter and things are going bad, so you might say we’ve had enough. Let’s just go to halftime and regroup. I told Coach (Mike) Bobo, let’s go try to score. Murray did a really nice job of moving us down the field and getting us in position to get those three points. I think psychologically those were important points for us. I don’t know if I would have done that last year. I definitely wouldn’t have done it his freshman year. I guess that gives you an idea of the faith I have in him as a head coach.”

On being able to recruit both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to Georgia . . .

“They almost sold us on it. I think they had the thought of playing together and being roommates and being friends throughout college. They got to know each other, they liked each other. They weren’t afraid to be on the same team, and I think they had a dream of maybe one day sharing the load wherever they went. For it to happen the way it’s happened so far this year I can’t imagine them dreaming it up any better than it’s been. The reasons why it’s happening, of course some if it was the attrition that we had, but some of it is the fact that they’re very coachable, teachable. They are very serious about learning what to do. They know they have a great talent base. They are different in their styles, and I think that’s effective. I would imagine that they could only get better at what they are doing. I don’t know if the results will be better, but they’ll definitely become better players as time goes on.”

On Rhett McGowan taking over as punt returner . . .

“Rhett will start out as our punt return man in all situations. He was kind of our midfield punt returner. If the punt was somewhere around midfield, he’d get his heals at the 10-yard mark and be the guy to decide whether to fair catch it or let it go over his head. He’s got some reps doing that, and he’s had a couple of reps out in the middle of the field. We’re going to allow him to be the primary punt return man in this game and see how it goes.”

On Georgia’s special teams play . . .

“We’ve blocked two punts, we had a fake tried on us and we stopped it, we have had excellent kickoff coverage. Our punt team, if you go strictly by statistics as far as net punt, it’s not that impressive, but that first punt of the year where we knocked it about 57 yards and they had a 20-something yard return, since that time there have only been 18 return yards for the next four games. We’re not allowing big returns. We’re punting the ball high and getting guys under it and getting a lot of fair catches, which is outstanding. We’ve made all but one field goal, two over 50. I know our extra points have been an adventure. No doubt we have to get better at that. Kickoff return has actually been pretty solid other than the one kick where the ball ended up on the one-yard line last week. Other than that we’ve fielded it pretty well. We’ve had people bloop-kick it to us, and a lot of times your average goes down when they bloop it to you and you get a five-yard return, but you get good field position. I think the special teams as a whole are getting a bad rap. . . . Overall it’s been pretty solid.”

On plans for Malcolm Mitchell this week . . .

“Monday and Tuesday are offense, and Wednesday was kind of the defensive day and it still is. There may be a couple of times when he may do some offense if the defense is working on base defense and he’s not getting any reps at that moment. Thursday we’ve kind of tried to split some of his reps. He’s primarily an offensive player and he’s in a state of readiness on defense. Not only has he been a kick returner, punt returner, but he’s also on our punt team. He’s been running down there trying to force fair catches too. . . . We do think Malcolm has the potential to be a big [kickoff] return man as well. We think he and Gurley both have big-play potential as kick return men, so we’re just kind of letting them share the load a little bit.”

On Georgia’s offensive play . . .

“We have executed well. We haven’t had a lot of missed assignments. The majority of our guys have played or at least practiced a while in our system. When your quarterback can get you in the right play most of the time or the right protection most of the time or if he reacts property to a blitz and gets it to the right guy without a chance of getting a sack, or guys are mostly catching the ball, you have a chance to be efficient. If you have a young QB and you have to call a play and kind of live with it sometimes, you have to guess right sometimes and sometimes you guess wrong. You run into some bad situations if you can’t trust your quarterback to get you in the right stuff. Murray is a guy who gets us in the right plays most of the time and the right protections most of the time.”

On the Bulldogs’ offensive line . . .

“This game will definitely be the best gauge. South Carolina’s defense is playing great. They are not playing good, they are playing great. They are kind of used to playing great. They were pretty darn good last year and the year before and the year before that. They’ve just got a tradition now that has built up over time that they believe. It’s obvious that they believe, and they should. They are really good at what they do, so our guys will be challenged with the edge players, the rush. They are also very physical against the run. Their inside guys are physical and their outside guys are physical and their linebackers are big, strong and experienced. Then you have a guy like (D.J.) Swearinger, who is a big hitter at safety, so without a doubt this is the biggest test for our offensive line.”

GEORGIA PLAYERS

QB Aaron Murray

On the importance of the South Carolina game …

“We’re excited. This is one you circle on your calendar in January. Watching the film of last year’s [loss to the Gamecocks] is one of those things than makes you want to push through the spring and summer workouts. It still hurts. I think we’ve picked up some momentum the last five games and we need to keep working just as hard in practice and make sure we’re ready to go.”

On South Carolina’s defense…

“They’ve got talent all over the board, especially in that front four. Watching them on film, you can see they don’t do too much in terms of blitzing. Those are the best defenses – when you trust your players to just make plays and they do that. They do a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback without blitzing and with just those four guys. We’ve got our work cut out for us this week when it comes to preparation and making sure we’re ready.”

On the Georgia offense…

“We’ve been pretty balanced all year long when it comes to running and passing and quick passes and cutting guys. Right now as an offense it’s probably hard to get a grasp on what we’re going to do. I think Coach Bobo and Coach Friend will make sure our guys are ready to go.”

On last year’s loss to USC…

“That was a tough loss last year, but this is a new season and a new team and a completely different look. We’re a heck of a lot better than last year in every way. We need to put that behind us and go back and watch film in preparation of this Saturday’s game. It’s painful to watch that but this is a new team and we’re ready to go forward.”

WR Tavarres King

On South Carolina’s defense…

“They have a chippy defense and guys who are going to get after you. They have a great defense, and it’s going to be a challenge for our offense this weekend. We’re looking forward to it. It’s why you play the game.”

On Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley…

“They are doing a phenomenal job, especially being as young as they are and not knowing what they are getting into. They have handled it well, and they are very mature for their age. They are going to have extremely successful careers here.”

On whether last year’s loss to South Carolina still stings…

“It stings a lot. I feel like we had a lot of self inflicted wounds. It hurts, because we hurt ourselves so much. We made so many mental errors. That’s something we are trying to eliminate this year – mistakes and errors and not beating ourselves.”

CB Sanders Commings

On having the whole defense together for a second week . . .

“The amount of time we got to practice together was limited because we had to get the guys ready that were going to be playing in the games. But now we’ve got that first game together under our belt and it’s only going to get better from here. We’re not going backwards.”

On the magnitude of Saturday’s game . . .

I like it a lot. This is why I came to Georgia, to play in games like this, to in the top 5 in the country and to play other SEC teams in the top 10 in the country. This is why I came to Georgia.”

168 comments Add your comment

Dedoh

October 2nd, 2012
3:55 pm

I’m looking forward to this big game. We need to take it to them from the start and don’t let up.

JoeyHanie

October 2nd, 2012
3:55 pm

GO DAWGS!!!!! GATA!!!!!

Pj

October 2nd, 2012
3:56 pm

I can’t wait! First?

Oakdale Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
3:56 pm

Go Dawgs! It should be a good one.

Stiffneck

October 2nd, 2012
3:56 pm

Top Row Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
3:59 pm

Will be there, leaving 4AM. Return things to normal in this series Dogs.

Charlotte Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:04 pm

SouthGADawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:04 pm

just a fan

October 2nd, 2012
4:07 pm

just a fan

October 2nd, 2012
4:08 pm

or 9th oh so close

P B

October 2nd, 2012
4:08 pm

Craig

October 2nd, 2012
4:08 pm

I don’t know if I would have done that last year…

I DO- YOU WOULD NOT HAVE!

Frank Lane

October 2nd, 2012
4:09 pm

Dawgs should take this by 17 points. All we have to do is hold SC below 20.

ATLDAWG

October 2nd, 2012
4:10 pm

“Bloop-kick” is my favorite thing Mark Richt has ever said.

GATA!!!!

Student Athlete

October 2nd, 2012
4:10 pm

COCKS 34 DAWGS 13. “GURSHEL” 21 CARRIES FOR 58 YARDS AS SC FRONT FOUR DOMINATES GEORGIA’S O-LINE. CLOWNEY EATS MURRAY ALIVE.. LITERALLY. AT LEAST 5 SACKS.

Indian Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:14 pm

I’ll be there at 5am at the very front for College Gameday. If Pollack picks the Cocks I will let loose the fury. First time in Columbia. GOOOOO DAWGS!!!!

Craig

October 2nd, 2012
4:14 pm

Watching the film of last year’s [loss to the Gamecocks] is one of those things than makes you want to push through the spring and summer workouts. It still hurts.

Really?? I could have sworn it was the Carolina game all over in the 2nd qtr last week. Bottom line….we will finally see if Murray can win the big one…he hasnt yet- he still has a knack for turnovers and giving decent teams we play points- he does it Sat and we can forget it

Ga/Fl.Stillman dog

October 2nd, 2012
4:15 pm

Now we are gona see just how average Out O-Line TRULY IS.

Joe

October 2nd, 2012
4:17 pm

We should have won last year 45-17……BUT thanks to the offense- most notably our QB, we handed them 21…special teams added another 7. No sign that murray has changed after watching the UT game……I wish I could beleive we could finally beat a decent team, but doubtful….

RUSH PROPSTS WET HANKY

October 2nd, 2012
4:18 pm

DAWGS WIN THIS GAME BY 8 POINTS!

AS FOR RUSH PROPST, HE WILL STILL BE CRYING ABOUT THE LOWNDES HIGH VIKINGS DEFENCE HANDLING AND HUMILIATING HIS “HIGH POWER” OFFENSE LAST WEEK IN THE HAWG PEN.

GO DAWGS AND GO VIKES

the_athenian

October 2nd, 2012
4:20 pm

I like our team. I like our chances

Destin Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:20 pm

Dawgs showed alot of heart against a very good .. underrated Tenn. team… if we can contain Clowney.. tackle Shaw when he scrambles.. and slow down Lattimore.. with big hits.. Grantham’s Junkyard Dawg defense will jell in this game… limit turnovers…. UGA 42 S.C. 28

Mark (another one)

October 2nd, 2012
4:20 pm

It’s great to be five games in and still focused on the orginal goals of the season. This is the SEC and each week is a challenge. This will be great to watch. Say what you want but Spurrier can coach. It’s a great matchup and ESPN will be there to add to the hype.

Last year’s game hurt so much because we made too many mental errors. It’s hard to lose but I prefer getting beat to giving it away. I haven’t seen too many cases of lack of skill to get the job done. We just need to eliminate the coachable errors. Go Dawgs!

OkieDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:21 pm

If we have smart special teams play and can get better field position than last week, we’ll be okay. Getting deep in our on territory limits Bobo’s play calling ability. He goes ultra conservative and predictable. And last week, bad things happened deep in our on territory. Like around 20 points bad. And a turnover is the loss of a possesion that could result in a score for us.

We should be okay…We should be okay…We should be okay…I keep sayin that for some reason.

Destin Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Tenn. is alot better than Kentucky… last weekend.. and we beat Vandy Big Time… Gameclucks won over Vandy on a bad call by 4 points !!! Go all the way Dwags SEC Champs THIS year !!

Nothing Could Be Finer

October 2nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Those dogs sound scared

Joey

October 2nd, 2012
4:28 pm

Just can’t say enough about our two freshmen RBs – amazing job they are doing at such an early time in their careers.

Murray’s gonna definitely get pressured – I just hope he keeps the turnovers at a minimum. Bobo should run lots of dink passes to backs and TEs.

Come on Coach Richt, turn Bobo and Murray loose – no way SC can keep up.

Go Dawgs.

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Nothing Could Be Finer

October 2nd, 2012
4:31 pm

Destin Dawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:20 pm

Dawgs showed alot of heart against a very good .. underrated Tenn. team… if we can contain Clowney.. tackle Shaw when he scrambles.. and slow down Lattimore.. with big hits.. Grantham’s Junkyard Dawg defense will jell in this game… limit turnovers…. UGA 42 S.C. 28

—————————————–
Of course Tenn is underrated – to make the dogs sound better, right?

Contain Clowney? Good luck with that weak o-line.

Slow down Lattimore? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Limit turnovers? With Ragdoll Erin Murray touching the ball every snap, it ain’t gonna happen, LOL.

NC Bulldog

October 2nd, 2012
4:31 pm

I work with a “Gamecock” and I want to come to work on Monday morning and say we chewed up those chickens!!!! Go Dawgs!

ZinoDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:31 pm

Any student of the game knows this one will be close – it always is! I just hope I don’t have a heart attack watching it!

GATA!

MaconKnight

October 2nd, 2012
4:34 pm

This game is going to come down to both lines Carolina wants a close contest in wnich they can just run lattimore, UGA wants to score in bunches and stop lattimore put the game in Shaws hand should be a great game there are alot of if’s in this game neither team hasn’t really been tested I believe the dawgs win. Spurrier wants to ride lattimore, lattimore hasnt seen more than 10 to 15 carries in each of the gamecocks wins the question is will lattimore be able to carry it more than 30 times will his knee hold up?

PaulPaul

October 2nd, 2012
4:34 pm

Student Athlete
I really doubt you are an athlete or student. Anyone who shouts in their post is usually insecure. This will be a close game as both teams are capable of playing at a high level. If UGA doesn’t commit turnovers they should win. Overall talent is superior to SC except in a few positions. Final should be 35 to 24. Guess who gets the 35.

ZinoDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:35 pm

@nothing could be finer – great analogy homer. You sound like a real expert. I’m sure you will roll all over us like you did against Vandy.

bill arp

October 2nd, 2012
4:36 pm

As long as Murray doesn’t poop on himself, we should be okay. But if I see him fumble one more time when he gets sacked, I’m going to strongly recommend him for the next Burger King commercial. You know, the one where the dude has the small hands! That’s Aaron Murray!

JRW7

October 2nd, 2012
4:37 pm

GO DAWGS, beat them chickens!!!!

CHDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:38 pm

Spurrier is smart, guys. He will figure out a way to use Lattimore and Co. The ends aren’t big. They are tough and as quick as cats. Maybe we run it right at them? I have no idea what they will think up, but I sure hope and expect it to be good. This is great for both programs imo. Go Dawgs!

Joey

October 2nd, 2012
4:39 pm

“we will finally see if Murray can win the big one…he hasnt yet…”
***************************************
And it is TOTALLY Murray’s responsibility for all those losses!

I mean, nobody else played in the games for us, right?

Just Murray.

Nobody else got penalties, dropped passes, fumbled the ball, missed tackles, made poor decisions on STs, allowed TDs on fake punts, failed to protect the QB, missed his block on a run play, etc, etc, etc.

Murray lost all those games himself, right, Craig?

Nothing Could Be Finer

October 2nd, 2012
4:41 pm

ZinoDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:35 pm

@nothing could be finer – great analogy homer. You sound like a real expert. I’m sure you will roll all over us like you did against Vandy.

—————–
Actually it will be more like the Mizzou game.

Yall might get a garbage time TD to score 10 points (if you’re lucky).

Nothing Could Be Finer

October 2nd, 2012
4:44 pm

Joey

October 2nd, 2012
4:39 pm

“we will finally see if Murray can win the big one…he hasnt yet…”
***************************************
And it is TOTALLY Murray’s responsibility for all those losses!

I mean, nobody else played in the games for us, right?

Just Murray.

Nobody else got penalties, dropped passes, fumbled the ball, missed tackles, made poor decisions on STs, allowed TDs on fake punts, failed to protect the QB, missed his block on a run play, etc, etc, etc.

Murray lost all those games himself, right, Craig?

———————————–
Losing games doesn’t really matter to Erin Murray.

He just makes sure he doesn’t lose his purse while traveling this weekend.

Red Pants

October 2nd, 2012
4:44 pm

I fear this is the game Theus finally costs UGA a victory. Put Clowney on him and double-blitz the right side….not good news.

CHDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:48 pm

@NothingFiner>With Ragdoll Erin Murray touching the ball every snap, it ain’t gonna happen, LOL.<<
Were those Chicken Lips talking that way before the Vandy game? Pride goes before a fall, you know…

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Nothing Could Be Finer

October 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

LOL

Dogs fans keep bringing up that Vandy game.

Seems like last year it was so long ago.

A lot has changed since then, including a complete whooping against a Mizzou team that the dogs struggled to beat.

CHDawg

October 2nd, 2012
4:52 pm

Rooster Breath, you missed the point entirely! Shaw was thrown around like a ragdoll. I hope both QBs don’t get injured in this one…

BILLY JACK

October 2nd, 2012
4:53 pm

NOTHING COULD BE FINER-UGA COULD LOSE- BUT IF YOU THINK WE ARE ONLY GONNA SCORE 10 POINTS YOU ARE ON SOME MAJOR DRUGS.I LOOK FOR THIS GAME TO BE A GRINDER-PLUS WHEN HAS SOUTH CAROLINA EVER BLOWN GEORGIA OUT?FUNNY

Nothing Could Be Finer

October 2nd, 2012
4:53 pm

Shaw got kneed in the back on a dirty play (but he didn’t fumble).

AND he returned to play with a cracked shoulder.

Dude is tough as nails.

Give Me a Break

October 2nd, 2012
4:53 pm

South Carolina has the ego of Alabama and the trohpy case of Vanderbilt. Go Dawgs!!! Going to be a nice Saturday.

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