Notebook: SEC Championship is Jarvis Jones’ kind of game

ATHENS — Georgia’s Jarvis Jones received his first All-America award of the season on Wednesday and second in as many years from the American Football Coaches Association. And that, coach Mark Richt said, is because of how he has played in games like the Bulldogs will play on Saturday.

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs will face No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship game on Saturday. The 4 p.m. CBS broadcast is expected to be one of the most heavily-viewed college football games on television this fall.

That  tends to be when Jones plays his best.

“That’s what has helped him the most; he has played really big in big games,” Richt said Jones’ penchant for attracting national awards. “ He played big in the Missouri game as far as a monster stat day and the Florida game was really almost a whole season in one game as far as statistics go. Plus, he already had a reputation of being a really good football player.”

In the nationally-televised, 41-20 win over Missouri on Sept. 8, Jones had nine tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception. Against then-No. 2 Florida on Oct. 27, Jones had 13 tackles, 3 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.

Other than two sacks against Auburn, Jones has been relatively quiet since. It didn’t help that Georgia’s last two opponents were Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.

“Playing the two option football teams at the end made it very difficult to get a sack,” Richt said. “The position he plays, unless you’re a middle linebacker it’s tough to get a lot of tackles against that kind of a scheme.”

But Jones loves playing against a pro-style scheme such as the one the Bulldogs will see from Alabama on Saturday. The Crimson Tide, led by quarterback AJ McCarron and a big, veteran offensive line, are one of the most prolific offenses in the SEC. But Jones much prefers playing a team of their ilk.

“I like games like this because it’s football; there ain’t no trickery in it,” said Jones, who is second in the SEC with 10.5 sacks. “They’re going to line up and it’s going to be grown man football. They’re going to hit you in the mouth and I like stuff like that.”

Depending on how Jones does on Saturday, he’s likely to be receiving many more awards. In fact, he’s a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi, Bednarik and Butkus awards and a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Award. As a result Jones will be traveling all over the country for awards banquets in the weeks following the SEC championship.

“Busy week next week,” he said. “I’ll be everywhere from Charlotte to Houston to Orlando. I think I may end up going to L.A. (for the Lott Award). I’ve got to look at my schedule. I’m not sure where all I’m going.”

Jones, a 6-3, 241-pound outside linebacker from Columbus, has missed two games due to minor injuries. He has 71 tackles, including 19.5 tackles for loss of 107 yards and 10.5 sacks, one interception, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in only 10 games this season. He is the current NCAA active leader in sacks per game (1.0) with 24 in two seasons and is tied for the lead in tackles for loss (1.6) with 39 through this season and last. Last season Jones led the SEC and tied for fifth nationally with 13.5 sacks to go along with 70 tackles, including 19.5 tackles for loss.

“I’m just very thankful for this opportunity,” Jones said. “Me and my teammates have been grinding for a long time and we’ve still got a long ways to go. I’m just thankful to those guys for getting me to where I am today.”

Practice update

Georgia held a two-hour practice in jerseys, shorts and helmets Wednesday its third of four practices in Athens in preparation for Saturday’s game.

“I thought the energy level was good, and the scouts did a good job and we competed well during 11-on-11 at the end,” Richt said.

He added that it was better than what he saw Tuesday. “I thought yesterday was kind of, I don’t know, a little sluggish. It was a little misty out there and a little bit wet. I just didn’t think it was as clean. But we were still installing things on Tuesday . . . so I guess it’s not all that unusual for it to not be as sharp as you’d like. But I thought today was real good. I saw some excitement at the end of practice today. I think they were starting to feel it.”

Richt said it’s important for the players to not be overly-excited too early.

“You want to be careful not to play the game midweek,” he said. “I don’t want them to get too emotional right now. I want them to stay in the moment and focus on the process and not let their minds go too far ahead. But you could tell they were starting to feel it and sense it.”

Richt doesn’t think a  wet practice Monday and a cold one on Tuesday hindered the Bulldogs’ preparations for playing in the hot and dry confines of the Georgia Dome.

“Ideally it would have been nice to have an indoor thing to practice in and crank the heat up a little bit to try get as close to what it would be in the game, but we don’t have that right now,” Richt said.

Kickers to get early look

SEC Championship participants are required to come to the Georgia Dome for an hour of walk-through time in the facility. But rarely do the teams ever actually practice.

Richt said he’s considering using that time this year to have his young kicking specialists get some work in the indoor environment. The Bulldogs have freshmen at both kicking positions in place-kicker Marshall Morgan and punter Collin Barber.

“That’s something I’m thinking we might do,” Richt said. “I was going to talk to Brad Hutcherson in football ops about our specialists getting in there early. I think that’s one thing that will be worth doing. I don’t think it will be worth going in there and running routes and throw the ball around. We just don’t do that on Friday anyway. If those guys think it would benefit them and we can do it logistically, we might do that.”

This year, Barber is averaging 41.2 yards a punt while Morgan has tallied 78 points on eight field goals and a school record 54 extra points.

Aaron Murray update

Aaron Murray, who has chosen not to talk to media this week, apparently is looking good in practice.

“He was very sharp today, very sharp in pass skeleton, very sharp in 11-on-11 where there is tighter coverage,” Richt said. “If you just practice against  the scout team, it’s hard for them to simulate tight coverage. But when you go against our defense, you play more at a game speed with tight coverage and you have to be more precise and your timing has to be really good. He looked really good toward the end of practice.”

Murray was named one of five finalists for the Manning Award as the nation’s top quarterback on Wednesday.

They said it

“You’ve got all these good players playing in a game in four days and you’re asking about a bad one 20 years ago? … The University of Alabama was good to me; I’ve been lucky. But that doesn’t have anything to do with this game.”

— Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend, a two-time All-SEC lineman for Alabama

Etc… .

Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (bruised shoulder) and cornerback Damian Swann (neck sprain) were kept out of contact again Wednesday. But Richt said “both would have played” had it been a game… . Defensive end Mike Thornton (ankle) is doubtful for Saturday… . Georgia has out-scored opponents 155-27 in the third quarter this season. Alabama is 51-24 in the third quarter but 181-28 in the second. . . . Sophomore wide receiver Michael Bennett said he will be able to participate in the spring practice on a non-contact basis.

90 comments Add your comment

Dawg Days

November 28th, 2012
10:04 pm

P-Man

November 28th, 2012
10:11 pm

Saturday can’t get here soon enough… but I’m enjoying the fact that UGA is in the SECCG. Win or lose, I’m proud of this team!

Athens

November 28th, 2012
10:35 pm

Just kick a– Saturday!!

BulldawgJim

November 28th, 2012
10:36 pm

Crimson Tide has the better team…..most UGA fans will admit this……however, this is a winnable game for our Dogs. If we don’t put it on the ground, and if Murray has no interceptions, I really believe our defense can keep the score enough for UGA to win. Dawgs offense is really clicking right now, despite the fact we have played porous defenses lately. A month ago, ‘Bama appeared to be invincible. Now that they have been beaten, I really believe UGA has a shot. I am also proud, whether we win or tie……………HBTD!!!!

BigDawg

November 28th, 2012
10:43 pm

Our team, our time, no regrets!!

74 Dawg

November 28th, 2012
10:43 pm

As I said in 2002, the Dawgs are going to the dome and the gators are going home. Now that still has a certain symmetry to it. Enjoying this week, loving it, hope the kids are too. Go Dawgs, roll the tide.

Dawwg87

November 28th, 2012
10:48 pm

Bama is going to get what’s coming Sat.

t2go

November 28th, 2012
11:02 pm

Before everyone gets on here w the usual trash talk…I think Bama is a very good team, maybe a great team. I think Georgia, has as much talent and at times can play LIGHTS OUT! I think this will be a great game! Two very good teams battling for a shot at the National Championship! Honestly I think the Dawgs have a great chance to take this game. Can’t wait for Saturday! If the O line can just give Murray a little time and our D comes in there wreaking havoc like they have been Bama will be in some serious trouble!!! Go Dawgs!!! This is your time!!!

kingdaddy

November 28th, 2012
11:12 pm

This is a big game for both teams. Bama fans can pretend it isn’t, but we all know how big the SEC-CG really is…

myjo

November 28th, 2012
11:16 pm

Bring it on Dogs

marseilles mutt

November 28th, 2012
11:27 pm

Richt either has the edge or is even in games against saban,and there’s not many folks that can say that!

One thing coach Butts and coach Dodd always agreed on was that the best handoff in the game was a good clean one to the ref…in the end zone, and to just act like you’d been there before….and planned to return again soon!

Hopefully the Dogs can do a lot of that Saturday! Very proud of the way the team has progressed this year. One great game will get you where you want to be, so good luck and GATA’s big time!

General Mills

November 28th, 2012
11:37 pm

Confidence,execution and discipline =UGA victory

ARdawg

November 28th, 2012
11:40 pm

Toccoa Dawg

November 28th, 2012
11:44 pm

Hey America you wanted a playoff, here it is.

7576DAWG

November 29th, 2012
12:00 am

Our Athletic Department has no excuse not building a full field when they opened the new one a few years ago. It had nothing to do with money. It sure would have been nice if the players could have gone full speed this week instead of worrying about turning an ankle in wet conditions. It would have gotten them more ready for the indoor Dome they will be in Saturday.

flo-ri-duh

November 29th, 2012
12:15 am

Richt is 3 – 2 against Saban….. lifetime. Saban ain’t no god. He let Auburn come back from being down 24 points to win. Saban lost to Louisiana – Munroe. Saban had a losing record in the NFL. UGA’s 1st team defense & offense can stand toe to toe with Bummer as well as the special teams. UGA is not in awe of Bummer.

Obummer

November 29th, 2012
12:50 am

Flo: Get jiggy wit it,bro! Bama owns GA. SEC and Nation

college is forever

November 29th, 2012
5:16 am

Of all of the “Keys to the Game” and there are many as we all know I’m hoping that Bobo calls an aggressive game and keeps the foot on the gas and does retreat to the play calling of the past.

JUNKYARD DAWG

November 29th, 2012
5:56 am

THE ONLY THING BUMMER WILL OWN OF THE DAWGS .OHUMMER IS OUR FOOT UP THERE WHOPESI DAISY! HUNKER DOWN YOU HAIRY DAWGS AND GET SoooooooEM.

RedandBlackDAWG

November 29th, 2012
6:11 am

No matter what the results are on Saturday, I am proud of this group of young men, UGA has on the team, and I think they are an excellent group of kids, working their butts off, and representing UGA and the state.
J.J. will have to have one of his best games Saturday, in order to have the kind of impact we need from him, but I think this young man knows there are a lot of eyes that will be on him, to have that type of game. He can be a game changer, even if he doesn’t figure into a bunch of tackles and sacks, because of the fact that he draws so much of the other teams attention, and extra coverage and frees up the other guys to step up to the plate. The better the rest of the defense looks, is the gauge as to how well J.J. has played I think. I hope he has a terrific game on Saturday and shows the rest of the USA what most fans of the DAWGS already know. He is the best in college right now at his position and his future is bright in the NFL. All of his hard work and determination will lead him to a lucrative life in the Sunday league.

Double Secret Probation

November 29th, 2012
6:38 am

Listened to Paul Finebaum’s show yesterday. All he and his Bama cronies could do was talk about Notre Dame, as if they have already beaten Georgia! On the few occasions when UGA was the subject of a call, Finebaum would chuckle with arrogance and they would talk as if UGA would find a way to lose. I hope the Bama team is looking past UGA to Notre Dame, too!

SEC

November 29th, 2012
7:17 am

Alabama continued to practice indoors in preparation for their SEC Championship game indoors Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

ole dawg

November 29th, 2012
8:11 am

Commit to the damn G!!! One game, one moment in your lives guys. All the Dawg nation asks is all that you have got. Give us that and we will be extremely proud of you…. and you will walk off the field as SEC Champs. GOOOOO DAAAWWWGGGSSS!!!!

bahits.com

November 29th, 2012
8:21 am

“It was a little misty out there and a little bit wet.”

“Ideally it would have been nice to have an indoor thing to practice in and crank the heat up a little bit to try get as close to what it would be in the game, but we don’t have that right now,” Richt said.

Why don’t we? Richt has pleaded for this from the time he was hired. Is it Michael Adams fault???? UGA is one of the highest revenue football programs in the nation and we can’t get what other teams have had for years???? Come on Georgia, you have tons of land and tons of money. Build a state of the art indoor practice facility. It can be multi-use and a huge asset to UGA, Athens and Georgia.

Doesn’t Bama have an indoor field where they are practising?

zbulldawg

November 29th, 2012
8:27 am

Way to go Jarvis !! LET THE BIG DAWG EAT

Dawg Talk

November 29th, 2012
8:31 am

#25? Lol……….Let’s do this, let’s get the show on the road! No one in the National Media is giving UGA any love, right now, but at the end of the day on Saturday, I bet they will. The Dawgs are going to win this game Bulldog Nation, you wait & see!

GB's Hamburgers

November 29th, 2012
8:39 am

It’s one of the bright spots of the year that the coaches are making very good halftime adjustments. To win the 3rd quarter by the margin mentioned is a phenominal turnaround from past years.

All Saints

November 29th, 2012
8:41 am

In tribute to our beloved martyred Saint Jan Kemp, let’s all bow our heads for a few moments of silent prayer. Thirty years ago, this courageous young lady risked everything to expose the corruption and academic fraud instigated by Vince Dooley, sleazy practices that continue to this day under douchebag coach Mark Richt. Gone but never forgotten, Saint Jan lives on in our hearts and minds as a guiding inspiration and as a symbol of resistance to the pervasive evil and corruption that dwell in Athens.

And now, let us all pray for Saint Jan…
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Thank you, you may now resume your normal activities.

NCDawg

November 29th, 2012
8:43 am

This game is big period. There are @ 120 teams that would literally kill to have the opportunity these 2 teams have. There is no way that Bama doesn’t feel the pressure just as much as UGA. This is for a chance to play for the national championship. Maybe Bama believes it is their God given right to play in such games but it still doesn’t change that this one is for all the marbles. The pressure is mounting. Bama has more to lose. If they lose it will be a major set back and loss of prestige. The Dawgs on the other hand have nothing to lose. No really expects them to win. They can come out and just play. Bama will have to overcome the expectations.
I said it before and I’ll say it again… this game is about psy ops. The Dawgs can really screw with Bama’s collective mindset if we come out and bust them in the mouth. They win on reputation as much as talent. Earlier in the year UF was basically out-willing teams in the 2nd half. They wore down LSU. The Dawgs turned the tables on the Gators and that is why we won. We out-willed them. Bama just projects self assurance at the opponent and they eventually roll over, accepting that they aren’t good enough to beat them. Texas A&M did not and that is why they won. They didn’t buy the BS. If the Dawgs come out ready for war they will win. Why? Because Bama isn’t used to playing teams that aren’t afraid of them. They will begin to freak out and that is when the Dawgs have to go for the kill. Psy OPs fellow Bulldogs… Psy Ops.

AltamahaDawg

November 29th, 2012
8:46 am

Correct R&B. Alabama is expected to win and they should be. They have advantages at several positions. If we lose, we lose. Getting to this point was the difficult part. 11 other team are not the SEC champs too. We should be proud of these guys right NOW. Part of that is knowing they can win and it’s not going to really a big surpriseto anybody if they do. They are what they are, right now.

As far as the NC is concerned. That’s an accomplishment. It’s not a statement of the type of program we have. THAT was determined back in March, and last years recruiting, and the years of sweat from these seniors. Georgia could win out and still not be NC if it weren’t for the bounce(s) of the ball in a game far out west, so that would not have been any less of a reason to “respect” what these players and coaches have done. The same can be said for the Alabama program.

AltamahaDawg

November 29th, 2012
8:54 am

Blue Ridge Dawg

November 29th, 2012
8:58 am

Our football program brings MILLIONS of dollars to the institution…. Build an indoor facility!! Im with Richt on this one!

ARdawg

November 29th, 2012
9:00 am

mike on lake hartwell

November 29th, 2012
9:07 am

G A T F A!!!!!!!!!!

Inlet Dawg

November 29th, 2012
9:09 am

Stay focused,Stay Positive,No Regrets on Sunday!

ARdawg

November 29th, 2012
9:13 am

Altamaha
Just because the homers and talking heads are predicting a Bama win doesn’t make it true and will make a Georgia win all the much sweeter. I’m not ready to make the concession speech. I think these bunch of Dawgs will take it to the house. I’m proud of them and the season they’ve had regardless of the out come. This bunch of Bulldogs are as deserving, as talented and as committed to winning this game as the other team. It is against all odds that they are in this position. Just win baby!

ARdawg

November 29th, 2012
9:15 am

Yeah what mike said!!!!

Wise Old Dawg

November 29th, 2012
9:20 am

38-17 Dawgs and another SEC Championship!

legionaire

November 29th, 2012
9:21 am

One of Bama’s players said this week that they had not faced an O that was as good both passing and running as UGA . The point is that the players are not taking UGA as lightly as I have seen the Bama fans are doing. Bama has not faced a D that features guys like Jones ,Rambo,& Jenkins. If Bama plays like they did against LSU and A&M it will not be pretty. UGA by 14.

Cash

November 29th, 2012
9:21 am

Georgia needs to stop being cheap and spend the money for an indoor practice facility. doesn’t Kentucky have one? Dang!

NCDawg

November 29th, 2012
9:36 am

Well… Adams is gone next year. Hopefully the new President will be more accommodating to the athletic department. The revenue generated is a boon for the entire school not just the athletic department. Getting an indoor facility would be great but I think our guys have done just fine without…all things considered. It will get done..especially if we go on and win it all. Those sort of things sway administrators a bit.

Habersham Dawg

November 29th, 2012
9:46 am

Jan Kemp would spit in your face All Saints for using her name the way you do. What she did was courageous and needed to be done, not just for Georgia, but for all of college football. But she was still loyal to UGA and for you to libel the men that you are, would disgust her. I wonder if the men and people you libel on a continuous basis ever decide to bring suit against you, would the AJC voluntarily give up your e-mail and IP address? I truly wish they would so that we could find out just what type of person you really are, other than someone who hides under a screen name to try and spread malicious rumors about others.

Mobile Dawg

November 29th, 2012
9:48 am

We’re getting some respect over here, however the “overwhelming” talk has been about Murray and not showing up in big games. Listening yesterday and they are convinced Murray won’t show up against the Tide defense. My hope is the staff takes the pressure off Murray early and let’s him work his way into the game. For the record I think the Dawgs have a “good” chance to win. I just hope they know what to expect, an extremely physical battle.

Zoomie

November 29th, 2012
9:52 am

Not difficult to project: UA’s O will scheme around stopping JJ. Unfortunately for him, he won’t be much of a factor, because UA’s O-line is stout and disciplined. If they focus on him, they’ll be able to limit his impact. Also, UA’s O game plan will feature the power running game, where JJ’s position has less impact.

That’s okay. Next man up! When they strengthen their scheme against JJ, it will weaken it elsewhere. Hopefully, Grantham and Co. will find that crease quickly and attack it mercilessly.

UA has a fairly balanced attack, but will be out of their comfort zone if they lose the ability to dictate the pace with the run game and have to pass a lot, especially in catch-up mode.

UA has shown a consistent pattern of strength and discipline. It’s just a great program. They’ve earned the right to be a favorite in this game. Having said that, after watching both teams multiple times this season and considering the overall talent level of both teams, I’d rather be in Richt’s shoes, putting together a game plan to stop UA, than the other way around. Saban knows that, if UGA is able to get both its running and passing game on track, he’s gonna be in a helluva battle.

If both teams execute to their potential, and the game turns on player execution, the advantage goes to UGA. If the game turns on coaching (preparation, game management, adjustments, etc.), then UA has a decided advantage.

Will this be the first REALLY BIG game where we see Aaron Murray keep his emotions under control and turn in a solid performance? I hope so.

Absent some big circumstantial/emotional tsunami as occurred in the USC/UGA game, this should be an SEC match-up for the ages.

Chase

November 29th, 2012
9:52 am

All Saints,

do you get paid by Tech to list the same post every blog or something? no one cares, tech sucks and that is all to it! you should feel good to know that it will hurt that much more Saturday night and Sunday morning when you read the newspaper and the dawgs are going to Miami!

And now, let us all prayer for All Saints, GT Bob, Saint Simons, world of warcraft and all the other Tech losers.
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Thank you, you may now resume your normal activities.

Go Dawgs!

Orlando Dawg

November 29th, 2012
9:56 am

GATA!!!! LOVE MY DAWGS!!!!

beanster

November 29th, 2012
10:00 am

The fact that Marshall Morgan is the PAT season record holder cracks me up. Oh the irony.

rhbDAWG1

November 29th, 2012
10:13 am

legionaire I hate to disagree with you but I must on one point. I think it will not only be pretty It will be BEAUTIFUL.

Joey

November 29th, 2012
10:22 am

Amazing that Jarvis had such a season, while missing two full games, and with a target on his back from his award-winning season last year.

chilidawg

November 29th, 2012
10:28 am

Which Aaron Murray will show up Saturday?