Richt at the Podium

ATHENS - Mark Richt spoke to the media Tuesday about this weekend's matchup with Ole Miss.

On how Georgia can reclaim its road success…

"Just win. We'll definitely go in there believing we can win. We feel that every time we play of course. The one thing that over the years I think some of the reasons we've had so much success on the road was that our quarterbacks historically really handled the pressure of the communication in those loud stadiums and handled the pressure of if some little thing goes wrong for Georgia, it gets accentuated by crowd reaction and that kind of thing. Our quarterbacks have always had nerves of steel. They handled all that type of pressure really well. Part of the preparation for that will be Thursday's practice at the stadium. We'll crank up the noise and do a good job of communication there. While we are talking about practices, we will practice today and tomorrow on our field turf since we are going to play on field turf. We have a little bit of a forecast for rain too, so it will be better not to tear up our grass fields if it is moist out there. We'll go today and tomorrow on the field turf, Thursday in the stadium, and crank up the noise on Thursday."

On whether Hutson Mason will see more playing time…

"Right this second I wouldn't want to make a comment on that. We haven't really gone any further with that discussion, not to say we won't before the week is over. I'm talking about Mike Bobo and myself. But Hutson is practicing well, he's playing well. He really runs our system well, and he's earned playing time in my mind. How we'll manage that, I'm not ready to make any promises I can't keep."

On the SEC race…

"Our focus must be on today's practice and tomorrow's practice and Thursday's practice and getting better. We are sincere about doing that, but we all know we're also shooting for a prize long term, and the prize is definitely up for grabs. There shouldn't be any team in our league not believing that they could not win the prize, and we are not one of those."

On Taylor Bradberry…

"Taylor is one of those guys who has quietly been learning the system, getting stronger, getting faster, getting tougher, becoming more and more reliable, making plays in practice that everybody feels like this guy can play in the Southeastern Conference. He can help us win. That's part of the reason why he got a scholarship – because of production. We really have no fear of putting him in the ballgame and letting him play. If he is, in any given week, one of the top six guys at receiver, then he will get his opportunity. With Marlon (Brown) probably questionable to doubtful, I think that helps Bradberry's cause to be on the travel team and get in the ballgame this week."

On Marlon Brown's injury…

"I don't know if it's a mild high ankle sprain, but it's been lingering more than we would hope. He did early on just try to strap it up and go, and it just progressively got worse to the point where he really couldn't function well. Now we're trying to get him pain-free and give it another whirl. He won't be going today."

On playing three freshman offensive linemen last week…

"Part of it is the depth. They are second team, and one injury and one of those three is probably going to play. That's part of it. The other part of it is three seniors right now on our offensive line will be gone, and so a year from now there is a good chance one, two or three of those guys will be playing. Even if they play a little bit, any playing experience is very valuable for them this year. The fact that they are second team getting a ton of reps every day is helping them too. These guys aren't true freshmen hanging out on the scout team line and kind of waiting for their day in the spring. Every single day they have to perform in practice. They are getting coached hard, and they are getting coached with our system, changing game plans weekly and all the things that you mentally go through. So the more we can play the, they better of they'll be in the future too."

On how the freshman offensive linemen performed against Coastal Carolina…

"Not bad, I think David Andrews probably performed the best of that group, which wasn't surprising. The other two didn't do poorly, but David really seemed to be on it and played hard and physical. It seemed like he played confident and knew exactly what to do. I'm not trying to slight the other two boys, but I thought David stood out. That was big for those guys. That's fun. It had to be a great memory. I remember Huston Mason last year, his first play was a touchdown pass so it kind of reminded me of that."

On John Jenkins

"I think he's done well. I think he's in good shape now. I think he's still learning to play a little bit lower. He's still learning to play with the use of his hands a little bit better, but he is effective in what he's been doing. We did get him some playing time at end with DeAngelo (Tyson) being hurt last week and part of the reason is because of the condition he's in and part of the reason is that Kwame (Geathers) is doing very well also. We think Kwame and John are both being productive. Abry (Jones) has been very productive. DeAngelo has been very productive. Garrison Smith got some good quality playing time, and Garrison is doing well. Our 'D' line is playing pretty stout. Our biggest issue has been being able to generate a lot of pass rush pressure with just a four man rush. That's still a concern for us, but we have got pressure on the quarterback through blitz packages and things of that nature. We've lost contain too often. If you run certain stuff and have your outside guys go in and your inside guys go out or you're stunting or you're twisting or whatever you want to call it up front, sometimes our guys are having a hard time getting off of the offensive linemen to actually contain. Some guys are getting away with stuff as far as holding inside I think, but I'm not complaining about the officiating. Just a statement that its part of the reason. I think those guys are doing a good job overall."

On the best way of gauging how a defensive line is performing…

"Really and truly it's watching film and just seeing what they are doing. Are they doing their job? Are they creating some penetration into the line of scrimmage? Are they forcing linemen to stay on them a little bit longer and not get up on a linebacker? Then all of a sudden your linebackers are making some free hits inside the box and things of that nature. You watch the film and if you got a contain rush from the outside and they push the pocket in [the quarterback's] face and he's uncomfortable because he can't see or he can't follow threw well and he feels their presence and he doesn't throw it as well or maybe throws it sooner than he wants to. Those things are so hard to put down on paper as far as the stats are concerned. Certainly, you would like to see a guy make a tackle in the backfield or sack a quarterback and all that. But I remember Johnathan Sullivan having one of his best years. His sophomore year he had all kinds of stats, and the next year, he didn't get the stats but I think the Saints traded up to get him with the eighth [sixth] pick of the draft because of how he played. Those guys are hard to put stats on them and say whether they are doing great or not."

On if you have issues with pass protection does that limit a tight end like Orson Charles

"There's certain times where are tight ends are going to pass protect for us. It's just part of our system. It's a way for us to get seven-man protection. It's one of the ways. We could do it a couple of ways. That's one of the ways we do it. We are probably doing less of that than we were a year ago, so that's not an issue. Some people are like 'why isn't Orson getting the ball more?' The reality is we run routes where we spread the field. If we are stretching horizontally, we are going to have somebody in the middle, we're going to have somebody in the hook and we're going to have somebody in the flat. We might have somebody in the weak hook and the week flat on this side, and then certain coverages will dictate where the ball is going to go. If you get a blitz – if it's an inside blitz, you may throw a middle hot. If it's an outside blitz, you may throw a hot out there. If you have a roll and the secondary rolls this way, you're probably going to throw backside. Then if it's quarters coverage or some kind of coverage like that, you'll progress number one, number two and number three. So who's going to get the ball? Out of the five, I don't know before the snap. Some games the guy gets it six games. Some games he gets it two times or three times. Balls have been thrown to Orson that either protection or some reason he didn't get the completion. I don't know if he has dropped a ball yet. I don't think he has. We are aware of Orson and wanting to use him, but we can't always predict where the ball is going to go. If you say this route is going to him no matter what, you force the ball, you throw picks and you got problems."

On the status of DeAngelo Tyson and Kenarious Gates this week…

"We are very hopeful that DeAngelo Tyson will be back. I can't remember exactly, but I think we are hoping for him to get a little scout team work today if I'm not mistaken. He won't do the inside drill and the 11-on-11 stuff. I think that's where he is at today. Gates we are hoping to get a little scout team work today. I don't think we are ready to get into the other action, and where he'll plug in is a good question. We always try to get him some reps at guard and at tackle. If he was 100-percent healthy and something happened to one of our tackles, he'd be the guy that would probably play tackle first. Fortunately for us, he is a very sharp guy and moving him around a little bit doesn't blow him up. He could end up at guard or tackle."

On how big it was for the defense to get the shutout…

"I think a shutout is big. Anytime you get a goose egg it makes everybody feel like they did a good job. I'm not sure but they might not have even crossed the 50. Again, shutouts have a lot to do with defense for sure but it also means your offense did a good job too. It means they didn't have a turnover deep in territory. It means they didn't have turnover that caused a touchdown or a special teams play didn't cause a touchdown or really bad field position. They were having to drive the long field the entire time, and our defense did a good job of holding them there. I'm sure it gave them more confidence. I'm sure that it also gave more confidence to the young men that have played a lot of scrimmage downs. A lot of times when you have a shutout going you are a little reluctant to pull your defensive guys out if you are fighting for shutout. You put young guys in there and you hope they don't make a bone-headed mistake that will cost the shutout, cost some points. Our young guys actually did a nice job, so all those things were very positive.

"Let me just back up a little bit on the defense. You hate to go back and open up the wounds of the South Carolina game, but the mistakes that were made in that game cost a lot of points. At least directly responsible for 21, and getting the ball on the five-yard line on another turnover – basically 28 points were hard to pin on the defense. Twenty-one they weren't on the field. The one time on the five, they could have forced a field goal, so you could say four points was on those cats. But they had a chance if everything went well offensively and special teams wise they might have held South Carolina to 17 points that day. It didn't happen that way and it was 45 points and that looks pretty bad. The defense is the one that when people start looking at stats they're 'ah geez, they're not doing very good,' but in reality they're doing better than the stats prove that's for sure."

On the plans for Shawn Williams to remain at linebacker...

"Until we can get another answer there with guys coming back from injury and younger guys maturing and things like that. I don't see it as a permanent spot for him."

On his feelings regarding Houston Nutt's situation at Ole Miss

"I hate that for anybody. I've always hated that. I guess I could maybe just talk about it this way. As an SEC head coach, when we go to our meetings in Destin or our meetings at the national coaches' convention, and you all get in that room together -- whether we get mad at each other or not, get in these competitive situations whether its recruiting or on the field -- when you all sit in that room together and we start discussing the reality of our jobs and our responsibilities and just the things that we can control and the things we can't control, there's a heavy dose of respect for everybody in that room. I don't think anybody enjoys another guy going through something like that. We all know that we are pretty darn good coaches, and there's 12 of us in the league and somebody is going to have a good year and somebody is going to have a bad year."

On if he is offended by the characterization of this week's game being called the "hot seat bowl"…

"I knew that would happen. No. That was pretty easy to predict. You think they could have thought of something better than that. I think a couple of kindergarteners could have figured out that one.

On Cornelius Washington

"Here's one thing about Cornelius – I think he's playing harder than I've ever seen him play. I'm really proud of his effort, and the more he plays with that kind of intensity, the more hurries and sacks and tackles for loss and all that kind of stuff is going to happen. He's practiced hard, he's played hard, and he will reap the benefit as will Georgia."


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