Fast Five: Missouri Press Conference Day

ATHENS - Dean Legge recaps Mark Richt's press conference for the week of the Missouri game.

1. Mark Richt made the Missouri Tigers sound very, very good - particularly in the pass rush game.

“Here we go again,” Richt said of the Tigers’ ability to pressure the quarterback.

The coach indicated that Georgia’s game last season against the Tigers was one of the most difficult ones of the season in terms of quarterback protection. He said the offensive line has come a long way, but that he’s not sure they can get the job done this weekend.

“We have gotten much better at tackle,” Richt said. “But I am not sure we’ve gotten that much better.”

Richt went on to talk about Missouri’s special teams, which he noted are better than Georgia’s in four categories in SEC play (of note - Missouri has only played one SEC game). Richt also said that Maty Mauk could hurt the Bulldogs with his feet.

?“Any quarterback who has positive rushing yards is one you’ve got to look out for,” he said.

2. Richt went nearly the entire press conference without mentioning Todd Gurley. Richt said the Bulldogs will run the ball “at least” half of the time, and that Gurley, Nick Chubb and Brendan Douglas will be the running backs playing against the Tigers this weekend.

Richt said that he was hopeful that injured running back Keith Marshall will be back next week.

“Keith's getting better. Probably not this week, but he looked good yesterday just watching him run a little bit,” Richt said. “I didn't see him change direction. He just ran straight ahead. I hope next week. I'm not saying that will happen, but I hope next week.”

Meanwhile center David Andrews said that he’s happy with where the offensive line has been in the run game.

“I think it has a lot to do with having some healthy running backs,” Andrews said. “I think we have a great group of guys. We really gel together.”

3. The time of the game was a real issue for Georgia because of the travel back - not the time of kickoff.

“If we would have played that 9 PM game we would have probably gotten back at about 5 or 6 AM,” Richt said. “And that’s just… I remember flying back from Arizona State and guys were sleeping on the floor, and it was just a difficult way to prepare for the next week.”? Georgia was routed by Alabama the following week in Athens. This time the Bulldogs will travel 733 miles to Missouri this weekend, but will have to travel to Little Rock next weekend, which is 596 miles from Athens. That’s the longest back-to-back road trip of Richt’s time in Athens.

That’s not to say all of the travel is a bad thing. The worst travel of Mark Richt’s time in Athens came in 2004 with trips to Arkansas, Jacksonville and Lexington. The Bulldogs won all three contests.

4. On figuring out Maty Mauk: “Once he gets out of the pocket,” said defensive back Corey Moore, “he has his eyes down the field looking to make a play. We know they have some explosive players at receiver.”

For all the negativity surrounding the Bulldogs’ secondary, Georgia might be a little better in pass defense than you might expect. The Dawgs are ranked 7th in the SEC allowing 223 yards passing a game.

With that said, Mauk is averaging 222 yards a game passing. So it seems that Georgia’s secondary “should” be able to contain him through the air. But watch out for Mauk in the fourth with his legs. He’s played real well while running in the final quarter of games this season.

“He’s a hard guy to wrap up,” Richt said. “He creates a lot even on passing plays that break down. he extends plays by running around behind the line and then throwing it downfield.”

5. Mitchell “looked really great”; JSW Read to go. After a build up, Malcolm Mitchell only played a limited role in Georgia’s blowout win over Vanderbilt. But Richt said on Tuesday that he thought Mitchell looked good in practice, and that he will play more this week.

“Every time he caught the ball he went all of the way to the end zone,” Richt said of Monday’s practice. “I mean, he ran about 67 yards after the catch, and then hustled back for the next play. So I think he’s really working hard towards being in condition to play as much as we needed him.”

“Justin is continuing to progress,” Richt said. “I think the receivers are optimistic that we will do a little more damage at that position. So I think you will see a little more vertical passing game.”

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