Dawgs brace for "Magician"

ATHENS – Georgia's defense knows what they have to deal with this Saturday when they travel to Arkansas. The Razorbacks' quarterback is not your traditional signal caller.

At 6-6 237 pounds Matt Jones is a unique, and as Georgia sees it, a dangerous player.

"Jones--there is no one like him," said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt. "You can't describe Jones. He's a different kind of guy. He's huge, tall, and fast. He has a strong arm; he has no fear. He is very different looking compared to anyone I have every seen at quarterback."

Jones, who is just as much of a threat running the ball as he is passing it, is currently ranked second in Southeastern Conference history in yards per play (7.45) and is tied with Mississippi State's Jon Bond for most career yards rushing by a quarterback (2,280).

"You will not stop him; he is very difficult to contain," said Richt.

Jones was not as effective as Arkansas fans would have hoped when the two teams met in 2002 at the SEC Championship. He managed only 60 yards passing of Arkansas' pitiful 139 total yards as the Hogs fell to Georgia 30-3.

"He has so much ability," said linebacker Arnold Harrison. "Some people say that he doesn't look fast. But when you see him in person he is extremely fast. I had the chance to see him in person when we played him early in my career. He has a lot of speed and he can throw a good ball. He makes a lot of things happen."

He does indeed. Jones is ranked first in the SEC and 15th nationally in total offense with 274.3 yards per game. Running is not the only thing he can hurt opponents with, however, as he is ranked second in the SEC in passing yards per game (213.2) and fourth in the SEC in passing efficiency (140.4).

"We know he is going to create things. We just have to be in position to make the play. When he scrambles, we have to lock on to our man. When he starts going north-south, that's the key; then we go after tackling him. If he is still looking, we have to stay locked on our man," said cornerback Demario Minter.

"When things break down is when we get most nervous," said Richt.

But Jones' services are a bit in question for the Hogs this week. He was banged up in Arkansas' loss to Auburn last week, with an injured thumb and groin among other things.

"Matt is a tough guy and he does an unbelievable job of making people miss. It's a big hit for us," said Arkansas Head Coach Houston Nutt. "It's hard to pull him after he's been with you for four years. We just don't want to put him out there at 50 percent, and he repulls or re-injures and you don't have him down the stretch."

The Bulldogs are preparing for the Razorbacks assuming Jones will play, however. And if he does, which is likely, they know what he can do.

"He's kind of like a magician back there. He can throw the ball overhand, underhand, and deep. I don't know how he makes some of the throws and runs he does. He's just a great athlete," said Harrison.

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