Sugar Bowl: Rodriguez talks Dawgs 12/28

ATLANTA - Read Head Coach Rich Rodriguez's comments about Georgia at his afternoon press conference.

Mark Richt said the one player that really causes him concern is your quarterback. He says that if he has a good day, Georgia will have a bad day. What are your thoughts on his counterpart D.J. Shockey?

"I've known D.J. since I was at Clemson and he was coming out of high school playing for his dad. He was highly recruited and we thought he was a perfect match for our system before we left Clemson. He could run, he could throw, but what's even more impressive is that he's waited his turn. Here's a guy that's good enough to play for anybody in the country and he was patient. He's at a place that he loves and a university that he loves and he's trying to make the most of it. He can do all the things a good quarterback can do. He can run, throw it, can manage the game well, and he's a great leader. For my money, he's the focal-point of their entire offense. We have to stop him if we want to have a chance in the game."

You've shown some concern for Georgia's passing game and trying to prepare for the deep ball. I'd like for you to talk about Dee McCann.

"Dee's had a pretty good year. He's made a lot of big plays for us. He's an athletic and very competitive guy. It seems when people start to go after him is when he is his most competitive. He's had only a couple of times this year where he's gotten beat and hasn't come right back from it. Anthony Mims has been solid his entire career and those two guys will probably be critical because they (Georgia) will take some shots deep. They obviously have a big tight end in Leonard Pope. He'll be eating peanuts off our linebackers' heads because he's so big. They've got a lot of weapons that they can go to. Pope concerns me, but so do their deep guys."

What are the one or two key things to defeating Georgia?

"There's a lot. The thing you look for is to watch all three phases and find out which phase can we take most advantage of – offense, defense or special teams. They (Georgia) won the SEC because they were probably the most complete team in all three phases in the SEC. There are no true weaknesses and that's why they won the championship. The key is that we have to establish some things offensively and it doesn't have to be in the running game. We have to get some first downs and cannot have a bunch of ‘three-and-outs' and make our defense go out there and defend for three-fourths of the game. That's what they want to do – control the game with their offense and not give up big plays. They're going to take some shots deep and we can't give up big plays and tackle them well. Tackling has been something we've been pretty good at all year and will be one of the most critical things that take place in this game both on defense and special teams."

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