Having A Ball

Tony Ball has almost completed his first season as Georgia's running back coach. His group has averaged over 132 yards per game and has totalled 19 touchdowns. Before coming to Georgia, Coach Ball was the receivers coach at Virginia Tech for 8 seasons. So with the Hokies being Georgia's next opponent, I could not have found a better person to talk to.

Dave McMahon -- How has bowl practice been?

Tony Ball -- It has been good. It has been up-tempo. The guys have had good concentration on the fundamentals that we have been doing.

DM -- The last few weeks of the season, both Kregg and Danny seemed to be getting banged up, this break came at the right time, right?

TB -- It did come at the right time. They really needed those 2 weeks off to get healthy and better physically.

DM -- Most of the players studied during those 2 weeks, what did you do?

TB -- I was out on the road recruiting. This was the beginning of the contact period. All the coaches were visiting schools and prospects and then once we found out which bowl game and which bowl opponent we were facing, we came back and broke down film and prepared for the game. We were very busy.

DM -- How excited are you that Georgia is facing Virginia Tech... a place where you were for such a long time?

TB -- I rather see them under different circumstances, but it will be good. I will spend some time with them, but we are here for business, so it will be hard to enjoy myself with them. I have great respect towards them.

DM -- How are Coach Beamer and Coach Richt similar?

TB -- They both have the same work ethic. They are both very consistant in what they try to do. They are both emotionally steady and both create a wonderful work environment.

DM -- This season, Virginia Tech is known more for their running game, but you know a lot about their receiving group, tell me about them...

TB -- Their whole offense is well-balanced. They have good skilled receivers at wide receiver. They are strong and explosive and tough. They also all play on all the kicking games, not many teams can say that. They also have a strong running game with Branden Ore. The player I am most impressed with is quarterback Sean Glennon. The way he plays gives them a chance to win every time.

DM -- You are going against a defense that is tops in the nation, what is special about them?

TB -- Their philosphy is to stop the run. That has always been their objective. They always have 8-9 players in the box. I watched their films and every time I stop the videom there are always 8-9 players around the ball.

DM -- Which team that Georgia has played reminds you of their defense?

TB -- Schematically no one, but their speed is like Auburn, Florida or Vanderbilt's. Teams whose defense relies on speed. That is what Coach Foster has always been about.

DM -- Getting back to Georgia, what are you most proud of the big 3 running backs this season?

TB -- That they have always been unselfish. They work so well together. They have improved a lot fundamentally especially in pass blocking.

DM -- Georgia fans have yet to see Knowshon Moreno play, which of the 3 backs is he most like?

TB -- He has the quickness and elusiveness of Thomas Brown. The intelligence of Thomas Brown and Danny Ware and the strength and mindset of Kregg Lumpkin.

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