Oklahoma State Week: Press Conference Quotes

ATHENS - Quotes from today's press conference in Athens.

Head Coach Mark Richt

"I'm excited to start the season, it won't be long now. We all know we are playing a great team, there is a lot of buzz around Oklahoma State for a lot of reasons, number one being that their offense has been so tremendous over the last season. They are well-coached, they have a lot of momentum going right now. They finished strong last year and improved their record from the year before and now they are looking to make a splash nationally. I think a lot of people look at them as a possible darkhorse to win their league."

"I know our team and our fans will be very excited. Our Dawg Walk will be at 5:05 p.m. and we want to get the fans out for that. Today I also want to announce our captains for the first ball game: on offense, Fernando Velasco along with Thomas Brown; on defense, Brandon Miller and on special teams, Kelin Johnson."

On the OSU offense:

"They are a very dangerous offensive unit. Dave Koenig is a guy they like quite a bit, he is a very good football player and Russell Okung is a very fine football player, maybe the most athletic player they have up front. Adarius Bowman is arguably one of the most talented receivers in the country, he is big with great speed and good hands and he has the ability to catch the tough ball and run after the catch. He is absolutely going to create some problems. Brandon Pettigrew, their tight end, is also a mismatch problem. If you double Bowman all day you will have trouble with Pettigrew. He reminds me of Leonard Pope, a guy everyone had trouble matching up with. At running back they are very strong with Savage and Toston, both of those guys are averaging over six yards per carry. That's what happens when you are as diverse as they are, they spread the field, they throw the ball and run equally well. They are very dangerous in that way. Bobby Reid, the quarterback, is built a lot like Matthew Stafford, about 6-foot-three and can run and throw the ball very well. Zack Robinson backing him up will probably play a good bit, getting 10-15 snaps a game at quarterback and wide receiver."

On the OSU defense:

"Defensively they have as many as six senior starters. They are a bunch of guys that feel like they have something to prove, they have been hearing from everyone questions about why they haven't played as well as the offense. It sounds like they had a great camp and they have their new coordinator in their, Coach Beckman, who seems to have them excited and ready to play ball. From what I saw in the bowl game against Alabama last year, they matched up extremely well speed-wise and size-wise. I think their athleticism is tremendous."

On the OSU special teams:

"Their specialists are tremendous, especially their punter Mike Fodge. He averaged over 45 yards per punt last year with a lot of hang time. Jason Ricks has got the ability to hit long field goals and I believe he will be their kickoff man. Their No. 1 return man is Parrish Cox, he does a great job returning punts for over 12 yards per return and kickoffs for about 27 yards per return."

On the number of freshmen who could see playing time this year:

"I believe right now between true freshmen and redshirt freshmen, I think we could play anywhere from 18-20 true and redshirt freshmen. Some guys will be starting, a lot will be solid backups and others might be in on special teams. But I think we could see up to 20 freshmen play in that first game. A lot of them are redshirts but up to seven true freshmen could start or play and that bodes well for the future I hope."

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Bryan Evans

On when he first knew who Adarius Bowman (Oklahoma State sophomore wide receiver) was:

"I watched the Independence Bowl and after they talked about him during the pre-game I kind of got feel for him, but I didn't pay that much attention to him during (last) season."

On when he started watching film on Adarius Bowman:

"We actually started watching a lot of film after spring ball. We saw that he was a great receiver and kind of similar to Calvin (Johnson) [former Georgia Tech wide receiver]. With the ball in the air, he has very good ball skills. He's a bigger type of receiver.

On if he expects to play a lot of one-on-one with a younger defensive line:

"Not really right now. We haven't really changed our game plan all that much. I think our defense is a lot faster than last year, so I think that is a benefit for us going against a running quarterback."

Senior strong safety Kelin Johnson

On teammate and fellow Daytona Beach, Fla. native and high school teammate, redshirt freshman Tony Wilson:

"Tony Wilson is a very prideful guy. He believes in what he says and he says what he means. He's going to tell you how he feels and he's going to take it to the football field. That's one thing about Tony, he has a lot going on in his life personally, but he took that over onto the football field and turned it into a positive thing. I'm real proud of him for that."

On how he feels the freshman on the team have made adjustments so far:

"There are a couple guys. I feel like last year, Knowshon Moreno, he could have played as true freshman. I feel like Rennie Curran this year has really come a long way. He's always running to the ball. That's just one thing about him. If he doesn't know what to do, he's just going to run and hit. That's what you like to have on the defense because every defense player, including myself knowing what to do on every play, can mess up, but if you run hard and hit hard good things happened to defensive players."

On how junior defensive tackle Corvey Irvin has looked:

"Corvey Irvin is a guy who has gone through junior college process, and I really think he is starting to buy into the Georgia system. It takes guys a little while to really realize how does Georgia plays their defense and how they play as a team. (Irvin) is one guy who is latching onto the system. He's an unbelievable strong young man and I believe he is going to make a lot of plays for us this fall.

On how the Bulldogs' defense will match-up against Oklahoma State's offense:

"You go into every game thinking you have to look at every game the same as ‘they're good and we're good.' Oklahoma State's offense and receiving corps is real experienced and our secondary is experienced too. As a senior, I look at it as you want some competition on the other side – you want a challenge. That's big in the SEC, that's big in NCAA football. That's why you play football – you like challenges. You don't want to go out there and play someone that's not going to give you a challenge. We both have a challenge on both sides of the ball."

Junior free safety C.J. Byrd:

On what he thought when he heard about teammate Antavious Coates being lost for the season after suffering a knee injury:

"We are great friends and roommates. It's just terrible what happened, but everything happens for a reason. I remember us just always saying ‘we can't wait till we get on the field and start playing together.' It just makes me feel that much more happy to know that I'm able to play and to not take every day for granted."

Senior tailback Kregg Lumpkin

On if he thinks the offensive line is ready for the first game:

"You can't really judge anyone yet because we haven't seen the new guys play on the field. When Saturday comes we'll see if the offensive line is really ready.

On getting to play a team like Oklahoma State in the first game:

"It's going to be an exciting game; it's at 6:45 at night in front of all of our fans ready to support us, and we'll be ready to go. We're ready to play another opponent.

Sophomore quarterback Matthew Stafford

On knowing the Oklahoma State players:

I played against a few of their guys and know some names from growing up. I remember watching Bobby Reid play in the State Championship on TV. I don't know any of them personally, but I know of them and I know they're great players.

On Thomas Brown:

He's a special guy. He's a work horse. He does a great job of coming out every day and working hard. An example of that is his knee injury. He got hurt last year and was able to bounce back in less than a year and be the starter.

On the possibility of an offensive shoot-out against OSU:

We have a bunch of players on our outside who can make plays, and as long as you protect and open up some holes I think we'll be fine. I think our defense is going to show up ready to play, no questions asked. I think it's going to be a great game, to tell you the truth. Something has to give, we'll just have to see what it's going to be.

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