South Carolina Week: Press Conference Quotes

ATHENS - Quotes from today's press conference at Georgia.

Georgia Football Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Mark Richt

On the importance of the South Carolina game:

"We know how important this game is, it's the first one of the year Southeastern Conference race. We have a high respect for this game, we have had a lot of close games with them over the years and we don't think this will be anything but a 60-minute fight. This is a game that is huge for us and for them. The winner is on the right track and the loser is just about in a situation where they have to win out in order to win the league and that is very difficult to do."

On South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier:

"Coach Spurrier finds a way to get points on the board, to get yards, and first downs, they got 27 first downs last game, they rushed the ball for almost 200 yards and passed for well over 200. I think Coach Spurrier sometimes gets a reputation for just wanting to throw the ball but if you study him over the years you can see that he likes a strong running game and the play-action pass off of it and that hasn't really changed at all. I'm sure he's holding a few things back for us and this ballgame, but for the most part he has done the same things over and over out of different formations. Out of all of the offensive coordinators that I have seen, he knows his system so well, he knows exactly what to do based on how you line up."

On the South Carolina Defense:

"I think defensively you have to start with the Brinkley brothers. They are a very talented duo of linebackers. Then you have the defensive end combination, Norwood had seven sacks last year. I like No. 79 Marquee Hall, just from watching tape this year I think he has dropped a couple of pounds and looks physically intimidating. They are very sturdy up front."

On the Georgia fans during the Oklahoma State victory:

"I want to say that I really appreciate the job that our fans did on Saturday, starting with the Dawg Walk. We talk about it a lot but that is for good reason, it is an emotional thing, it uplifts our players and gets them excited. The job our fans did when OSU had the ball and was trying to communicate with each other was great. We are going to need that even more so this week, that is a big part of what South Carolina does on offense, communication at the line of scrimmage, changing the plays at the line of scrimmage, and the louder our fans can be the more confusion we can hopefully create. I know Oklahoma State had a few offsides and I think that was probably the reason what, that our fans did such a great job, so I hope they can get as excited about this one that they did then."

On the UGA offensive line:

"We have a ways to go, we are about what we thought. We are young, inexperienced, we are making some mistakes and sometimes getting physically whipped. But at times we did a nice job, we are a work in progress for sure. It will take a while to really be solid across the board. Fernando Velasco did the best job up front for us, he actually won SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, he did a really good job. I think Matthew Stafford did a nice job of making some throws under pressure, he probably made the protection look a little bit better than it was. I think our runners probably made the run blocking look a little better than it was."

On Thomas Brown's recovery from last season's knee injury:

"I don't know what makes him tick, whether he thinks he always has to prove something, but he has this determination that is unmatched on our team or maybe with anyone I have coached. I can't think of anyone tougher than him or pound-for-pound as strong as he is. He is the same with his academics, he wants to graduate this semester and needs 21 hours to do it. A lot of people told him not to even try, but he thrives on people saying he can't do it. He wants to concentrate on the NFL when the season is over, he wants to graduate in three and a half years and not prolong it. He just has that kind of a mentality. I do believe he is a better football player now than he was a year ago."

Sophomore QB Matthew Stafford

On Coach Richt's proclamation that Oklahoma State was his best performance to date:

"Yeah, I agree. Just the fact that we never really turned the ball over, never really threw one up for grabs, made it that. I think I was 100 percent on all my checks, so I think it probably was my best one."

On game management:

"I think I did a pretty good job of managing this game. We did have a lot of checks and things like that. We did a good job of executing and it really turned out well for us."

On patience:

"There were definitely some times when I could've chunked them up there but didn't, and I just tried to hit check downs. We did a good job of just taking what the defense gave us and it made it easy on me."

On the slower-paced offense against Oklahoma State:

"I had fun watching those guys run and making plays after the catch. I think we only threw the ball down the field three or four times but it was just what the defense was giving us, and we did a good job of staying patient.

Senior Linebacker Brandon Miller

On defensive end Marcus Howard:

"He's a strong guy. You might not think he's as strong because of his height, but he is real strong. He runs a 4.3 or a 4.4 (40-yard dash), so it was a good move to put him at defensive end. It just goes to show that he could play both defensive end and linebacker and it helps him a lot."

On the overall debut of the new defense:

"I think we did really well. I think we had too many missed assignments and a lot of missed tackles and we have to shut that down, because Coach Richt will come in with a critique, so we have to stop that."

On South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier:

"Coach Spurrier's a great coach. We can't go into the game thinking we're going to come out and do the same thing we did last year (an 18-0 Georgia victory). We have to come ready to play. It's a privilege to play against him because he is such a great coach. To be on defense knowing how his offenses are, it is just a great honor to play against him."

On the difference between Matthew Stafford last year and this year:

"I think experience is the difference. It's that year under his belt. He's worked hard in the offseason and watched a lot of film and has done a good job of making himself better."

Junior Fullback Brannan Southerland

On quarterback Matthew Stafford's performance against Oklahoma State:

"He was very much in control. He was smart with the ball, which we needed him to be, and it just went out to the entire offense. The offense took ball security as the highest priority on Saturday and I think it started with him."

On Saturday's game being described as "ho-hum":

"No, I wouldn't describe it as ho-hum at all. I felt we had some good runs and the game started off when they made the mistake on the long snap, and we capitalized with a 20-yard run on the first play. Sean Bailey made some catches and Knowshon (Moreno) had a couple spin moves. It's something where if it is a short 5-yard pass but someone turns it into a 20-yard gain, then I wouldn't describe it as ho-hum at all."

On opposing defenses trying to stop the run:

"If that's what they're giving us then that's what we're going to do. If people want to protect against us underneath then we will give them the long ball. If people want to protect against the long ball then we will give it to them underneath. I think we've got the discipline and the know how to see that and do what we need to."

On South Carolina's Jasper and Casper Brinkley:

"They're very good linebackers. They're some of the best in the SEC. They're big, physical, and athletic. They run well and they're going to be all over the field making plays. As an offense we're going to have to be ready, and whoever has to block them has to get their fundamentals down and be in the right position to take them on. They are very strong and good at shedding blocks, and do what they have to do to get to the ball."

On the difference between running backs Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown:

"Thomas has the ability and will run around you sometimes. I think Thomas likes to run through guys more than Knowshon does though. Knowshon, as you saw from the spin move on Saturday, is very elusive in the open field. They both want to be the best and they have a happy and healthy competitive nature between them to want to be the best."

Senior Tailback Thomas Brown

On being asked if Kregg Lumpkin's injury changes the offense:

"I don't think it changes at all. It's just more work for Knowshon and I. We're going to have to pick up the slack of our returning leading rusher from last year. We'll hold down the fort until he comes back."

On opening up the field more against South Carolina:

"It's always good to establish the running game first of all. It opens up the passing game and gives you more options. We're a pretty balanced offense so I'm sure we will mix it up."

On Matthew Stafford:

"He was a pretty confident guy coming in last year, but he is a little more confident this year. He holds the offense better and has a better understanding of the game, and he also makes less mistakes. He's a lot more careful with the ball and a lot more conscious that if nobody is open he has to throw the ball out of bounds. He is going through the maturation process and will be good this year. He looked great on Saturday."

On the offensive line:

"I think they did a great job. They were facing criticism in the media and people were saying they were inexperienced. They held up very well to a very worthy opponent in Oklahoma State. I was looking forward to them fighting and they fought the whole game.'

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