Tennessee Week: Press Conference Quotes

ATHENS - Quotes from Georgia's weekly press conference.

Head Coach Mark Richt

On the Tennessee Offense:

"We have a great challenge this week, Tennessee as we all know is a great football program. They are very talented and well coached as always. Our coaches feel that this will be the best offensive line that we have played to this point, they have an attitude of wanting to finish their blocks, run and pass. They will be the best group of five that we have faced, and that's saying a lot because I thought that line last week was pretty darn good for Ole Miss. Tennessee has a tight end/fullback, Chris Brown, who does a nice job and is very versatile. He can truly play both the tight end and fullback position and they will use him to disguise personnel groupings.

"They have three receivers catching over 20 balls apiece, which is a problem because there isn't just one guy you can't sink your hooks into one, all three of them are capable of making plays. It makes for a tough day when trying to figure out who to hone in on. At running back, Arian Foster is a big, strong, physical junior who can pound you, then you have LaMarcus Coker who has the speed. Montario Hardesty gets some work here and there, he is a shifty back, then you have Lennon Creer who is a true freshman that is very talented that they don't plan on redshirting. Of course, it all happens on offense because the quarterback Erik Ainge is playing so well. He is a big guy, 6-foot-six, 220 lbs., and he is an excellent football player. He has beaten us every time he has started."

On the Tennessee Defense:

"Defensively, their have a bunch of guys they are substituting on the front four, they are all almost interchangeable. We think Dan Williams is one of their most dominating players up front, and their defensive ends all have the ability to give you trouble. All three linebackers are returning starters and are all talented ballplayers. They have some youth in the secondary, from what we hear Eric Berry and Brent Vinson might start for them at safety and corner, respectively, as true freshmen. Everyone worries about playing true freshmen but usually they play because they are so talented, you can't help but playing them. Jonathan Hefney is the leader in their secondary and is a big hitter with cover skills as a former cornerback."

On the Tennessee Special Teams:

"Hefney is also a great punt return man, he is a quick and powerful and has the ability to make the first guy miss. Coker is their kick return man, averaging about 30 yards per kick return. Colquitt as usual is another punter playing well for Tennessee, averaging 44.2 yards per kick and is good at directional kicking which a lot of guys have trouble mastering. They also have a freshman in Lincoln who has made eight of eight field goals and all of his extra points, so their special teams should be outstanding as usual."

On the importance of this game:

"This is a big game for both teams, we both need it. Both teams want to feel like they are still in the race. We are right now but after Saturday one team's hopes will be a lot dimmer. They won't necessarily be out of it but their hopes will be dimmer. It's big for both teams, we have a lot of respect for Tennessee, we always have. Hopefully we will play well again this year."

On Georgia's recent success in Knoxville:

"I just think we have quarterbacks that have played pretty well in those games and we have almost always had at least one big special-teams play. Then of course Sean Jones scooped the fumble (in 2003) that was a great break for us. That was a big momentum switch in our direction. I don't know if those games will carry over into this one other than the fact that our players may have some belief that it can be done."

On the duo of Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno at tailback:

"They are doing extremely well, this game in particular. I think they got the most yards you could imagine with the amount of blocking that they got. I'm not saying everyone missed their blocks, but there were some times when we just didn't block well. But those guys made people miss or they broke a tackle. They really ran well. Knowshon had some really good runs, he got overshadowed by Thomas' 180 yards but he looked like Houdini a few times out there."

On Georgia's upcoming road games:

"Hopefully we are able to handle it. We have had success in the past on the road and I hope we can continue that. There are a lot of big games around the entire league, the Eastern Division has some big things happening in the next two to three weeks. By the time we get to the open date it will be interesting to see where we stand. We have two big ones before we get a rest and I hope we have enough energy to get the job done."

Georgia Press Conference Player Quotes

Junior Fullback Brannan Southerland

On his role this year:

"It's just been a little bit of a different role. That, and I just haven't had as many opportunities come up. I think a lot of that has to do with last year having passes and runs that got tackled on the 1 (yard line). That just happened to be the area where they would call my number a lot, but this year we're busting 60-yard touchdowns with Knowshon, Thomas Brown, and long passes. I think it's great. I'm blocking well this season and protecting the quarterback and getting other guys in the end zone. The main thing to me is that we're winning, so we must be doing something right."

On the biggest difference between this year's and last year's offense:

"I think it's a little bit of maturity. Stafford's got a year under his belt now, and we're very explosive at the tailback position. The line is really coming on strong. Not only that, but we've got some pass threats and the receivers are really catching the ball great this year. When you have a more balanced attack, it just opens everything up."

On not scoring as many touchdowns this year compared to last year:

"If I'm leading the team in touchdowns, then something's not going right. I think TB (Thomas Brown) is well on his way this year, or it might be a receiver, who knows? If you have a receiver or tailback leading the way, then that means that things are going right, and that's what I like to see."

On the team's confidence going into Tennessee:

"Early in the season, with a bunch of young guys and this being one of their first times to travel, having a big road win like Alabama under their belt is only going to give them confidence going into Tennessee, which is another intimidating, hostile environment."

Junior Split End Mohammed Massaquoi

On playing Tennessee:

"We know that we have to go out there and play our best. We know that it's going to be a good game, and we know that we have to go in there expecting a challenge."

On the toughest part about a hostile road atmosphere:

"It's not that the game is tougher, it's just that you have to stay focused. It's one of those things where you can't hear, so there is no sense in trying to scream at your teammate. You have to be up on your P's and Q's and stay true to what you did all week in practice."

On how close Mikey Henderson is to breaking a long punt return:

"He's a very exciting player. He is so quick and so shifty, and we know that anything can happen with him back there. Every week you really just don't know what you're going to get, so you just have to go and block the best you can for a guy like that because he makes a lot of good things happen.

On the punt return unit:

"I don't think we've had our best game yet. I think we still have a lot of stuff that we have to get done and we have to play a bit harder, so we'll see. I know that Tennessee is big in history and Coach Neyland used to strive on having great special teams. I know they have a great punter and great return men, and we just have to go in there and expect a challenge.

Redshirt Freshman Tailback Knowshon Moreno

On going into another hostile environment:

"We have a little bit of confidence. We figured out that we can do some things now, but we are still learning and still working hard. Every game is going to be tough, so we just have to keep up the hard work and keep doing what we're doing. We can definitely get better."

On playing in front of 108,000 people in Tennessee:

"It's going to be outrageous. I've never played in front of that many people ever, and I heard it's a hostile crowd, so I know it's going to be crazy. I'm definitely kind of excited that I get to experience this, but it's definitely not going to be easy."

On having Brannan Southerland at fullback:

"Let me tell you, he is doing a great job down there blocking. They can give him some love down there (on the goal line), we don't mind that. As long as we're putting points on the board, that's what we really care about."

On his running style:

"I feel that all of our backs have that cutback ability and that power. I think it's definitely an advantage to us because we can all do it. I think that teams really have to watch out for us. I have no problem with that (breaking a big run outside). I have to stay on my reads and follow my fullback better than I have, so I'm going to keep on working on that."

Sophomore Quarterback Matthew Stafford

On running backs Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno:

"They're big time players. They're playing great this year, for sure. I'm happy for Thomas having a great game last game and I think Knowshon had one too; Thomas just had an outstanding one. They've been doing great all year though, blocking, catching, running, just doing the whole thing. They're fun to have on our team.

On reintroducing Kregg Lumpkin against Tennessee:

"That's not up to me, obviously, but I know Lump's a talented back. I think we all know that. He led our team in rushing last year and had some big games for us. He's definitely going to be in the mix and we will just have to see how it works out. Nobody really knows with him coming off of that hand injury."

On handing the ball off when the running game is effective:

"Absolutely. If we're winning games, that's all I care about. We ran the ball a bunch last week and it worked for us, so why not keep doing it. It's just one of those things where I'm sure one week I'll have to throw a bunch for us to win, so it's just give and take whatever it takes that week to win. We're willing to do it."

Senior strong safety Kelin Johnson

On if defeating Tennessee in Knoxville before helps make it less intimidating to go there this year:

"Last time is last time. The only thing I got on my mind is when they put 51 points on our defense and that was here. That's the last thing I remember of Tennessee. Knowing that it's a hostile environment, we have to go in and play together. If we don't play together, we are going to get our butts whooped - point blank. If we don't have our minds on the prize and don't go in with a great attitude and play for each other and we are worrying what we are doing after the game and how family is doing, so that's one of those things when we go on the road we know we are focused. We know that we are there by ourselves, and we know that we are the only ones that are there for us because Tennessee fans will be all over the place. When you look up in that stadium all you see is Tennessee and Tennessee for days. You might see one little speck of red of fans for us, but we know we are there by ourselves. That's why we play well on the road and that's why you have to take pride in what you do during the week, so you have that much more confidence with what you are doing on Saturday."

Sophomore cornerback Asher Allen

On Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge:

"I remember him last year in just how poised he was coming into Sanford Stadium. He looked like he was in his backyard being able to just throw the ball at will, and that just speaks about their program and how great they are and how he's just able to manipulate any defense he goes against."

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Kade Weston

On Tennessee's offensive line: "All across the board they all have size and they are physical, so we know it's going to be a physical game. We have to come prepared to bang with them."

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