Vandy Week: Press Conference Quotes

ATHENS - Quotes from Georgia's weekly press conference.

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening comments:

"The game is on national television this week and Vanderbilt has a sold-out crowd, so I know they will be excited about that. They have a team that is returning 18 players that have been starters for them, not counting two specialists who have been starters for them, so they are a very veteran ball club. We have a tremendous challenge here, last year they came into our house and beat us, it was no fluke, they came in and went toe-to-toe with us and came out with a victory. They know what it is like to beat Georgia so we know we have a tough one ahead of us and we are working hard to get back in the win column."

On the Vanderbilt offense:

"Their entire offensive line is made up of seniors, in fact four out of five are fifth-year seniors. That makes a huge difference when playing in this league. I think Chris Williams is a very talented guy, he anchors their line at the left tackle position. He was the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week a couple of weeks ago. At the quarterback position I'm not quite sure what they are going to do, I'm not sure they know who will start. I think both Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams will play, they have played a good bit. They are similar in their style of play, I think they both have the ability to run the ball, Vanderbilt likes to quarterback-run in their system. Cassen Jackson-Garrison is an outstanding back, and Jared Hawkins is running extremely well for them. Those two are getting most of the work at the tailback position.

"I think hands-down their best offensive threat is Earl Bennett, I don't think that is a mystery to anyone. He is a fantastic player and is getting ready to break career reception records of Terrance Edwards and Craig Yeast of Kentucky. He is walking them down in his junior year, I don't know if he'll come back for his senior year, it wouldn't bother me if he turned pro. He will shatter the records if he comes back next year. Also, Sean Walker is a very strong receiver, he had a big touchdown catch against us last year."

On the Vanderbilt defense:

"On defense their seniors are playing extremely well. They have at least five starters who are seniors and they are playing the best football of their career. Jonathan Goff is one of the leading tacklers in the Southeastern Conference, he has played an awful lot all throughout his career. He is a sure tackler, he is a 6-4, 235, very rangy guy who is tough to block and is a playmaker. Marcus Buggs is leading their team in tackles for loss and safety Reshard Langford has got seven career picks which is very impressive. Finally D.J. Moore, their starting cornerback, is their second-leading tackler. He is similar to Asher Allen in his style of play, and he is also a fantastic kick-returner. He is very dangerous and fearless."

On the Vanderbilt special teams:

Their punt return they tend to have two guys back, they hardly ever have a fair catch because there is always someone back to protect the return man from the gunners coming at him. Bennett is averaging about 14 yards per return. Alex Washington actually had a touchdown called back or his return stats would be even greater. Their punter, Upson, will punt conventionally and in a rugby style, it is very difficult to get a return set up against them. They give up very little return yardage against them except for one that spit out on them against Alabama. Then their kickoff and extra point/field goal man is Bryant Hahnfeldt, he is 7-for-10 (on field goals) and he does a nice job. He kicks off high, they are a directional kickoff team, they have good cover people and their athleticism gets better every year."

On the confidence and inconsistency of Georgia:

"I don't think it is a confidence issue, I just don't think we are a very mature team. We have been up and we have been down. We have not had a consistent effort throughout the season. Even in the Ole Miss game we didn't start out too well but fortunately they fumbled, we went 90+ yards, and something sparked our ability to start getting after it. I don't think it's a confidence issue but I do know that when something good happened in that game it changed the momentum. I just think we are young more than anything else. Overall we are just not at the point where we can mentally overcome things like fatigue and momentum going against you. We have to do a better job of that and we are going to harp on that type of thing this week. Coaches and players alike, it seemed we were waiting for something to spark us at Tennessee but nothing happened."

On David Greene as a sophomore vs. Matthew Stafford as a sophomore:

"That particular year David had six senior offensive linemen in front of him and he had Musa Smith, Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson. He was surrounded by a much more mature football team than Matthew has around him now. Those days for Matthew are still to come. In the next couple of years he will be surrounded by a much more mature team, offensively especially, where as David benefited from that in that particular year."

On the return of Kregg Lumpkin from his thumb injury:

"It will be interesting to see how Kregg comes back, he will be fresher than most of our guys right now. And that's not because he hasn't been practicing because he has, but he hasn't gotten the pounding that the other guys have. I see a fresh Kregg Lumpkin helping us, I would imagine that between him and Knowshon they will probably have the same amount of carries that Thomas and Knowshon had. I don't think it's too important who starts, I think they are both going to play a good bit."

Sophomore quarterback, #7 Matthew Stafford

On the young offensive line:

"I don't think there's a confidence issue, I think it's more of an experience thing. It's more just young guys not knowing what to do when things don't go their way right away, and that is tough to learn. I think getting more game experience will help them out. You just got to keep playing hard. That's all you can do really and just let the rest take care of itself."

On Demiko Goodman:

"He's doing a good job. He came off the knee and has had to work his way back into the offense. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of him down the road here. He can really run and he's shown the ability to make a lot of good catches too. Hopefully he'll work his way back into the offense a little bit."

On learning on the job:

"I'd rather learn on my back, you know, the hard way. It was something that helped me out a lot. I know it's tough to do sometimes, but you just have to keep working hard and hopefully things turn around for you."

On team leadership with Thomas Brown out:

"Kelin, obviously, on defense talks a lot and gets people going. Bubba (Senior Center Fernando Velasco) talks a lot too. Other than that, Knowshon gets out there and plays with a bunch of energy, and I think that inspires people."

Junior tight end, #86 Tripp Chandler

On the loss against Tennessee:

"We didn't execute. We had a good game plan and we just weren't able to execute it. That's just one thing that we really have to concentrate on doing; executing our plays and making sure we get the job done."

On preparations for Vanderbilt:

"Well we have to go back and look at our film against Tennessee, and see what we did wrong. We have to really make sure we emphasize on the points that we screwed up on, and correct them. We just have to make sure we get the job done when we play against a really good Vanderbilt team."

On Demiko Goodman:

"If he breaks loose, nobody can catch him. I don't know about our other guys, but I know that if the ‘track star' breaks free he's gone. He's got a good chance of breaking away."

On the SEC race:

"We still do have a chance. Having two losses, we can still make it. In 2003, when we lost to LSU in the SEC Championship game, we had two losses and we still made it. We can still do it. It's just about getting the job done week after week. It can be a tough road, but I don't see why our team couldn't do it."

Junior fullback, #36 Brannan Southerland

On explaining last Saturday's loss:

"Everyone, my family and friends, are just asking me ‘what happened?' It's hard to give them an answer. Tennessee came to play, and I felt like we were ready, but obviously we were not. We just couldn't get anything going. We were giving them short fields and our defense was on the field the whole time because our offense couldn't sustain a drive. It just sort of kept on going."

On the offensive line's maturity:

"It's hard to say (if they matured against Tennessee). I think we lost as a team on Saturday. I don't think it was one position that lost it for the team, it was a team loss across the board on all three phases."

On losing to Tennessee:

"That's just the way football is. You win some and you lose some, and it hurts. It hurts badly. It's no fun to lose like we did on Saturday. But you can't let that hang over you and let that go and affect your preparations for Vanderbilt. You have to learn from it, but you got to put it behind you and go out there and work hard in practice. We've got to get a win on Saturday."

Junior wide receiver, #85 Demiko Goodman

On his knee injury last season:

"I tore it completely in the game up at Kentucky. I went out there and made some catches and made some plays after I had hurt it. It happened in the first quarter and I played the whole game on it. It was weird because I heard the next day I had torn it."

On running track:

"I love the game of football. I wouldn't be here if I didn't love the game of football. I'm going to continue to work hard. Track is a fun sport because you're able to just go out there and run, but being out there between the hedges is just another experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It's great."

On his improved confidence:

"Definitely. Both physically and mentally. I'm ready to go out there and make plays so whenever my number is called, I'm confident that I am going to go out there and make plays for Georgia to help my team out."

Senior strong safety, #30 Kelin Johnson:

On what the team needs to do to tackle better:

"When you tackle you're supposed to wrap up and you've got to grab on to something. That's one thing we're going to continue to work on week-in and week-out, whether we didn't have a lot of missed tackles or we did have missed tackles. You can't forget the basis of football. That's key to a defense."

On what this year's team can learn from last year's team in terms of picking themselves up after a losing to Tennessee:

"You got to have a sense of urgency. If something is not going right, you have to see what is going right with our defense, and that's one thing we did last year. We stepped back and watched some more film and our leaders stepped up and demanded more from the underclassmen. I think that's what we got to have this year. We're not in bad shape. I feel there is a lot of ball to be played with a bowl game, and in the SEC East, I feel like we still have a chance because you have a lot of teams out there who haven't played the top teams in the SEC yet. We just have to continue working hard and keep in mind that when Tennessee came in and beat us that everything went downhill last year. We waited to the last minute, after maybe two or three losses, and then have a team meeting and then have our leaders step up. It has to step up now. Everybody has to look each other in the mirror and say I'm here for you and you're here for me and I'm going to depend on you to bring the best out of myself. That's what we have to do."

Redshirt freshman free safety, #9 Reshad Jones:

On how the team moves on after losing to Tennessee:

"The game Saturday, it is in the past. We really can't focus on the past, but we can focus on the present and try to not let Tennessee beat us two weeks in a row. We're going back to Tennessee, and Vanderbilt has a great team too. Anybody can win at any given time in the SEC, so we really just have to prepare more this week and get ready to play a great ball game this week."

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