Kentucky Week: Press Conference Quotes

ATHENS - Quotes from Georgia's weekly press conference.

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening comments:

"I want to start out by saying that our Dawg Walk will begin at 10:45 a.m. this week. I know that sounds early but I think we saw last Saturday what happens when everyone gets together and does it right. I want to thank everyone who was involved. The Dawg Walk was phenomenal and the students were up in the stands ready to go during pregame warmups. I don't think that has happened in my seven years here. By the time we came out of the tunnel next to that big bulldog the place was full and the fans were jacked. It was an amazing thing and we would love to see that happen again. People are still talking about it, recruits are still talking about it and our own players are as well. I think the one thing everyone said was it wasn't just that the players wore black jerseys, it was about everyone coming together to do something special."

On the Kentucky offense:

"Kentucky has a very senior-laden team with some great offensive personnel. Andre' Woodson, Steve Johnson, Keenan Burton, Jacob Tamme, Rafael Little, Eric Scott and Jason Leger are all seniors, and that's just their offense. They are saying ‘We can make something big happen this year.' They have been in the Top 25 all year and were in the Top 10 for a while. Of course, they are the only team to beat No. 1 LSU, they went toe-to-toe and whipped them. They were behind 13 points with about three minutes in the third quarter of the LSU game, then they tied it and won in overtime. They have had an outstanding season and they are an outstanding team. Kentucky does a great job of spreading the ball around. Burton, Dicky Lyons and Tamme are all great receivers, they catch the ball extremely well. Little was banged up a bit but I think he will be back. Tony Dixon is a very good runner and Derrick Locke is a very good runner as well, he was signed as a track athlete but has gone to football full-time. They are very fast. The offensive line is doing a very good job protecting the quarterback and providing space for their runners. If they are not No. 1 in the league in offense, they are very close to that. They are balanced with a good passing and good running game."

On the Kentucky defense:

On defense they have six players from Georgia, and I'm sure they will be excited to come to Sanford Stadium and try to take another victory away from us. Wesley Woodyard, their linebacker, I think is the leading tackler in the SEC. Their linebackers are not huge but they are very fast, they will strike you and they cover very well. They can match up against your running backs. UK's front four puts good pressure on the quarterback, and they had six sacks against LSU, I don't think anyone else has come close to that. Jeremy Jarmin is their sack leader, their corners have been around a while and are playing well. Their defense is doing a very good job."

On the UK special teams:

They do their kick return by committee, they have four guys averaging 23 yards or better per return. They are very versatile, they have about five or six different returns. They won't do them all in one game but it's hard to know which one, so a lot of preparation goes into that. Little is a great punt returner, he has been the best in the nation over the past few years. DeMoreo Ford was doing it while Little was out and did a good job, but Little is the guy who can really break it open. Lones Seiber is doing a nice job, he has made 13 out of 17 field goals, including a 48-yarder. Their punter is averaging 41.5 yards, and they have only given up 35 return yards all year on the punt which is pretty outstanding. They know they can beat LSU, Georgia, and just about anyone they play. They have been in just about every game they've played, we know it will be a heck of a ballgame and our guys are excited about playing it."

On what makes Woodson such a good quarterback:

"Right now he is playing like a veteran quarterback. He is calm back there, he knows what to do and he can handle every situation. Whether you blitz, or play cover 2 or 3, he's seen it all and won't panic. He is very accurate, big, tall, and has a good presence back there, I have not seen anyone rattle the guy. He is very accurate and very strong and he runs pretty well. I think he is a first-round draft pick and he was my preseason pick for All-SEC quarterback."

On Georgia's improved offensive play:

"We have had some pretty darn good catches in the last few games. The one-handed catch by Tripp Chandler, the little flag route that was caught by Bailey, and his touchdown and sideline catches were very good. He has really had some fine catches. We aren't thinking ‘gee, we are dropping a lot of balls right now'. Earlier in the year we missed a couple that could have made a difference, but we think they are doing pretty well right now. You hope the more they mature, the more they make plays. I think Stafford is beginning to relax a little bit and not feel like he has to throw it 100 miles per hour every time he throws it. I think that was part of the problem last year—we had three different quarterbacks start. Our receivers didn't really know who ‘the guy' was and how the ball was coming at you. It takes a little getting used to. I think the consistency of knowing who the quarterback is this year through spring, summer and camp probably has helped too."

Sophomore quarterback #7 Matthew Stafford

On this weekend's game vs. Kentucky…

"This team beat us last year and they beat the number one team in the country this year. It's our last SEC game this season. It's something big for us. We have to take care of business to still have a chance. There's a ton on the line for us, and I don't see us having any problem getting emotionally ready to play."

On Kentucky senior quarterback Andre Woodson

"I've watched him and I think he's a good player. He came up to me after the game last year and we told each other ‘good game'. He seems like a good guy and he's a heck of a player."

On comparing this year's team to last year's team that lost to Kentucky…

"I think last year, that was a rough one for me and for the whole team. I think (my decision making) is a whole lot better now. I think our whole team's better at it and holding onto the football. It's kept our team in some games and really helped us win some too."

On his receivers having few dropped passes lately…

"I haven't had to answer a question about it in a long time. It's nice. They're making plays and doing a good job. This is the kind of play that they can come out and do every week. They are talented guys; they wouldn't be here if they weren't. They can make plays and have some confidence going, and I'm happy for them that they're ready to play."

Junior tight end #86 Tripp Chandler:

On this weekend's game vs. Kentucky…

"We can't rely on emotion, I don't think, for this game. Definitely not as much as we did for Auburn. It's going to be fundamentals and execution. We know that they're just as good as Auburn. We're playing a team that beat the number one team in the nation. This is a really, really good football team, and we definitely have our work cut out for us."

On Coach Richt's recent demeanor…

"He's always had this excitement. People don't always see it because he keeps his composure on the sideline. It might be overblown, but he just gets excited because good things are happening now. We're just enjoying it and having a good time with it."

On this season being fun for the players…

"I think the fun is coming from us winning. It definitely was a little different for everyone to run out on the field against Florida or wear the black jerseys, but that's just Coach Richt bringing more fun to the game. It's just him saying ‘hey guys, it's just a game and game's are meant to be fun.'"

Junior wide receiver #1 Mohammed Massaquoi:

On being looked at as a go-to receiver…

"I wouldn't classify it as that. We're just making plays when we get the opportunity to this year. We're a confident group of guys and have a lot of energy when we're out there playing, and we're playing and having a lot of fun."

On 17 Bulldogs having receptions this year…

"Whenever you get the chance to see your teammates do well, you're happy for them. You just want to go out there and support them."

On making a big play…

"It makes you feel good because that's a momentum swinger. It gets the crowd behind the team and it gives the defense something to go out and play for: getting the offense back out on the field to go and do it again."

Junior free safety #5 CJ Byrd:

On if you go into the Kentucky game bracing for a potential shootout…

"As a defensive player that's not the way I think. Definitely, I don't want anybody to score that much on us, but of course they have a great offense. They're definitely going to get their points and get their yards, but we just want to minimize it as much as we can."

Freshman linebacker #35 Rennie Curran:

On seeing an increased playing time against Auburn…

"I think I held up pretty well. There were a couple of times where I might have got a little tired or a little confused. For the most part, for my first extensive playing time I think I did pretty well, but I've still got a long, long way to go, so I'm not getting complacent or anything like that. I'm just going to keep on improving on what I've done this week and just keep on getting better and just keep trying to help the team out."

On Kentucky's offensive attack…

"They are definitely really balanced when it comes to running and passing. They have a good passing game, and their running backs are pretty impressive as well. We're going to have to do a good job of flying around and everybody staying around the ball and communicating. Their quarterback, he's experienced and he's a senior, he knows all the checks and everything like that, so we're going to have to be talking on the field."

Senior strong safety #30 Kelin Johnson:

On what he remembers about Kentucky's quarterback Andre Woodson from last year…

"The guy was just pretty consistent. He got balls in the receivers' hands, and he has a lot of playmakers around him. Obviously, that makes him a good quarterback because they really don't drop the passes. They show up to play in big games. That's one thing I remember. They picked us apart last year, and I have that on my mind."

On how much the SEC race factors in…

"Of course you have to move that aside for awhile, but then again if you move it to far back in your mind then you'll forget what you are working for. I think we have it right here on our front plate. It's a must win Saturday. We have a lot to play for, and we have a lot to look forward to as well. We know we have to take care of business. We know the SEC is unpredictable right now. There's a lot of ball left and a lot of teams. We are just going to keep working hard, and all we have to do is take care of ourselves and let the good Lord keep working out and let him have his blessing on us."

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