UGA Football

Georgia-Troy Press Conference Transcript

Mark Richt

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s non-conference clash with Troy. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…
“Okay we’ve got Troy, the Troy Trojans, coming in here. Last time they came in here we scored somewhere in the forties and they scored somewhere in the thirties. I think it’s the second time we’ve ever played Troy here at Georgia. Coach [Larry] Blakeney has been there 24 years. He’s won more games in his league than all the other coaches combined in his league. He got the field named after him. But great coach, and they do a wonderful job there. Been doing it for years.”

“They’ve actually got 10 guys in the NFL. They have NFL talent in their program. They’ve got more NFL players from their team than anybody in their league. They’ve got a veteran team. Nineteen out of 22 starters are either a junior or a senior, which is a very high number. [They have] a lot of guys who have played a lot of ball for them.”

On Troy’s offense…
“On offense, [there are] a lot of juniors and seniors. Only two are not. There’s a sophomore and a freshman in the bunch.”

“The quarterback, [Brandon] Silvers (No. 12), I don’t know if he will play or not. I guess he had a concussion in the last ball game and was replaced by [Dontreal] Pruitt (No. 1). Pruitt came in and did a heck of a job. Both are very athletic quarterbacks, guys that can throw the ball as well. I’m very impressed by their athleticism and ability to throw the deep ball especially. They’ve got some receivers that do a great job.”

“They’re a fast-paced offense. Last year they had one game with over 100 plays in one game. So their goal is to go fast, and they do a great job.

They’ve led the league in passing and total offense the last four years. They’ve got a very good offensive scheme. They know what they’re doing, and they have the personnel to get it done. They have eight returning starters on offense.”

“Their quarterbacks, getting back to them, have thrown no interceptions this year and have done a great job with that. And they actually are the best in America when it comes to spreading the ball around. They have 16 different guys that have caught a ball, and I think that ties with Texas A&M for the most in the country.”

On Troy’s defense…
“Talking about their defense, every single one of their starters is either a junior or senior as well. There’s one freshman, Jamal Stadom. But [they have] a lot of veteran football players there.”

“They play a lot of man coverage [in the secondary]. They’ve challenged the receivers that they’ve played on the film I’m watching. They do play some zone, too, but they’re not afraid to come up and try to lock you down. The two seniors at the corner position are both very capable defenders so I expect a great game.”

Closing remarks of the opening statement…
“They’re a team that’s desperate for a victory, I’m sure. But we’re desperate for a victory as well so it ought to be a great game.”

On whether or not he heard back from the SEC office on the grounding and holding call…
“I don’t know how much detail I’m supposed to give on these kind of things but I will say that on the grounding call—and I don’t know the rule 100 percent—that as they interpret the rule, they feel that if a ball has a reasonable chance of being caught whether or not a defender deflects it, then it would not be grounding. If they think that the ball as it was being delivered has no reasonable chance of being caught whether it was deflected or not, then it could be considered grounding.”

On junior DE Toby Johnson…
“Toby played hard. Of course he did have a roughing the passer one time, but he played with a lot of energy, he was in the backfield a good bit, run and pass. He probably produced the most pass rush getting matched up on a guard and he gave them a hard time. We thought he practiced with the type of energy that it takes to play like that. Coach Rocker’s thing with him has been ‘show me in practice and you’ll get to play.’ I think Coach Rocker has done a good job of motivating him to do things right on a daily basis and it paid off for him and he’s being rewarded with being captain for the ball game.”

On his assessment of the passing game…
“We’ve done a decent job throwing and catching. By our standards it’s not as much productivity, but we know game one was a situation of not needing to throw the ball nearly as much in the second half. So this game we threw it more and had more yards and touchdowns. There were some really good things that happened but I don’t think we’re totally in sync. We’re still getting better as we go and that’s why we keep practicing. I think we’ll throw and catch the ball pretty good before it’s over.”

On freshman RB Nick Chubb’s injury…
“It happened in practice. It was a situation where he was going to need the surgery either way, and if we could have scheduled the surgery fast enough we might have done it last week but we just really couldn’t do it. He’s just a tough enough kid where he’s like ‘I want to play,’ so we just protected him the best we could and I don’t think there was any setback in the ball game but if it took another shot the bones might have displaced a little bit so we wanted to screw them down tight. The fracture was more than one little crease, it had a couple spots, so they put screws in there to make sure it heals properly. I don’t know how much he will practice this week but if he wakes up Saturday morning and feels good he’ll remember how to run a sweep or a stretch or a zone play so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play.”

On junior TB Keith Marshall…
“I would be surprised if Keith doesn’t have some nice runs in this game. It seems like every time he’s gotten the ball there hasn’t been a lot of space. He hasn’t had room to go anywhere. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw when you get the ball handed to you, but sooner or later there’s going to be some space for him when he gets it and I think he’ll do well. He’s ready to go. Is anybody 100 percent after an ACL injury when they’re just starting to get going? I don’t know if anybody really feels totally comfortable in the beginning but he’s practicing, he’s been in games, he’s been hit hard, and all that kind of stuff so I think he’s confident in his knee and will be able to play well.”

On freshman RB Sony Michel’s impact on special teams…
“He’s probably doing things right now that Knowshon Moreno would have done if I had played him as a freshman. He’s helping the team win in more than one way. I just love his attitude. He made a great tackle on the punt this time and he made a great tackle on the kickoff coverage team in game one but he’s flying down that field. We call them flying forties when you get a running start on a forty-yard dash and we like to clock those things to see if they’re running as fast as they ought to run and he’s just flying down the field every time trying to make a play. We allow him to go get him [the returner] and if he misses he misses but we have other people to be there behind him. There’s a couple guys you just say ‘go sic ’em’ and he’s that guy for us on the kickoff coverage team because he’s the fastest down the field and he’s not afraid to go make a play.”

On the strength of the SEC West this season…
“It’s early, number one. There hasn’t been a lot of conference play, although A&M obviously beat South Carolina. I don’t even know who else has crossed over right now because it’s so early in the year, but depending on scheduling sometimes you can have a lot of teams in the SEC undefeated if no one has played each other. They definitely have some great teams over there but we’ve got some good teams on our side, too.”

On how he rates the depth of his receiving corp…
“We’ve worked [Charlie] Hegedus, we’ve worked [Brendan] Langley, we’re getting to work Shakenneth [Williams] in trying to figure out who can help. It’s a long season, and for me to say today who of those guys, if not all of them, will get in, I don’t know right at this minute. We’re also hoping [Jonathon] Rumph will be back soon and that the other two [Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell] will be back relatively soon.”

On the absence of Brendan Langley…
“Langley was sick one day and had a personal issue that he had to take care of so he ended up missing a couple days last week.”

On what areas his defense needs to tighten up at…
“We’ve got to squeeze the pocket a little bit more and make it a little bit less comfortable for that quarterback whether you get sacks or not. You love sacks, no doubt about it, but a quarterback with a lot of space can put it on the money if there’s not a lot of pressure and make those accurate throws. We’ve also got to get tighter in our coverage. In some instances in zone we were jumping on the shorter routes and leaving the routes behind open. In two-deep zone you can’t jump on those things. You’ve got to stay back and force them to throw short, and then go make the tackle and be fine with the four or five-yard gain. We were way too close to the underneath receivers and the balls were being thrown behind us so we’ve got to do a better job there.”

On the potential impact of Davin Bellamy…
“Bellamy will help us. He had a good camp. For what it’s worth he took his discipline like a man. He showed up every morning at 5:30 in the morning and was on time and worked hard. We counsel these guys. Obviously he had the punitive damage of not being able to play a couple games and he was on the scout team most of that time. But even on the scout team he busted his tail trying to help the team win. What happened, happened, and we were all sick about it but I think he grew and learned a lot from it. I think he really appreciates everything even more so than he did before. So if there’s one young man that learned a lesson that will bless him down the road and bless our program then I’m glad, and I see that in Davin. I don’t think there’s much doubt that we want to get him in the game and we’re training him on some special teams issues, too. I don’t know if he’ll start on any specials but he’s been getting some work as a second teamer on some special teams in case he can help us there before it’s over, too.”

On the statuses of Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell…
“They are very doubtful this week.”

On whether or not his conversations with officials should be made public…
“That’s a question you need to ask the commissioner of our league, and I’m not advocating that it should be that way, but I think the officials do have a very difficult job. Rarely is everybody going to say ‘great job.’ This team or that team is going to say ‘that call stunk.’ Rarely do they say ‘what a great call.’ Anytime something bad happens somebody is mad so I think it could get out of hand and I don’t think it would be wise. But there is accountability. The accountability is within the league and we all trust the accountability of Steve Shaw and the commissioner and they grade them and they get there reprimands for the things that they do. There is accountability.”

On whether or not redshirt freshman TB A.J. Turman will be healthy soon…
“A.J. might be healthy late in the year somewhere along the way but I don’t know if he will or not.”

Senior Offensive Tackle Kolton Houston

On moving forward from South Carolina…
“This was our second game of the season. It’s a long road ahead of us. We just need to win every single week. It’s like a ladder. We can’t look ahead and try to look at the playoffs. We can’t look at the Eastern race. The only thing we can do is just, week-by-week, win that week. And that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

On the improvements for the offensive line…
“We’ve got to concentrate on our assignments—just the little assignments, making sure you know 100 percent what to do. I think if we can do that then by the end of the year we’ll be a pretty good offensive line.”

Senior Quarterback Hutson Mason

On Georgia’s red zone offense…
“I think our biggest miscommunication right now is just in the red zone. We’re moving the ball between the 20s pretty good. When we get down there, we’re just kind of stalling out. A lot of that is me. I’ve got to read coverage better. I’ve got to find ways to get the ball to guys better. Some of it is me and my receivers not being on the same page. Yesterday, we worked on red zone [offense], which we’ve never really done in previous times here at Georgia. We figure if we’re going to be down there a lot, let’s work on it more. A lot of it is just repetition. We got better in the past game from week one to week two, from Clemson to South Carolina, and that was a very hostile environment. There are a lot of positives. I firmly believe that this team, this offense, is just going to get better.”

On his leadership of the offense thus far…
“I would say ‘decent’ is a pretty good word. I think I would like to see a little better job of us, quarterbacks and receivers, throwing the ball downfield a little better. We did do a little better job of that in the second game. But no turnovers, which is a great thing, a high completion percentage—it just hasn’t been real pretty. I don’t have an answer for it. All I can say is we’re working on it. But somehow we’re still averaging 40 points a game versus two top-25 opponents. So whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it pretty well. We put up over 400 yards of total offense in both games. Whatever it takes to win is really the most important thing. I do think our passing game will get better, though.”

Senior Cornerback Damian Swann

On Troy’s versatility…
“You just have to prepare every week. We’ve got to go out in practice and prepare for it. I’m pretty sure it’s not anything that we’ve never seen before. It’s coming from a smaller school, so a lot of people think that it should just be easy for us but it’s not. Troy’s a very good opponent. They have great receivers and they have great quarterbacks so we’re going to be in for a challenge.”

On his interception vs. South Carolina…
“It’s one of those things where when you’re used to touching the ball and you don’t really touch it for a while it gets frustrating. But once you get to where you can grab that first one, and hopefully more come, it’s always good.”

Junior Defensive Tackle James Deloach

On the film of the game against South Carolina…
“There was a good bit of stuff that [Coach Rocker] liked and a lot of stuff that we did wrong as far as lining up wrong and stuff like that. The biggest focus is on [the defensive line]. He told us going into the game, win, lose, or draw, whatever the outcome was going to be, it was going to be based upon what we did.”

On the upcoming game against Troy…
“They’re a great team. They have a lot of deep threats on their receiving corps. They play two quarterbacks that have pretty good arms and one of them can run the ball a good bit. It’s like two different offenses, almost. You just have to know which quarterback is in the game. Based upon that, you can get a pretty good idea about what you need to focus on.”

Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications

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