UGA Football

Richt, Players Preview Georgia’s Preseason Football Camp

Nick Chubb
UGA RB Nick Chubb. (Steven Colquitt/UGA)

Georgia head football coach Mark Richt and several players met with the media on Tuesday to preview the 2015 preseason camp. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

“Well, day one.  We will have our first practice today.  Looking forward to that.  We’ve had some meetings and some walk‑throughs, things of that nature, to get prepared for this first day of acclimation. So everybody knows, there’s five days of acclimation that the NCAA has everyone do as far as just getting used to heat, getting used to contact, those types of things. We’ll spend two days in shorts and helmets and two days in what we call shells or at least shoulder pads and helmets.  So day five we’ll be able to put on the full pads for the first time.  That’s kind of how we’re going to go. We’re looking forward to this camp.  There’s been a lot of preparation between the end of the season and today to get us to this point.  This is just another phase of preparation for game one, Louisiana Monroe.  We’re looking forward to that.”

On new additions to his staff the last year…

“I think we had a very good off‑season. I think you have to be prepared for camp, meaning you got to be in great condition. You got to be strong, you got to be healthy. We’ve been very fortunate with our health. I know (Justin) Scott‑Wesley had a little something late in the summer, relatively late in the summer. He’ll be fine. He’ll be working with us. I can’t think of anybody right now that cannot participate. There may be a couple. We just have to watch the volume of their reps just to make sure we don’t go too hard, too fast. Everybody has the green light to practice. There may be an exception. I just can’t think of one.That’s good. A lot of things have to go well for you in the off‑season, so to speak, to get you ready for this day. I say it all the time but we do have 29 practice opportunities and multiple meeting opportunities to get mentally and physically prepared for the season and for the first time. So all I can say is I think the players did a phenomenal job this summer. I think our strength and conditioning staff did an awesome job, especially the last couple months. We did have the rule change where you can have eight hours of mandatory work in the strength and conditioning, and two of those can be in a meeting setting. So we did take advantage of those eight hours.  I think it was very beneficial for our team this summer compared to some others maybe.”

On the quarterback competition…

“We’re going to rotate the top three guys, the three scholarship quarterbacks. We’re going to rotate them one guy with the first unit, one guy with the second unit, one guy with the third unit, rotating it around on a day‑to‑day basis until we think it should stop. It could go all the way to the first game. At some point we may drop it to a two‑man race. It’s just hard to say how it’s going to go. But that’s our starting point.”

On conversations he has with the three quarterbacks…

We tell them. We’re obviously talking to them about the things that are important, about quarterback play. We’re not necessarily saying, this is what you have to do to win the job, per se, but this is what you have to do to become the best quarterback you can be.That’s the goal for everybody: to be the best quarterback, linebacker, safety, running back, whatever it is. We’re all trying to perfect our trade, so to speak. We talk about in terms of perfecting your trade.The more you know about your position, the more you are prepared, the faster you can play, and you’ll make better decisions as a quarterback if you get in a good habit of how you think, how you progress through your reads. Even your fundamentals, the balance that you have when you throw the football, all those things together help you become the best you can be. That’s what we’re hoping for for everybody.”

On defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt… 

“We have staff meetings on everything we do. Everything is open to discussion. Anytime you have people from different programs, you want to hear how they might have done this or that. Coach Pruitt has input without a doubt.  Coach (Tracy) Rocker being at Auburn. Coach Shotty being in the NFL, all those things. So we get a lot of ideas, and then we kind of nail down what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. But there have been a lot of things that Coach Pruitt and Coach (Kevin) Sherrer have brought from the places they’ve been.”

On the quietness this past summer…

“I don’t know. I’m thankful our guys did a good job in that regard. When you talk about a lot of things need to go right in the off‑season, that’s one of them besides staying healthy. If you have a bunch of guys that didn’t do what they’re supposed to do socially and off the field, it creates distractions. It also creates a lack of depth sometimes if you’re playing without some guys because of those two reasons. At this point we haven’t had a lot of either one.  So going into camp, we’re in pretty good position.  A week in, we may have all kinds of injury issues ‑ God forbid ‑ but you never know what’s going to happen once you get started.”

On junior tailback Keith Marshall…

“Well, he’s like everybody else. He’s trying to get in the best condition as possible. He’s trying to learn what to do. He’s trying to perfect what he’s trying to accomplish. He’s trying to become the best runningback he can be within our system. So that’s his focus. That’s what he’s doing. That’s what we’re asking everybody to do. We’re not too much worried about depth charts right now. Even though we’re working three and four groups, a lot of times we’re setting our groups by having a young guy next to an old guy so when you’re working together, an older guy can help a younger guy. If we put our ones and twos over here, threes and fours over there, there’s nobody to help the threes and fours.  We’ll split it up to where we can have some of the veterans help the young guys. The depth chart really isn’t important right now. The learning of what to do, perfecting of what to do, is what is foremost on our mind both sides of the ball and specials.”

On his expectations at this point for junior quarterback Greyson Lambert…

“He’s going to be competing for the job. Just from sitting in the meetings, I sit in almost every quarterback meeting. If there’s a conflict between a special teams and quarterback meeting, I’ll be with special teams. From what I see, all the QBs are able to communicate well with Coach Schottenheimer. So I think they’re all going to get their opportunity. Just like I said, we’re going to rotate them. Everybody’s going to get a shot with the ones and twos and threes across the board. We’ll keep rolling that until we get the answer.”

On quarterback Greyson Lambert earning the trust of his teammates…

“Well, I think it’s true for him. I think it’s true for the other two. You just got to be able to show up on a daily basis and work and prove to everybody that you are prepared. You know, everybody looks to the quarterback to know what he’s doing and have the confidence to handle all situations. So that’s what I’m asking from all three of them. He’s just one of the three trying to do that.”

On off the field upgrades for the program…

“It’s preparation in all phases. Just looking at every situation that has to be addressed, assigning meeting time and practice time to cover it. But, you know, football’s an interesting game. There’s times that things pop up that, you know, maybe weren’t on the top of the list of things to prepare for. But that’s why over years and years of coaching, everybody has their input on things that need to be covered. That’s what we do. The more you rep it, the better it is. But, you know, there’s never going to be a game that’s going to be played perfectly, there’s never going to be a game that will be coached perfectly, there’s never going to be a game that will be officiated perfectly. That’s what kind of makes the game exciting. If it was 100% predictable, everybody would do it perfect, there probably wouldn’t be that many people in the stands would be my guess.”

On the wide receivers… 

“The best thing about the receivers is the number of them. There’s walk‑ons in the group, as well. In the spring, we barely had enough to practice. There were a couple days we were just hanging by a thread. So every once in a while you’ll have a position that’s just so low; the other guys don’t get the work like they need. But we do have a pretty good mix of veterans and some young guys. I think the summertime has just been so beneficial compared to the years past where they’d show up a couple days ago, we’re with the rookies for two or three days, then the veterans roll in.  They’re just not ready. But to have two months to be able to meet with them a little bit, have the veterans show them the way out on the practice field, throughout the summer, it just gives them a better chance to compete. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very hard. If you’re not sure of what you’re doing, you have a little bit of working knowledge, you just can’t play with the type of intensity and you can’t play fast like you’d like to. You know, uncertainty slows players down. That’s just the way it is. But I’m pleased with who we have.  I’m really looking forward to watching these guys perform when the coaches are there and see that.”

On sophomore tailback Nick Chubb and his impact…

“We are blessed, no doubt. We’ve had great backs. I mean, you can go back a long way and talk about all the great backs at Georgia. Some of them in recent history, having two backs within, I don’t know how many years, when Knowshon (Moreno) came out. Knowshon was the first pick of the draft at his position. (Todd) Gurley was, after an ACL, a top‑10 pick. You get a feel for what type of player the NFL thought he was. But for Nick to step in like he did. The thing I’ve said throughout the summer is, I knew the kid was pretty good. I didn’t realize the kind of stamina he had. I thought he would be mentally and physically tough because of the program he came out of. But to carry the ball as many times as he did more by need than by design, he was able to handle it. He was able to stay pretty healthy throughout. You know, I don’t know if he can run the ball a whole lot better than he’s been running it. But the things we’ve been trying to focus on for him is the route running, ball protection, pass protection that can make a back even more complete.  If he can become really good at that, as well, he’ll be a better back for it.

On replacing former center David Andrews and his leadership abilities…

“I think, again, leadership, when you talk about off the field, I don’t know how much off‑the‑field leadership is important in this type of situation. I think it’s on‑the‑field leadership that those centers and quarterbacks, especially, have to have. Again, everybody kind of counts on the quarterback to know what he’s doing, be able to direct people, be able to help somebody if he’s not certain. But the center, he has a big job. He comes to the line of scrimmage every single time.  He has to declare who the Mike linebacker is, he has to set a lot of the blocking schemes. He’s got to be able to adjust on the fly if the quarterback overrides something, get the information to everybody. Then he’s got to snap the ball. A lot of people play that nose guard right over his face, you know. So he has one hand to snap and one hand to play ball with for just a moment. That’s a hard thing in itself, as well. So it’s a tough job description. David Andrews played it well, Ben Jones played it well, all last seven seasons. But beyond that, last seven seasons we had two guys handle that responsibility and handle it well.  Now we’re trying to find that answer. So far it’s Kublanow is the number one guy.  But we’re still fighting for jobs, trying to figure it out. But Brandon has taken his position change very seriously.  Just from what I saw in some walk‑throughs, I was very pleased with what I saw so far.

On junior quarterback Greyson Lambert having real-game experience…

“We’re going to base the quarterback decision on what they do in practice, what they do in scrimmages. I’m not going to say, What did Brice (Ramsey) do last year?  I’m not going to look at last year’s bowl game and make that part of the factor.  I’m not going to use any other time that Faton has been on the field as a determining factor of who should be the quarterback. It will all be based on the experience at Georgia, not anywhere else, at Georgia, this camp, this spring in particular.”

On the addition of Mark Hocke in strength and conditioning…

“Mark, he’s a high‑energy guy. He has a great program. He has implemented it well with his staff. But he’s also into conditioning the mind and into mental toughness as much as physical. Just kind of a mindset of how to think. He’s done a very, very good job with some of our leadership groups, some of our character ed stuff in the off‑season. He’s more than just a strength coach. I think most good strength coaches have the ability to motivate and help the mindset of the players, as well.”

On the newcomers…

“We hear the names of all these freshmen. You mentioned the four. But here is the thing that I don’t want to do: I don’t want to put some kind of undo pressure on a guy and say, We expect you to start this year. We expect you to do this or that. Again, it’s going back to, we expect you to learn what to do, both assignment‑wise and fundamentally what to do, play with great energy every day, and just try to become the best player you can be at whatever position you play.  Then we’ll determine who’s going to play as we go. But we’re not trying to sit here and say, We want you to live up to everybody’s expectation of what you should become this season.  We just expect them to do their best.  That’s the main thing.  I think that’s the best focus for everybody.”

On the starting punter and kicker…

“You know, we’re going to have a starting punter and kicker and we’re going to have backups. Whoever is the best will be the starter, whoever is the second best will be the backup. Rodrigo (Blankenship) is in the mix certainly, but there will be some others that will be here as well. In the 105, we can’t bring everybody in. We probably have less specialists here this camp than most because we’re trying to get a lot of guys reps going as deep as four units.  With 105, it’s tough. I’m definitely for changing the rule to just let everybody come to camp. If you’re allowed 125, bring 125 in so we can get everybody in there and let them all compete. But we had to draw a line somewhere.”

On what feels different in his 15th season at Georgia…

“It’s a lot cooler up top (smiling). I don’t know. I think sometimes, just like I spent 15 years at Florida State, not all in a row, but you just go. You just go. You just work. You just prepare. There’s not an off‑season for us. We’re always doing something. Recruiting goes on all year long. We got spring ball. We have off‑season conditioning. We got all these different things, camps, two‑a‑days.  We don’t have two‑a‑days anymore, but fall camp, and the season. It’s just busy.  You’re always focusing on what do we have to do today to get better. Somewhere along the way you look back and you’ll be able to answer that question. It’s like a lot of the success we had as a staff at Florida State, we didn’t think about it when it was happening. You look back and say, You know what, we had a pretty good run. I haven’t really thought about what’s a whole lot different. Social media’s changed things as much as anything in recruiting, just how you manage things. But other than that, it’s not a huge difference.”

On his physical shape…

“You know what, I feel like I’m in good shape.  I don’t know how I would compare to most 55‑year‑olds.  I feel good (smiling).”

On the advantages and disadvantages of having multiple quarterbacks…

“While I’ve been quarterbacks coach, the closest I came to a two‑quarterback system, and it was never a true two‑quarterback system, was always trying to get the second teamer in the game. All throughout the time at Florida State, we did pretty much what we do with (D.J.) Shockley, try to get the second‑team QB in there. Maybe one drive in the first half. If you happen to get a game in control, get him in as soon as you can to get as much experience for your second teamer as possible. The only true rotation I had was probably the first game that I was here with Cory Phillips and David Greene. I think we went two series and rotated. I don’t know if we did it the whole game. I know we did it in the first half, I’m not sure if we did it in the second half. I think the greatest advantage to a two‑quarterback system would be if you had two really dramatic differences in style as a player. If a team has to prepare for this guy and it’s totally different than preparing for the other guy, I think that can cause issues for defenses in how they prepare. If you have two guys that are very similar in style, it could be an advantage in that it may just take a little pressure off one guy or the other. If you think one guy is hot, use him. It’s just hard getting the rhythm and staying in a rhythm as a quarterback. I found that it’s better to have one guy doing it.  But, you know, we’ll just see how it goes.”

On stopping the run defensively… 

“Usually when you give up a lot of rushing yards, somewhere along the way you give up a big run or two here and there. The big thing is just make sure everybody understands their gap responsibilities, make sure everybody is playing exactly where they’re supposed to play, everybody is filling in from the perimeter in the right spot. We just got to be sure tacklers and play with some tenacity. You can slant and angle defensive lineman. You can bring in certain stunts that might be run stoppers. We’d just as soon not guess.  We’d just as soon play good fundamental football, get after people’s rear‑end and get people on the ground.”

RS Sophomore QB Brice Ramsey

On his mindset going into fall camp…

“I just have to go out there every day and compete, take advantage of my opportunity and just try to get better each and every day.”

On room for improvement in his game…

“I think I need to improve the most with just being consistent; consistently just in completions, consistency in my gameplay out there. I can’t be kind of all over the place. I just have to be consistent.”

On fighting impatience in settling the quarterback competition…

“I’m just taking it day by day and just trying to play football every day and take advantage of my opportunities.”

On dealing with an unsure depth chart…

“You can know everything mentally, but at the same time with football instinct plays a part too. Something that you might’ve practiced all week might not happen the same way in the game; you have to be able to adjust.”

Sophomore OLB Lorenzo Carter

On whether first day of camp feels different his sophomore year…

“I feel like they all feel different, especially with a big difference coming from your first year to your second year. Especially for me, just having experience, being able to understand the defense, understand the entire situation that you’re in, and I’m excited.”

On preparing during a quarterback competition…

“I don’t even worry about it. Especially on defense, we barely even realize that there’s a competition going on because we’re just focused on getting better as a defense and just dominating this year. We know that the coaches will make the best decision and whoever they put out there will be able to go out there and win games.”

On improving his game in the offseason…

“Just knowledge. Experience, being able to go out there and tell other players what to do, being able to coach players up. Just being able to be comfortable out there, when all the bullets start flying not panic, just do your job.”

On the anticipation for the new season after a strong finish in 2014…

“I feel like everybody did. The way the season ended, we ended on a win. We’re ready to just keep winning games. It’s coming, but not fast enough for us.”

Sophomore TB Nick Chubb

On working with Greyson Lambert on offense…

“They’re all pretty much the same for me, just hand the ball off or just drop it down to me. They’re all pretty much the same. They all do a great job at that.”

On the play of tailback Keith Marshall coming off injury…

“He looks great. I don’t know how he looked in practice freshman year, but I know sophomore year he didn’t look like he was 100 percent. Now he’s looking very good.”

On the play of sophomore tailback Sony Michel coming off injury…

“He’s looking good. We’re all looking good.”

On his anticipated workload out of the backfield this season…

“If all goes well, we’ll have a more balanced carrying load and a great passing game. I don’t know how many carries I’ll get but whatever I get will be best for the team and the coaches will be in charge of that so that’s up to them.”

Junior QB Faton Bauta

On how it feels to start fall camp…

“You can probably tell by this smile on my face I’m pretty pumped. First practice today, I’m pretty excited. Just ready to get going.”

On if he did anything to improve his standing on the depth chart since spring…

“I don’t think I did anything out of the ordinary. But to answer the question, the only thing I did was just stay consistent with what I do every day, and that’s wake up and try to be the best quarterback I can be and just make sure I stay within that mindset all the time.”

On his improvement from a year ago…

“I don’t want to ever focus on my strengths because I think you can always polish up everything and be better at every aspect of your game whether that’s film, mental preparation, throwing some routes, physical mechanics. I try to improve every day and I want to keep improving until I find the final result.”

On Ramsey and Lambert saying Bauta has the best running ability of the QBs…

“I guess I should tell them thank you. Our offense doesn’t really allow a quarterback to run much, considering all of the progressions we have. I think I am athletic enough to move on my own two feet pretty good. I don’t know if it’s that much better than them, but if I have to make plays with my feet I will.” 

Senior OLB Jordan Jenkins

On the start of camp…

“I still get a lot of anxiety. I’m ready to get back out there. I really hate the days without pads because I just want to get back out there and hit somebody. After watching a lot of film, like we have been doing today, you get excited and ready for the season to start, but you know you have to go through the two weeks of camp to get there.”

Thoughts on defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt…

“I feel like he’s done that and much more. He’s developed us a lot as young men. He’s developed us a lot on the field and off the field. He really has helped me a lot with some of the coverage issues I may have had in the past. He knows how to find whatever way a player needs to be coached and find ways to implement ways to get them to understand the system and become a better player.”

Thoughts on strength and conditioning coach Mark Hocke…

“He knows how to get guys going. He’s always energetic, it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is. He’s always open if you need some time to lift or if you need some extra work, he’s always available. He has done so much for us physically. We have made a lot of great strides in the weight room. A lot of guys are stronger and are back to lifting a lot of heavy weight again.”

Sophomore SS Dominick Sanders

On the pressure he faces in year two…

“It’s definitely different. Last year there were a lot of things thrown at me. This year I’m much more comfortable with everything that has been going on.”

On filling a leadership role this season…

“They told me to just be relaxed. Don’t let it get too difficult. Don’t get brain rushed or anything like that. That’s something I have used this year to make myself comfortable.”

On advice for the incoming freshman…

“They are all working very hard. I like that. They are working hard on and off the field and that’s a good sign.”

Junior OG Greg Pyke

On future career moves from offensive guard to left tackle…

“The blind side tackle is where the most money is, but being a first round guard is still getting drafted in the first round so it’s still a good amount of money.”

On the backup left tackle race…

“I couldn’t really tell you right now. I know that Audlen Bynum is going with the two’s at left tackle, but that’s kind of the just the beginning of camp. We just need people to go in there.  Coach Sale always says that he’s going to put the best five out there.”

Junior QB Greyson Lambert

On his first few weeks on campus…

“It’s been moving pretty fast, but I’m all settled in and ready to get to work.”

Continued thoughts on first week of being on campus:

“I’ve just been trying to get all of the paperwork done. It’s all the stuff that you would have to do if you were coming in as a freshman.  I have to do that all of that as a graduate transfer. It’s been fun. I have been able to workout and go to the team activities like the 7 on 7’s and that type of stuff. I’m all moved in and ready to go to work.”

On his grasp of the offensive playbook…

“I feel pretty good about it. Obviously I’m still learning, but I feel good. Conceptually it’s very similar. The verbage is a little different, there’s a little more under center. It’s pretty similar when it comes to route concepts and those kinds of things.”

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