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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Deleted Scenes: Week 3

Georgia has wrapped up its final practice for the week -- heading over to the stadium to practice with crowd noise, simulating the Williams-Brice experience. The Bulldogs take the field against South Carolina at 3:30 (game on CBS) Saturday looking to move to 3-0 and open their SEC slate with a win.

You can also read about the in-game action here in my live blog, which will be updated throughout the game with injury news, game analysis and any witty banter that seems pertinent.

In the meantime, here are a few notable quotes from this week's practices that didn't find their way onto the blog or into any of my stories for the Telegraph or Ledger-Enquirer -- or as I've decided to start referring to them, "The Deleted Scenes."

Mark Richt on the importance of beating Steve Spurrier: "I think if we're at home, I think that becomes more of a factor because of our fan base. I don't think he's ever run on the field without them saying something about him. When we're there, our players don't care in terms of beating the coach. We just study the game film."

Richt on giving Stafford more control of the offense:
"His role has definitely increased in his ability to make changes at the line of scrimmage. There are very few runs nowadays where you run this play no matter what. There are some, but not very often. When we do it, it's short yardage or goal line, some shift in motions where you don't have time to get to the line and make all those changes. But even in our protections, it's very often that we may have the same protection and the same pass route, you may declare this guy the Mike linebacker, the line might slide this way. If you declare another guy the Mike linebacker, the line might slide in another direction to try to make sure we have the best chance of blocking any pressure that might be coming. That's what we're trying to determine is where the pressure might be coming, where's the best spot to run the football. I know a lot of teams, most teams will call their cadence, and then you see their quarterback look to the coach over and over and over, but we don't do that. We let Matthew decide because he understands it, and he also has a better view of what's going on and we trust his judgment. I think he's made one call where he didn't make the right call, and he might be doing it 40 times a game."

Richt on improving the pass rush: "We need more progress on the pass rush. I think we'll get opportunities to rush the passer in this game. I do think out inside pressure has been better than our outside pressure. There's been moments where we have done well on the edge, and there's been times where we've pushed the pocket in the face of the quarterback and he's able to break contain because our defensive ends didn't do a good job of containing him."

Richt on the return of fullback Fred Munzenmaier from a two-game suspension: "With only one fullback who's been a fullback his whole career in (Shaun) Chapas, right now, I think Munzenmaier would be competing with (Justin) Fields for the second fullback reps this week. And I'm not going to say he's going to pass him up as the season goes along because Justin has done a nice job for us at fullback, and he'll be battling away for playing time there."

Richt on what Munzenmaier and Darius Dewberry's suspensions accomplished: "I'm glad their back. Both those guys paid a price for what they did, and I thought they handled it as well as you could ask a guy to handle it. Once you get yourself into that situation, it says a lot about a man as to how he responds to it, and I was really proud of both of them for 'fessin up, admitting they were wrong, telling the truth, taking their discipline like a man and really, truly learning something from it. That's what we're here for. You'd like to think nothing will ever go wrong, but they do, and when they do, you want to teach these guys something. You want them to learn something by it, and I really truly believe they have. It's not easy to watch your teammates go do their thing, and it's not easy to put all that work in and have to watch, and both those guys have been set back. They're not as ready as they would be Game 3, and they're probably not going to get as many reps as they would have got if they were playing all along. Sometimes it sets a guy back for half a season. Hopefully it won't be that way. These guys are a little older, more mature, I think they'll be able to handle it."

Richt on Stafford's improved completion percentage: "Catching the ball and route running, getting open, creating a little more space on deep balls, getting past defenders, I think their route running is as much a part of the completion percentage going up as them catching the ball, and they are catching the ball, and so far, the first two games, the pass protection has been outstanding, but we haven't had the big test yet."

Richt on preparing for the first road game of the year: "Our toughest task this week has been to get to 70. That's been very difficult. It's not settled yet. Tonight, it's got to be settled. The first time you go from as many as you want to 70 is hard. And I'll be honest, I did a bad job of not saying, 'This is the 70,' on Monday because there's still enough guys playing these special teams that when it came down to pulling a guy off the plane or the bus, he's starting on this one and this one, or he's a backup on these two. And they've already rep'ed them. So I should've made that determination sooner. That's been tough to do. That's the biggest thing we've got to do tonight."

Richt on how many touches Knowshon Moreno should get: "I think our running backs are going to touch it 30-35 times a game 40 percent to 50 percent of the touches we're going to run our tailback would be the receiver. If Richard Samuel or Caleb King is running well, I don't know if there's a need to give Knowshon more than somewhere around 18 to 25 is probably a pretty good range for a guy game in and game out."

Quarterback Joe Cox on the development of freshman center Ben Jones: "I love Ben Jones. I think he's one of the hardest-working guys we've got. He's going to do everything in his power to play well, he wants to get better every day in practice, he really works hard, he's a prototype hard-working offensive lineman."

Center Chris Davis on the maturity of Stafford: "Matthew's a smart guy. He can read defenses well, he sees what they're bringing, so he might check us out of a play. That's just a tribute to him to his football awareness and his knowledge of the game. The offensive line has a lot of trust in him."

Cornerback Asher Allen on Demarcus Dobbs' interception return against Central Michigan: "If you saw the play, it just shows what kind of person Dobbs is. He was rushing, and then he saw the ball thrown. He ran to the ball, Prince did a great job of playing the ball and tipping it up, and it was just like a tip drill. He runs to the ball, and you see what happens when you run to the ball. He scored a touchdown."

Wide receiver Tony Wilson on Knowshon Moreno's underrated skills: "Knowshon does a very good job of blocking. People don't see that. People always see him running, he's awing the crowd, but when Stafford has much time to set his feet and put his arm into it, Knowshon is handling the blocks, giving up his body to make the blocks."

Dobbs on beating cut blocks against GaSo and CMU: "We knew they were going to come out and cut. The week before, Georgia Southern did a lot of cutting. But we know we've got to defeat the cut before we get to the quarterback because we know you're no good if you're on the ground and you're no good if you're in the hospital if your knee is blown out."

Running backs coach Tony Ball on Shaun Chapas' progress: "He really has developed into what you look for in a fullback. He's really trying to be a dependable, dominating blocker. I've really been pleased with the way he's progressed."

Ball on Moreno's leap over a Central Michigan defender: "I don't like us to necessarily go airborne because once you go airborne, you're vulnerable. I think there's certainly a time and place, and some people can do it, but it's not something I encourage. But I don't put the reins on a ball carrier because to me, I think those things are instinctual. I did make reference to it during our meetings about the decision to do it. But for some reason when I saw him kind of gauge himself, I had a feeling he was getting ready to jump. I was hoping he would make that guy miss him and score. That was the thing I showed him. It was a great athletic move, but don't leave yards on the field."

Ball on Munzenmaier's return from suspension:
"He's got to work his way back, get back in the groove and the swing of things. Really work his way back into the rotation because Justin and Boyd have done well. Fred's got to work his way back."

Ball on Southerland and Munzenmaier's complaints that Chapas didn't get any goal-line carries last week: "They kind of questioned why we hadn't given them the ball yet or even why it hadn't been in the game plan, but I assured them that it's not a reflection on Shaun, we're just waiting for Brannan to come back."

He was kidding about that last part.

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