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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Famous Last Words

Hopefully most of you had a chance to watch Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno's news conference today online, but just in case you missed it, here are some of the highlights, along with additional comments from Mike Bobo and Joe Cox.

Oh, and if you'd care to read my full story on Stafford and Moreno's announcement today, you can find it HERE.

Matthew Stafford

On where he has improved the most this year:
"I think at quarterback experience is the biggest thing. I've played in a lot of games since I've been here. Just having another year under my belt, I've worked extremely hard in the offseason and during this season to become more consistent, complete more passes and not turn the ball over as much. I feel like I succeeded for the most part in that during this season. I feel like that would be the biggest part of my game that's changed. Just another year of maturity. I moved into a house, and just living off campus on your own – those kinds of things I think get you ready for the next level. I feel like I've matured as a football player and as a person, too."

On whether the failures of previous quarterbacks who left early was a consideration: "An NFL team has the opportunity to draft a player at any position at any time. I think they're drafting a person as well, and it's such an individual difference between people. The amount of players that have come out and been great success in the sixth round and great failures that have happened in the first. You just never know. It's tough for NFL teams. I know they try to get as much information as they can to make the best decision for their program, but I think as an individual, that's something that really didn't cross my mind."

On whether Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco's success played a role in his choice: "I did. I don't know if anybody's done it like Matt Ryan's done it. He's unbelievable. You look at Peyton Manning, and he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and you look at how rough he had it his first year. You just never know. Hopefully I'm going to start training somewhere, hopefully get drafted by a team and have a chance to play early. That's what I want to do. I was talking to Coach Richt about it when I was telling him that I was going to leave that I didn't know what it was like to sit on the sideline. I'd love to play as soon as I'm possibly ready. I'd rather be out there taking licks than sitting on the sideline watching. That's my ultimate goal is to play as early as I can, and I'm just trying to get ready."

On whether failing to win an SEC title made leaving difficult: "It might have been a little bit of a consideration, but I don't think it's going to stick with me. I had an outstanding time here at Georgia, and I played in some big games. I played with some great players. That's what I'm going to take away from here is just my experience and the fact that I had a chance to play for a great head coach and a great offensive coordinator, play with an outstanding running back, and really guys all over that are going to play at the next level. That's what I'm going to take away from it, and it's all positive."

Knowshon Moreno

On what motivated him to leave: "Having the opportunity to get the chance to play at the next level. But like Stafford said, I only have a few more hits left in me. You never know what will happen. So that was definitely a factor in my decision. So I got together with my family and talk to coaches, and I just took that into consideration and made my decision."

On what was the biggest factor in his decision: "What I was really just thinking about was whether I could make an impact at the next level and the things I still have to work on. The mind-set that I have, wherever I go I'm going to make the best of it that I can and try to help my team out."

On where he needs to improve: "I think I have to work on my speed a little bit, but that's what camp is for, and I'm definitely going to work on that and come back faster than ever."

Mark Richt

On Knowshon forgetting to submit paperwork to the NFL review board: "They call the head coach to tell you. They'll call the head coach and the player. That's it. They don't call parents or agents or anybody. When they called me and were telling me the names and where they were, I said, 'Well, what about Knowshon?' They said, 'I don't have any information on Knowshon.' Know felt pretty good about his status, I guess."

On what this means for Joe Cox:
"Now all of a sudden, his senior year has taken on a whole new light. Logan, now he's second team, whereas before, he was a long way away from that. God forbid if something happened to Joe with an injury, he could be one play away from being in there. He may find himself where he beats Joe out or there's a certain little package where we can get him in there."

On how this affects the team's goals for next year:
"There's a lot of things that go into winning a championship. I would think we'd have a better chance with them, but there's a lot that goes into it. You could play wide-open offense and score a lot of points, but you could also make a couple more mistakes if you were more conservative. There's a lot of things we can improve on as a football team that can give us an opportunity to win the East. Now if I had my choice, I'd like these guys to stick around. But I think they're ready."

On Stafford and Moreno's decision: "I'm sure whichever NFL teams get them will be very excited and very blessed by it because they'll be not only very good players, but they'll be good in the locker rooms, they'll be good in their communities, and they're just going to represent well. So anybody who's out there thinking about drafting these guys, you'll do well to take them as high up on the board as you can get them. And trade up for them if you're smart."

Mike Bobo

On Joe Cox: "I'm very excited for Joe Cox. Joe is definitely one of our main leaders on this football team. He hasn't played a lot of football, but it's a tribute to him and how he carries himself that he's a team guy. I'm definitely disappointed that Matthew did not stay, but I'm very excited for Joe Cox, and I think the team is, too."

On what makes Stafford ready for the NFL: "Like he said, there's a maturity process that goes into being ready, and I think experience has a lot to do with that – playing in big games, playing in tough environments, playing in pressure situations, which he has done."

On whether there was a specific moment he knew Stafford was ready: "I just think about really all year, you just look at his success the three years he's been here and you can see it gradually increase every year. But he's made throws from the first time he stepped on campus here that, I haven't been coaching long, but I've never seen guys be able to make."

Joe Cox

On the day Mark Richt told Stafford he was third string behind Cox and Joe Tereshinski: "He told us at his house, and Matthew rode over there with me. It was just a really quiet ride back. I could tell he wasn't too excited. I didn't know what Coach Richt told him and I didn't know where they put him. All I knew was that Coach Richt told me that Joe T was No. 1 and I was No. 2, so I knew he wasn't going to be happy, so it was a kind of a awkward ride home. I was just looking for something to say, but I don't think we said anything on the way back."

On his relationship with D.J. Shockley:
"I tried to emulate everything he did, and I imagine I'll probably be in contact with him over the next year just trying to figure out how he dealt with certain things and trying to do the same things he did because I think he handled things perfectly."

On his relationship with Logan Gray, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger:
""Logan makes fun of me a lot talking about how old I am, and I still haven't really figured that out yet that I'm the oldest one. I look forward to helping (Murray and Mettenberger) out, too. They were both excited, and I know the feeling. I know they can't wait to get to practicing and working out with the team, and I'm going to do as much as I can to help them out, too."

On what Georgia's offense might be like next year: "I don't think it will change at all. We still have the same type of guys. It always hurts when you lose two superstars like Matthew and Knowshon and another in Mohamed, but the good thing about football is, once somebody leaves, somebody's got to step up, and we've got plenty of guys to do that at every position."

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