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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Practice Notes: Pugh Better, King Not

After two radio interviews, Mark Richt's morning news conference, player interviews in the afternoon, writing two blog posts, a notebook and feature for tomorrow's paper and doing more interviews tonight, I simply don't have the energy for any more quote transcribing (though if someone would like to work as my transcription assistant, there's a six pack of Milwaukee's Best in it for you). So, just a few brief details from tonight's practice...

-- Makiri Pugh returned to practice for the first time today since being diagnosed with swine flu last Thursday. Mark Richt said no other players showed symptoms, and Pugh said he's feeling 100 percent now and expects to play Saturday.

-- Richt heavily endorsed the notion that Caleb King will play this week during his morning session with media, but Mike Bobo put a damper on that prognosis tonight. He said Caleb wore a green non-contact jersey in practice and was very limited once again.

-- Bobo said Vince Vance graded out pretty well in his approximately 25 snaps on the O line Saturday and will continue to be the left tackle for the foreseeable future.

-- Marlon Brown confirmed what Michael Moore told me Sunday: Tony Ball said he simply didn't realize Brown and Rantavious Wooten hadn't played against Oklahoma State.

“He said the game was moving so fast and he was trying to find out what plays worked and what didn’t work, and he said he just forgot, it slipped his mind,” Brown said.

-- Reshad Jones said coaches told him his hit that drew a flag in the second half Saturday was not a penalty after watching the film closer. He also got a text immediately after the game from last year's starting safety, CJ Byrd, saying "Nice hit."

-- I got some clarification from Willie Martinez on what happened on the fourth down play with the disputed spot. He said that Georgia could have challenged the play, but chose not to rather than risk losing a timeout. The refs could have chosen to review it since it was so close, but they also decided against it. Here's the exact quote:

"The game was going so fast, and obviously they review every play," Martinez said. "You're always careful -- it's Coach Richt's call -- but you're always careful with losing a timeout in a tight ballgame. You just hope that it was close enough for them to review it, but obviously it wasn't."

-- I didn't get a chance to talk to Logan Gray, but Anthony Dasher from Rivals writes that up until Saturday morning, Gray thought he was going to be the starter against Oklahoma State with Joe Cox experiencing flu symptoms. (Note: Subscription only.)

I did talk to Aaron Murray, and he said he was a bit more confident that Cox would be in the lineup.

"I was preparing, but we knew pretty well that Joe would be back and make the start," Murray said. "But I go into every game preparing in case something happens because it builds good habits, watching film and preparing as if I were the starter."

-- Also, I forgot to include this quote from Richt's morning presser in my earlier post, but for all you folks who hate the directional kicking, I figured you'd really enjoy Richt's synopsis of the South Carolina game: "As I look at this game I’m seeing two defenses that played pretty darn good and two offenses that are trying to find their way. More than likely the special teams will be the deciding factor in this one."

-- And for those of you craving post-practice info, here's the official UGA release...

The No. 21-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (0-1) practiced for approximately two and a half hours in full pads on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for this Saturday's Southeastern Conference opener against South Carolina (1-0) at Sanford Stadium.

"Practice was long and hard," said head coach Mark Richt. "They hung in there and fought through it pretty good."

At the beginning of practice, Richt announced the captains for this weekend's contest as Rennie Curran and Kade Weston for the defense, Joe Cox for the offense and Prince Miller for the special teams.

Richt also met with the media Tuesday afternoon for the Bulldogs' weekly press conference. There he discussed the matchup with South Carolina at length.

"They are really an outstanding football team," Richt said. "As I look at this game I’m seeing two defenses that played pretty darn good and two offenses that are trying to find their way. More than likely the special teams will be the deciding factor in this one. As we know, it’s a team that we have always had great battles with and very, very close games. We have won six of the last eight and just about every time we play, the score is within a touchdown. Rarely has anybody scored more than 20 points on either side. The way it’s shaping up, it looks like another one of those, quite frankly.

"We’ll play it with a lot of energy and enthusiasm," Richt continued. "I know it will be exciting to be home for our players. We are looking forward to our Dog Walk and getting the guys excited about the game. The night atmosphere certainly adds to the atmosphere. It’s the first Southeastern Conference game. The SEC has begun and we are looking to go 1-0.”


Uganewt said...

The call to challenge the 4th down spot is totally Richt's call, so Martinez can't take the fall there. But I don't think a challenge would have reversed that call, not enough evidence. Hunter was fighting for extra yards and with the scrum of bodies, it's doubtful the call would have been overturned. We saw the replay a couple times and while his momentum was initially stopped, Hunter turned sideways and gave a really good second effort. I thought they spotted it about where his helmet ended up, thus the ball was likely a foot or so shorter, which would have made the difference, but his back was between the ball and the camera so it wouldn't have been definitive.

As for not knowing about the freshmen WRs, and the game "moving so fast" that's pretty disturbing. If you think about it, in UGA's last three close losses (I'll call this one close b/c 1 or 2 plays really could have changed the whole outcome) the staff has really done some questionable things. This game, SC from 07 (not getting Knowshon more carries) and the tech game last year, where the howls over the tackling drowned out some other questionable coaching moves. Seems our staff is not as poised as we like to think.

TarHeelDawg said...

The game moving fast? What in the heck are we paying the Coaches for? Seriously, I can understand not challenging the spot but you overlook getting to freshman playing experience before a conference game is beyond me. That is troubling.

JT said...

We have officially entered the football twilight zone. Are we in the 90's again? (minus 92, 97 seasons).

Anonymous said...

I would understand the coaches choosing not to play freshman in the first game on the road, but not these two freshman. We are short in depth at reciever and Wooten and Brown come very highly touted. What in gods name would be the reason for not knowing that they hadn't seen the field? The only logical reason I can come up with in not playing them is that if AJ, King and company play 50+ snaps they are likely to loose a few steps this making it more likely that cox could hit them. CMR better get hid arse in gear and heads need to roll. I'm not calling for Richts job and won't but we made need to look at the assistants.

Hobnail_Boot said...

I think we've already established the theme of the 2009 Georgia Football season: "What, me communicate?".

Yodi said...

Words simply cannot express the anger and frustration that I felt after seeing that R.Jones hit over and over. It's just simply not fair for us to make such a great defensive play and get flagged for it. The hit was 100% clean... simple as that. Not to mention the one they didn't call towards the end of the game when the OSU defender took a shot at T.King on a pass that was tippped. The ball never made to King and the dude still knocked King on his @ss and no flag was thrown. Also, earlier in the game they threw a flag against OSU's defense for the same thing only to pick the flag up and reverse the call. I was heated for the rest of the night.