Georgia Football: Preseason Press Conference – Offense


Mark Richt, photo by Danny Bishop

Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Thursday during the Bulldog’s annual preseason media day. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On freshmen he expects major contributions from…

“Anybody who plays is going to make a major contribution. Even if a guy ends up on the scout team and gives us a great look, that’s a major help. That’s important to us. We were in this team meeting a night or two ago and talked about how crucial it is to really understand your role, embrace it and do the very best you can to give us the very best chance of success. If your role happens to be scout team, do a phenomenal job because that is a major contribution to the team.”

On his goals as a head coach…

“My goal every year is can we reach our full potential as a team? How can we get the best out of each individual? That’s how each position coach has to look at it. I’m counting on each position coach to be the head coach of his segment and look at every single guy and bring out the best in him. If he can do that then collectively we are going to have a heck of a team. It’s my job to make sure that the entire team works together, that the coaching staff can work together. We have to be highly competitive, but we have to be respectful in how we compete with each other and understand at the end of the day that we’re still Georgia. We have to build a strong enough bond that when the bad stuff does hit the fan that we are able to handle it. The one year we go 0-2 after a 6-7 season, if you don’t have some unity, bonding and trust there between coaches and players and coaches and coaches, you’re not going to make it through that type of situation. We’ve always tried to pride ourselves in believing in each other and truly caring about each other and knowing that we’re a family. We really do feel like we’re a family. It’s a business, but it’s kind of a family business.”

On the amount of contact the team will have in practice during camp…

“We could do more than a year ago. Right now I haven’t changed anything from a year ago, but what happens is no matter how much you schedule, you rarely add to it. I think we have plenty of contact that’s designed throughout the camp, but we try to make it strategic to where there’s enough space between those times where their bodies are recovering. We don’t want to beat them down, we want them to be healthy and have a fundamental work where we can tackle in space and get the job done.”

On the receivers…

“I think we have guys who played in the games who have made big plays in the past and who have been through the pressure of it, and I think we have enough guys coming on. Even Justin Scott-Wesley, he got just enough of a taste in a couple of big games where he made some big plays. I think he gained some confidence and it carried over into the spring. (Rantavious) Wooten again, he’s been there and done it, but has he done it for an entire season because of injuries? Right now he looks great again. You’ve got Conley, (Michael) Bennett, Wooten, of course Malcolm (Mitchell). We think Justin is really growing. We have guys who have made plays and done things for us, and I think we are ready to roll in that area.”

On Chris Conley…

“Chris is a very, very conscientious guy. He’s a hard working guy. We have a few guys in our program who are workaholics, and I would say he is one of them. His work ethic has been a big part of him being able to develop like he has. Coach (Tony) Ball is a very detail-oriented coach. There are no stones left unturned. He’s probably the best fundamental coach we have, at least one of them. The combination of Coach Ball’s style of teaching and Chris’ work ethic has really made him into a very, very good receiver.”

On Michael Bennett…

“I think Michael Bennett has earned the respect of his teammates. He earned it before his injury, but I think watching him recover from it and work to get his body right and ready for this entire camp – I think all the players have to be impressed by that. I know I’m impressed. I was going through my hip surgery, recovery and rehab, so I was in there a lot while he was in there. Just to see this guy work is pretty impressive. It means a lot to the team to have him back because of the productivity, his leadership and toughness. He was always a tough football player, but just to see him go through a tough time and come out of it really in tremendous shape was a big deal as well.”

On whether he is ready to announce Marshall Morgan’s status for the Clemson game…

“Not yet.”

On whether Austin Long will practice Thursday…

“He may not be at practice. Like I said, we have some guys who are still finishing up academics.”

On Georgia’s first two games against Clemson and South Carolina…

“I always think about our first two opponents more than everybody else because that’s who we game planned for in our offseason. Before our coaches go home for summer vacation we like to have those first two games already game planned and ready to go. It’s very typical for us to have the first two games scouted all summer and game planned and ready to go, because we have to make our game plans based on last year. By the time game three rolls around, you are going to have enough new information. You might plan all summer for games three and four, but by the time you get there that information might not be worth a darn. It’s rare that we’ll go into the third or fourth game trying to get a true game plan on them.”

On Jadeveon Clowney…

“I think I said he might be the best one on the planet and it became news. I think he’s the best college football player in America. There are a couple of other guys you could debate on that. I think I said that if you give him a couple of years of him learning in the NFL, my bet is he’ll be one of the best if not the best before his career is over in that league. That might be a better way of saying it. “

Aaron Murray, photo by Danny Bishop

Senior QB Aaron Murray

On how big it is opening the season against an opponent like Clemson…

“We’ve got to be ready to go, it means we have to work extra hard in camp to make sure we have everything down when it comes to plays and the understanding of concepts things like that. It makes the offseason more exciting and like I said it pushes you to make sure you’re in midseason form come that first week. We just had to work extra hard over summer which we did and we got to work even harder the next four weeks.”

On the structure of practice and first team offense against the first team defense…

“I think it’s good for everyone to continue to challenge each other and continue to push each other to get better every day in practice.”

On whether the offense is ahead of the defense…

“I don’t know they’ve worked their tails off and had a great spring, got better and better everyday in spring and continued to work hard this summer trying to learn the playbook and I think they look great from what I’ve seen this summer.”

On his diet…

“Everything in the weight room went up which is encouraging as well and I haven’t had junk food in about two months, however, I love sour patch watermelons they’re my weakness but I haven’t had those in forever I don’t even remember what they taste like which is a good thing. I haven’t had fast food all semester. We did it to improve my physical status I guess so this is the best I’ve felt in four years.

On his summer workouts…

“We’ve added some speed and agility stuff which has really helped, so I’m feeling quicker I’m not going to go out there and run a 4.4 40 but I’m definitely feeling more agile than I was last year and more flexible as well.”

On having Michael Bennett back among the receivers…

“It’s exciting; he was one of my favorite targets last year. He was leading the team in receptions and touchdowns last year before he got hurt so a big target. Very reliable you knew that Michael is going to run the route as its been taught and I can trust if I throw it he’s going to be there.”

Arthur Lynch, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Senior TE Arthur Lynch

On summer workouts…

“The past two summers have been the best summers I’ve been here and I’ve been here five so it’s pretty good odds in my opinion and I think it’s to do with the accountability that this program puts on the individual leaders but also on the players to match that routine. It’s a competition thing but also it’s healthy and friendly competition that kind of makes it more productive. If you miss everyone knows about it and they report back to the leaders and the coaches, and the coaches know anyway, it’s interesting because it doesn’t make it mandatory you don’t have to come to those summer workouts but with people competing against each other more so during the summer it helps that unmandatory mandatory feel. It’s like if I don’t go I’m letting down my teammates and it’s really worked great.

On how the team looks at the beginning of practice…

“This is probably the best offseason we’ve had in my time here so I think physically we’re just ready to go. We’re young in some areas but nothing we can’t make up for with practice and hard work.”

On how confident the offense is after least season…

“I think we had a lot of confidence last year I just think there’s more confidence from the public perspective than anywhere else. We probably have a little more chemistry now that we’re been playing together for a couple of years now but I think in terms of personal confidence we have the same as we’ve had because we knew what we had.”

Malcolm Mitchell, photo by Sonny Kennedy,http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Junior Flanker
Malcolm Mitchell

On what he thinks he’ll do statistically this season…

“I don’t know, I don’t pay too much attention to that. I just know the balls going to be spread around so whereas other schools may have one or two receivers they go to we won’t have that, we’ll have about four or five.”

On how Michael Bennett looks coming back from injury…

“I think he’s fine. I think he’s the way he was last year at the beginning of the season, maybe even better. We haven’t had a practice or anything so we’ll figure that out today and the rest of camp.”

On the receiving corps and the young receivers within that group…

“You never now what could happen, people could get hurt, different things could happen where they have to play. If nobody gets hurt that’s going to be difficult because they have a lot of experience and not just experience but a lot of talent, that they would have to push through to get on the field. I wouldn’t discourage them I’d just tell them to be ready.”

Photos copyrighted property of Sonny Kennedy,
 http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

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