Oct 5, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) hands the ball off to running back J.J. Green (15) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Georgia won in overtime 34 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Football: Tuesday Press Conference - Offense

Mark Richt, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Mark Richt, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media on Tuesday during the Bulldogs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

On the challenges now facing offensive coordinator Mike Bobo as a result of player injuries…

“Basically, in the game of football and the game of life, adversity strikes. Things happen, and you’ve got to decide what you’re going to do about it. You can panic, you can get mad, you can start blaming things or you can assess where you’re at and realize what resources you have. You find a way to win, and that’s what we do here at Georgia. Mike did a great job of that, I thought, of just knowing who all we’ve got and getting everybody in the right positions. It wasn’t just Mike – it was our assistant coaches who are also doing a great job, in that regard. A lot of the success that we had, say on the last drive, had to do with a lot of preparation all along. Some guys have been preparing for two years or three years or one year. There’s everything that goes on in camp with all the reps that we get and all the tests that we take. We’re preparing for things that can happen where you have to step up and be ready to go. I think all the prep work on the front end came in handy when we needed it the most. I think Mike did a good job. (Aaron) Murray basically just told Wooten to run this route on this play. If he didn’t like what he saw outside, he was going to try to jam it in there, which he did. He had single coverage. Now Wooten had claimed that he was getting outside leverage for most of the day, and he was most of the time on the goal line down there. On that particular play, they were playing a little bit more inside leverage than you’d want on that route, but through his experience and reps, Wooten knew how to get inside position on a throw like that. All of those things came together at that moment, and you had a little protection and a little nerve, and good things happened.”

On Aaron Murray’s leadership…

“Murray’s leadership has been fantastic. A lot of people were saying that he couldn’t win the big game, and I’d say that it’s a team sport. Now they’re saying that Murray is winning the big games, and I’m saying that it’s a team sport because Murray doesn’t win a game by himself and he doesn’t lose a game by himself. His leadership has been tremendous. He has given his teammates a lot of confidence that he can get the job done, as far as his role. We know that the quarterback position is a very significant role, and that’s why people want to just put it all on him. There’s certainly a higher percentage of winning and losing on how the quarterback plays, and how he reacts and leads, and he’s probably doing it as good or better than anyone in the nation right now.”

On Todd Gurley…

“He’s getting better. He’s getting better maybe a little bit more quickly than Ron (Courson) was thinking initially. It didn’t really swell all that bad. It’s one thing to be able to run straight, and it’s one thing to be able to change directions, but it’s another thing to be able to run the way he runs the ball when you start getting two and three guys trying to knock you back and you’re driving through people. You start adding all the resistance of that weight, and that becomes a problem, so we just want to make sure he’s really healthy before coming back.”

On J.J. Green…

“We knew as we put him in the role of playing tailback in the spring that this guy is pretty good. He’s got some natural running skills, and he’s got some great balance. He is more powerful than you might think. He looked like he could be a legitimate back. To have him play the role that he played in this game, would we have predicted that? Probably not. We’re thinking that it’s going to be Gurley and it’s going to be (Keith) Marshall. He was battling Brendan Douglas for the third spot, and A.J. Turman really would have been in that mix a little bit more if it wasn’t for an injury that he had during camp. We knew that the third team spot was going to be highly contested between Green and Brendan Douglas and A.J. Turman. To have him have that kind of game, I wouldn’t have predicted it.”

On his comfort level with the freshman tailbacks, Douglas and Green…

“I was pretty comfortable with them. When you watch them practice enough, we see things that the rest of the fans don’t get to see. We see guys running the ball with power or guys that have a good vision. We see guys that are learning how to pass protect at a faster rate than most freshman tailbacks do. We see guys that have secured the ball well at this point, so when you get them into the game, unless their nerves get to them, they’re probably going to perform about like they did in practice. We’ve had good confidence in them.”

On potential increasing involvement of the tight ends in the passing game…

“In our system, we’re going to throw to the guy that’s open, and they’re one of the receivers that run routes. We have concepts where a lot of times we have five receivers running routes. We’ll have two or three receivers, a tight end and a back, or whatever it might be. One of the reasons why I think we’re successful is because Murray throws to the open guy. He goes through his progression, and some games it happens to be that the tight end is the one that gets open and gets a bunch of balls, and sometimes it’s not. We’re not going to sit here and force the ball to a tight end or to any given receiver or any given back. We’re going to throw it to where the coverage dictates, and hopefully they’ll get a good many catches this week.”

UGA_UT_039Quarterback Aaron Murray

On whether or not all the close games have taken a toll…

“It’s fun. It can get stressful at times but these are fun games to play in and it’s fun for the fans. I think it really has made some guys on this team grow up a lot and understand that this is the SEC. Every week there’s going to be tough games. Every week it’s going to take all 60-minutes plus more, so those younger guys have had to realize that and they’ve definitely been growing up.”

On whether or not the play calling changed after the injuries last game…

“We ran our offense the same. We would definitely love to be at full strength but injuries happen. It’s football, those things are going to happen and it’s just the next guy up. Those young guys, especially the receivers, are going to have to work extra hard this week. We’ve already started getting some extra time in yesterday working on some routes after practice and we’re going to have to do that every day this week. Working before practice, during practice, and after practice to make sure our timing is on.”

January 01, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Arthur Lynch (88) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Murray (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the first quarter in the Capital One Bowl game at The Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

January 01, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Arthur Lynch (88) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Murray (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the first quarter in the Capital One Bowl game at The Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End Arthur Lynch

On how the team will deal with the injuries…

“I think you have to look at some of the young guys who got playing time in a tough environment on the road last Saturday. Then you have to look at a guy like (Rantavious) Wooten who has been here five years, a guy who really had one of the better games of his career the other day. It’s still good to know that he can play at a high level. Chris Conley, obviously what he has done this season speaks for itself. Rhett was put in this situation last year. He’s a guy who’s highly capable of making plays. Reggie has been playing good as well, so you have four or five guys with that experience that can get the job done.”

Chris Conley, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Chris Conley, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Flanker Chris Conley

On all the injuries to the receiving corps this season…

“We’ve had a lot of adversity in this position this season. It’s kind of been the story that when one guy goes down, another guys steps up. We’ve had quite a few guys go down but I don’t think it changes anything. It’s not going to change the way we do things. It just means another young guy is going to have the chance to step up, and you are going to be hearing some new names.”

On if he expects the offense to remain balanced in the pass and run game…

“I think the fact that we have talent in all those positions, a talented offensive line that can run block and pass block, plus a quarterback like Aaron, doesn’t mean that we are going to lean to heavily on one or the other. I think it will just be Georgia football as usual, just with different guys.”

All photos are copyrighted property of Sonny Kennedy Photography,

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