Ramik Wilson, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Georgia Football: Defense

Wilson makes the tackle

Wilson makes the tackle

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

Coach Mark Richt

On Ramik Wilson’s progressions throughout his career…

“Ramik’s had his chance to shine, and sometimes it’s not bad for it not to happen right away. Sometimes it’s hard to be a star as a freshman. Sometimes you just have to mature a little bit and grow a little bit and grow within the system and find your niche. We weren’t really sure where Ramik would be best suited for us. He started out as an outside linebacker. He played inside in high school, but at the time, we didn’t need his help there. We didn’t need his depth, but we wanted to get him going. He’s played well on special teams over his career, and now he’s doing a really good job of playing that inside linebacker position, along with Amarlo Herrera. Amarlo is just a couple of tackles behind him, and he’s having a pretty good year, as well.”

On Ramik Wilson leading the SEC with an average of 10.0 tackles per game…

“He’s a very talented guy, he knows what he’s doing and he plays hard. A lot of his tackles are effort tackles, and a lot of them are in the box. The ones in the box are usually designed for those guys to make those hits. You want your down-linemen to keep linemen from climbing to that linebacker position by being stout inside. So by scheme, we want those linebackers to make those hits in the box, but he makes a lot of tackles because he’s pursuing from sideline to sideline. He has a couple sacks here and there and a couple tackles for loss – a little bit of everything.”

On the strong defensive play of safety Corey Moore over the past two games…

“Corey, obviously, made that big sack against Florida, and it was probably the biggest defensive play of the game. At the time that it happened, it was a big deal. I tell the guys that normally the biggest plays aren’t usually something spectacular. You basically do something that’s relatively normal, but you do it at an extraordinary time. That’s kind of what happened. He hit it right, and obviously no one blocked him. He came to the line of scrimmage and just ran him down and tackled him. If you show that blitz too soon and people see it, they change the play, they change the protection, they change the plan and they call timeout or whatever it might be. He did a very good job of being disciplined and waiting for the indicator that the lineman used to say that they were fixing to snap that ball, and he came at that point, and it was too late for Florida to change anything. He was disciplined to do it properly and the result was a big sack. I’m really happy for him. He’s been playing well. He’s been playing a lot of special teams too, and I think there’s been some great games on specials and some that haven’t been so great, but we need him to play well on special teams, as well.”

On the close competition at the cornerback position…

“I think it has been a very close competition at corner. When you go through a year like this, whether it’s injury or suspension, a bunch of guys get a chance to play and they’re still young, so it builds a lot of depth. It’s a lot of depth for the future. It has been close competition, and guys have been getting some opportunities and taking advantage of it.”

On Sheldon Dawson…

“Sheldon’s strength, in my opinion, is his ability to cover in man-to-man type coverage. He does a great job there. When he’s playing off, he still has some improvement to do in that area, but he’s very physical. He’s never been afraid to make a tackle or support the run or take on a block and do it the right way. He’s also caught my eye as a kick return man, and I think he’s really made a good move there. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, and he’ll probably be the first guy to return a kick for us in this game. I think he’s catching a little momentum. You talk about teams having momentum, and sometimes players gain a little momentum and he’s one of those players right now.”

On defensive improvements over the past few games…

“I think our defense is really playing better, and I think earlier in the season there were still some things that we were doing very well, like I said before. It became a broken record, but to get as many third-and-mediums and third-and-longs as we were getting, you’re doing some pretty good things on first and second down. One was that we were handling the run game pretty good. The goal, obviously, is to get them off the field and force kicks and things of that nature. We’ve done a better job of that the last few weeks, and I think that’s why it’s all starting to come together. Hopefully we can continue that momentum.”

Amarlo Herrera, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Amarlo Herrera, photo by Sonny Kennedy, http://www.sonnykennedyphotography.com/

Inside Linebacker Amarlo Herrera

On what has changed in the play of the defense recently…

“We’re getting off the field. We started getting the other team off the field quicker and giving our offense better field position. We still have a long way to go. The excitement will get here sooner or later but we’re still just working hard.”

On this being a statement game for the defense…

“This game is about us. We have to go out there and show what we can do. This is a chance for us to go out and try and play perfect. They have a good quarterback and have a couple of receivers who are able to go up and make a play on the ball. Everybody still has to step up and play as hard as we did last week. I don’t think anybody can stop our guys if we do that again this week.”

On keeping focus on Appalachian State with Auburn around the corner…

“We just can’t worry about anything else but the game. We just stay focused on this week and know that we have to prepare hard for this week so that we can win this game and then the next week will be even bigger. We can’t [think about getting to Atlanta]. We have to just worry about what we do first and then focus on what the other teams before us do.”

Safety Connor Norman

On the play of Safety Quincy Mauger…

“I’ve been really impressed with Quincy. He’s grown up a lot. He was my dark horse pick at the beginning of the year. I liked him all the way back in the spring so I’m glad he’s kind of coming into his own and playing well. He worked real hard to get to know the defense and to get familiar with our calls and the schemes. Just seeing him work hard in that aspect you just knew that everything else would come along with it.”

On if he feels as though the defense is turning a corner in their play…

“We’ve been concentrating hard on third downs and I think that everybody is starting to gel together a lot more. We have a lot more confidence in each other on the field recently, which is good. Hopefully we can just continue to build on it and grow and mature as a defense.”

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