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*** Richt's Tuesday press conference transcript ...

  • Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications ...

    Head Coach Mark Richt
    Opening Statement...
    "I could have been out recruiting today, but we're here instead. So that's a good thing. LSU is a great football team. I think the one thing that stands out to me is their physicality. They're not real tricky. Their goal is not to trick anybody. Their goal is to line up and play real sound football in all three phases and basically physically maul you; wear you down and wear you out, make you quit. They've been able to do it most every game they've played. They have a very impressive group of athletes. They are extremely well-coached by Coach (Les) Miles and his staff.

    "Since I've been at Georgia, LSU has been the winningest team in the Southeastern Conference. It just so happens that three of the four times we've been in the SEC Championship Game, LSU has been our opponent. We're looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge of it."

    On whether LSU might pick the brain of quarterback Zach Mettenberger...
    "I didn't even think about that until just now. They might be. We haven't changed an awful lot, and Zach certainly knew what we were doing. They might be picking his brain, I don't know. There is so much that you can get on film now days, I don't know how much more he could add to it. We have also gone to a no-huddle since Zach has gone, and we have code names and hand singles that he has no idea about. I don't think it will be a factor, but it could be."

    On whether Georgia has played a team comparable to LSU...
    "They aren't many defenses out there that are so obscure that you don't know what's going on. The thing about them, they have plenty of diversity in their defense, but they aren't trying to trick you. They aren't trying to trick you offensively in any way, shape or form. They'll line up and see who the best team is. They make very few mistakes. They are plus-19 in the turnover ratio, which is number one in our league. We are number two at plus-10. Of course that stat is always a huge one. It's been very big for us in the last 10 games. We've not lost the turnover battle. I don't know if they've lost one all season long. To be plus-19, if they've lost any they might have lost one. But I imagine they won the battle every time, or tied it. "

    On maintaining stamina against LSU...
    "We sub a lot in some areas. Not all areas. We have a little bit of depth in certain spots. I think one thing that helps everybody is the amount of TV timeouts during a game. I think there will probably be four in each quarter, so you don't play very long. If somebody gets in there and drives 12 plays, or there are 10-12-14 play drives, sometimes that can wear you down. There are just so many timeouts, so many change of possessions. I'm not too concerned about that. We're in pretty good condition I think."

    On the importance of a quarterback's maturity level...
    "You could probably say it in the NFL more than any league: If you don't have good quarterback play it's hard to win, period. Of course the Colts don't have Peyton (Manning) anymore, and they're struggling. If New England didn't have (Tom) Brady, what would they be able to do? I don't know unless someone else stepped in and played great. It's hard to win in our league without at least good, solid quarterback play. If your quarterback is playing well, I think the team feeds off that. If things are going rough and your quarterback spits the bit, I think you are in big trouble. If he can stand in the gap and stay strong and keep fighting and encouraging and start to make plays, I think a really good quarterback can pull you out of a bad situation. I think Aaron (Murray) has gotten to the point where I don't think anyone every questions his toughness mentally or physically. No one ever questions his preparation. No one questions his loyalty to the team. I think everybody responds well to him if things got rough."

    On whether Aaron Murray's demeanor has changed during the season...
    "Not really. He is so well-prepared and he creates such good habits in practice that even if he does have an off day or an off quarter or a bad throw here and there, he can't help but get back in pretty good shape."

    On Coach Todd Grantham moving Georgia's linebackers around and if that causes difficulties for an opposing team's offense...
    "It's problematic. Even if you look at LSU's secondary. They have done a lot of moving guys around, and it is kind of hard to know where a guy is going to line up sometimes. Every player is different. They have different characteristics. There may be a certain match up you are trying to get, but if you don't know for sure where I guy is going to line up it is hard plan for that. Once the game gets going not many people are changing left and right, but from one game to the next if you are not exactly sure who is going to line up where it's hard to say 'I like this play in this situation versus this player,' if you don't' know where he's going to line up."

    On if Georgia's been able to move around more on defense this year compared to last year...
    "Oh yeah. Some of it was because of injury. Some of it was because of the style of play of who we might have been going against. Even when Shawn Williams ended up playing linebacker one game it was just a game we thought we could get away with it. But the very next game we put Amarlo (Herrera) there because it was more of a downhill, physical running football team. The personality of the other team's offense will allow you to do that from time to time."

    On Georgia's defense going against LSU's offense...
    "It's going to be interesting to see. That's maybe one of the most compelling match ups of the game is their run offense versus our run defense."

    On team's being defined as "special" teams and how he sees this year's team...
    "I think for coaches teams are special when the guys work hard and when the guys trust the staff in that they are coachable, teachable and you have sense that they will fight for you. You get sense that care about you and they care about each other. They care about Georgia and they care about doing things the Georgia way. All those things get coaches excited about teams. But I think these guys as a whole are that way. It's easy to say that when you are winning, but even when we were 0-2, I really felt way about them and I think they did too. Before the season I didn't know how the season would start because of the schedule we had and all, but I just felt like we had chance to be a really good team before it was over. I thought we were going to have a team that would really improve as the season went along and I think we have. The question is going to be how much have we improved and have we really got to the point we can play this game and get the job done."

    On any concern with Georgia's tailbacks going up against LSU...
    "It's a concern. I'm concerned with how our guys will play at the tailback position, but we'll see. We've found a way so far having to mix and match a little bit. On paper, you certainly look at their backs and they are pretty stacked, they're physical and they are more of a known entity than what we've got right now."

    On the notion of using two or three guys versus using the hot guy at tailback...
    "I think you have to, but I think they can be one in the same. I think you can have two or three really good backs, but there may be a particular game that one guy is hot and you can let him ride. But through the course of a season you better have at least two and maybe three guys who can carry the ball for you, especially when you run the ball the way LSU wants to run it."

    On preparing the younger players for this weekend's game...
    "Right now, my goal is just to continue to prepare like we've been preparing for the last 12 games. Just to get these guys to understand what they are doing schematically, what type of techniques they are going to have to deal with as far as the coverage techniques and maybe learn about as much as they can about each corner and they strengths and weaknesses of them. Then just go and attack. We really treat it like any other game."

    On Alec Ogletree's return to the defense...
    "Alec is fast. He is physical. He loves football. He's very competitive. Without a doubt, we became better with him. I don't know if you could prove anything statistically, but we're a better defense with him than without him I can promise you."

    On how much tackling there has been in practice last week and will be this week this late into the season...
    "Last week, we were in pads Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was mainly to allow our scout team to go as hard and has fast as they could against our defense to try and at least give them a taste of what it might be like (facing Georgia Tech's offense). We'll go back to our normal routine of (Monday) in shorts, today in pads, tomorrow shells and Thursday in shorts and helmets again. We will not tackle against each other today. It's too late in the season and by now you either know how to tackle or you don't. I think early in the year until you've established it and you're pretty good at it you got to keep doing it."

    On tackling in practice throughout the season...
    "I don't know exactly when we reduced it. We had probably 30 minutes worth when the season started and it reduced to 20 minutes, reduced to 10 minutes as the season went on."

    On comparing UGA and LSU's defenses...
    "They are both good defenses. They really have some great characteristics of great defenses. Both of them do with big physical lineman, linebackers who run and hit and safeties and corners who can play ball. They're all good. They are well coached. They've both had a lot of success. I'm sure they are both very confident in their ability to play the game and play defense. They are a lot alike in those characteristics."

    On how Georgia can win with LSU being the favorite...
    "You do what you do and you do it well. They're going to do what they do and they are going to try and do it well. I'm a broken record on the turnover ratio but that's huge. If we can come out of there and win that part of the game we got a lot better chance of winning it. You don't want to give up the big play on special teams. I just think that we have to look at our strengths and play to those and just get after it. That's really what it's going to come down to. It's going to be a good football game."

    On being around football as long as he has if he trusted the team to handle their business in the locker room after starting 0-2...
    "There was no business in the locker room to handle. You know what I'm saying? There was no dissention. There was no finger pointing. There was no loss or lack of confidence in each other coaches to players, players to coaches. I thought we had good leadership. I thought we had good work ethic. I thought we had a pretty good talent base and needed to grow up a little bit in some areas. I didn't know for sure what was going to happen, but I wasn't looking at the landscape and saying we don't have a chance - we don't have the personnel, I'm worried about the chemistry, I'm worried about guys jumping ship - none of that. It didn't even come close. We just went back to work, and thankfully, began to win."

    On if any guys "took the bull by the horns" after the 0-2 start to get the team going...
    "I can't sit here and say that, but the usual suspects of Ben Jones, (Brandon) Boykin, (Aaron) Murray, Orson (Charles), DeAngelo Tyson, Abry Jones - all these guys - Jarvis Jones - it was more of a team thing really. I can't sit here and say one or two guys all of a sudden pulled everybody out of some kind of funk. We weren't in a funk. We didn't get to that point."

    On LSU trying to win a national championship and UGA trying to win an SEC Championship and if that puts added pressure on LSU and make it easier on UGA...
    "There's plenty of motivation in my opinion for both teams to play their best. When you get used to winning it becomes a habit just like anything else can become a habit, so you are going to play in such a way that gives you the best chance of winning again. Only one team can win and we know that, but I think that both teams have plenty motivation to get up and play in this ball game. Just playing in the (Georgia) Dome is a special thing. You know if you are in there something good happened to you, especially this time of year. The fans will be excited. The players will be excited. Coaches will be jacked up. It's going to be a great atmosphere."

    On LSU playing this season with a bull's eye on them all year and getting everyone's best shot...
    "A lot of people had them preseason number one, and I've been on teams that were preseason number one and you do get everyone's best shot. I think their style of play is just so solid that you have a lot less chance of messing it up on any one given day. It's real simple, it's real solid and it's real physical and you just get after people and they've been able to do it."

    On the availability of DeAngelo Tyson and Richard Samuel IV...
    "Both of them we really don't know for sure. Neither one of them will practice today. I guess I can say that. It's kind of day to day on those guys."

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