March 30, 2013

Richt Q&A

Opening Statement

"I thought the scrimmage was outstanding. Guys really had fun today, I thought they competed well. I think we're still a little bit undisciplined with a little of the extra-curricular activity after a couple of plays when things get heated up, guys get after it a little bit after the whistle blows. But I'd rather them have a heartbeat than try to get them ready to go. I'm not necessarily mad at it, but we've got to correct that.

"We're still turning the ball over too many times. Too many balls get thrown in a position where they can get intercepted. It's good that our defense is making those plays, so overall I was pretty pleased.

"The ones and twos, it seems like there's less than a discrepancy between the groups. Sometimes, your ones are so much better than your twos, but when our twos are playing ball, there's some pretty good ball players, so I'm encouraged by that, too. I think we're doing a good job of giving everybody opportunities and most of the guys are taking advantage of that.

"Quayvon Hicks, you don't see any stats, but just playing some fullback, yesterday he picked up a blitz and did it with enthusiasm. He's very physical and is just starting to play a lot faster. He's real comfortable with the scheme and he's just blocking extremely well, pass blocking, run blocking and he actually had a short-yardage run today which was impressive. He's got good ball skills. I don't want to brag too much about him but he's starting to look like he might become a heckuva fullback. Merritt Hall's ankle is still bothering. He tried to play but had a tough time."

Talk about the passing offense as opposed to the run game today

"Our top two runners ran pretty good. When those guys are running the ball we had a pretty good yards-per-carry. J.J. is getting a little bit with the ones and twos and I think he is improving as a back. (Kyle) Karempelis had a nice run, he didn't show up big in the stats but sometimes a two-yard run in the middle of that mess is a pretty good run. But yeah, we threw the ball a little bit more than we ran it today."

What did you see from Chris Conley and can he step in for T.K. (Tavarres King) and Marlon (Brown?)

"Yeah, Chris has been very productive and a lot of the reason why is he works so hard. I feel like as the scrimmage goes on, as the game goes on, his conditioning is better than most everybody on that field. Just like in the bowl game when he took that middle screen and took off, it looked like he ran a 4.2 I don't know how fast he was running but I know whenever everybody else is getting a little bit fatigued, he's got the stamina to go hard, just because of the way he practices. He's been highly productive in that way and he made a beautiful third-down catch in a lot of traffic, just reached out and snatched it, kept his feet and almost scored a touchdown. He works had at what he does and it's paying off for him."

What's up with Faton Bauta?

"He's not been able to throw. He's got like bicep tendenitis."

Is this defense faster than last years?

"I think we've got more team speed than last year. From front to back, even getting into the two-deep, I think we run pretty good."

Did the offense have a better day than Tuesday?

"The offense made some big plays today. The opening drive, I don't know how many plays it was. But it got down to a third down inside the 5 and the defense got he stop around the 1 or 2 and forced a field goal. But it was a very good drive offensively because it started at the minus 25, but the defense at the moment of truth got that stop to force that field goal instead of a touchdown, a four-point play for the defense. The No. 1 offense did have one touchdown drive when there was relatively long distance to go. We had one-minute drills today and I believe both the ones and the twos got in field goal range today. The one-minute drill, the offense did a really good job and the defense did extremely well in our third-and-ones. There were a couple of plays made but when it came to hammering the ball, the defense did a really nice job. It's pretty evenly matched right now."

What does Mike Thornton bring to the nose position?

"He's not quite as big, obviously, but sometimes that makes you a little bit quicker and he's very low to the ground. David (Andrews) was used to blocking those big guys and sometimes he could use his quickness to his advantage and get his pads underneath theirs, just because of the size difference. But Michael, because he's got some good quick and a good center of gravity, so David's had some trouble dealing with him on certain blocks, he's trying to cut him off but Michael's made some plays."

Is John Taylor an end for now, might he still play nose?

"We know he can play both but right now we feel he's in the best position for us with the depth that we have. Things could change once some of the guys come in, but with Mayes here and Thornton here holding down the nose, we don't have to play him there right now. He's got pretty good quickness, so it's not like he's just a big guy."

Does Josh Harvey-Clemons look like he's getting comfortable with the star position?

"I think so. He's the No. 1 strong safety now in the base, and doing good things."

That's three picks this spring for Sheldon Dawson, it appears like he has a real nose for the ball.

"He does. There's a lot of balls that he has batted away, a lot of fade throws he's either knocked away or got the pick. He's improving a lot. A year ago, like right now, I'm watching Reggie Wilkerson and I see a guy who is going to be able to do it but he's taking his lumps right now. It's hard to be a rookie out there and do what it takes. Sheldon had those days, too, but now Sheldon has grown up a lot more. Unfortunately, he pulled a hamstring today so I don't know if he will play any more (this spring)."

What have you seen from Hutson Mason this spring?

"He's just a guy who's very confident and knows the system well. He's very calm in the pocket, quick release. I'm not saying he won't get sacked because he gets sacked every once in a while, but it's fairly well because he does a very good job of feeling pressure and getting the ball out. He's a good decision maker."

Who worked at left tackle today?

"I'm not 100 percent positive, but I think it was (Mark) Beard. I don't even remember who was with the second team."

Where does Austin Long figure in?

"Austin's a guard. I don't think Austin's a tackle, or he's got the majority of his reps at right guard. It's going to be interesting when (Chris) Burnette is back.

Was he out there today?

"No. He hurt his hand.

How is T.J. Stripling doing?

"Strip's doing good. He's playing fast, he knows what he's doing, he's got some good pass-rush ability and he knows the system now. He's got good confidence. We've got a lot of competition on defense. It's not quite as much as on offense because we've got some guys who have been established starters but on defense its wide open in a lot of areas, and Stripling is competing well right now."

What is Reggie Carter looking like?

"Reggie is a very good fundamental linebacker. When I say that he's got a good base, he moves laterally well and he's just a good fundamental tackler. He's still not as strong as he'll need to be one day, but he's got a good attitude toward contact. He's a very sharp kid, very conscientious."

Do you think J.J. Green will stay at tailback?

"I don't know. Part of it was we were hurting at that position and not really sure where to play J.J. When we recruited him, we thought he was going to be either a receiver or corner, really. He's stout, not tall, but he's a strong kid who's quick, he's tough and done a nice job but I don't know until we get the other guys rolling in."

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