Coming off a hard-fought victory against SEC rival Tennessee, head coach Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs have their focus turned to the South Carolina Gamecocks. Georgia is looking to break its two-game losing streak against coach Steve Spurrier’s club.
Mark Richt met with the media earlier this week to discuss his thoughts on the Gamecocks, along with some other pressing topics.
On South Carolina
“Their offensive linemen are very outstanding run blockers to run the ball as well as they do with (Marcus) Lattimore and Connor Shaw. They’re able to run the ball extremely well in the fourth quarter at the end of ballgames. We haven’t had a whole lot of success in the past slowing Lattimore down, so that will be a great challenge for us.”
On Marcus Lattimore
“I was watching last year’s game (against South Carolina), and his biggest runs came in the fourth quarter. He had more than 100 yards rushing in the fourth quarter. They were quite frankly able to run the ball when everybody knew all they were going to do was run the ball. That was a little bit of a problem. A lot of it has to do with their blocking, a lot of it has to do with his ability to find it and break tackles and have enough endurance to be even more effective in the fourth quarter than the first quarter. As everybody else is giving way a little bit, he’s still going strong.”
On Aaron Murray
“We have a lot of confidence in him period, and we’re going to call a game that’s going to put a lot in his hands like we have been. Even at the end of the first half of this last ballgame, there wasn’t a whole lot of time. They decided to kind of have a squib kick, and we got the ball around the 35. At that point with 37 seconds you might say let’s not throw a pick and give up another turnover. They are scoring 20 points in the second quarter and things are going bad, so you might say we’ve had enough. Let’s just go to halftime and regroup. I told Coach (Mike) Bobo, let’s go try to score. Murray did a really nice job of moving us down the field and getting us in position to get those three points. I think psychologically those were important points for us. I don’t know if I would have done that last year. I definitely wouldn’t have done it his freshman year. I guess that gives you an idea of the faith I have in him as a head coach.”
On Georgia’s offense
“We have executed well. We haven’t had a lot of missed assignments. The majority of our guys have played or at least practiced a while in our system. When your quarterback can get you in the right play most of the time or the right protection most of the time or if he reacts property to a blitz and gets it to the right guy without a chance of getting a sack, or guys are mostly catching the ball, you have a chance to be efficient. If you have a young QB and you have to call a play and kind of live with it sometimes, you have to guess right sometimes and sometimes you guess wrong. You run into some bad situations if you can’t trust your quarterback to get you in the right stuff. Murray is a guy who gets us in the right plays most of the time and the right protections most of the time. He reads out coverages well.”
On Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall playing together and their recruitment
“They almost sold us on it. I think they had the thought of playing together and being roommates and being friends throughout college. They got to know each other, they liked each other. They weren’t afraid to be on the same team, and I think they had a dream of maybe one day sharing the load wherever they went. For it to happen the way it’s happened so far this year I can’t imagine them dreaming it up any better than it’s been.”
On Malcolm Mitchell
“Monday and Tuesday are offense, and Wednesday was kind of the defensive day and it still is. There may be a couple of times when he may do some offense if the defense is working on base defense and he’s not getting any reps at that moment. Thursday we’ve kind of tried to split some of his reps. He’s primarily an offensive player and he’s in a state of readiness on defense. Not only has he been a kick returner, punt returner, but he’s also on our punt team. He’s been running down there trying to force fair catches too.”
Chris Lionetti is a writer for Rant Sports with a focus on the SEC and the Georgia Bulldogs
Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisLionetti