Oct. 5, 2013
Mark Richt Opening Statement
"I really don't have much to say other than I'm thankful we won, I'm thankful we're leaving and I got my bag packed and ready to go so you guys can ask whatever you want. You can ask me about injuries but I'll say I don't know so just ask away if you want."
On if he feels like last week was a celebrating victory and this was more of a relief to win
"Yes, definitely. I'm not really in the celebrating mood so much, just thankful to escape here with a victory considering what happened."
On the adjustments that had to be made throughout the game
"A lot of things were going on. A lot of guys got hurt, a lot of guys couldn't finish the game. I can at least say that. It was obvious to everybody in that regard. So players had to step up, young players had to step up. Mike Bobo, the play caller, he's trying to figure out who is in, who can do what, what they know, and it handcuffed us just a tad bit, but we just kept playing, kept fighting and found a way to win."
On if he'd ever seen so many injuries in a game
"Not like that. It's just such a shame. Guys work so hard, and we really went through camp overall pretty good and really had one of our best camps as far as injuries are concerned. Now I just don't know what the carnage is right now. We'll just have to wait and see. I purposely didn't talk to Ron Courson yet before talking to you because I just didn't want to say anything to anybody. I'm just not in the mood to talk about it right now. Soon enough we'll find out what it is and we'll let you all know."
On Aaron Murray
"I'm so proud of him. When you come back for your senior year after having a chance to go pro, you come back for games like this, you come back for your teammates, and you come back to try to win a championship. He's done everything he could do at this point. I'm really proud of him, he just played like a champion today."
On if this was a do or die moment
"Whatever it was, yes, under two minutes anyway. We had to move it down the field to score and quite frankly the touchdown throw, the play really called for a fade to the outside and he didn't like what he saw out there so he just jammed it in there, just stuck it in there. I didn't know where he was throwing it when he threw it but I was glad that he saw what he saw and put it on him."
On if the injuries took an edge off of the guys
"I hope not. Obviously the guys that got hurt, it made a big difference for them. I think everybody just wanted to keep fighting. Everybody just wanted to step up and play. I'm sure some guys went from a mode of hey I'm probably not going to play today and then all of a sudden it's hey I'm playing a lot today. That takes a little getting used to. I'm proud of Marshall Morgan. That 57 yarder was pretty spectacular and then that final kick. We'd still be playing if he hadn't made that one."
On what he said to Morgan before that last kick
"I told him that I think he's the best kicker in America and I wouldn't want anyone else kicking this kick."
On his thoughts from when they started their offensive possession in overtime
"My thinking was that in the bowl game we just centered it up and kicked it and missed it so I wanted to at least try to advance the ball the best we could without getting too crazy. You can try to make a point but you could also get a tipped ball or interception or whatever. We knew we were in field goal range immediately. We tried to move it closer, couldn't get it closer, ended up on the left hash, but we called the plays that we thought could get the yardage and Tennessee just bowed their neck and made some good plays."
On JJ Green
"When we signed him, we really didn't know what he was going to play. We thought he could play corner, we thought he could play receiver. This spring we knew we had some issues at the tailback position so we just asked him what do you think about playing some tailback and he said okay, Coach, I'll play. Turns out he's a tough nut. He's smart, he's tough, he's a very good pass protector, we all know he's not tall but he's strong. You see him finish the runs the way he does, he secured the ball extremely well and we know he has some wide receiver skill too, so he's got some ability. Coming into a situation where all you hear about is Gurley and Marshall and maybe at best he's thinking I'm fighting for the third string position and now today he was the feature back and came through."
On if Gurley will be back next week
"I don't know. He really is day to day. Ron felt like he was progressing well. It didn't swell a tremendous amount. We're not counting out this game here. I would have to say I'd be really surprised if he couldn't make it for Vanderbilt, but I think he's probably 50/50 on this one."
On the third down troubles they had on defense
"I just got to watch the game. So many things happened. We got them off the field and then we flinch on the punt and give them 4th and inches and then they get the big play. That would have been a nice stop right there. It was 4th and 6 and then it became 4th and 1 and all that so we were getting off the field on that particular third down, but I just have to look. When you get a kick blocked for a touchdown, that score goes against your defense. That stinks. We've had three special teams touchdowns charged against our defense. I thought we got better, I think overall we got better."
On if they thought they had worked out the issues with the punt block team
"We thought we did, but they came and pressured. They're not a heavy pressure team but they saw the possibility of let's see if Georgia can figure it out. They came at least three or four times, maybe five. We stuck a hat on everybody on all the other ones and we were fine, but we had a guy whiff. He knew who to block he just missed him and you can't do that."
On Rantavious Wooten's last touchdown
"He just had a route that really the ball never goes to that guy on that play but Murray didn't like what he saw outside and stood firm and drove it in there. It was a good safe throw, down and low, and if nothing else it looked like we would have had another snap after that. On the goal line when you throw that type of route, you want it to be from the belly button to the knees, you don't want it to be chest high. A lot of times out in the field that same throw, you might want to hit them in the chest but on the goal line you're shooting for the waistline to the knees and it looked like Murray put it right there."
On if it's hard for linebackers to see JJ Green because he's shorter than average
"I don't know, there's probably a little bit to that, but I think when you have a guy that's not very tall but he's very powerful, a very strong kid. You hear that in football that the low man wins. If you get under somebody's pads, you got a chance to dip and lift and drive a guy and he's got an advantage about getting low on people. Not many people try to get under him when they tackle him so he has the advantage when it comes to the contact point and he just drives his legs and he's a strong kid."
On feeling confident with a fifth year senior like Aaron Murray leading your team on a final drive at the end of regulation
"We never give up hope. I never gave up hope. I didn't think much about it, but yes, I was glad Murray was there to do it, but no matter who our quarterback was or is at that time, we always expect those guys to bring us down the field and score. Murray has really played extremely well this year. I'm really proud of him. I think this was a big game. I don't know what anybody else thought, but he played big."
On what he saw on the fumble in overtime
“My view when I saw him dive, I thought he scored. I didn't know he even dropped the ball until everybody was over there saying he dropped it. I just thought he was out of bounds before he dove but after I saw it on the screen I was overjoyed. Something in my heart just knew we were going to win this game when it got that close. I kept thinking of the motivational videos that we watch talking about Georgia never quits, Georgia always finds a way to win, and that's what we did today. That helped us out this game.”
On how pumped the team was after the fumble
“That definitely fueled everybody. You could see everybody on the field how everybody got pumped up after that. That was the most emotional part of the game other than the game winning field goal.”
On the Tennessee offense
“They have great linemen, they have Rajion Neal, who is a great running back, a great skill player even back in high school he was a great back. They had playmakers and they capitalized on the mistakes we had, and we definitely had those so we have a lot of work to do this week before we play Missouri, because that's another team that will sneak up on you in a heart beat.”
Coach Butch Jones
(Opening Statement) "Well first of all, I want to thank our great fan base. Electric atmosphere, they definitely created a home field advantage. That's why they're the best in the country. I want to thank our student body. Over 12,000 students came out. I think what we learned is we need that environment. We're going to need that. I need to challenge everyone. I need you to come to the South Carolina game. We're on winter break and our team needs it.
I'm very proud of every individual in our football program. You saw a football team, undermanned, that laid it on the line. They made the plays to get it to that point. Learn how to finish. Proud to be their head football coach and they've had their best week of preparation. They bring it everyday and you guys don't see what I see. I see a coming together of a football team, a football program. This team has become closer than any team I've been a part of and they hurt, but we're going to keep grinding. That's the only way I know how to do it and that's the only way they're going to know how to do it. I'm just proud of them. I'll answer any questions you may have."
On if he that's what he told the team in the locker room
"Great thing is I didn't have to be the one to say it. Other players said it. They talked about a lot to play for and keep building and they can see it. They can see the progress. Obviously I told them that too. They know I love them. We have a saying in our football family, "I got your back," and everyone has each other's backs."
On the steps forward they took today
"It's another step, another building block. We need to learn how to win these football games. That's a part of the process of learning how to win, but you can see it. I can see it evolving. I can see it everyday. I can see it the way we are excelling in the classroom. I can it the way our attention in the meetings. I can see the preparation in practice. I can see it and we're going to need a lot as we continue to move forward but we have very prideful great character kids in our football program."
On teaching a player to go against his instincts
"You know, he's trying to make a play. Alton (Howard) gave us a spark today and he's just trying to make a play."
On Justin Worley's play and the offense
"I thought Justin probably played his best game. He was poised. He made the plays. I thought our offensive line played well. Rajion Neal's a warrior. He's playing like we expect our seniors to play. He's giving us everything he has. He's been injured and he's been a warrior. He's added another spark to us."
On going for it on fourth downs
"We have the best offensive line in the SEC. That's what we believe, so we're going to do it. These are plays that the coaching staff did a great job and the players executed it. When you execute in practice, you have confidence to call it in the game. We executed them in practice and there was never any doubt that we were going to do that."
On Jalen Reeves-Maybin
"We expected to block a punt. We worked hard on it every week. We talk about winning in special teams and we spend an inordinate amount of time in the special teams game. We expect to blocks because we practice them so much. He's an individual that is really playing at a high level for us right now in special teams. You can see his confidence growing and growing and growing. That'll start to materialize on defense as well."
On if Michael Palardy punted like a weapon
"Yes. Anytime you can put the opposing team on the twenty-five and not have to cover kicks is critical. I thought, obviously, we played the field position game with him. He flipped the field a number of times and on field goals he's playing with a very high level of consistency right now."
On if going for fourth down portrays he has confidence in them
"Absolutely. They look to the coaches first and foremost and we believe in them. We believe in our football team. Kids executed them. They did a great job."
On if the defense was tired after Georgia's long drive
On Corey Vereen's penalty
"I didn't see it. It was on the other side of the field. I didn't have a good vantage point of that."
On his message at halftime
"We had talked about it all week long to get the game into the fourth quarter. We had talked about hanging in there. So, everything was positive. Our players knew we just had to make some plays. We had great confidence and they were ready to go. There was no panic. There's never any panic. Just made some halftime adjustments, spoke to the team, and they knew what they needed to do. They came out and executed in the second half."
On what the confidence was based on
"Coming into the game. I thought we had our best week of preparation and we were so banged up we didn't even go full pads this week. We went shells and vests on Wednesday and Thursday and that's unlike us. I knew Wednesday our kids came and had basically a pads practice in vests in terms of body position, finishing plays. They're learning how to practice. They're learning the standard. They're learning the expectation and they're buying in and they're seeing it.
It kills me because they've given everything. I give Georgia a lot of credit. They're a great football team. They made the plays they needed to make at the end of the game, but I feel for our kids because they've been through so much and to see them hurt like they have but also to see them come together and make some plays.
This place is special. I keep saying it. This place is electric. Our fans should be exceptionally proud of their football team. It's a process. There's not very many places like this in the country. There's only one place in the country, and that's in Knoxville."
On what he told Pig postgame
"I haven't even had a chance to see him, but sometimes those things are private between him and I. I love Alton. He's trying to make a play and unfortunately it slipped out his hands, but we wouldn't be in a situation to win the game without Alton Howard's effort today."
On the open week
"It's coaching. We'll point out the good, the bad, the indifferent. He made some plays for us. You can see these freshmen. You're playing a top-10 football team. You're looking at the freshmen making plays -- Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Josh Smith, A.J. Branisel, Marquez North, Jason Croom, a redshirt freshman. Alton (Howard) only played a few games last year. There's a lot of youthfulness on that football team and we're getting better. I can see it."
On Worley's progression today at QB
"I thought he took some steps moving forward. We didn't turn the ball over. Anytime you don't turn the football over, you're going to give yourself an opportunity to win. Justin had a great week of preparation. I have to give him credit. How old is he? Twenty-one? How many 21-year-olds could go through the last couple weeks he's gone through? He's a competitor and he's worked exceptionally hard, and I thought he took some steps moving forward today. I was extremely proud of him."
On executing plays drilled in practice
"We always talk to players and tell them, Give us confidence in practice to call these in the game.' I can't tell you the number of times we go to Thursday's practice, and if we don't execute (the plays), we throw them out. Everyone wants to talk about the plays, but at the end of the day, it's about executing those plays. Again, our kids did a great job with those critical plays in those critical situations of really making the opportunities for us, the momentum. Once we got down there, it's not kicking field goals, it's scoring touchdowns.