Georgia vs. Kentucky - Post Game Notes
Chris Conley

Chris Conley
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Oct. 20, 2012

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Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement...

"Very excited about the victory. It's great to be able to go on the road in the SEC and get the win. I think Kentucky did a fantastic job tonight. My hat's off to coach (Joker) Phillips and his team. I'm also pleased with our team to do what they had to do to win the ballgame. A lot of big plays had to be made. We had to play good down the stretch in order to win it. Again, very thankful and pleased with the victory. I want to also, like I said, let coach Phillips know that I thought his team was well prepared and they did a heck of a job."

On Kentucky...

"I know coach Phillips is a very good coach. Their staff is very sharp. I think they have played much better at home than they have away so I knew them being home was going to be a factor. A lot of times when you do play young guys they tend to play better at home. I expected them to be well prepared and they were."

On the onside kick...

"It was a great job by (the kicker), if that kick would have rolled just a tad bit faster he probably would have gotten it, but it was just kind of creeping along. Their kicker of course had to wait for it to go 10 and Connor (Norman) was heads up to go around there and snatch it and be strong enough to convince the officials that it was his. It was a huge play. There were a lot of huge plays in the game, a game that close, but Connor did a great job."

On the passing game...

"A lot of things have to go well to throw the ball like that. You have to be able to protect, you have to be able to run good routes, you have to be able to put the ball on the money and catch and you have to have a good idea of what you're doing. You've got to have a little bit of scheme involved in there. I think everything came together well, there was a sack or two that we probably could have avoided. There was a ball that probably would have been a touchdown if we caught it, there was another one that was overthrown that I think would have been another touchdown so I think there could have been even more damage done in the passing game."

On preparation for the game...

"Kentucky had time to get their plan together and they've got good personnel. They do a lot of really good things. I have respect for what they have done in the past and how they played tonight. Like I said, I think they have played a lot better at home than they have away. We caught them at home and we got a good SEC victory on the road, I think there is a lot to be said for that."


Georgia Players

# 12, Tavarres King, FLK

On winning against Kentucky...
"It was big, it was huge. Any time you go on the road in the SEC, you know it's going to be tough no matter who you're playing, so it's huge. It's a big win for us."

On going against a 1-6 team...
"It's the SEC. Anybody can slip up on anybody at anytime and that's why we're the greatest conference in the nation. We play great football. That's a good team, they've just had some tough breaks and they gave us their best shot and we survived it.

On quarterback Aaron Murray setting career-high numbers...
"It was neat. I'm just happy for him progressing, getting better and doing his thing. The kid is great and I can't say enough about him, his work ethic and the way he goes about his business. He's just like a pro. It's very classy. He deserves everything he gets. He deserves more than he gets.

#11, Aaron Murray, QB

On bouncing back after a loss to South Carolina...
"It was huge for us offensively to be able to go out there, put some points on the board and have some great drives. We know we're a very talented offense and we had one bad game two weeks ago but that's far behind us. We understand we still have some work to do to. (We need to) continue getting better but I thought today was a great day offensively."

On playing No. 2 Florida next week...
"We're not worried about it. At the end of the day, it all depends on how we play next Saturday. We know we have to play an unbelievable game offensively, defensively and special teams if we want to have a chance to win that game so we just have to be ready to go."

#59 Jordan Jenkins, OLB

On the start of the game...
"Well the first half was not good for me. The first play I got my neck cut up, the second play I thought I had a stinger and the third play I got my ankle rolled. I couldn't set the edge because I didn't want to hurt my ankle. I kept trying to do a soft play hoping that would open the seams."

On Kentucky's last offensive series...
"Well I don't know. I think we are just glad to have this game over with. It seems like God wanted us to win."

On focusing on the future instead of today's games mistakes...
"Well Monday we have to look at film, but it is going to be pretty easy because we know we have to focus on next week. We can't be depressed. It just goes to show that any team can win and any team can lose."

#26 Malcolm Mitchell, CB/SE

On Georgia's passing performance...
"They gave up the inside a lot so we just tried to take advantage of it. It is fun, but we have to get the run game in. You don't want to just keep passing the ball."

On his playing time as a wide receiver...
"I have to thank Coach Ball. During practice they said something is wrong and they gave me advice on how to get out of my routes. I hadn't done it in so long. I have to get back into things."

On the amount of effort it took to win this game...
"I just think about what we need to do as a team not what it's going to take and did we do our job? Did we do our job well? I don't know, but we won."

#13 Marshall Morgan, PK

On the pressure of punting in this game...
"The one before the half, I really tried to do well because I didn't want to let my team down. And I wanted to be up at the half, so we could have a little more momentum."


COACH JOKER PHILLIPS COMMENTS

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, injuries. Zach West reaggravated his shoulder, which is a sprain. Jalen Whitlow had migraines, had distorted vision. He came back late in the game. Cartier Rice has hip flexor that he reaggravated that he had last week.

I thought our team played with great effort. Did a better job getting ourselves off the field on third down. I think at half they were 4 of 6. Second half 5 of 12. Second half I thought third downs were a lot better at getting ourselves off the field, getting them into some third and longs.

We held them to 41 at half what was the total 77 yards, total rushing, which is what we have to do, not allow people to run the football on us. Held them to their second lowest points of the season. We rushed the ball, which gave us a chance.

Again, we got to do a better job of throwing and catching. But, again, no one can say this team's quitting. We have a young team that comes to practice, excited to play, excited to practice, and that's the type of effort you saw tonight with these guys.

We got to continue to get better. Got another hard fight next week at Missouri who has a week off to prepare. So we got to get our troops healed up and get them ready to go back out there on Tuesday.

Any questions.

Q. Were you worried they had quit?

COACH PHILLIPS: No, I was never worried. I wanted to make sure everybody understands this team does not quit.

Q. You mentioned the run defense. Almost 800 yards passing against you guys, nine touchdowns in the last two games ...

COACH PHILLIPS: Again, as long as you don't allow them to throw over your head. That's the thing, we've given up the X plays, which has cost us.

But, again, you don't want them to run on you. It demoralizes you as a defense. Again, we have to help the young guys out by getting some pressure on the quarterback and then we can't allow them to throw the ball over our heads.

Q. Question regarding the onside kick ...

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, we didn't get the right speed on the ball, first thing. He was just waiting for the ball to cross 10 yards. Heads up play by him. Waiting, waiting, waiting. He thought the ball was across the 10 yard line. Again, we didn't get enough speed on the ball, the proper speed that we needed to get it executed. Their guy got to the ball before we could react to it.

Q. Math works out that you're not going to be going to a bowl game this year. What is the motivation now?

COACH PHILLIPS: We got some seniors in there. We're motivated to play for those guys. Those guys have done a good job of leading this young team. I can tell you this, those young guys are going to fight their tails off for those seniors who have been with us for a long time.

Q. Question regarding Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders ...

COACH PHILLIPS: When you run the ball the way we did, 200 yards, against a really good defense, you have to give credit to the guys up front. I thought those guys did a good job of opening up some holes. When Zach West went out, Teven Eatmon-Nared came in and did a good job also. Those guys did a good job. The running backs did a good job of getting behind their pads and continued to drive their feet and legs. But the credit goes to the guys up front.

Q. The running into the punter, what did you see on that play?

COACH PHILLIPS: It's hard to tell live. I was watching the returner. All I could see is the replay from up top. We couldn't tell on the video. I'll have to see it tomorrow.

Q. What did you see particular improvement in this week?

COACH PHILLIPS: I thought we did a good job of stopping the run, which that's where most things start, especially against Georgia. They will run the ball, run the ball, then they have a play action off of every run. So I thought the best thing we did was stop the run, take that away.

Again, we just gave up too many X plays, especially early in the first half. Offensively, again, we controlled the ball, kept our defense off the field by running the ball. Put together some pretty good drives.

When they went up 29 17 about five and a half, six minutes left, it would have been easy for our offense to go out there and give up. But those guys drove down and made a game out of it, okay.

Right before the half, a field goal hits right, bounces in... In that last drive, driving down the field, to kick a field goal to win the game... That's what we got to look at. That doesn't happen.

We got an opportunity in that last drive to go down and kick a field goal to win the game, so... At that point, that's when you probably kickoff, kick the ball deep instead of on side kick it.

Q. With Morgan (Newton), what was the thinking about how you were going to use him and how it played out?

COACH PHILLIPS: I just think it's good for a young guy like Jalen to be able to step back after a couple series. Today it was during the first series, step back, see the game from the sideline, let the game slow down a little bit. We got Morgan in there on the first series in the red zone. I think the red zone is usually when you like to do your wildcat stuff. That's what Morgan is for us, a wildcat quarterback at times. In the red zone you'll see him more.

Q. Do you see Jalen (Whitlow) looking more comfortable?

COACH PHILLIPS: Jalen has never looked uncomfortable. Maybe to you, but he's never looked uncomfortable because he always has a good demeanor. He doesn't get rattled. I've never seen him look uncomfortable.

I think things are slowing down for him, okay. Let's put it that way. I've never seen him uncomfortable. He's never come out there with that deer in the headlights look. He's always been the same guy.

But I think things are definitely slowing down for him. Today I think he has a little bit better command of the football. Great throw that he made on the second to the last drive. I think it was a good throw on the last play of the game also. He had a little better command of the ball today.

Q. Do you think this is the best game you might have played this year that you lost?

COACH PHILLIPS: We played good at times. We got to be more consistent. There's been times throughout the whole season that we've probably played longer than this game. There's been times we played pretty good, but we haven't put together as long of a time as we did tonight.

Q. You said you weren't worried that at any point your team would lay down or quit. Is this a week you wanted to find out what you had with the young guys?

COACH PHILLIPS: Every week you want to know what you have with those guys. We know we've got guys that are good players, guys with a good attitude, guys that have good character, guys that are willing to come out here and compete every day. We know what we have. But every day you challenge them. We challenged them this week to come out and play with the same type of fire that we see in practice.

Q. What do you think of Jonathan George?

COACH PHILLIPS: Jonathan has done a good job all season. He was a guy who at the beginning of the season was our third back. Because of some injuries, because of some other circumstances, became the starter. That's why I'm so proud of him. A guy that waits his turn, gets an opportunity, and now he's been starting really since the Kent State game. He's been starting since then.

That's why I'm proud of him. He's done a good job of taking care of the football in the pass protection area. When we've called on him to catch the ball, he's done a good job in that area also. He's a guy that plays behind his pads when he runs the ball.

Q. On the last play, does it almost become frustrating...

COACH PHILLIPS: Well, I don't live in 'almost'. I mean, at the end of the year you don't say, We almost win. The records will say wins and losses. We come out here to try to win. We don't come out here to try to almost win. We come out here to win.

Thank you.


Kentucky Players

#13, Jalen Whitlow, QB

On playing with a migraine ...
"I have been getting these since I was a little boy, so I just had to wait for the visual part to pass. When you get a migraine it kind of blocks your vision. I could not see that much out of my right eye, so I had to wait and let that pass."

On how they played as a team ...
"I think that we played pretty good. We fought for each other, and we fought hard. It is always disappointing when you do not come out on top. I think we took a step forward. We fought for each other; we did not make many mistakes, and played for each other and the coaches. We played to win, but unfortunately we lost, but we can put this in our pocket and move on."

On the speed of the game ...
"I felt more comfortable out there. I just relaxed. I told myself before the game to go out and play football, play the game that I have been playing since I was a little boy, and just go out and play."

#25, Jonathon George, TB

On the running game...
"We had a game plan, and it was to come out and be aggressive in the running game. That is what we tried to do, and I thought we were successful at that."

On power running...
"This whole week of practice we stressed that one of the major plans would be to be successful in the running game. The coaches emphasized to us that we have to come out and run the ball to have a chance to win this game. We all had the mindset to come out aggressive."

On the loss after a well played game...
"It is a little stressful, and we had positive flashes in the game. We just have to build from it and finish the rest of the season."

#69, Matt Smith, C

On what he learned form last week and this week ...
"The way we played today is something I knew we had in us the whole time, something that hasn't shown yet, its amazing what we can do when we keep the injuries away for a whole week and we get to practice with the same guys we had the week before. I'm really proud of this team, they fought really hard"

On the Commonwealth Stadium fans ...
"It makes a huge difference for us. We hope that those fans keep coming out and we hope that we get some of those back. We're just trying to keep the fans around."

On being proud of the team ...
"We've made a lot of progress, especially compared to these last couple of weeks that we've just been able to finally put for quarters together, something that a lot of us have seen in practice an know that we can do and we were finally able to do it."

#12, Morgan Newton, QB

On general thoughts on the game ...
"Guys fought hard, coaches fought hard. Everybody worked really hard, we just came up short.

On the importance on the early start...
"It's really important, and everybody did a good job, and really fighting in the beginning and for the most part throughout the game. So that was important to get us going."

On his contribution to the game...
"I just tried to help in the red zone. The offensive line did a great job on protecting; the receivers did a good job catching the ball, making the play. Just try to help out when I have the opportunity."

#16, Cody Quinn, CB

On the teams performance tonight ...
"We had a lot of mistakes, but we played really though and I thought we would come out with the win."

On the experience from playing in the SEC ...
"Its great but, I'm kind of over that now, I'm ready to win, we are getting closer, it's the little things we got to bring along."

On improving by playing in the SEC ...
"I'm learning more, I didn't play well today, I made too many mistakes. I just got to keep playing and keep improving and have a better week of practice this week, last week we had a great week of practice. The intensity was high and people were competing, and it showed today, we just came up a bit short."

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