You can call in to the AT&T Bulldog Hotline number at 1-888-81-DAWGS (1-888-813-2947). And now you can send in your question for Coach Richt via their FB page https://www.facebook.com/georgiabulldogs or via the official UGA Twitter page http://twitter.com/ugaathletics using the hashtag #BulldogHotline. Georgia edges Tennessee in a barn burner 51-44. Now it’s back to the road as the Dawgs take on the Gamecocks in Columbia in a top 10 battle. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm on ESPN.
Scott Howard welcomes Coach Richt and congratulates him on being 5-0. Richt thanks the fans for being decked out in their red and says the crowd noise once again helped. Everybody involved has been great and just want to keep it rolling. Scott asks for Richt’s impressions on the game once he had a chance to view it again. Richt says the self-inflicted wounds that were reminiscent of last year’s game against South Carolina, this time we were able to overcome that and win the game. Thought the offense really played well. The defense started out well. The bad things might have taken a little bit out of them. Maybe. We have to do a much better job of protecting the ball. But we did enough to win. Thought the drive to end the half with the field goal was big after they had scored 20 straight. At halftime the question was “Can we beat this team for 30 minutes?” Everyone thought we could.
Lance in Uvalda wonders if the 1996 game when Spurrier’s Florida team scored 52 points between the hedges can still serve as motivation going into this weekend’s game against Spurrier’s Gamecocks. Richt says he’ll use anything that he thinks will rile the boys up. Something like that may or may not be meaningful to our guys. Early in the week we work on the fundamentals, the things that can really help you win ball games. But all during the week he’s thinking of things to motivate the team.
Mike in Columbus thinks Tennessee will end up being a very good football team. Says overall we have a young football team. Feels like we’ll beat South Carolina Saturday by 15 points because their secondary is not impressive and South Carolina is going to see a football team that is motivated. Richt says Mike has made some good predictions over the years, not going to argue with him. Says they have two of the best defensive ends in the league. One’s 6’6″ and one is 6’8″. Going to have to have a good plan to keep them off of Murray’s back.
Tim in Bonnair wonders if Georgia will face another offensive line as good as Tennessee’s. Also would like Coach to wish his son Noah a Happy Birthday. Richt says they are indeed a good offensive line. They are running the ball well as of late, they’re big guys. Not sure if they’ll be the best we’ll see as he hasn’t looked ahead too much. But they are very good. Then wishes Noah a Happy 16th Birthday! Scott does as well.
Jeremy Mann asks if the defense is struggling because the offense is scoring so quickly. Richt doesn’t buy into that too much. Says the defense can get off the field quick too by forcing a three and out. Then they can go sit down and have something to drink. [some radio silence for a few seconds, then they are back on] Says we just have to play better on defense and they’ll get a rest.
This week’s Primerica Player of the Week is Amarlo Herrera. Richt says he’s one of the team’s best tacklers. Good fundamental football player, had a pick six earlier in the year. Great football player that will play a lot for us this weekend. Has filled in during injuries and other things. Done a great job.
Steven in Dalton thinks Tennessee had some more success running the ball than he would’ve thought. Wonders what we’ll do to get ready for South Carolina who runs a lot of the same inside plays. Also comments about the team’s camaraderie. Richt agrees that Tennessee ran the ball well. Stayed patient even while they were well behind. And that’s one of the best things that South Carolina does, both with Shaw and Lattimore. Says Lattimore is in the 80′s as far as rushing average per game and Shaw is in the 60s, so they are definitely the key to slowing things down. They still throw the ball well too, work off the play action. Shaw can throw from the pocket, but likes to get out in “scramble mode” where he can make even bigger plays. We’ve got to keep covering. As for Lattimore, he had 186 a couple years ago and about a 150 last year. But last season he had 100 yards in the fourth quarter. We’ve got to finish strong. As far as the team camaraderie, so far so good. Everybody is pulling for each other which is good.
David and Ronda Dowling like Malcolm Mitchell on defense and wonder if he’ll play more on that side of the ball this weekend. Richt says he’s practicing on both sides. Tuesday he’s with the offense all day and Wednesday he’s on defense all day. Just to keep him up to speed on everything. Now that we’re at full strength on defense he’s not needed as much there. He’s “just getting warmed up on offense”. We’re really excited about his ability to play both. We’ll see more of him on offense than defense. The roles have really reversed: was more on defense and help when needed on offense, now more on offense and help when needed on defense.
Garnett in Columbus thought the fans were great. Was wondering if there was a different game plan going into this week. Richt says the game plan actually changes each week, according to who you’re playing. Mentions that Tennessee has two of the best receivers in the country and just couldn’t play press man on them all night long without giving up some big plays. South Carolina presents new problems compared to last week.
Jim in Duluth asks how close Richt thinks the offensive line is to leading us out of tough situations and finishing the game in the fourth quarter. Richt says we actually did get off the goal line, but had a turnover after we had moved out of the hole. The situations with the punt that was downed on the one and the kickoff were tough situations. But yes, we do have to be ready for those type things. At least get the space to punt the thing. Now at the end of the game, if we’re going to be dedicated to the run and not risk the pass we just have to line up and maul people. Our offense is predicated on the idea that if they load the box we throw it, if they don’t then we run it. So it is tougher to run the ball when the whole world knows it. You just have to make a decision as to whether it’s worth the risk to pass it. There are times when we have to line up and run it, gotta do a better job because it takes a lot of the drama out of it at the end if we can knock out one more first down and not have to punt and play defense.
Connor in Lexington (a young Dawg calling in!!) asks why we weren’t able to move the ball in the fourth quarter after moving the ball so well all game. Richt reiterates some of the previous answer. Earlier on in the 4th quarter we were trying to move the ball, threw a slant, picked up the blitz and if the receiver had caught it he might have scored. Or at least put us in position to keep the clock going and their offense off the field. So the next time out the coaches just made the decision to not throw the football because it was more important to take the time off the clock. And they were willing to punt again if they had to. Which we did successfully and then the defense made the plays.
Injury Report – just Brandon Harton with the thumb injury. He’s out.
Jimmy in Marietta particularly appreciated the grit the team showed at the end. Was also concerned about not being able to close the game out. But says Tenn had six down lineman and three linebackers. Wonders if Murray has the option to check to a pass if it’s there in a situation like that. Richt says most of the game he has that luxury and then there are times when they take the option away from Murray, saying this is what we’re running. Bottom line. Balls can get batted and picked. It could be incomplete and then the clock stops. So that’s a call that Richt makes. After the one drive with the drop, just decided not to risk it any more.
Chris Vickery asks why Branden Smith doesn’t return punts anymore. Richt says he ran into some of the same difficulties Malcolm Mitchell has had back there. It’s a hard job with a lot of decisions you have to make quickly. A lot of weird kicks too, not like out of a jugs machine. Richt says now they feel like Rhett McGowan will be the guy back there and can make the right decisions for us.