- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
Here are some select Mark Richt quotes from his Sunday evening teleconference:
On what he remembers about turnovers in second half of 2009 Kentucky game:
"I don’t remember it. I’m sure I’ll watch it. I’m sure I’ll bring it up to the boys. That would be very valuable for our guys to remember, the guys that were around. Most of those guys that might have been around maybe didn’t play and the other guys weren’t there, but it still makes a point of how important that turnover battle is."
On defensive improvement:
"We’re doing things that good defenses do and that’s stop the run, most of the time. We’re big up front, we’re very physical, we play hard, we’ve been causing a lot of fumbles. We’ve caused 29 fumbles and the majority were the defense. There’s probably some special teams thrown in there. We need to recover some more -- we’ve only recovered 10 of the 29 -- but when you’re knocking the ball out, you’re going to get a chance for turnovers. We’ve had a lot of picks, but we’ve dropped a lot of picks, too. But we’re getting sacks, we’re getting quarterbacks hurrying their throws, leading to interceptions, we’re just believing right now and I think the fact that everybody is believing and understanding much better what we’re trying to get accomplished, it’s just been good. I hope we keep it up."
On Kwame Geathers' injured ankle:
"I’ve not talked to Ron. I’ve been recruiting all day. Actually we have a couple of guys on official visits and I just got back in the building, so I don’t know if Kwame is going to have a situation where he would not be able to play. My guess is he’d be able to play. I saw him walking around on it. My guess is he would play. I don’t know if he’d be ready tomorrow or not. That’s a wild guess right now to be honest with you. I really don’t know. But it was an ankle sprain that just kind of at halftime, sometimes halftime’s good if you need a rest, but it’s not good if you have some kind of ankle or an injury that will stiffen up on you and really not let you get going again. I think that’s what happened with Kwame."
On big game by running backs against Auburn:
"I think an awful lot had to do with their determination and their effort, but this is one of those games where you absolutely have to give credit to that line up front, those tight ends and fullbacks. They really did create a lot of space. There was a few times where there wasn’t much there, but for the most part they had some room to run, some space and opportunities to make it to safeties or corners that were unblocked in the scheme, just by virtue of the fact that you can’t block everybody. But really good effort by the backs no doubt, but they were really provided a lot of room to run."
On whether grad assistants are breaking down film on Western Division teams they might play in SEC title game:
"I would say that we’re probably gathering every bit of film that you can gather, but I don’t think we’re breaking it down right now. Those guys have got to break down Georgia Tech. Now as soon as they finish with Georgia Tech, if they can start breaking down those people, they will do that. But like you say, there’s probably been a lot of film broken down over the years that you never got to because either you didn’t make it or one of those teams didn’t make it. So we definitely need to be focusing on this game this weekend. And let me reiterate, there’s a difference between having film in your system and breaking it down. We’re playing Auburn, Auburn plays LSU, well we’ve got some LSU film. Same if they play Ole Miss and Ole Miss plays whoever. There’s so much memory in our system, we collect all the games. But no one’s breaking down any Western Division teams right now, I can tell you that."
On whether Florida win helped team psychologically, helped them play looser:
"It didn’t hurt. I don’t think it hurt at all. I think it was a big hurdle that we just struggled to get over in years past. To win it probably did free us up a little bit. I wouldn’t deny that as a possibility."
On Michael Bennett:
"I wouldn’t have sat there and predicted that he’d do everything he’s doing right now, but I’m not shocked that he’s playing well, I can say that. Ever since we saw him in camp, we liked him a lot. All day long, no matter who we lined him up with -- and there were some really good corners in that camp -- but he just kept wearing them out. We were like, ‘If we think these corners are that good, what about this guy? He keeps whipping them. Let’s offer this guy a scholarship.’ ”
On Jay Rome's schedule playing basketball:
"I don’t think he’ll be involved in [a midweek game], but what we’re doing with Jay is that on Friday and Saturday, by the time we get to the end of our 20-hour week, we have approximately 20 hours on Friday and approximately three hours on our gameday. That’s an approximation so there’s give or take. But if there’s ever a game coming up, we’ll work it out. For example, there’s a game tonight, right? If he went tonight, well that’s our day off for football, but if he played tonight in basketball, then we’d have to make sure that one day this week he’d be off completely. And if he ends up dressing out tonight, which I think he is, then Friday this week would end up being his day off. So we’re just staying in communication with compliance and with basketball and with us and just making sure we keep him within the rules."
On whether Rantavious Wooten will play again this season:
"At this point, I would not imagine him playing the rest of the year. That’s just my guess. I kind of say, ‘Hey Ron, let me know.’ We do our injury report just about every day. Every time we have a staff meeting, we talk about the injury report. After a while, I just said, ‘Hey Ron, whenever Rantavious, if you think he’s ready to practice, let me know.’ So he hasn’t said anything to me yet."