From the locker room: 'The only team that can beat us ... is ourselves'

semerson@macon.comSeptember 29, 2012 

What players and coaches had to say following Georgia's 51-44 win over Tennessee on Saturday:

MARK RICHT, head coach

"It's nice to have a gut check and come out on top. A lot of things in the first half deflated us, but we realized where we were, we knew we had to play another 30 minutes, and we rose to the occasion when we needed to. We kept them out of the end zone when we needed to, we got turnovers when we needed to and we did what we had to do win."

"We threw a pick-six. We fumbled it twice, deep in our territory. I imagine about 21 points of that really was, I won't say caused by the offense or special teams, but it certainly didn't help. ... Tennessee did get over 400 yards of offense and made their share of big plays. So I'm not saying Tennessee didn't do well offensively, because they did. But I wouldn't say to the degree of the points on the board there. But I was just talking to coach Grantham, we've been around long enough to know we need to be thankful and glad we won the game, and not gripe and moan about yards and points and stuff. Because it doesn't matter. Winning does."

On Tennessee receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson:

"Fantastic, first-round looking receivers. Matter of fact I think both of them oughta go pro when the year's early. (Quarterback Tyler) Bray really oughta go too, I think he's been there long enough."

The Georgia offense:

"(Offensive coordinator) Mike (Bobo) has just blossomed into a heck of a coach. And I know anybody who calls plays catches grief. I was a play-caller so I caught my share of grief. So anybody that calls plays catches grief. I've always known Mike as a heck of a ball coach. He understands the game. Even myself as a coordinator I understood the pass game pretty darn good. And I understood the running game pretty good, but not to the degree that Mike understands it. He really understands how to run that ball and how to call the game."

The role of Malcolm Mitchell:

"He was our No. 2 nickel (cornerback), behind (Damian) Swann. If anything happened to Swann, whether it was fatigue or injury, he would've been nickel. So he's gotta continue to know that and learn that. And we're gonna continue to try to train (Josh) Harvey-Clemons in that spot too."


On the defense:

"We were kind of disappointed in our performance tonight. I know we wanted to do a whole lot better than what we did. It's just gonna take us coming out next week and preparing that much harder for the next opponent."

On his suspension:

"I just went week-by-week. ... Just preparing and get ready for games when I do get back on the field. ... It was tough. But I'm a team player, so I was just out there supporting my team."

Being back out there:

"It was good. It was relief. I wanted to come out there and make my presence known again."

TODD GRANTHAM, defensive coordinator

The game:

"I think he kept playing and got better as the game went along. I think he'll be the first to tell you he's gotta continue to work and develop. He's a really good player and can make plays for us."

Amarlo Herrera and Ogletree played together at inside linebacker:

"That combination at times can give us the best chance. It didn't always work out today. But give (Tennessee) credit too. Those guys will get better playing together as they do it."

Lack of pass rush:

"They've got some good linemen. A little bit of that is they got rid of the ball quick. I thought we got more rush in the second half than the first half. I thought we pressured them pretty good in the first half. I think the guys will just continue to develop and we'll see if we can get a little more heat on the next guy."

On Rambo and Ogletree back:

"It was a positive effect because they're good players. Anytime you haven't played in four weeks and really done anything from a competitive standpoint, it's gonna take some time, not only just playing but conditioning too. I thought for the most part those guys hung in there and kept battling."


On where he'll play from here on out:

"I have no idea. Every week could be different. Just gotta adjust to play."

On punt return troubles:

"It's just something that happens. Just gotta control the situation myself. That's just probably about it."


The offense:

"The only team that can really beat us right now is ourselves. We showed that a little bit in the second quarter. But if we take care of the turnovers, we played a dang near perfect game on offense."


On the "Gurshall" nickname:

"We see it. It's funny. It's a cool little nickname."

Are he and Gurley combined as good as Herschel Walker as a freshman?

"I ain't gonna say all that. That's talking about one of the greatest ever."

TODD GURLEY, freshman TB

On the "Gurshall" nickname:

"Some people on the team call us that. They'll be like: 'Gurshall.' It's a cool thing."

On what Herschel may have thought watching them:

"He probably thought we did pretty good. Just be able to get the win at home against Tennessee. But I don't really know."


On the tailbacks:

"Keith with two - I don't know what the distances were. Just unbelievable. Todd's runs, just stiff-arming people. It's just so frustrating for me that every time I hand the ball off I wanna look back (at them run), but I know if I do that, I'm gonna get a minus on my report for the fake. So I always find ways to peek a little bit. They're just unbelievable the way they run the abll."

The difference between this game and South Carolina last year, which also had a pinball quality:

"We were able to come back in the second half and fight through it. Last year we were able to fight through it but we didn't finish the game. That's always been our motto: Finish the drill. And tonight we did that."

MIKE BOBO, offensive coordinator

On the tailbacks:

"We got two guys. There's not a lot of pressure on one guy. You've got some depth. I don't think Ken (Malcolm) played tonight, bu you've got a third guy. One guy doesn't feel like he's gotta do it all. There's competition there all week. And I love competition. We've got some consistency there at the position."

On the game:

"I'm happy with the way we responded. You've gotta give Tennessee credit. They made plays, they created turnovers, I love that we responded with some adversity. Things aren't gonna be easy. I don't like it when it's easy all the time. I like to see how our guys are gonna respond and I thought they did a great job at it today. It about gives you a heart attack, but I thought that was big for us, the way we responded."


On the game:

"I'm not gonna take anything away from Tennessee. They put up a lot of points tonight. But it's not like they just beat us up physically. A lot of those points they scored was because of mental mistakes. We gave up some big plays. All we've gotta do is make sure we correct those mistakes and we'll be fine."

Better to have these games than routs?

"I think it is good for a program, because it grounds you. It makes you stay humble and understand that just because we're undefeated we're not unbeatable. No team is. So we've just gotta make sure we focus every week."

How it felt for Ogletree and Rambo to be back:

"I know what they feel like. I missed the first two games and I felt great to be back out there and I know it feels great for them too."


On Tennessee's strategy on him:

"They slid their protection my way. They had the tight end over there, they had the back over there. So sometimes I had three people on me. It was tough."

DEREK DOOLEY, Tennessee head coach

"I've always believed that this team had some fight in them. We just had to go out there and prove it. We got hit by a freight train early in the game, but we were able to fight back and get back into it. We went to-to-toe with a top-10 team that will be competing for a national championship."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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