From the locker room: 'An unbelievable feeling'

semerson@macon.comJanuary 1, 2013 

Mark Richt, head coach

Opening statement:

"Well, it's more fun to win than lose. I can tell you that. And we lost our last two bowl games and getting kind of tired of that. And we worked so hard to continue to get better from that six and seven year. Last year we went zero and two and win ten in a row but we just can't finish that season out. And this year we had another really good season, win the east, and we didn't win the SEC Championship but we certainly performed a lot better but at least felt a lot better about ourselves compared to how we finished against the LSU game. So now we wanted to win this bowl, to just maybe prove to ourselves, even, that we are one of the better teams in the country."

Halftime adjustments:

"I think what a coach might say at half time is probably overrated. I think what Jarvis had mentioned, defensive coordinators - defensive coordinator making adjustments, you know, getting on the -- we put an overhead projector up and we draw things up and make sure what's going to happen in the second half. Mike Bobo is doing the same thing offensively. I think those are the things the coaches say make the biggest difference. I just want to remind them about a year ago. We were pretty much in the same situation a year ago. Although, I think we were up 16 nothing, but it was one of those games where anybody could win it and I just want to challenge them to play hard for the seniors and challenge the seniors to know they had 30 more minutes to wear the red and black and make the best of it. But I think the most important thing is the type of adjustments that were being made."

Aaron Murray, quarterback

The victory:

"It's definitely special. It feels great to win the game. I mean coach Richt said it in the locker room as soon as we got in there, how great it feels to walk in there at the end of the game and not see a bunch of seniors (down). I think that was the toughest thing the last two years, being an underclassmen, was to walk in there and see those seniors and their faces, and just know that's their last game, they'll never win the red and black again, and their last game was a loss. So to walk in that locker room again and see people hugging, celebrating, jumping up and down, it was an unbelievable feeling."

The receiving corps' resiliency after Malcolm Mitchell got hurt:

"Coach (Tony) Ball has done a great job with them. I give a lot of credit to how hard they worked in the offseason at all. In May it's our time to go home, but myself and a bunch of receivers decided to stay in May at Georgia to work out, to get some reps in, to get throwing days in. And just all season long, just knowing a guy steps in to make plays: Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley, (Wooten), those guys have really stepped in with the absence of Michael and Marlon."

Whether or not to turn pro:

"The future, I don't know what's gonna happen. I'm just enjoying the moment right now."

Jarvis Jones, linebacker

The game:

"Our offense came out, Aaron and the rest of the offense, they came out punching. They opened up the game a little bit, and they gave us a chance to do some things on defense, to get some pressures and make the quarterback rattled. Made them change their gameplan and adjust to ours. The offense coming out and executing and scoring touchdowns it allowed us to open up our gameplan a little bit."

Did it put away the bad feeling after the loss to Alabama:

"I mean I think it speaks for itself. The SEC game was a couple weeks ago. We did what we can, and we lost, we came up kind of short. I think we played well. And it was definitely a game we had the opportunity to win. But you can't take away from today, I think we came out and we executed. We gave our seniors the opportunity to leave here with a win in a bowl game."

Mike Bobo, offensive coordinator

What he told Todd Gurley:

"The thing I said to him after the game: ‘You had a great year, but you have a chance to be great. And let’s go to work.’ I have no doubt that those two games will respond in the offseason. I think they will only improve.”

All the different wrinkles, like the Wildcat:

"The thing about a bowl game is teams are gonna study what you do, and formations, defenses are gonna recognize plays and recognize concepts. We just tried to change some things up to kind of keep them off balance. But at the end of the day we still ran our stuff. But those plays had some big plays for us, that I think resulted in three touchdowns, which was huge."

Murray struggling at the outset:

"Just to me, watching up there, I didn't think he was settled in the pocket. I thought when we had protection he wasn't settled. And two plays he just read the signal wrong, assumed I was gonna call something else, and just threw it to the wrong guy. He said: 'It was my fault.' I don't know if he was pressing too much or trying to make a play every play. That was kind of the message at halftime. I really said it to the whole team, but it was really to him: 'Guys, we got 300 yards, but some of us are trying to score a touchdown every play. Just settle down and play and we'll be fine.'"

When Murray turned it around:

"I think the run game getting going in the second half helped. They were doing a nice job stopping the run, and I think when we busted some runs, it kind of eased things a little bit, it wasn't all on him."

Chris Conley, sophomore receiver

Is he over the SEC championship loss?

"Oh I'm over it. I've been over it. It was a tough loss, being that close and it's something that you fight all offseason, all year for. But you really want to go into each game focusing on that game and have your sights set on winning that game. So when we came in today it was all about Nebraska and looking back on it, it was a great day for the team, seniors, not that I'll forget about the Alabama game. But it's all right, we'll be back."

Having such a big bowl game after the way SEC title game ended:

"Whenever you have a down game you always wanna bounce back. And I feel like we as a team, and me personally bounced back today. We had a lot of production. And everything ran smoothly once we started hitting our targets, and that's the way you wanna go out."

On Murray's future:

"I trust in any decision he makes, but I'd love to have him come back. He's an extremely talented guy and he's gonna succeed in anything he does."

Kwame Geathers, junior nose tackle

On the Nebraska fumble in the third quarter:

"It was very critical. I felt like that fumble helped give us momentum to turn the game around."

On his future:

"I'm still thinking about it. I'm gonna hold up until however long it takes me. If it goes to the 15th, it goes to the 15th. If not ... I'm just gonna go talk to my family and my brother and my mom and dad and my coaches, and I'm just gonna make a decision after that."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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