From the locker room: 'I wanted the ball in my hands'

semerson@macon.comNovember 2, 2013 

JACKSONVILLE - Comments from Georgia players and coaches after their 23-20 victory over Florida.

MARK RICHT, head coach

On the win:

"I'm thankful for the win and I'm proud of the effort from everybody. We played tremendously in the first half, then gave them some life and got their blood pumping. It could've turned bad, but we got some big stops on defense and the offense finished with that beautiful drive. … Any time you can get out of here with a win, it's special."

On Corey Moore's sack:

"That was a free safety blitz, kind of a sic-em blitz. When you do that, you're exposed to a lot of things one on one. But we got there and got the big loss. It was a gutsy call and Corey finished it by making the tackle."

On Todd Gurley:

"He helped a little bit, didn't he? He played so well those first couple of series. It was so good to have him back. … After his long touchdown, his stomach got to him a little bit. He was queasy. But we settled him down and he was fine after that."

On the play that was ruled a lateral and a fumble:

"When it happened, I thought it was a lateral quite frankly. That's why I was screaming for them to get on the ball and then to tackle the guy. We just cut it too close. … We really were controlling the game until that play. Then everything changed. The momentum changed and they got adrenaline, they got juice. To their credit, they almost pulled it out. But to our credit, we settled down and finished the game out. It's a beautiful thing to get into victory formation, especially here in Jacksonville."

On staying alive in the SEC East:

"No doubt about it, it's good to be in a position to know we've still got a shot. We've got to continue to heal up and correct the mistakes."

MIKE BOBO, offensive coordinator

The last drive:

"We thought we had some good stuff. And really all game we thought we had some good calls. And we didn't execute a few of them, and then when they got in their four-minute defense, we worked hard on that this week in what we felt would work. And those guys did a good job of getting three, then four, then Rhett McGowan makes a great catch and a good effort to get that first down on third-and-7. I'm just proud of the guys.

"We played extremely well in the first half. Then had some things go wrong in the second half. And a lot of adversity, we lost two in a row, but we hung together, the defense made some stops. And that last drive, that was big for our offense."

Gurley's workload going forward:

"He obviously was hurting there in the second half, a lot. There were probably some runs we thought we had. It was probably him trying to make too much of every run when he ran, instead of just pressing his track and taking what they give him. He's gonna be a little sore, but he needs to get treatment and get ready to go this week because we're gonna need him."

TODD GRANTHAM, defensive coordinator

On his defense:

"I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys. They keep slugging away and it wasn't perfect. But they played pretty good. We had the game under control, then it got away. But that's why you keep preaching mental toughness and go play the next play, focus on your job. And really in that huddle what we always said was focus on your job, and do the best you can. ...

"They had the ball back at midfield with a chance to win it and we stopped them. So the bottom line is we won the game and I think we showed the kind of mental and physical toughness that I've always preached about that you've gotta have to win in the SEC."

More on the defense:

"We physically controlled the line of scrimmage and did a good job against the run game. We've just gotta keep working and grinding and build from this. Because we've improved and we've gotta keep making strides."

AARON MURRAY, senior quarterback

On the final drive:

"I wanted the ball in my hands. It reminded me a little of last year when we were up but we needed one more drive to try to wrap it up."

MICHAEL BENNETT, junior receiver

His knee:

"I was healthy, I didn't even think about my knees. So it was great."

On Todd Gurley:

"He's a Heisman candidate if he doesn't get hurt. The best in the nation. It's awesome to have him back."

On playing against Florida:

"Emotions were running high. There was a lot of jawing on the field. You could see that. That's always going to be the case when it's Georgia-Florida. You've got to keep your cool." On Aaron Murray:

"He's a phenomenal leader and he played awesome today. He put it on me every time. Before the half, he put one on me that I wasn't expecting. He put it in my stomach, but I barely caught it. I can't say enough about him."

JORDAN JENKINS, sophomore linebacker

On stopping Florida with Corey Moore’s sack:

"We felt a little more at ease after that. That play sums up how we want to play as a defense. It showed our emotion and really excited us."

The defensive performance:

"I felt like we played lights-out in the first half, and then still played pretty decent in the second half. And at times we got out of place and weren't committed to our assignments."

What if the team had Gurley and Bennett all along:

"That's definitely something we always think about, because we were playing games with almost the whole receiving corps out, the starting running backs from the start of the season. But we still can't use that excuse. Should've played better. But that's definitely something we think about."

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