Here’s what Georgia coach Mark Richt has to say about South Carolina and star receiver A.J. Green not playing.
“It’s good to be 1-0. We’re looking forward to a great game against South Carolina. We all know the Gamecocks had a tremendous start to their season also. I watched them on Thursday night. They’ve had a couple of extra days to rest up and prepare for us. I’m sure they had to wait a little bit to see what we looked like on Saturday, so I don’t know how much of a strategic advantage it was. Certainly to be able to get your team a little more rested for a game, even though it’s early in the year, I think is important. I’m sure they are excited about that.
Coach (Steve) Spurrier, we all know is a great coach. He’s very capable of getting a team prepared to do battle, and we are looking forward to that.
They were very impressive. They just looked sharp. You can watch a game and see if a team looks like they are in condition, look to see if they look like they are motivated to play and are playing disciplined. I saw all those things in South Carolina. I would have to imagine another knockdown dragout in Columbia. We’ll be working hard to be ready for that.”
On the South Carolina series: It comes down to the wire. I think there were two times where there was a little bit of separation, but every other game it seems like it’s within seven points and usually down to last second where somebody has to do something heroic. I remember when (David) Pollack had a couple of heroic plays to win the first time that I was there. It seems like last time we where there, Rennie (Curran) hit the guy who was about to score and Asher Allen got on the ball. We’ve had some last second plays that have been the difference in winning and losing. I talk about teams being ready for a 60-minute fight and I think this is one of those games where you better be ready for it, because if you’re not it will sneak up on you and you will find yourself in a lot of trouble.
On how to temper the excitement after last week’s win: You practice hard. It’s going to be hot and it’s going to be a long practice. A lot of times, just going to work and just struggling through a practice is enough to get your mind right. I think most of our guys saw a good bit of that game Thursday and I think there is a lot of respect for that. I also think they understand with our goals that we need to win. Not winning doesn’t put you out of it, but it certainly makes it very difficult to win the race. So they know how important this game is. I don’t think they believe that they have arrived. They all know we have a lot of things to improve on even though it was a very solid start, I thought.
On advice for Aaron Murray in his first road game: We’re going to try to have as many plays as we can that don’t have to have a lot of communication at the line of scrimmage. A lot of what we do has to do with the quarterback being able to make a change at the line of scrimmage, whether it’s the run game or a protection. We’ll look for as many plays as we can where we don’t have to do a lot of that, because it will be extremely loud. For his first opportunity to have to do that with that kind of crowd noise is usually a shock to the system. We’ll also have ways of communicating. He has to learn to communicate non-verbal, with hand signals and things of that nature that he has to be able to do. We’ve been practicing that all along; he has to know that. But until you live through it, it’s just difficult. Our veteran linemen, we jumped three times in our home game. So hopefully we don’t repeat that. Usually you say it was loud, it was tough and no matter how many times you do it, it’s still hard, but we have enough veteran players that it shouldn’t be a problem. No excuses on that.
On whether not knowing who will play complicates the preparations for South Carolina: It does. If we know exactly who is playing for us, it helps. You feel confident in the plan that you’re doing the right thing with the personnel you have available. As we’re trying to prepare for South Carolina, I think (Chris) Culliver is a name that I don’t know if anyone has heard on him. There may be one or two others that we’re not really sure whether or not they will play. As you’re preparing for someone, you’d like to know if a guy is in. That’s why everyone wants to know injury reports too; is a guy in or is he out? It’s nice to know who you’ll be matched up against.
On knowing if A.J. Green won’t play and if it will have an impact on Georgia’s team: I think the team will practice their tail off and try to win, no matter who’s playing. I can promise you that.