October 4, 2012 – 10:30 am
by Chris Fedor
The Georgia Bulldogs have had to deal with some adversity early on this season but the ‘Dawgs are on a roll and they look like a team with legitimate National Championship aspirations. Led by quarterback Aaron Murray and a freshman tandem backfield of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, Georgia has shown the ability on offense to put up big points, including 51 last week against Tennessee in what turned out to be a shootout. Then on defense, the Bulldogs have one of the best defensive players in the country with Jarvis Jones, who has shown a great ability to put pressure on the quarterback despite playing with a bit of a groin injury this season. Yet despite wins over Missouri and Tennessee, an undefeated record and a very talented roster, there are still questions about this Georgia team. Many of them will be answered this weekend when the Bulldogs play their toughest opponent to date in what looks to be the game of the week in college football against South Carolina.
Mark Richt joined 790 the Zone in Atlanta with Archer and Bell to talk about the injury to Michael Bennett, how South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw compares to James Franklin, what he makes of Steve Spurrier taking jabs at him, on his backfield tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and how proud he is of NFL success stories that have come from Georgia.
On the injury to Michael Bennett:
“It’s heartbreaking for us and for him. He’s a great player and a great kid and we love him. Any time one of your boys gets hurt it’s rough and I know our players are taking it tough but they also know it’s football and it’s physical and things like that do happen. The good news for Michael is that he’s a sophomore and he’s got another couple of years to recover. You see a guy like (Marcus) Lattimore go through the same injury, surgery and same rehab and look at him now so we know the future is bright with Mike, but now we have to move on without him for the rest of the season. All that means is other guys are going to have to make plays where he has been making plays. He’s been our leading receiver right now coming to this point of the season. Now other guys will step up and they have. The reality is we have been spreading the ball around to a lot of different receivers and a lot of guys have made plays this year and I don’t think that will stop.”
How he would compare South Carolina QB Connor Shaw to Missouri QB James Franklin:
“There’s some similarities in that they do have some design QB run. More than we do, more than a lot of people do. They’re similar in that they do have a pretty sophisticated passing attack and they’re very good at that as well. I think Shaw is faster, I think Shaw is more elusive as a runner. He’s not quite as big and maybe as much of a power runner as Franklin is and you know what, with Franklin right now I’m not sure he’s 100 percent and I’m not sure he’s the same guy he was a year ago. I know he came off that surgery and I just don’t know if we’re seeing the best of Franklin, but right now we’re seeing the best of Shaw and he’s a dynamic player and he’s a catalyst for their team. They believe in him, you can tell that and he’s playing big.”
On Spurrier’s jabs:
“I don’t worry much about that. I don’t have time for that.”
On his backfield tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall:
“I agree they are their own guy to a certain degree but they did want to get recruited together and they did want to be a tandem. They wanted to be roomates and they wanted to share the load. I don’t think it bothers them. I think they kind of like the fact that they are identified as a unit and as a team so I think that is healthy. If it’s just one guy that’s a true freshman that gets all this attention, sometimes it’s hard to handle but when it’s two guys you share the good and bad with it so I think they’re enjoying it.”
On the NFL success stories that came from Georgia:
“I love it, it’s great and we actually get a report every week of every name and everything they did that last game so we get a blow-by-blow of everybody in the league. I think we’re like tied for second or third in America in NFL players from our University, from our school so we’re proud of that and it’s always good to see those guys play, make a living, make teams but also become an impact for their teams in the NFL.”
Listen to Mark Richt on 790 the Zone in Atlanta here
Tags: 790 the Zone, College Football, Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt, SEC