Mark Richt teleconference highlights

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt addressed injuries to starting linebacker Jarvis Jones and left guard Dallas Lee and the upcoming game against Vanderbilt in his Sunday media teleconference. Here is some of what Richt had to say:

On Lee’s (ankle) and Jones’ (groin) injuries:

Dallas, I have no idea on Dallas. I imagine we’ll find out more when we try to practice tomorrow. Jarvis, I would be hopeful that he will play. Sometimes with pulled muscles you can get set back and you just never know how long it takes for something to heal. So we’ll just have to wait and see, but we definitely would like for him to play, that’s for sure.

On tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall choosing to attend UGA together:

It doesn’t happen every year, I can tell you that. I think a lot of guys start out their recruiting process thinking that they want to be with their friend. A lot of times it’s not the same position, but they’re just a couple guys that might be high school teammates or from the same area or they met each other at a recruiting thing in the summer and they decide they want to be friends. Then when it gets closer to the time to decide what to do, they really try to do what they think is in their best interest -- and it may not be the same school.

I think both these young men, in the end, went to the place they thought was in their best interest, which was Georgia. But I think it’s a little unusual that it starts out that way, they play the same position and it turns out that it actually happens, and then they wind up being roommates and I imagine they’ll be best friends for life, I would think. And then on top of that, for both of them to play as freshmen and have a game like this last ballgame, I’m sure everything just kind of fell into place for those guys.

On how Mark Beard and left side of offensive line fared after Lee’s injury:

Not bad. I thought the line in general played well. There were a few missed assignments, but not a lot. I thought everybody played extremely hard, but I thought Mark did a pretty good job out there at the left tackle and for the most part pass-protected well. There might have been one pressure on him that I can remember off the top of my head. But I thought it worked out pretty good, actually.

On the improved state of Vanderbilt’s football program:

I don’t think there’s any doubt that they are the most talented Vanderbilt team these last couple of years that we’ve played in a while. Coach Franklin’s really got them revved up, ready to go. They’ve got a lot of belief and they’re playing to win and they’re doing a good job of it, I think.

On why Vandy has improved:

I think some of it’s attitude. I think they’re a faster team, I think they’re a stronger team. They’ve got really good athleticism. I think when you watch the film, they’re playing as hard, fast and physical as anybody and their schemes are outstanding. It’s not like they’re doing something no one else is doing, but we know what they do, they do very well. They believe in it; you can see that. Coach Franklin’s not afraid to take calculated risks to put his team in position to win games and I think it’s paying off.

On Vandy playing Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels at quarterback against Presbyterian:

That [Saturday’s game tape] would be the thing that we would study the most. I don’t even know where else we would go. I guess as you said, Wyoming, we might learn something from that. But I don’t think they’ll reinvent the wheel this week compared to what they just did this Saturday, so the best tape we’ll have is this ballgame. Now if it had been sprung on us out of nowhere, it would have been very interesting and difficult to know what to expect. But we’ll base a lot of what we do on what we see. We can’t hardly chase ghosts, so to speak. We’ve got to try to defend what we see.

On Josh Dawson picking UGA after committing to Vandy:

I don’t remember exactly how it went, but I remember we offered later than Vanderbilt did, I know that. I think we offered him after he was already a commit just to see if there was interest there, and there was, and so we recruited him and he made his visit and really liked it and before it was over he said Georgia, so we were happy about that.

On whether they address last year’s fracas after the UGA-Vandy game:

I think the big thing is to make sure that we just concentrate on playing football and not all the extracurricular because those things turn into penalties. I don’t want anything to take focus off of executing and take focus off doing the right things fundamentally and knowing your job and taking care of your responsibilities, so that’s what we’re going to focus on.

On what he has seen from the offense through three games:

… [The tailback position is] probably more solid right now, fairly early in the season, than maybe I thought it would be or could be. We’re pleased with our battery of backs, whether it’s running back, tailbacks or fullbacks. The O-line, I see them coming together. I think we’ve got a ways to go yet, but I see a lot of improvement, I see a lot of continuity. I think we have a lot less missed assignments than we had a year ago. We’re probably not quite as physical as we were a year ago, but I’ve said all along that if you know who to hit and know who to put your hat on and you get after it, you play hard, it gives your backs a chance and it gives your quarterback a chance to get the ball out. So if they keep doing that, improving, I think we’ll be OK there, too. And [Aaron] Murray, Murray’s about what I hoped. We know he started slow a couple times, but overall I think he’s played very well.

On the SEC East looking good so far:

It’s like I said when the season started when everybody keeps wanting to ask about schedule, schedule, schedule and I said, ‘We’ll see at the end of the year who had the toughest schedule. We’ll see what everybody thinks when it’s over,’ because you can’t really predict that. You can predict it, but you can be wrong, so we’ll just see. I do think we’ve got some really outstanding teams from the East and I think time will prove that the Eastern Division’s pretty strong.

On allowing three 40-plus-yard touchdowns in the last three games:

Yeah, we’ve given up more big plays this year than we’d like. We didn’t give up many big plays last year, but this year teams have made big plays. That usually happens on a missed assignment. It’s somebody trying to do somebody else’s job and all of a sudden his job gets exploited, his responsibility gets exploited. We’ve got to be more disciplined. We’ve got to be more disciplined with our eyes in the back end of the perimeter, we’ve got to be more disciplined in gap control. When we bring certain blitzes and things like that, we’ve got to make sure everybody hits the right gap because when you leave one gap free like we did on that long touchdown run last night, then you can get those big plays you’re talking about.

But you’re right, we had two or three plays that was probably 150 yards, 180 yards of offense. That’ll kill you, and some points on top of it, so we do need to do a better job of being disciplined in our responsibilities. It’s one thing if a guy’s there and he misses a tackle or if a guy makes a great throw and a guy jumps up and snags it and it’s good coverage. Those things will happen from time to time. But when you bust assignments and it breaks open a big play, that’s where you’ve got problems. But that’s also something that’s very correctable and we’ll work on that this week.