Richt: Don’t read too much into UGA’s depth chart

ATHENS — Peppered with questions about some unexpected names and unusual alignments on Georgia’s depth chart for Saturday’s game against Clemson, coach Mark Richt offered a qualifier during his news conference Tuesday.

“This depth chart, I wouldn’t go too crazy about it right now to be honest with you,” Richt said. “I don’t even know if it’s worth writing anything right now.”

The primary focus of queries centered on the status of sophomore Tim Kimbrough (career 5 tackles), who was listed ahead of preseason All-SEC senior Ramik Wilson at “Mike” inside linebacker. Little-used junior Devin Bowman is also slated as the starter at boundary cornerback.

Richt didn’t discount the validity of those distinctions, but he intimated they’re about as permanent as shifting sand.

The truth, Richt asserted, is the coaches don’t even know who is going to start where. He said the coaching staff will meet into the late night after Tuesday’s practice to solidify the rotations for Saturday’s season opener at Sanford Stadium.

“It’s intriguing,” Richt said of the still-fluid situation. “We’ll see how they do. We have some guys who have played some ball and made some plays and all that kind of thing; we’ve got a little of that. But there’s enough of the unknown that it will be interesting to watch the film when it’s all over.”

Here’s some comments from UGA’s media day session on Tuesday:

COACH MARK RICHT

On opening again against Clemson …

“It is a game we have been looking forward to for a long time, I know our fans are looking forward to it. I am looking forward to see what the Dawg Walk looks like. I am looking forward to see our students show us what they got, by getting there early and really cheering our boys on during pregame warm ups. I am also looking forward to our fans wearing red and getting after it and creating enough noise that we can hopefully disrupt some of the things they are trying to do offensively. It is going to take everybody and our fans are going to be a huge part of it.”

On the secondary compared to this time last season …

“The situation is very similar to last season we have guys who don’t have a lot of experience are going to be playing, some who have no experience are going to be playing.  It’ll be interesting. We are actually going to meet tonight on both sides of the ball and try to nail down whose going to be where to make sure our guys know where they stand and can be studying the right things.  So yes, it is very similar to a year ago.”

On Hutson Mason’s preparation for this moment …

It feels like to a certain degree that we have a veteran starter back with us, it doesn’t feel like a new starter, obviously he did start two games last year and finished the year as our starter, but the transition from Aaron Murray, who started all those games and did all those thing.  You would think that when he left it would have been a bigger deal than it has been.  Not that Aaron didn’t do wonderful things for us, but we have a guy who has been in the program and going into his fifth year and had a chance to start a couple of games and did a nice job of leading throughout the summer.  When your quarterback knows what to do, you kind of take it for granted.  He goes to the line of scrimmage and you just start playing ball. All through out practice and in the games, usually when you have a new QB you wonder he can comprehend and whether he can handle being the starter and that sort of thing, but those questions have already been answered so I haven’t thought a whole lot about it.”

On how the absences of receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley will affect the passing game …

“Sometimes you don’t have to have blinding speed to go deep, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting off the jam and getting the guy cutoff.  You know all these guys have pretty good game speed not many guys just run away from people.  But you know we have had a good history of placing the ball where our guys can catch it. You know if a guy’s got him beat down the field we are going to lay it out and let him go get it.  If it is kind of a battle down the field we may throw the back shoulder throw to what we would consider a deep ball or a take off.   The other deep ball is a post route. I think our QBs do a good job at placing the ball where we have a better chance than the other team.  That’s the whole key to passing the ball period.  There is going to be some tightly guarded situations and if we put the ball where we have a better chance of catching it than they do or if we can anticipate where our guys are going to be and cut it loose a little early.  Then we got a chance and Hutson knows how to do that.”

On freshmen besides OLB Lorenzo Carter who might play …

“It looks like [Dominick] Sanders will play. Those two tailbacks [Nick Chubb and Sony Michel] will play. It looks like [Jeb] Blazevich will play. I don’t know about the offensive linemen [Isaiah] Wynn and [Dyshon] Sims but they’re in the two-deep and it’s possible that they could play. I’d say Isaiah McKenzie will [also] get in the game and play.”

On blocking Clemson DE Vic Beasley …

“Whoever lines up against Beasley has got their hands full. I don’t know if they’re always going to put him on one side or the other. He may end up on either edge or coming up the gut, I don’t know what they’re going to do with the guy, but whoever has the assignment of blocking Beasley has got their hands full and they’re probably going to need some help.”

On sophomore OLB Leonard Floyd …

“Leonard has got the chance to be a very productive guy. He’s a very talented guy who loves football and practices and plays hard. He’s got a very natural football I.Q. It all comes very natural to the guy. You don’t have to give him rep after rep after rep for him to get it. You just kind of get him the concept and get him to understand what you’re trying to get done and he seems to pick it up quicker than most.”

GEORGIA PLAYERS

Junior DE Sterling Bailey on avenging last year’s loss to Clemson …

“We have something to prove. After losing last year’s game, this is huge for us. But we’re not going to let all of that hype get to us. We still have to go into the game focused on getting the job done. The coaches have done a good job of keeping us focused on the task ahead.”

Senior cornerback Damian Swann on the ever-changing defensive depth chart …

“It’s subject to change every day until game day. Guys are competing and that’s what it’s all about. We’re going to try to get the best guys out there that are going to help us win. We have a lot of guys that can do it, we just need to find that guy that’s going to give us that edge.”

Junior tight end Jay Rome on expectations of his position group …

“I feel like we are going to be pretty important to make up for the lack of personnel we have at receiver. Hopefully those guys will be back sooner than everyone hopes. We’re going to play our part and whenever our numbers are called we are going to go out there and perform to the best of our ability.”

Senior split end Michael Bennett on playing big games early in the season …

“I think it shows the character of your team right off the bat. We haven’t done a really good job in big games lately in the beginning of the season. So it’s definitely a time when we can change that streak. We definitely need to get the season started off on the right foot, and we haven’t been able to do that sometimes in the past. Hopefully we can get this one under our belt and be great.”

 

 

 


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