Following an embarrassing loss to Vanderbilt Saturday
22-24, the Georgia coaching staff is making some major changes for the Mississippi
State game this week.
Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford (582 yards
1 TD, 4 INT) will make his third start of the season against Mississippi State.
This is the fourth starting quarterback change the beginning of 2006 season.
"I am definitely excited and I want to go out there
and put a 'W' on the board," said Stafford. "Coach (Mike)
Bobo told me to just go out there and play like you know how and do the best
you can to get a 'W' this week."
Stafford was nine of 13 passing for 86 yards in the Vanderbilt
game coming off the bench. Georgia head coach Mark Richt and quarterback
coach Mike Bobo think that Stafford may be able to spark the lumbering
"It is definitely important after losing two important
ones at home and we have to go out there and take care of business," said
Stafford. "It helps to know that you are the starter because you get the
reps with ones and can get comfortable."
Stafford is prepared to manage the game or throw the ball
around depending on the gameplan the coaches install this week.
"I want to do whatever it takes to win whether it
is handing off the ball or throwing it, anything because we are just looking
for a win and trying to get back on track," said Stafford. "This
last game we marched it and moved it up and down the field pretty well, but
we just have to put it in the endzone and make plays when we have the opportunity."
Senior quarterback Joe Tereshinski moves down
to the number two quarterback slot behind Stafford.
"I am preparing like I am going to go in there and
I am not going to stop competing and go in there like I do everyday,"
said Tereshinski of his benching. "It was explained to me that we just
needed a spark and to change some things up, so they are going to try Matt out."
Tereshinski is unsure if he will rotate into the game
or if Stafford will play the entire Mississippi State game. Second half offensive
struggles lead to the change according to Tereshinski.
"We had some bad communication and some balls that
were not on time and it is just a number of nitpicky things and even in this
last game we get down in the redzone twice and potential scores within the five,"
As of Monday it is unclear if the coaches will continue
to change quarterback if Stafford struggles or if Tereshinski will have chance
to win the job back.
"I do not know what to expect for the next couple
of weeks and I am going to go out there and try my best everyday," said
Tereshinski. "I do not think it has hit me yet. I was given the job and
if I would have made things happen we would have won these past two ballgames
and I would not be sitting here right now."
According to the Georgia press release, Tereshinski is
looking to help the team wherever he can on the field.
"When Joe T. heard the news, he was disappointed,"
Richt said, "but after a couple of minutes, he asked Coach (Mike) Bobo,
'Is there someplace else I can play to help us win? Is there anything I can
do for the team?' That was pretty inspiring. He inspires me."
Turner to start at guard
Senior offensive tackle Michael Turner will start
in place of injured junior guard Chester Adams.
"Coach (Neil) Callaway called me yesterday and told
me I was starting at guard," said Tuner. "I am pretty comfortable
there, but playing tight tackle and moving to tight guard kind of coincides
together because we make the same calls together and the same plays together."
Sophomore guard Seth Watts will backup Turner
up at tight guard. Turner will have to adjust to blocking defensive tackles
instead of the smaller defensive ends that he is used to.
"I know I have to go against bigger and stronger
guys, but other than that my mindset is the same to help this team win,"
Turner started the first two games of the season at offensive
tackle in place of suspended starter Daniel Inman.
Turner sprained his ankle against South Carolina and missed
three games in a row before coming back to play significant time off the bench
against Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Senior center Nick Jones thinks he may be able
to play Saturday against Mississippi State despite a MCL sprain saying, "I
think I might be able to go."
If Jones cannot play, redshirt freshman Ian Smith
will start his first career game.
"It has been a few weeks since I have actually got
into a game and I am ready to get some game time action," said Smith.
"I am prepared and all the older guys are helping out. Today I was a little
rusty, but I got into the groove."
Smith has not played center in a game since the UAB game,
but he plays on the field goal unit for the offense. Junior guard
Fernando Velasco will be the emergency center if Smith needs to come out of the
"I talked to Nick and he said it felt pretty good,
but we will just have to see and with an injury like that because you do not
want a guy to comeback and hurt it again," said Smith of Jones'
injury. "If he can go I will take my seat behind him and if I have to
go in there I will be ready to go."
"From my experience this is the worst we have been,
but we have good linemen," said Smith of the team's depth on the
offensive line. "This is the worst situation I have ever been in depth
Smith and Velasco have been sharing second team snaps
since the beginning of fall camp, both players will ready to play if needed.
Big shoes to fill
With the season ending ACL injury to junior running back
Thomas Brown, juniors
Kregg Lumpkin and
will have to take over the entire running load.
The Georgia coaches will not burn the redshirt on freshman
Knowshon Moreno unless Lumpkin or Ware is injured. If both of the backs
need a breather junior running back Jason Johnson will be the third
option at tailback.
Johnson began his career at Georgia as a tailback, but
he has spent the majority of the fall playing fullback where he is the number
two fullback behind redshirt sophomore Brannan Southerland.
"Coach Richt talked to me alert at the tailback
and fullback position, but he has not told me I am going to get touches at tailback,
but I am mostly just repping at fullback," said Johnson of the running
back situation. "One of my coaches said the more you know the more you
play and I just want to get on the field any way possible."
Johnson has bulked up from 185 pounds when he arrived
in Athens to 210 pounds.
Freshman guard Chris Davis was back in action
at practice Monday after struggling with a hip flexor injury.
Junior guard Chester Adams and senior tight end
Martrez Milner remain doubtful for the Mississippi State game. Milner was on crutches
at practice Monday with his foot in a boot.
Freshman wide receiver Tony Wilson (shoulder)
was in a green jersey, but he was practicing with the team.
Other Notes and Quotes
"I think even though we have lost two straight we
still have a level head and we have to because we have a lot to play for,"
said Tereshinski. "We need to realize that and come out and get ready
for Mississippi State."
"We have known for the past couple of seasons that
we have three great running backs and it hurts us because he (Brown) is versatile
and one of the leaders on this team, but we got two guys at tailback that can
get the job done," said Tereshinski of Thomas Brown's injury.
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