November 29, 2009

Players respond to coaching rumors

Jeff Owens has heard the rumors that one or perhaps more defensive coaches may not be back with Georgia next year.

But if head coach Mark Richt already has a plan in place, the senior defensive tackle said the Bulldog players haven't been told a word.

"We haven't heard anything," Owens said during a teleconference with reporters Sunday afternoon. "We just hope and pray that everything will stay positive and they're still around."

But just because coaches haven't given any skinny to the players, that doesn't mean they aren't aware of what's being said.

Most speculation has centered on defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, who after Saturday's 30-24 win over Georgia Tech said "I'm at Georgia. Again, I'm getting ready to prepare for the next ball game."

Quarterback Joe Cox said he's heard the talk.

"We're aware of it and it's tough hearing that coaches' jobs are in jeopardy because that reflects on how well we do as players," Cox said. "I mean, it's something we think about, but I don't think it's truly what motivates us. We want to win for the hard work we've put in as a team, but it does kind of light a fire when you're not performing like you should and people start talking about coaches being fired."

Owens said he hopes none of Georgia's current coaches lose their jobs. He definitely hates hearing that may be the case.

"That sucks. It really does, when people talk about your coaches have say things about them," he said. "We hear stuff like that all the time but you can't give into the hype. It's all about the players. The players are the ones responsible for making the plays. Like I said, I feel bad."

But until there is some kind of official news, all the Bulldogs will focus on their upcoming bowl game which will be announced next Sunday.

Leading candidates are believed to be the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta and the Music City Bowl in Nashville.

The Bulldogs did not indicate any specific bowl game they were hoping to play in and will wait to find out their destination later this week.

"It doesn't matter, we get one more chance to play, and we're looking forward to playing one more time," said junior tackle Clint Boling.

Owens agreed.

"I'm for anywhere we're going, I want to go out with a bang like last night," he said. "It will be a good opportunity to step out on the field and play again."

NOTE: Owens said he has received an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game, but has yet to commit. "I want to keep my options open," he said.

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