October 23, 2006

Stafford and Bulldogs Prepare for the Gators

Freshman
Matthew Stafford will make his fourth
start of the season in Jacksonville for Georgia against Florida. His start marks
the fourth time a freshman has started for Georgia in Jacksonville at quarterback.


In 1945, Jon Rauch started for Georgia
passing for 127 yards going eight of 16 passing in a 34-0 win over Florida.
Georgia finished the 1945 season 9-2 beating Tulsa 20-6 in the Oil Bowl.


Eric Zeier started the 1991 contest
and passed for 195 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on 18 of 35 passing.
The Bulldogs went 9-3 in 1991 beating Arkansas in the Independence Bowl.


The last freshman to start for Georgia against Florida
was Quincy Carter who started in 1998 losing 38-7 despite
passing for 368 yards on 33 of 49 passing with two interceptions. The 1998 Bulldog
team won the Peach Bowl over Virginia 35-33.


All three teams that started a freshman quarterback for
Georgia ended the season with nine wins. Georgia is 6-2 going into the game
Saturday against Florida.


"I think we have an awesome team here with a good
defense and an offense that I swear is ready to go," said Stafford of
being the fourth true freshman to start against Florida. "We just need
one big play to spark us and we are just trying to prepare for what is going
to be a dogfight for sure against such a tough team." Stafford is not
too concerned about the atmosphere in Jacksonville Saturday saying, "don't
get me wrong, but I played in a lot of big games in high school and I kind of
know what it is about, but I am sure this one will be a much more intense atmosphere."


The game against Florida will be the only televised game
for Georgia in a three game span that started with Mississippi State and ends
with Kentucky in two weeks.


"I am excited and love these kind of games and this
kind of opportunity to show the country how we play here at Georgia,"
said Stafford of playing the Gators on national television.


Georgia may employ the four receiver sets they used against
Mississippi State against Florida this week, but they will still look for more
balance on offense.


"I think we will need to be balanced, but we still
need to throw and catch to pick up first downs," said Stafford. "We
need an opportunity to make a big play here and there to help us just stay in
it."


Stafford played in a spread offense in high school and
he believes that going four wide helps him read opposing defenses quicker.


"I think lots of times when you are in that type
of offense it makes the defense declare their defense early just because they
have to figure out what they are doing when you show up with four wide,"
said Stafford of playing in the spread offense. "They cannot goof with
you as much, but the power running game is not as good out of it so there are
ups and downs to each side."


Stafford is undefeated this season as Georgia's
starting quarterback as he makes his first start away from Sanford Stadium Saturday
afternoon in Jacksonville.


Goodman steps up


Redshirt sophomore Demiko Goodman will start
at split end in place of sophomore Mohamed Massaquoi against Florida
Saturday. Goodman caught three passes for 24 yards in the win last week.


"Right now I am the starter and whatever I can do
for the team I am going to do it," said Goodman of being named the starter.
"They have moved me to first string so I have to work hard to keep it
up for this game and do my best. I came to Georgia to get the opportunity to
play and I will do anything to help the team win and I look at this as a blessing."


Massaquoi struggled against Mississippi State despite
catching three passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. Massaquoi dropped three
passes and fumbled on of his catches last week.


Massaquoi feels like he can earn his starting job back
if he concentrates on his own play and does not worry about Goodman or the other
receivers.


"You cannot control what other people do, I can
only control what I do and get better day-by-day," said Massaquoi of his
benching. Massaquoi addressed his possible frustrates with drops saying, "am
I frustrated no, because you go through ups and downs and you just continue
to work hard and comeback each week and try and improve on things. I have to
improve on a lot of things, but I did some good things and you have to look
at the positives and move forward with it."


Goodman caught four passes for 71 yards in the win against
Ole Miss on September 30 and he hopes he can build off that performance and
his last two game performances against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.


"Stafford is doing a good job and as receivers we
have to step up and perform for him and if he throws it I am going to go up
and get it and that is my mentality," said Goodman. "I am a receiver,
I love to catch the ball and have it thrown past the defense, and it feels so
good to get an opportunity to catch a pass."


If Georgia continues to roll four wide receivers Massaquoi
may see action in slot against the Gators.


Behind Goodman at split end are Massaquoi, senior
Mario Raley, and freshman
Kris Durham.


Cheese ready to roll


Junior tight guard Chester Adams believes that
he can start Saturday for the Bulldogs after missing one week with a high ankle
sprain.


"I have to play because this is the big one,"
said Adams after practice Monday. "Being on the sideline last week and
wanting to be out there and seeing plays I could have made was hard and it was
rough."


If Adams cannot start senior, Michael Turner
will start again at tight guard and Adams believes that Turner played well last
week in his absence.


"He did pretty good and I told him that it is very
different inside when guys have 40-60 pounds on you and have to keep your hands
inside," said Adams of Turner's play. "He did a good job and
I am proud of him."


Redshirt sophomore Seth Watts will be the third
option at guard behind Adams and Turner.


Trez Doubtful


Senior
Martrez Milner remains doubtful for the
Florida game because of turf toe. Milner ran without pain Sunday, but the cold
weather and soreness hampered his efforts in practice Monday.


"Right now it is too early to tell and when I run
routes I am in pain and I cannot push off my foot too much," said Milner.
"I won't know until game day and Thursday will be like a Monday
practice, but I hope I will be able to go full speed on Saturday. I got to do
everything I can do to be healthy for the game Saturday."


If Milner cannot play sophomore Tripp Chandler
will play in his place. Chandler caught his first career pass for a touchdown
against Mississippi State playing in place of Milner.


"Tripp did exceptionally well and I am proud of
him," said Milner of his teammate Chandler. "He came in when the
team needed him and made a good catch and did a heck of a job for us."
Ramarcus ready to play Saturday


Redshirt sophomore Ramarcus Brown plans to start
Saturday against Florida despite a strained hamstring.


"I held back from going full speed, but I go full
speed," said Brown after practice Monday. "I think I can play and
I am pretty sure right now unless I re-aggravate it, but as of now I am playing.


Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez will wait
until later in the week to name a starter at the short corner between Brown
and redshirt freshman Bryan Evans.


"If Coach feels I am 100 percent and I can go I
am pretty should I would, but I am not sure yet," said Brown of his chances
of starting.


If Brown's hamstring continues to bother him, Evans
will get his second career start against the Gators in Jacksonville.


"The expectations is that Ramarcus will play and
even though I did get to start I am happy he is ok and being on the sideline
watching him I was rooting for him while he was on the field, so I do not see
a problem or why he should not start this week," said Evans of his teammate
Brown. "He is one of my closest teammates, we keep in touch a lot, and
I am happy to see him coming back."


Evans feels like he played fairly well in place of Brown,
but not spectacularly.


"My first start was not great and I gave up a couple
of plays, but in a way I did play ok, so I would probably say I was ok,"
said Evans grading his first career start.


Injury Report


Freshman linebacker Darius Dewberry missed practice
Monday due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the Mississippi State. Dewberry
is doubtful for Florida.


Junior
Mikey Henderson was in a green jersey
Monday as a precaution given his hamstring problems and the cold weather in
Athens.


Senior center Nick Jones also wore green in practice,
but he has improved since last week and his MCL injury is healing.


Junior
A.J. Bryant missed practice Monday due
to class responsibilities.


Other Notes and Quotes…


Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford was named SEC Freshman
of the Week for his performance in the 27-24 win over Mississippi State. Stafford
passed for 267 and two touchdowns in the win.


Redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Cox won the
same award earlier this season after the Colorado game when he orchestrated
a fourth quarterback comeback to win 14-13.


The team captains for the Florida game are seniors
Daniel Inman, Nick Jones, Quentin Moses, and
Tony Taylor.



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