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December 3, 2005

Sean Bailey

Quentin Moses

Mark Richt

D.J. Shockley


MIKE NEMETH: We'll start with the student-athletes with a short review of the game, and then we'll open it to questions. D.J., if you would, get us started.

D.J. SHOCKLEY: Just, I guess, the biggest thing I feel right now is excitement, and thrilled for the chance to be a part of this team. Especially the chance to play well, help my team win. At the start of the game, we wanted to start fast and use our momentum to gain on that. I think it kind of carried over throughout the whole game. Our defense picked up and, you know, played extremely well. I think that was pretty much really the key to the whole game, our defense stopping their offense.

SEAN BAILEY: I think all season we've had great leadership from our seniors, and we wanted to come out and play for them, win them a championship. People like D.J., who sat back in the wings, it's their moment to shine. We wanted to make sure they go out on top. They led us great. They put us in great situations, and we made the best of them.

QUENTIN MOSES: Yes, I have to agree with Sean. Speaking from an underclassman perspective, we come out here and we fight with these seniors. They lead us all season. You establish relationships with them so strong, you grow to love them. You know, just to see somebody like Shock and Kedric Golston, and all those guys, you know, fight so hard for all those years, and to be able to help them leave with an SEC Championship, it's a wonderful feeling. You feel good for yourself, but you also feel good for guys like that who worked so hard and who are such magnificent leaders.

Q. D.J., talk about the two quick touchdown passes. Do you feel it put LSU back on its heels?

D.J. SHOCKLEY: The first touchdown pass to Sean was just a straight go route. You

know, Sean made a good move off the line. Really man-to-man coverage. With our receivers, you know, we tell them when we have man coverage and the ball's in the air, you know, they should come down with it. You know, Sean made a, like I said, he made a great move off the line. He kind of ran by the guy and, you know, the rest of it was pretty easy for me. Just lay out there and he made the play. The second play was something that we seen on film where, you know, they're kind of -- their defensive backs, they kind of knew some of our routes, they knew what we were doing. It was just simple. We ran an in route, out route by one of the inside guys. He jumped it. Sean was over the top for another touchdown.

Q. D.J., describe your touchdown that you made going around the left side there. It looked like it was going to be a play that developed to the right side. You took it the other way.

D.J. SHOCKLEY: Yeah, it was. It was a play actually to the right side. We had some crossing routes and a flag route. Some of the stuff going to the right side. When I came off, everything seemed kind of jumbled up. There was a lot of stuff going on over there. One of the biggest thing Coach Richt always tells me, don't force anything, don't turn a bad play into a catastrophe. That's one thing that I was thinking at that moment. I guess when things like that happen, your instincts take over. I just figured I need to make a play, and I took off.

Q. D.J., back to that second touchdown, how important was the pump on that TD? Did you see that on film, that the opportunity would be there one way or the other?

D.J. SHOCKLEY: Yeah, it was more of a check kind of. We knew if there was a soft corner, we would give the pump. A lot of times when we do check plays, a lot of our plays are quick game and stuff that happens real fast. We knew if we had a soft corner and I gave a pump, he would probably go for the pump and try to go for the interception or the big play. You know, just film work. We seen a lot of stuff on film, and we figured it would work.

Q. D.J., how does it feel to be part of a group of seniors that are going to close out their careers four 10-plus win seasons in a row, second time in school history that's happened? Second SEC Championship. I think what's neatest probably for you guys is to see the seniors make big plays tonight. Jennings, McClendon, you, Minter. The whole team played great, but the seniors really, really made plays tonight.

D.J. SHOCKLEY: Yeah, you know, our coaches do a good job of preparing us each week. We have a great group of seniors on our team, you know, including myself and a lot of other guys, like you said, Jennings and McClendon. Guys just making plays. Coach Richt always tells the seniors, Don't let them think down on your clock. That was the biggest thing, that we came into this year and also this game, you know, want to just keep a couple streaks going. Just go out and make plays and lead the team. With us having so many seniors, we knew, you know, this team would follow the seniors and our leadership.

Q. Coach, defensively this week in practice, how much did you work on not getting beat by the long ball?

MIKE NEMETH: We're asking student-athlete questions right now. We'll get to Coach Richt in a second.

COACH MARK RICHT: Sorry. I wasn't even listening (smiling).

Q. Can you talk about making the most of your one year as a starter. You're one point from being undefeated as a starter.

D.J. SHOCKLEY: You know, coming into the year, you think about just wanting to play good, you think about wanting to be successful. I think it all goes back to the people I have around me. I have a lot of great guys, a lot of great teammates around me, a lot of people around me who are making a lot of plays. It kind of takes a lot off of me when I go out and play when I have guys around me I know are going to make great plays. You look at our defense. Our defense really kept us in a lot of games this year. They played extremely well. I think that's what makes especially a good offense, is a good defense that can control a team's offense. Just from a personal standpoint, I came into the year not really wanting to let my teammates down. There was a lot of different kind of hype about, you know, could I get it done or, you know, if I could or not. But the bottom line was I just wanted to come out and play as well as I could all year long and not really let my teammates down and make sure they know that I'm always there for them.

Q. Sean, can you talk about what this year's been like for you. You had the two big touchdown catches in the Boise State game. Then some tough breaks and some tough drops for you. But to come back like this when you heard all year that other receivers should be getting more of a chance, can you talk about what this means for you tonight, to top it off like this?

SEAN BAILEY: Yeah, I'm just thankful for all the support I'm receiving from my teammates, my coaches, my parents. They've always taught me to just trust in the Lord and things will work their way out. You just go out there just knowing that you're gonna catch a break sooner or later if you just keep working to fix the mistakes. Tonight was a night that I caught some breaks and made some big plays.

Q. For Quentin, can you talk about your first defensive series, your first play, you sacked Russell. It seemed to send a message to him. He seemed pretty rattled the rest of the night.

QUENTIN MOSES: Well, you know, once again, what that play was, senior leadership again. We came out, you know, you go out there not really knowing what to expect. You know, nervous, jittery. We were talking, just set the tempo early on. They was talking, you know, the seniors - him, Kedric, Gerald, Blue - they were talking about how we had to go out, get the job done. For Will to come up first series, first drive, first play, and make a big-time play like that, it pretty much set the tempo and established the way for the rest of the game.

Q. D.J., when things were difficult for you and you weren't getting on the field and thought about leaving, how much was a night like tonight in the back of your mind?

D.J. SHOCKLEY: You know, just tonight was a true test of, you know, what Georgia meant to me. Over the last three, four years, there's always that frustration because you want to play more. Any kind of competitor always wants to play. But, you know, just being at the University of Georgia, with all my teammates and, you know, just loving the environment, you know, always had great coaches around me, always been honest with me, you know, never shoot me any kind of other way. But, you know, just this whole year has been, you know, reassuring that, you know, I did the right thing by staying here and persevering through all the hard times. You know, I wouldn't trade anything in the world for, you know, what we did this year.

COACH MARK RICHT: I was hoping you could say that (smiling).

MIKE NEMETH: All right, Coach, if you would, just a short review on the game.

COACH MARK RICHT: Okay. What can I say other than I'm just excited as I could be? I'm very thankful for what happened tonight, in this season. I'm so proud of the seniors especially. Guys like D.J. make this coaching business worthwhile. Guys like Kedric Golston and Joel Anderson and McClendon, all of them, Will Thompson. Just the whole senior group. I asked them early in the year to take control of the team. I convinced them, I think. I tried to convince them that they would follow this group if they led in the right way. Throughout mad drills, spring ball, off-season, two-a-days, even the two-game losing streak, maybe especially the two-game losing streak, you talk about how strong your leadership when you go up against adversity and how are you going to handle it when things don't go your way, and they handled it beautifully. There was never a time I felt like we needed to call the group together, the team together and try to regroup. They never seemed to have a time when things began to fray or fall apart. It's because of the seniors and the great job they did. Just real happy for them.

MIKE NEMETH: Questions.

Q. Mark, where do you go next for your next offensive coordinator?

COACH MARK RICHT: (Laughing). I know I need help but, you know, you can't please everybody all the time. But I'm sure there's a lot more -- a lot of people out there that can do a better job than I can, but I'm just thankful things went well tonight.

Q. This was not an easy win, but were you surprised that you dominated LSU so much?

COACH MARK RICHT: I don't think we dominated them. I think maybe the score, you know, was a big margin, but we made plays, we made a few big plays. The first two touchdowns were big plays. The blocked punt, a big play. Momentum-getters. Statistically, I don't think we dominated them at all. We just made the big plays when they needed to be made. We grabbed the momentum, and we were able to hold on to it.

Q. After last season, everybody was talking about the big losses you had, SEC caliber players. Now you're going to have a lot of losses from this team. Do you think you have the players coming back to sustain this and keep this growing?

COACH MARK RICHT: I don't know. Of the two seasons we're talking about, this season to me would be the one to have a little bit more concern about what next year would bring. We did have some marquee names, you know, Pollack, Greene, Brown, Gibson, Davis, you know, Thomas Davis, Thurman. Those kind of names catch everybody's attention and they caught attention for a long time at Georgia. And when you lose them, people wonder how in the world are you going to be able to replace them. But I knew we had a lot of strong seniors. I knew we had leadership up front on both sides of the ball. I knew our defensive back field, we had three senior starters. I knew I was -- I was very confident that D.J. Shockley was going to play well. I never doubted that he'd play well. I just didn't know if he'd stay healthy, you know, the whole season. I didn't know if he would try to do more than he should do. Beginning of the year, I said, "Just respect the ball and just play your game. If you don't throw the ball up for grabs or if you don't fumble the ball when you get hit, if you just take care of that football, you're going to have a good year. Then if you get hot, you might have a great year." I'm thankful of that. I don't know what next year brings. I want to celebrate this now. But we still have a few pretty good seniors coming back next year.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about being picked third in preseason, even after coming off three straight years of Top 10 finishes. Does this feel like a little more respect for the program of the team, or doesn't that matter?

COACH MARK RICHT: Oh, I don't know. I didn't worry too much about it. I just had to look within our team and what I thought we had. All I said before the season was I thought we had as good a chance this season as any other season since I been to Georgia. I wasn't predicting that we'd win the SEC at all. I said if we win enough close games, then we might find ourselves back in the championship game. But I did -- I believed we had the makings of a pretty good team.

Q. In this area of me-first athletes, what does it say about D.J. Shockley, that he would stay behind David Green that long and persevere, and what did you do to guide him along?

COACH MARK RICHT: Well, D.J., I'm just really thrilled for D.J. He's a kid I've known a long time. I knew him when he was just a little whipper-snapper. I think he was an eighth- or ninth-grader in a football camp at Florida State. I spent a lot of time with his father talking ball, over the years when I was at Florida State. Then of course the first guy that committed to Georgia after I became head coach was D.J. Shockley. I didn't know who David Green was. I mean, I didn't know he was going to be a pretty good ballplayer. I really believed D.J. was going to be the guy. But I didn't foresee what was going happen. But the main thing -- and he mentioned it a little bit. We've always had a real straight-up relationship. We were never going to try to feed him some kind of baloney, even when he was thinking about leaving. We just talked about the pros and cons of it. I did tell him, you know, I said, "I really believe in the end you'll leave this place with a big smile on your face, you know." I hoped for that. I prayed for that. And it worked out great for him. I mean, I am happy for him because he's a -- you know, he knows he grew as a man. When things don't go your -- it's hard to grow in character and mature as a man if everything goes your way. When things don't go your way, how are you going to handle them? And he handled adversity very, very well. By the way, David Green did a pretty good job of not letting that controversy become divisive on that team. There's the relationship that they had that kept us from breaking apart, because everybody wanted to make a big deal about it but they wouldn't let it happen. I know it's a long answer, but I just think that D.J. is -- he needs to be commended because he is a loyal man, he's a man of character, he understands that the whole world doesn't revolve around him, and I'm just glad he was blessed by staying; I really am. I'm just really thankful.

Q. Were you surprised by the special teams in this game? LSU wasn't quite as productive as expected. Georgia had the blocked punt for Marcus Browne's returns.

COACH MARK RICHT: They were a very special football team. They statistically were as good as anybody in the league. We knew it was going to be a great challenge. We knew that was going to be one of the biggest challenges of the game, was to try to win the special teams area. It took everybody, really, but that blocked punt certainly became a big momentum-getter. We get Marcus Browne in there, you know, we let him return kicks and be the guy to go in there and make that play. I was just really pleased for him. But Jon Fabris, in my opinion, the best special teams coach I've ever seen. Probably one of the best, if not the best, in America. But Dave Johnson did a beautiful job. Kirby Smart did a good job. All of our coaches that were involved in the special teams did a great job. And our players were geeked up to get it done. We work hard and long on those special teams, and it paid off.

Q. What was the last thing you said to those guys before they came out on the field, the last official go get 'em?

COACH MARK RICHT: The last thing I said was make sure they know we're here tonight. I said, "Make sure they know we're here." The first kick, the first series either side of the ball, just let them know we're here, meaning just play physical. Play physical.

Q. Do you feel like they did that?

COACH MARK RICHT: I think so. I think they did. I don't think we out-physicaled LSU by any means. I think we at least got after it, and that's what I was hoping for.

Q. Two questions. First, can you talk about the running game. Throughout your season, you're not necessarily flashy with your stats, but you seem to move the chains and that was the case tonight. Then also, your seniors that have led you all season, can you talk about what kind of residual win like this and their performance leading you all season could do for the program for you in the years to come.

COACH MARK RICHT: Right. Well, as far as running the ball, we do want to be a balanced football team. We want to be able to run the ball well enough if they're lining up to double wide receivers and things of that nature, we have to run the ball well. But, you know, we're not going to run the ball no matter what. We want to try to play the percentages. If they out-number us in the running game, we want to throw it well; we want to have balance. But today especially I was pleased with our line's ability to provide time and space - time for the quarterback and space for the runners. Again, it was not a dominating performance by any means, but it was enough to control clock and, like you said, keep the chains moving and make our play action pass legitimate.

Q. What does it say about the team when they play their best game last, especially when it's for a championship?

COACH MARK RICHT: Oh, I'm excited for them. It's great. It's great. It's not the last game, of course. It's the last game of SEC play, and it certainly was the one that was most important to play well at. I don't know. I'm just proud of them, and I'm just thankful to be inn this position they were in. I don't know what it means for the future. This league is very, very competitive, and one year can make a huge difference one way or the other. So we're not going to sit here and start tooting our horn about anything. We're just thankful we got things done this year. Next year's a whole new season and we'll have to start from ground zero again.

Q. The secondary came out strong from the beginning. How important was Tim?

COACH MARK RICHT: Oh, yeah, our seniors, senior corners especially played so well. Greg Blue still made some big hits. Even some hits that the fans wouldn't see as being big. Finishing off some runners, he let them know he was there, that's for sure, and Greg has always done that. Again, when seniors play the best of their career when it counts the most, then that's true leadership, and you just can't say enough about the job they did.

Q. I know sometimes these things are a little hard to quantify, but over the last few years you've taken a Georgia program, which was always considered to be a very good program, to a championship level. How have you guys done this?

COACH MARK RICHT: I don't know. I think the main thing is that we work very hard. We don't think there's any shortcuts to victory. We think that hard work and diligence and creating good habits in practice and in our lives, you know. I'm hoping that -- our goal, really and truly, my goal is to help these men, these young guys grow into good men. That's really what I'm after. That's what's most important to me. We feel like if we build a good man, then we're probably going to build a good team, because good men are unselfish. Good men understand what work is. Good men take care of their responsibilities. So we're trying to build these guys up as people, and then we just figure that will just bleed over into how they play.

Q. Can you talk about Sean Bailey and kind of the up-and down year he's had, then the night he had tonight.

COACH MARK RICHT: It was big. We were close to at least not making him the starter. We didn't lose faith in him at all. But sometimes you need to change the lineup a little bit to get things going. We actually got close to playing someone else as a starter ahead of him. I'm glad we didn't. Guys make mistakes. Guys drop balls. Things happen the way you don't want them to. Even Marcus Browne, he takes the first kick and fumbles it. He got on it, thankfully. I didn't feel it was time to yank this kid out of the game at that moment. We just want to let the guys know we believe in them and hopefully they'll come through. Then once they get over the hump, then they really become productive for you.

Q. You had two long passes from D.J. to Bailey. Did you see something early on with LSU that you could hit them early? Second question, how excited are you about a Sugar Bowl playing West Virginia?

COACH MARK RICHT: Right, the first play was actually a slant and go. We faked away from the corner. We felt like if the ball was being faked away -- most time when we fake away, we throw away. But we faked to the right and then turned back and threw the ball down field. We were hoping to accomplish two things: One, get the safety, if it was a deep mental responsibility to get him to cheat more to the right, so when we threw it back he wouldn't be a factor. And then we were hoping the double move would get the corner back off balance a little bit. The second one was one we were going to audible, two what looked like the quick game, and it really was a quick game play, but we were hoping that once they saw us checking and signaling, that they were going to try to jump a quick route. We have a route where we run the outside guy on a take-off and the inside guy to a speed-out, and their corners tend to look inside, when they play soft we knew they would look inside and see what the corner back was doing. So we went back and then we pumped it as if we were going to hit the inside receiver. So the corner came to drill, basically, or even get the pick. Then Sean just ran right by them. Thankfully Shockley kept it in bounds. It looked like he just about threw it out of bounds. We were hoping that's what would happen. It's hard. Teams are so well coached. They know your signals. They know what you're trying to accomplish. We were just hoping we'd give the illusion we were going to throw short and then see if they would jump, and they did. I forgot the second part, being excited about the Sugar Bowl. Yeah, we're excited. But this is what it's all about right now. We'll think about the Sugar Bowl later.

Q. How does the emotion of this game compare to 2002? How does the feeling of accomplishment compare to it?

COACH MARK RICHT: I think the emotion was very much the same, very much the same. We grabbed momentum early in both games. We played with a lot of energy. Defensively, they just looked as fast as they did in 2002. I just felt like we played fast, you know, in 2002. I saw the same thing. Again, what we knew is we really believed that -- I mean, I played -- not played, but I've coached in enough championship games to know that good things or bad things really get accentuated. It just seems like it's a bigger deal than it really is. And when you grab momentum, it's probably bigger than any other game when you know you're playing for a championship. And if something bad happens to you, it's so hard to believe that the sky's not falling. So we just tried so hard to get the momentum early, so we took some shots in order to try to get that done, and, thankfully, we hit them.

MIKE NEMETH: Coach, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

COACH MARK RICHT: Okay. Thank you.

End of FastScriptsÂ….

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