Most of Georgia’s football team treaded carefully about talking about the BCS title game implications heading into Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, but when it came time to talk about the SEC championship game opponent after Saturday’s 42-10 blowout, there was little hesitation even before that opponent was assured.
“It’s onto the next phase and the next phase is playing against an Alabama team in Atlanta,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said in the postgame locker room as the Alabama-Auburn game was just underway.
When the Crimson Tide was done with its 49-0 beatdown of Auburn, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban offered his first thoughts on the matchup.
“Georgia’s got a really good team,” Saban said on CBS after the game. “I think they’re probably playing as well as anybody in the country right now so we’ve just got to keep focusing on the things that we need to do to play winning football.”
More from the players reaction to being one win from the BCS championship game in my game story, but here’s defensive end/outside linebacker Cornelius Washington: “Man, it’s amazing. It’s been a long trip, it’s been a long season, but we’ve earned it. It’s definitely a blessing.”
Some postgame items:
–Georgia held Georgia Tech to 10 points (28 below it’s average), 426 total yards (35 below average) and 306 rushing yards (18 below average).
“We just went out there and laid an egg,” Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington said.
Triple-option football is over after back-to-back weeks.
“I’m tired of it,” linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “It made me not even want to go to practice the last two weeks. We’ve got it out of the way. Guys did a great job and had great focus these last two weeks to just go out there and execute. It just changed up everything that we do on defense just to play an option team.”
–Jones, a redshirt junior expected to have played his last game in Sanford Stadiun, was the last player through the Dawg Walk: “I didn’t really notice I was the last one. I enjoyed the fans. They show a lot of great support and I try to give it back,”
–Junior linebacker Alec Ogletree had a career-high 15 tackles, the team best for the season. He leads the team in tackles with 87 despite missing the first four games of the season with a suspension.
“A guy like him is really good against offenses like this because he can get in the alley,” Grantham said. “If you can keep him from getting blocked, he’s going to make a lot of tackles like he did today. He did a really good job of understanding his keys. He’s a really good player.”
Said coach Mark Richt: “He’s just tailor-made for this type of a defense. …For him to be able to fly like he can fly, it’s just hard for them to get the edge.”
–Quarterback Aaron Murray wasn’t around for postgame interviews despite having a big day. He completed 14 of 17 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’ve got to go meet my parents,” Murray told our Chris Starrs as he left the locker room.
Georgia officials said Murray wasn’t injured.
“He dipped out I think,” tight end and good friend Arthur Lynch said.
–Reserve nose guard Mike Thornton was on crutches after the game when he stepped into a vehicle that transported him away from the stadium.
One Georgia defensive assistant was livid about how the late-game injury went down, shouting from the coach’s box something about how Georgia is playing for a national title.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was his usual fiery self even with a 42-3 lead.
Some cursing made its way onto the airwaves from his coach’s box near the broadcast booths.
“My Dad texted me,” Bobo said with his son by his side. “He said he heard it. I don’t know if it was TV or radio. Stuff that I shouldn’t say, but you get frustrated when you go three and out at the end of the game and miss some things.”
It looked like tailback Ken Malcome’s lack of hustle to get off the field after a three-and-out was at the center of things.
Richt and running backs coach Bryan McClendon spoke to Malcolme when he made it to the sidelines.
“We weren’t running off the field,” Bobo said. “If you’re in Sanford Stadium and you’re playing between the hedges you better at least jog off the field if you have to punt. …That’s the one rule we have we don’t walk off the field and some guys were walking off the field. It kind of irked me a little bit.”
–Richt on the day overall: “I thought just about everyone of our units played well. It was a good day.”
As is often the case, Richt wasn’t doing cartwheels in his postgame press conference despite the championship opportunities that lie ahead.
“Am I happy? I’m happy,” he said. “I’m excited about the future. I really do enjoy these young guys and these other coaches that maybe have never experienced it before get a chance to see what it’s like.”
He didn’t want to offer anything up about what’s next (of course the ‘Bama game was just starting): “I don’t even want to talk about this next game too much right now. I want to start looking at film and then I can give you a better answer.”
–And to wrap up Senior Day, he said this: “Once a Dog, always a Dog, but it’s a little bit different once your son moves on. You don’t get the free tickets anymore.”
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer