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Blog: Jarvis Jones on underclassmen weighing NFL: `People have decisions to make’ (with Richt and Dantonio comments)

After Georgia’s final home game at Sanford Stadium this season, star linebacker Jarvis Jones boldly predicted that not only would he be returning in 2012 but so were the rest of his defensive teammates (minus the seniors).

He didn’t repat that after the 33-30 triple overtime loss to Michigan State Monday in the Outback Bowl.

Jones is still returning and is hoping that the other underclassmen‚Äîincluding safety Bacarri Rambo–will also.

“I can’t really say what everbody’s going to do, but that’s what I’m wishing,” he said. “I hope everybody comes back, but people have decisions to make. I hope they make the best decision for them either if that’s coming back or leaving and going to the next level. I’m going to support them regardless.”

Rambo, who said he got a third-round grade from the NFL’s projection, sidestepped the question of if he knew whether he would enter the draft..

“No comment,” Rambo said.

Rambo didn’t say when he would make his decision public.

“Just tune in,” he said. “Be patient.”

Tight end Orson Charles, also considering entering the draft, wasn’t available after the game to reporters. He had one catch for two yards in the game.

Among defensive players, outside linebacker Cornelius Washington and cornerback Braden Smith, both juniors, are also considering going pro.

“That’s up to them,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said of the underclassmen weighing the NFL. “They’re all good players. They’ve all got to make decisions that’s best for them and their future. Obviously I’ll talk to them and lay it out there for them for what I feel is best, but at the end of the day they’ve got to make the decision based on their individual stiatuions and we all understand that.”


Here are some quotes provided from Outback Bowl from postgame coaches news conferences:

Georgia’s Mark Richt

Opening statement:

“First off, congratulations to Coach Dantonio and his staff and his players; they did a wonderful

job. It was a great ballgame. I’m sure everybody enjoyed it except for us at the end. I thought

both teams show a lot of the reasons why they were divisional champions, a lot of great players,

playmakers. Guys fought hard. Just really an outstanding effort, I thought, by both teams. I’m

definitely proud of our guys and the effort they gave. It’s a tough pill to swallow any time you

lose a game period. Of course, when you lose it in overtime I guess it hurts worse. I think they all

hurt pretty bad.”

On turnovers having an impact on the outcome:

“We talked about how good the defenses were, which they are both outstanding defenses. But

that doesn’t always predict a low scoring game. If you have turnovers, if you have big plays in the

special teams, which there were, so that’s why the score got up there, and then of course if you go

into overtime there’s a chance for more points to be scored too after regulation. That’s kind of the

way football is. Turnovers, you’ve got to respect the ball. If you don’t, you’ve got a good chance

of getting beat.”

On closing out the season with an Outback Bowl loss:

“I am really proud of our team. I’m proud of our coaches and the effort they gave all year long.

It’s kind of an old story now, but we certainly were fighting a lot of adversity in the offseason and

early on in the season going 0-2. For everybody to just keep staying together, keep believing and

making a 10-win run. Ten wins was great, 11 would have been better today but we didn’t get it.

We came up short in the SEC championship game, which is obvious, and then played a much

better football game here but just couldn’t get it done. Like I told the seniors, I’m very proud of

them, very thankful for all their efforts and what they gave to theUniversityofGeorgia. I told

them don’t be a stranger and pray that the Lord will bless them as they go out into their lives. But

I also told the rest of the guys I’m excited about the future of this team and what we could

become in 2012.”

On choosing to pass in the red zone:

“There were some things that we liked in the passing game in the red zone. We thought there

were some shots we thought we could make. We just thought they were the best plays to call at

that moment.”

On Outback Bowl MVP Brandon Boykin:

“He scored a touchdown as a back, he scored a touchdown as a punt returner and certainly played

great defense. He’s a very dynamic football player and a great person, a guy who loves his team,

lovesGeorgiaand loves football. I know he’s going to have a really good career. I’m sure he’ll be

a pretty high draft pick and have a great future.”

On losing twice to finish the 2011 season:

“It’s sad when you lose. You hate to lose. Right this minute we’re definitely not too thrilled. In

time this one will heal, we’ll get back on the road recruiting and our guys will take a little bit of a

break and get back in town, go to school and get prepared for the next one. That’s just the way

life is in football. But I still think that our guys had a good year, not a great year.”

On kicker Blair Walsh missing two field goals:

“Walsh is a very talented guy. He’s a guy that I still have faith in. I think he’ll end up being a

good pro. I’m just sad that it ended the way it did. I didn’t see the last one. It looked like a lowtrajectory

kick but I couldn’t really tell for sure if it had anything to do with the snap. I don’t

think it did. Again, I hate to make those calls without looking at the tape again or even asking

those guys what might have happened. The one that he was trying to kick for the winner in the

first overtime, I know that snap was just not as pretty as it could be, so the timing on it I think got

disrupted just a bit. But you’ve still got to make them, get it on the ground and kick it.”

On quarterback Aaron Murray’s future:

“I think Aaron’s future is very bright. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country in my

mind and he’ll be one of the better quarterbacks who will be returning. I think that he’s a guy that

we’ve got an awful lot of faith in. He’s human; he’s going to make mistakes. Again, we’ll look at

the film before I kind of make some judgment on what happened on a couple of those picks. He’s

been making a lot of plays for us all year long. We know that we’ve got a really good

quarterback, a good leader, a good person as the face of our program offensively and really

throughout our program so we’re fortunate.”

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement:

“We’ve been waiting for one of these bowl trophies for five years so we’re thrilled to have it. I

want to thank the Outback Bowl for making this a very special time for us. Outstanding job by

the entire Outback Bowl community and everybody involved with it; this is a tremendous bowl. I

want to congratulateGeorgiaon a great football game. It was a great game. They have a great

football team and obviously played extremely hard as well. I want to congratulate our players.

We talked at halftime, I guess it was 2-0 for most of the first half, but they had a couple of

explosive plays late in the first half and go up 16-0. We just talked about if you want it you’ve got

to take it back; keep believing. Just believe. And that’s what our guys did. We came back in the

second half and I thought just started playing well, starting playing a little bit better, tough to run

on but we made plays and found a way. Darqueze Dennard’s interception for a touchdown and an

interception really stopped them when they were coming out one time and got the ball down

there. But two picks and came up with some fumbles. Great individual effort by Rashad White at

the end of the game with the block, but our defense played outstanding I felt throughout the entire

game. Offensively, big drive at the end of the game, the two minute situation with 1:26 to go on

the clock. That’s why Kirk Cousins is who he is and you see some of our guys making the plays

that they made. I thought Brian Linthicum played an outstanding game and had some big plays in

the game as well.”

On the Georgia defense:

“You’ve got to credit Georgiaand how they play. I mean they locked on. They got on our guys

and they made plays. They have an outstanding defense. You see as the half and really as the

game sort of presented itself why both defenses are ranked so high. Very difficult to run on both

of them, but guys make plays. But credit Georgiaand what they were doing. Obviously I’m sure

we wish we had a couple throws back but there were a couple of great individual plays by the

defense as well.”

On the importance of getting Brian Linthicum involved in the game:

“Our tight ends are a big part of our offense. The tight end screen, throw back tight end screen

was a big play, probably about a 50 yard play to get us down there at some point in the second

half. Obviously a big play. We hit a leap pass to him, sort of a trick play to him, on another one,

so he was involved in two sort of trick plays that he made plays on. Obviously a big two-point

throw from Cousins to him when he was not the primary receiver. Kirk came off the primary and

went to him. He did a great job. Brian’s a great football player and he’ll have a great, exciting

career ahead of him.”

On Le’Veon Bell’s touchdown to take the game to overtime:

“We were right there. We’re six inches away. I just felt like, hey, you’ve got to get the inches. We

talk about the inches all the time; you’ve got to be able to get those six inches. We felt like we

had enough time to run it one more time and if not, spike the ball and have another down to throw

it in there or whatever we had to do. But we were six inches away and it wasn’t an easy six inch

run but he got it in.”

On the performance of the Spartan defense:

“I felt like we played pretty well in the first half defensively. They hit a big punt return. Great job

by (Mike) Sadler all day punting the football. He pinned it in there with a great punt, but the guy

got out, Boykin got out and made a great run. That was the second one. The first one was a long

nod route. The guy faked the corner route and brought back to the post and hit us on that. But

other than those two plays we really played them very well. At halftime, again, I just talked about

you’ve got to believe in yourself and somebody’s got to step forward and we’ve got to start that

ball rolling; we’ve just got to get that momentum rolling. If we can do that, we can be successful,

and that’s what happened.”

On beating Georgia in the Outback Bowl:

“Big win against a great football team, against an SEC team, against a team that won their

division and was 10-2 in the regular season. Again, I think it just points towards us becoming an

elite program in this league. There’s not a football team that we cannot play with and not win

against. We’ve done that. We’ve beaten every football team in the Big Ten conference within the

last four years. The standard has been set by our seniors. We’re going to have to continue to work

and grow as a program with recruits and different things. But everything is there. Two 11-win

seasons, there’s not too many football teams in the country that are saying that right now. I would

think that this win would hopefully help solidify a top-ten ranking in this year’s final polls.

On Darqueze Dennard’s performance:

“Two big picks, again, resilient. He got beat on a deep fade, a deep long ball, got beat on that

early in the first half. But he responded. He’s originally from Georgia. Big game for him. Two

big interceptions, one for a touchdown. Our defense scoring. You know, if your defense can

score, great things are going to happen for your team.”

–Please follow me at Twitter/com/marcweiszer