COLUMBIA, Mo.–The postgame news conference set-up for Mark Richt late Saturday night outside the Georgia locker room was a table with a low seat for him to sit on. That left the coach joking that he “needed a booster.”
Richt didn’t have much of a voice left either after the 41-20 win over Missouri, but he raised it so reporters in the back could still hear him.
“I’m going about as loud as I can, but I’ll go louder if I can,” Richt said. “Just saying I was proud of the boys and the job they did. Twenty-one points was really not indicative of how close the game was. We just made some plays at the end there that got some quick scores for us.”
Georgia spoiled the festivities for Missouri in its first SEC game.
“It was quite a scene tonight,” Richt said. “It was definitely a great challenge for our football team. There were times where I was just starting to wonder what was going to happen.”
Georgiatrailed 17-9 less than four minutes into the third quarter, but would outscore Missouri32-3 the rest of the way.
Jarvis Jones was the catalyst late with his interception and sack that forced a fumble to set up touchdowns.
“He had strained his groin in the middle of the week and couldn’t really move around very good about Wednesday and we were just hoping he’d be able to go,” Richt said. “It was bothering him the whole game. It’s hard to believe that. He sucked it up and played the whole time and he made the very big plays when we needed them the most. That’s what great players do.”
Some news and quotes:
–First, a couple of quick injury updates to the nose guards.
John Jenkins had some sort of injury to his leg, ankle or knee (how’s that for specifics?). He was said to be walking around pretty good in the locker room afterwards.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” Richt said. “It didn’t seem like he was too bad. He was in good spirits after the game and he was walking on his own so I think he’s fine.”
Kwame Geathers was said to have had “the wind knocked out of him.”
–What about all those false start penalties? Georgiahad a handful, including three to freshman right tackle John Theus.
Richt said that Missouri was “shifting a lot late,” which led to struggles for Theus and fellow freshman Todd Gurley. He said he also wasn’t sure if there was enough simulated crowd noise generated in Thursday’s practice on Georgia’s regular practice fields.
Murray blamed “jitters” by the freshmen for the penalties.
–Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham lauded the players who once again had to step in forGeorgia’s suspended players on defense.
“I thought we played good team defense,” he said. “I was really proud of all of our guys, but particularly the guys that had to step in and play for other people. There were a lot of pundits out there that feel like they know what our players learn and how our players can play, but I think those guys proved everybody wrong today and stepped up and performed and helped us to a victory.”
He called redshirt freshman Devin Bowman’s play “solid,” noted that Malcolm Mitchell was playing cornerback for the first time at Georgia and said safety Connor Norman “played well.”
Richt on the players forced to play larger roles: “The guys rose to the occasion. The guys that stepped in and played and played well. As a defense, I thought we did a super job of handling an offense that we just don’t normally see very often.”
–Richt said of Mitchell: “We weren’t really sure how he would hold up with the ankle that he rolled last Thursday (a week ago). It could have been a fifth starter (missing on defense).”
Mitchell told me he was playing even though he said he felt at about “80 percent” on his ankle. Missouri tested him early in the game a couple of times.
Even with Sanders Commings back this week after suspension, Mitchell is still in the defensive plans. Grantham said he can be a “tremendous corner.”
–Senior receiver Marlon Brown had a career-high eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns after missing the opener with a strained hamstring.
He had a strong preseason before another injury for him.
“It felt awesome, man,” Brown said of his big game. “It felt really good. Praise God for keeping me healthy.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said that Brown had an “unbelievable catch in cover 2 when he knew he was going to get hit and then ran a nice route versus man coverage for the touchdown.”
–Georgiahad nine points in the first half and 32 in the second.
“We were struggling a little bit,” Bobo said. “They were pinching and slanting their front. We decided to spread them out and tried to work our receivers against their safeties and linebackers and then we finally threw and catch. We were a little bit off in the first half catching the ball and hitting our targets but that was a big drive there for us (before halftime).”
The Bulldogs are 2-0 overall for the first time since 2008. Next up: Florida Atlantic Saturday at 7:45 p.m. There are fewer than 250 tickets remaining.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer