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Blog: Richt doesn’t expect ‘wholesale changes’ on defense, says Gurley is ‘real close’

Some updates from Georgia football coach Mark Richt’s Sunday teleconference:
–Richt fielded several questions about personnel in the secondary.

He said Georgia had a plan to play cornerback Sheldon Dawson Saturday against Missouri in red zone situations, but it never materialized.

“Trying to match up with some of these bigger receivers,” Richt said. “A lot of the bombs they had or the balls that they threw in the end zone were from a distance. They weren’t the shorter throws. …He’s practicing. He’s getting better and certainly been helping us a lot on special teams.”

On the subject of rotation in the secondary: “Shaq (Wiggins) had done a good job in practice and the playing time he got the week before. Then as you saw he was playing very well. That was part of it. When we got into the package when we normally have an extra DB in the game, Josh Harvey-Clemons has kind of been in that star position so we’ve got a couple of safeties and two corners most of the game. We didn’t have many three corner sets.”

On the defense in general, Richt said competition for spots will take place.

“We will, we always do,” he said. “We always compete and we always do try to make a determination at the end of every week who should play, how much time they should get and try to get the right people there. You’ve just got to be careful not to change too much because you have no continuity. What happens if you have some guys going through some growing pains and then you decide with another new guy then he’s got to go through his growing pains as well. Before you know it, you’ve got no continuity at all. We’re not in any kind of position where we think we need to make a bunch of wholesale changes right now.”

–Richt wouldn‚Äôt say if star tailback Todd Gurley has been dealing with a high ankle sprain.

“I don’t even want to get into it quite frankly,” Richt said. “I’ll say this: He’s close. He’s real close.”

Gurley could return Saturday at Vanderbilt after missing the last two games.

“What we want is a really healthy Todd Gurley,” Richt said. “We want him to be at his best. We don’t want him to go in there without being full speed because if you do it’s not really safe for him. It also can cause another setback that might set him down even longer. The goal is to keep rehabbing and then run straight ahead, change direction. When you get some confidence in that, then you put some weight behind it, whether you’re pushing a sled or you start practicing and getting into some thud situations where you actually feel the jolt of the contact and trying to drive you feet on contact.”

–On the SEC East race: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not going to get much into that with the guys, but the best thing we can do right now obviously is get ready to play Vanderbilt and try to get a victory there. It‚Äôs been tough to be able to do that. Especially the last time we were there. It was quite a game if you remember. We were very fortunate to get out of there with a win. We‚Äôve just got to try to take care of that business and then the open date, we can probably see how the dust is settling then prior to the Florida game.‚Äù

–On the lack of turnovers produced by the defense: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs frustrating obviously. You look at the two games we lost, we lost the turnover ratio. Two very close games. If we break even in turnovers, there‚Äôs a chance we win both those games. When you turn it over, it‚Äôs very, very difficult to win. Or if you don‚Äôt win the turnover ratio maybe is the better way to describe it. ‚ĶWe‚Äôve got to continue to try to play good enough defense to force some bad throws and make the pick or cause a fumble, whatever it may be.‚Äù
Georgia has four fumbles recovered and one interception.

РGeorgia came out of the game “pretty clean,” injury-wise, Richt said.

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RT @FletcherPage: Final – UGA 82, Troy 60… Marcus Thornton with a career-high 17 points, Nemi with 17, Mann 14, Gaines 12.

4 hours ago