Bobby Johnson Weekly Press Conference
October 14, 2002

Opening Statement
“This year, we are never going to be good enough to play badly, hurt ourselves and win football games. I think you saw a great example on Saturday night. Even though Middle Tennessee played well and deserved to win the game, we just felt like we didn’t play our best. We feel bad about that right now, and we are working on getting better, making sure we don’t kill ourselves with mistakes, and see if we can improve in the second half of the season.”

Q: How did your discussion about the excessive penalties go with the team?
A: “We will find out. I think our guys understand the situation, but we should have understood the situation during the game. We should have figured it out that the officials were calling it close. That (officiating) is something you just have to figure out just like you have to figure out the offense and defense of the other team. I think we have a handle on that.”

Q: What is the status of quarterback Jay Cutler entering this week’s game against Georgia?
A: “Jay Cutler is back on the team, Grant Brigham is back on the team and Brandon Walthour is back on the team. That is behind us, and we have put it behind us.”

Q: Do you expect Jay (Cutler) to be the starter?
A: “Right now Benji Walker is on crutches. He has a badly sprained ankle. I think he is going to be fine by the end of the week, but his practice time will be greatly hindered because of the ankle.”

Q: Do you have any reasons for the large number of penalties?
A: “I think the officials, and rightfully so, feel like they need to take control of a game and make sure it didn’t get out of hand. I don’t think it was close to getting out of hand, but that is their prerogative.”

Q: Can you assess Benji Walker’s performance at quarterback?
A: “For starting his first game since high school, I thought he did a really good job. I thought the offensive coaches did a good job in the first drive of mixing some things up. He was able to hit some short passes, able to run some options, spread it out a little bit and keep them off balance. For his first time starting, I was very pleased with the way he came out and competed.”

Q: Can you assess tailback Kwane Doster’s performance?
A: “I think Kwane played a good game. He is going to get better and better for us. It’s a big difference between being the backup tailback and being the starting tailback. He is going to get better and better each week. He showed some flashes of brilliance. I thought his touchdown run was quite impressive.”

Q: With the team having lost so many close games, do you sense the season slipping away at all?
A: “I really don’t. We had a good practice Sunday. We got together as a team and talked about how we lost this football game. I know they were disappointed. That was an important football game for our players. We went out yesterday and had a good and spirited practice for the circumstances. We are probably going to have to find the answer to that question this week. I think our guys will respond and play hard. I have not been disappointed in their effort all year, and I don’t think I will be this week either.”

Q: Do you sense Georgia could have a letdown after having two big wins (Alabama and Tennessee)?
A: “I think Georgia has got a situation where they realize they have a special season going, and I don’t think they are going to let their guard down for anything. I could possibly see how they could overlook us.”

Q: Do you expect linebacker Moses (Osemwegie) and Dominique (Morris) back for this weekend’s game?
A: “Moses practiced a little bit yesterday and did not become real sore overnight, so we are very pleased with that. I don’t think Dominique will be able to play this week. He is still having pain in his toe, and he has not been able to run. We’re still looking at another week or so with him. We will find out more about Moses Tuesday. He worked out this morning on the treadmill, and so far there are no ill effects.”

Q: Would you prefer to put Georgia in a situation where they have to pass the ball, or would you rather see them run the ball?
A: “Everybody talks about quarterback David Greene and he does a great job, but they run the football really well. I’m sure they will be satisfied with running against us. Hopefully we can get them in some long yardage situations and use some nickel and dime and have them in that situation. If we can do that, it will be a plus.”

A: “We were watching film this morning. Of 450 plays on film, only 18 have been gains of more than 10 yards on the ground. They close up big holes awful fast. It’s called speed.”

Q: Could this Georgia team be the best team will be play this season?
A: “Sure, but they are playing with such confidence. They know what they are trying to achieve offensively and defensively. They are dialed in right now. They have beaten two real good teams the last two weeks so their confidence level is really high. They have the weapons to back that up.”

Q: With all the injuries this year, do you find yourself wondering how things would be if everyone was playing?
A: “We are not going to make excuses. We could have won that game last Saturday. We still could have won it with all those guys out. That’s the disappointing thing. But we are going to have to go with what we have – there is no other choice. Our players realize that and will continue to work hard. We are not afraid to finish the season.”

Q: What about Chris Booker’s injury?
A. “Chris has a ACL tear. The leg will be immobilized for a few weeks before surgery, but he is out. That makes us really thin at defensive end. Robert Dinwiddie played well Saturday, but he can play only a limited number of plays. We may consider bringing (freshman) Antoine Morgan up and start dressing him just in case. That’s another redshirt situation we’d love to continue, but we are running out of troops.”

Q: Would you like to see your kicker, Greg Johnson, get more publicity for what he is doing, such as SEC Special Team’s Player of the Week?
A. “Greg Johnson was really impressive. He is quite a player. Some of his punts were just killed. I mean, a few were just launched. He also kicked two field goals and a long extra point. On the field goals, we let one of their guys through the middle and he got it up so quickly, the ball was over his hand before the player could react. Greg is quite a talent and will get better and better before he is done. I understand that award, though. Georgia won their game and their kicker did his job. Greg will get his due.”

Q: Do are your impressions of Georgia’s defender, Boss Bailey?
A: “He is a playmaker, they have a lot of them. Pollack puts a great deal of pressure on the quarterback, and Bailey goes a little of everything for them. He is a great player. They have a lot of quality players on that defense that play hard. They also have a lot of depth, so that makes it extra tough.”

Q: What you’re the depth chart at quarterback for the Georgia game?
A: “Same as last week. (Freshman) Steven Bright will get some reps this week and be ready to play Saturday. We really like what we see in him and think he will be a good player, but hopefully we will not have to use him.”

Q; When did Benji get hurt in the game?
A: “I think in the third quarter, but he is tough. He played right through it and took some licks later in the game.”



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