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Rich Brooks & the SEC Teleconference

Another Wednesday and another chance to touch base with the head coaches of the SEC. First up? Big Blue head coach Rich Brooks!

Opening Statement
Well we are coming off a road win at Vandy where we played the last 30 minutes about as well as we could expect to play. Holding them to 31 yards in the 2nd half and being able to rush the ball for 308 yards on the game. Going in to Georgia we are a little more beat up than we were going in to Vandy. Randall Cobb could not practice today. I would say he’s questionable. Micah Johnson missed practice today but he should be able to go tomorrow. TC Drake remains out and Mike Hartline had surgery on his knee on Tuesday and is out for the remainder of the regular season.

I was very impressed with Georgia in the second half against Auburn. I got back in time to watch that and then obviously studied it on film. They did a great job against Auburn in their second half as well.

On whether or not if Cobb sits tomorrow, could he still play…
Well, he took some reps today but just couldn’t finish. Obviously the optimum thing is to have somebody practice everyday. With his experience and his knowledge, if he is healthy, he will play. We just don’t want to put him in a position where could risk further injury or injuring something else if he’s not full speed. So he won’t play if he’s not ready but he will play if he is ready.

On Georgia’s 3 defensive tackles and whether that will impact UK’s game plan…
Well they certainly are very impressive. Not only the tackles but the ends as well. The combination of their defensive front gives you all kinds of problems. We have to worry about defending the pass protection because they get such a push up the middle with those tackles and break free and put a lot of pressure on opposing QBs and it makes it very difficult to run the ball with those guys in the middle stuffing everything up. They’re a force to be reckoned with, there’s no question about it.

On the QB situation…
We will go with Morgan, he’ll start his 6th straight game. Fidler will be ready if needed.

On the depth of the league considering the large number of Bowl eligible teams…
I think the depth of the league has been tremendous. The difference this year is there’s more of a jumbled pack when you go down three or four teams, everyone else is kind of in a similar position.

On dealing with the injuries and the sense of accomplishment…
Well, I think the very obvious thing at least to me is that our depth is better than it has been because when you suffer the losses that we’ve suffered, whether it’s 1, 2, 3, or 4 game losses, or someone like Jeremy, someone you were kind of counting on, then the type of people we’ve been missing as well like our QB, our starting corners, Cobb and Locke, maybe Cobb for another one now. But the depth is better in that we’re at least still competitive and have a chance to win and haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth like we would have in prior years.

On how different the offense would be without Cobb…
It takes one of our most prolific playmakers out of the equation. Kick off returns, punt returns, holder on field goal, WildCobb formation guy, and leading receiver. Other than that, it doesn’t make it look much different at all.

The rest of the league’s head coaches…

  • Les Miles and his LSU Tigers will battle the Ole Miss Rebels this weekend in Oxford on the CBS 3:30 game. Miles was his usual close to the vest self, but did have some advice for those seeking a national title, saying, “There is a need for every championship team to have a great defense.”
  • Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks have a bye week this weekend and face off with Clemson in two weeks. Spurrier was complimentary about Clemson and their ACC title berth, calling them a “great team”. Interestingly enough, Spurrier was also asked a grand total of zero questions from the SEC media. According to Spurrier, “I guess there’s not a lot of interest in an open date.”
  • Urban Meyer and the Gators will battle FIU this weekend, having already completed their SEC schedule at a perfect 8-0. According to Meyer, he respects FIU, they have great athletes, and they’ll be in a Bowl in a couple years. Coachspeak? Of course.
  • Bobby Johnson and the Vanderbilt Commodores take on Tennessee to close their season on Saturday. A loss to Tennessee would put the ‘Dores at 0-8 in the conference and 2-10 overall.
  • Lane Kiffin and the Vols will look to hit Bowl eligibility this weekend against the Vandy Commodores. According to Kiffin, Vandy’s Warren Norman is on pace to have the most yards of a freshman in the SEC ever. “That’s a powerful deal,” says Kiffin.
  • Nick Saban and the Tide play host to Chattanooga this weekend on senior day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. This FCS matchup shows up this late in the season for Alabama because the Tide “had to play somebody.” Saban also refused to comment on the Florida game or the Auburn game and became a bit angry that one particular media member asked about a team not named Chattanooga.
  • Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks play host to Mississippi State this weekend. Petrino spoke at length about the need to speed up the tempo of their offense to try and put some pressure on the MSU defense. The Bulldogs, according to Petrino, are a very challenging defense to try to gameplan for.
  • Houston Nutt and the Ole Miss Rebels take on LSU this weekend and have the arduous task of preparing for two different QBs for the Tigers, but he does expect Jefferson to play. Nutt sees LSU giving up very few explosive plays and long gains and sees a defense that is very talented, deep, strong, and fast.
  • Mark Richt and the Bulldogs battle our Kentucky Wildcats this Saturday on ESPN2. Georgia is playing without AJ Green. Richt said coaches are notorious for putting in long hours and torturing themselves through long hours and demands. This of course is relevant after Arkansas had an assistant coach rushed to the hospital this week. Richt also thinks the depth of the SEC with their 10 Bowl eligible teams is more about parity outside of Florida and Alabama.
  • Dan Mullen of Mississippi State chatted a bit about Arkansas, the Bulldogs’ opponent this weekend. Arkansas and their offense is hard to pregame for… which is ironic considering Bobby Petrino said basically the same thing about MSU’s defense. Mullen also chatted about RB Anthony Dixon and his intensity and effort so far this season. Called Dixon and his attributes “irreplaceable”.
  • Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers has a bye week this week and then will face Alabama to close the season before the Tide plays Florida for the SEC title. It is Chizik’s first game against Alabama. According to Chizik, “It’s big.” Thanks, coach.
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