November 20, 2012

Dawgs say they're focused

Georgia coach Mark Richt will apparently go to any lengths not to talk about the BCS implications for his third-ranked Bulldogs.

"My mom called and asked about the BCS so I had to hang up on her," Richt joked during Tuesday's weekly press conference with reporters to preview Saturday's game against Georgia Tech (noon, ESPN).

Yes, it seems everybody - at least outside the confines of the Butts-Mehre Building - want to know what the Bulldogs' collective thoughts are regarding their No. 3 position in this week's BCS standings.

"We're just focusing on today really, and then we'll focus on tomorrow," Richt said. "It's one day at a time."

That's a message that appears to have permeated throughout the Bulldog locker room. If anybody's looking ahead to next week's SEC Championship, junior defensive end Garrison Smith said Tuesday he hasn't seen it.

"Everybody's focused on the game at hand. We can't look ahead to anybody," Smith said. "In order to have the best record like we want, we've got to take it one game at a time and do the best you can."

Richt said other than reporters, nobody's been bugging him much about it, either.

"The staff's not asking me. I get here at eight and leave about midnight, so there are not many people I talk to outside the building," Richt said. "So, we really haven't talked about it."

The same holds true regarding his conversations with Bulldog players.

"We meet every day and we talk just like we do every week," Richt said. "We talk about who we're playing next, what kind of challenges they bring, and what we have to do on a daily basis to get ready for it. That's really all we do."

First TD pass huge thrill for Welch

As a youngster growing up in Jesup, backup quarterback Parker Welch often dreamed of what it would be like to play between the hedges in Sanford Stadium.

A sophomore, Welch has already realized that goal on a couple of occasions, but not even that could not compare to throwing his first touchdown pass, which he did in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 45-14 win over Georgia Southern.

"It was awesome. I dreamed ever since I was a little kid to play between the hedges and to throw a touchdown pass was great," said Welch, whose 13-yarder to Justin Scott-Wesley accounted for the final score. "But I can't take credit for it all. Justin made a really nice catch and he made me look good."

As any good quarterback, Welch also made it a point to credit his offensive line, including backup center Preston Mobley, who picked up a last-second rusher enabling the throw to be made.

"It was so cool," Welch said. "Hopefully will happen a few more times."

Time will tell.

Currently, Welch said he has been in a weekly completion with redshirt freshman Christian LeMay for the backup spot. Last week, Welch won the job.

"Coach (Mike) Bobo, he'll say 'OK, you're both competing and I want to see who is progressing and ready to play this week,'" Welch said. "It doesn't change anything for me. I prepare anyway like I'm going to play every week, give my all in practice and I was fortunate enough last week to win the battle but Christian is a great athlete, a great quarterback and it's always really close."

Jones finalist for Butkus

Georgia junior Jarvis Jones has been named one of five finalists for the 28th annual Butkus Award, which honors the nation's top linebacker.

Oregon's Dion Jordan, LSU's Kevin Minter, Alabama's C.J. Mosley and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o are the other finalists for the Butkus Award. The Butkus Foundation will announce the winner during the first week of December.

Jones and Te'o were also both Butkus finalists in 2011.

A 6-3, 241-pound outside linebacker from Columbus, Jones has accumulated 62 tackles, including 18.0 tackles for loss of 101 yards and 10.5 sacks, one interception, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in only nine games this season. He is the current NCAA active leader in sacks per game (1.0) with 24 in two seasons and is tied for the lead in tackles for loss (1.6) with 37.5 through this season and last.

He has twice been named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Lott IMPACT, Nagurski and Walter Camp awards in 2012 and the SEC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season following his performances during wins at Missouri and versus No. 3 Florida.

This and that

Dawg Walk for Saturday has been moved to 10:15 a.m. due to the Senior Day festivities prior to Saturday's game. Senior Day activities begin at 11:46. … The Bulldogs rank fourth nationally forcing 59 3-and-outs this season, an average of 5.4 per game. Florida leads with 6.8, followed by TCU (6.0) and Wisconsin (5.6). … Running back Keith Marshall was in a green non-contact jersey during practice due to an undisclosed injury, but was participating in drills.