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Exclusive: Defense Holds Players Only Meeting: "Enough Is Enough"


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By Brett Jensen, Publisher

Posted Nov 10, 2008

Copyright © 2008 TotalUGA.com

ATHENS – With their character being challenged and name dragged through the mud by fans and media alike, three key members of the defense decided to take matters into their own hands Monday afternoon and turned a normal players-only meeting into an emotional, 30-minute self-examination. TotalUGA.com talked to all three players that spoke from the heart in this exclusive report

Senior defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, senior Mike linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and sophomore Will linebacker Rennie Curran each took turns yelling, pleading and explaining to the rest of the defensive players what has to be done, what needs to be done and what will be done to solve the issues on defense over the last three weeks.

“We’ve been exposed the last three weeks on the scoreboard and on the field,” Irvin told TotalUGA.com. “We said enough is enough.”

Irvin told all of them that they need to get their “Georgia swagger” back.

“We’ve got to have fun and we’ve got to punish,” Irvin said. “Punishing is part of playing defense. We have to punish them and that’s fun so it all goes together.”

For his part, Ellerbe spoke of trying to make opposing teams once again respect the defense of Georgia, which has always been something special.

“It was a message from the heart,” he told TotalUGA.com. “As leaders, we all had things we wanted to say and we did.”

What may be most amazing about this meeting is that one of speakers is Curran, who is only a sophomore.

“It’s my defense and the seniors feel the same that it’s their defense,” he told TotalUGA.com. “I don’t have any problems saying what’s on my mind and that’s what I did.

“I just told it like it is. We’ve got to do everything in practice the same way we would in a game. We’ve got to quit joking in practice when we miss an assignment. It’s not funny any more and we’ve got to stop thinking that it is. We just can’t go out there in the game and turn on a switch and be an amazing defense.”

All three players also spoke of four major goals that they set for the unit against Auburn, as well as the other remaining games.

“We have to get our swagger back and our reputation back,” Curran said. “Our reputation has taken some hits even though we’ve been put in some bad situations by the offense and special teams.

“We want to get a shutout this week and in the rest of the games. We’ve also got to start working harder in practice. There are no excuses.”

Caught Off Guard

Turns out one of the reasons why Kentucky was so successful Saturday moving the ball is because the Bulldogs didn’t plan for it much during practice last week.

“We really didn’t prep for (quarterback Randall Cobb) to run the ball as much as he did,” linebacker Darryl Gamble said. “We really didn’t think that was a main focus and wasn’t really prepared for it.”

Cobb, a freshman, and the rest of the Wildcats ripped through the Georgia defense on the ground like hasn’t happened all season.

War of Words

Over the last few days, a couple of Auburn players have talked a lot of smack about what they want and expect to do against the Bulldogs this weekend on The Plains.

Quite rambunctious for a team that is 5-5 and looks to be going nowhere fast and could lose their coach at the end of the season. Some of the Bulldog players feel the same way.

“I guess it’s just guys that are frustrated with how things are going for them,” Gamble said.

Added Irvin, “They’re probably just mad at their season. They can say what they want. I’m going to be out there talking smack, too, once we kick it off.”

Practice & Captains

As per their normal Monday routine, the Bulldogs did conditioning for the first part and ended with special teams work.

“Auburn has a fine football team,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We will have to play at a high level in this game. We need a strong week of practice to reach that level, and I think we got off to a good start tonight. I liked the energy and the tempo we had.”

Richt announced the captains for this week’s game will be Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno on offense, Curran on defense, and Andrew Williams on special teams.

Jones Gets Honor

Freshman center Ben Jones has been named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, according to an announcement by the league office on Monday.

Jones, a 6-3, 304-pound native of Centreville, Ala., anchored the offensive line during the Bulldogs’ 42-38 road win over Kentucky. Georgia piled up 520 yards of total offense as tailback Knowshon Moreno was able to register his sixth 100-yard game of the season.

Jones has started at center the last seven games and helped give quarterback Matthew Stafford time to tally a career-high 376 yards passing and three touchdowns versus the Wildcats. The Bulldog offensive line allowed only a pair of sacks against Kentucky and is tied for fourth in the league after surrendering only 13 sacks this year.

Quick Hits

Gamble said he's not upset about sitting out the entire first quarter against Kentucky, but that he did take notice of it.

"I'm not one of those guys that get made about not playing," he said. ...

Monday was Curran's birthday.

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