October 3, 2013

Inside 'The Dashboard'

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Chris Conley has got to the most insightful players on the Georgia football team.

No, that's not a knock a on the rest of the guys. Heck, he might be the brightest student at UGA. Makes me feel smarter every time we talk, that's for sure.

Conley is one of just a handful of people I've ever met who can sound like an expert, no matter the subject you throw at him.

Haven't tried this one yet, but there's no doubt he could explain the process it takes to break down an atom just as easily he explains what it is that makes quarterback Aaron Murray tick.

As most of you probably know, Murray needs just 100 more yards to surpass David Greene to become the SEC's all-time leading passer.

Although Murray - and rightfully so - gets a lot of credit for his physical ability, it's the extra work that he puts in with his receivers that has Conley so impressed.

"Aaron's a playmaker and I think that's a tribute that he's comfortable with his receivers as well. He's actually just as comfortable with me as he is with Justin (Scott-Wesley), and he's getting that way with Reggie (Davis) too where he's able to take chances and know that nine times out of 10 that his receivers are going to come down with the ball and make a big play," Conley said. "It also really speaks to not only him studying the defense but also taking the time to build chemistry with his receivers, whether that be working with them after practice or something as simple as sitting down and talking with them about a game plan. He's put in that time and it pays off."

Conley added when it comes to his quarterback going through his second and third reads, it's all second-nature.

"I think sometimes it's just his mental clock and knowing his matchups across the field, the type of receivers he has across the field, what their attributes are, who they're going up against," Conley said. "Sometimes he knows what side of the field he's going to work and he can snap to a receiver knowing the matchup."

Dawg bites

•Quayvon Hicks says the collision he had with 280-pound J.C. Copeland last weekend was something he'll never forget. "He brought, I brought it," said the 265-pound Hicks. "The film showed the bigger man was him." By the way, Hicks collision occurred during a first-half kickoff against LSU. The Blackshear native only played sparingly in the second half, but that had nothing to do with any injury. "Naw, just the game plan is unpredictable. What goes, what's going good whatever works to win the game is what you're going to do," Hick said. "I'm just glad we got that win."

• It's been suggested that the NCAA's new targeting rule has caused some of Georgia's defensive backs to play more tentative than they ordinarily might. Secondary coach Scott Lakatos isn't buying it, however. "No, we addressed it, we practiced it and we did drills. We're very familiar with the rule. It's the same for everybody so we've got to go out and play," said Lakatos. The interpretation, however, is apparently up for debate. "Nobody actually knows what the rule is. It depends on who you ask. They'll give you a different interpretation every time you ask," Lakatos added. "We've just got to go out, follow our interpretation, go out there and tackle, use our hands and make sure we don't stick our head anywhere, make sure we don't hit anybody too hard where the head goes backwards. That's just the way the game is."

•Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo doesn't think the fact former Bulldog assistants John Jancek and Willie Martinez now head up the defensive staff at Tennessee will have any effect regarding what Georgia tries to do offensively against the Volunteers. "No, not really. I'm going to treat it like any other game. We're studying what they do on defense, not try to overthink things or stress myself out. We're a little bit different offensively now than we were when they were here - we're a lot different," Bobo said. "We're going to play our game, they're going to play their game. We've got to get our guys to execute and they've got to get their guys to execute.

Bits and pieces

• Walk-on wide receiver Kenneth Towns continues to get noticeable reps in practice and has appeared in two games for the Bulldog, although he has yet to catch a pass.

• Look for nose guard Chris Mayes to get even more reps moving forward. Mayes said he saw 12 snaps against South Carolina and position coach Chris Wilson said the sophomore took between 20 and 25 against LSU. That number could well increase to near 30 against Tennessee as the 325-pounder continues to improve on a weekly basis.

Leonard Floyd's three sacks are tied for third in the SEC and one more that South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney who has two.

• Despite only having one sack, Jordan Jenkins' five tackles for loss are tied for the fourth-most in the SEC.

Weekend predictions

Todd Gurley won't play as coaches want to make 100 percent sure he's healthy moving forward, leaving the running game duties to Keith Marshall, J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas.

Quincy Mauger will get the start over Tray Matthews, who continues to be bothered by a strained hamstring.

• The Bulldog secondary will account for two interceptions against Vol quarterback Justin Worley.

• Backup tight end Hugh Williams will score his first career touchdown.

• Marshall will rush for 125 yards and score two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.

• Murray will attempt at least 35 passes and throw for over 300 yards for the fourth time this year.

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