Stafford & Moreno Dismiss Hype

Stafford & Moreno Celebrate

Stafford & Moreno Celebrate

Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush were partners in glitz, winning their Heismans and gadding about L.A. and being seen with women famous for being famous. The best collegiate backfield tandem since Leinart/Bush acts rather less impressed with itself. Indeed, Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno aren’t impressed by much of anything.

They sat side by side at Georgia’s media convocation Monday, facing separate semicircles of questioners. Every so often they’d glance over at one another, and Stafford would roll his eyes and Moreno would poke the quarterback’s arm, and on it went, two young men reluctantly stoking the star-making machinery while sharing a private joke.

They arrived in the same recruiting class, Stafford to considerably more acclaim, and they’ve been buddies ever since. Stafford was the center of attention as a true freshman and bore much criticism during Georgia’s worst month under Mark Richt. Moreno redshirted in 2006 and didn’t really arrive until the seventh game of last season, but now he’s the one reaping the publicity whirlwind, whose photo USA Today chose to illustrate Georgia’s selection as No. 1 in its coaches poll a week ago.

Not that the subject much cared. “I said, ‘Cool,’ and didn’t really think about it after that,” Moreno said. Nor did he rush out and buy five copies for his mother. “I’m broke,” he said, laughing. “I can’t spend 75 cents.”

A big-name quarterback who was a big-time recruit in a big market like Dallas, Stafford learned long ago to give polite and polished answers without volunteering anything more. Moreno regards the press with a skepticism bordering on disdain. (David Pollack had the same sort of attitude.) This isn’t the greatest news for those of us seeking pithy quotes, but it serves to further the concept of team harmony.

Both Stafford and Moreno take pains not to paint themselves as special. Given every opportunity to say, “Yeah, I’m the Big Dawg now,” Moreno spent media day dismissing the notion. “We have a lot of backs,” he said. “We have a lot of receivers. And Matt Stafford can throw the ball as well as anyone.”

Moreno enables Stafford, who threw 13 interceptions as a harried freshman, to work at a more measured pace. Stafford clears room for Moreno’s whirling excursions by stretching the field with deep throws. USC won two national championships with Leinart doing the same for Bush, and vice versa.

Georgia stands a good chance of winning this national championship because of this similarly symbiotic relationship.

Said Stafford, speaking to the AJC’s Chip Towers on Wednesday: “We have fun together. We don’t go out there thinking, ‘Ah, man — I’ve got to try to win this game.’ We know we have a ton of tools. It’s not just us two. There are guys all around us that can help us out.”

They get along famously off the field, and they augment one another on it. One’s from Texas and one’s from the Springsteen side of scenic New Jersey, and together they’re the most perfectly matched set of Bulldogs since Flatfoot Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi, two non-Georgians who in 1942 brought the Red & Black its first consensus national title.

Those hallowed names, you should know, aren’t apt to register with these latter-day touchdown twins. As Stafford told Towers: “As far as the history of Georgia football, I don’t know it and Knowshon doesn’t, either. We just sit there and nod our heads and smile.”

– Courtesy of AJC.com

Stafford In Best Condition Of His Life

QB Matthew Stafford

QB Matthew Stafford

Companies constantly roll out new product lines to entice consumers to open their wallets.

TV networks unveil fresh programming each fall to lure viewers.

Georgia’s offense this season will send out Matthew Stafford – version 3.0.

The 6-foot-3, strong-armed quarterback has undergone a physical transformation. The junior is now a leaner 225 to 228 pounds.

“I’m probably in the best condition in my life, I guess,” Stafford said. “It’s good being able to be confident that I’m in good shape and that my feet are fast. Hopefully, it will translate onto the field.”

Stafford has gone from sharing the starting job as a pudgy freshman when he threw nearly twice as many interceptions as touchdowns to taking every significant snap last season when he tossed 19 touchdowns to 10 interceptions to lead Georgia to an 11-2 record.

His dedication to being in the best shape possible sends a signal to coaches about how serious Stafford is to make the most of a season when the Bulldogs are expected to be a top contender for the national title.

“It matters, and it shows the coaching staff and your teammates your focus,” coach Mark Richt said. “To get in that kind of condition, it takes work, it takes discipline, it takes sacrifice. It takes a focus.”

Stafford’s summer included working the Manning Quarterback Camp in Louisiana – where he said he worked out twice with Peyton and Eli – and the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Southern California.

Former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, an ESPN analyst, gushed about Stafford after seeing him at the Elite 11.

“I really think that Matthew Stafford, when it’s all said and done with the talent around him and watching and looking at him these last couple of days throw the football, it’s hard for me to imagine a better looking physical specimen in simply getting back and distributing the football than Matthew Stafford,” Herbstreit said on the air.

“This guy is going to have a huge year and when it’s all said and done, maybe the best quarterback and maybe the first pick if he decides to leave early for the NFL Draft.”

Stafford believes he’s slinging the ball around as well as he has as a Bulldog.

“I’m throwing it about as well as I have, definitely since I’ve been here,” Stafford said. “It kind of feels like back in high school when you just feel like you’re on on every throw.”

Richt said Stafford is probably as strong or stronger and much leaner.

“That equates into a quicker (player) and a guy who has more stamina,” Richt said. “Let’s say your in a game and you run for 12 yards and you get your jaw jacked and you run back to the huddle and you’ve got to run the next play. If you’re in better condition, you have a much better chance to recover in time to play full speed again.”

Quarterback Joe Cox, Stafford’s close friend, said part of Stafford’s secret is living with fullback Fred Munzenmaier, who Cox describes as a “health freak and big meat head in the weight room. He cooks up all the meals for the house. They eat right.”

Stafford might weigh 10 pounds less than he did last season, but don’t go by just the numbers on the scale.

“That seems like seven, eight, 10 pounds less but his body looks different, too,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “The baby fat is gone and he’s trimmed down. He really looks good. It’s growing up. He’s not 18. Now he’s 20.”

Bobo said that Stafford should be able to move better in the pocket to make plays and be better equipped to escape pressure.

“You definitely notice it,” tailback Knowshon Moreno said. “Definitely his whole figure changed from when he first got here. He definitely slimmed down and got in shape. It’s definitely awesome to see him in that position.”

– Courtesy of Athens Banner-Herald

Richt Compares Stafford/Moreno With Ward/Dunn

Georgia coach Mark Richt has coached plenty of talented quarterbacks and running backs during his career, whether with the Bulldogs or as Florida State’s offensive coordinator.

His current duo of quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno are near the top of the list.

How high does that duo compare to some of Richt’s former students?

“Charlie Ward and Warrick Dunn was a pretty great tandem — no doubt. These guys, I don’t know if they rival that or not,” Richt said. “When you look at the production of Charlie and Warrick together, It’s pretty outstanding, pretty spectacular. Will they be as productive as those two? I don’t know.”

– Courtesy of Arkansas Sports Network

HILARIOUS — Kentucky Receiver Lyons Is Dreaming About Stafford

QB Matthew Stafford

QB Matthew Stafford

Below is the transcript of an interview with Kentucky WR Dicky Lyons courtesy of Kentucky Sports Radio. Seems like NFL scouts aren’t the only ones dreaming about Matthew Stafford:

“I actually had a dream about Matt Stafford last night. You want me to tell you the dream? I’ll tell you. Well, I just got engaged to my fiance and I’ve been having these crazy dreams about her leaving me. Cosmo says its natural. So I’m having this dream that she’s leaving me and I went out following her because, you know, I had suspicions. I find her at a bar and so up to her and trying to say, ‘What are you doing?’ and she tells me she doesn’t want to marry me so I’m trying to shake her and slap her to get her to focus. I turn around and Matt Stafford punches me in the nose and said, ‘You don’t hit women.’ All the sudden the backup quarterback that is now at Delta State, Blake Barnes, comes hitting me and I’m fighting all these quarterbacks from the Manning camp start jumping in. I was doing pretty well fighting them off, twisting their arms because I know all these Army Ranger moves in my dream. I was laughing about it so I texted (Stafford) and told him. He didn’t respond. I don’t know if he likes me that much.”

Will Stafford Stay at UGA?

UGA QB Matt Stafford

UGA QB Matt Stafford

Courtesy of AJC:

Hoover, Ala. — Georgia coach Mark Richt said he knows that quarterback Matthew Stafford is rated at the top of many NFL draft boards even though he’s only a junior. But Richt said he expects Stafford to return for his senior season.

“I hope that he is the first pick in the draft — two years from now,” Richt said. “You know, I’m sure Matthew is going to have to make a tough decision when the season is over. But I know he came to win a lot of games and to win a lot of championships. He came to play great as a collegian. I’m sure he feels like he hasn’t reached his full potential as a college player and as a Georgia Bulldog. He is ready to have a great experience and that’s what we’re hoping for.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Stafford Named to 2008 O’Brien Award Watch List

Courtesy: UGA Sports Communications           Release: 07/18/2008

   
 
Courtesy: Georgia Sports Communications
Matthew Stafford

 
 

Stafford is one of 31 quarterbacks from the Bowl Subdivision who will vie for the award honoring the nation¹s best quarterback for the 2008 football season. Stafford is one of three quarterbacks from the Southeastern Conference to be recognized.

During the 2007 season, Stafford started all 13 games for the 11-2 Bulldogs, who finished No. 2 in the final AP poll. The Dallas, Texas, native completed 194 passes for 19 touchdowns and 2,523 yards, which was the third-most yards by a sophomore in school history. Stafford led the Bulldogs to a 7-0 record to finish the season, including a 41-10 rout of No. 10 Hawai’i in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The 2008 winner will be announced during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN Dec. 11. The recipient will be honored Feb. 16, 2009, at the 32nd Annual O¹Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

The O’Brien award honors the nation’s best college quarterback of the year and inspires student-athletes to triumph both on and off the field. By recognizing and honoring athletes who excel in both sports and academics while exhibiting strong character and leadership, this award aims to help instill a lifelong moral fiber in each candidate. The O’Brien is overseen by the Davey O’Brien Foundation, which was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Foundation had given away over $750,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life.

For more information, please click here.