Before the Pigskin Preview event in Macon on Tuesday, I asked via Twitter for a few questions you guys wanted me to ask Mark Richt. A handful of folks had suggestions, and I got a few answers. Here goes...
@Ludakit asks: due to de depth, any special packages being made like a 3-4 just in case? Maybe something similar to lsu's express?
Don't expect any vast departures on defense. As Rod Battle said, "It's just a renewed focus. The same stuff worked in years past, and we know what we want our style of play to be. We want to be a team that plays fast and physical, and I think if you do that, you make up for a lot of mistakes you make."
Of course that doesn't mean there won't be any changes. Richt said he expects the try-outs for Darryl Gamble and Marcus Washington at defensive end this spring to be a permanent feature in the fall.
"We felt like with Brandon Miller we probably didn't take advantage enough of his abilities," Richt said. "He played Sam linebacker and when the Sam left the game he was standing on the sideline. He wasn't really producing for us. It was late in his career that we really found out that we should let this kid rush the passer in nickel situations. So we're basically making that our normal mode of operation now. If you're a Sam linebacker and it's nickel time, you're going to learn how to rush the passer."
@strickland asks: which player are you most excited to see play this fall?
Richt was short on specifics here, but he did have some big picture interests: "There's so many. I'm curious about the tailback position. I'm very curious to see how the young receivers do because they're going to have to play. I'm excited to just watch the offensive line practice on a daily basis because not only will the first team be pretty good, but the second team is going to be pretty darned good. And when that happens, that helps the defense. The healthier you are, the more experienced you are, everybody just gets better on a daily basis, and just to watch that will be good."
@TNRLM asks: any chance of the special teams brain trust rethinking "directional kicking" and coverage?
This one didn't take long for Richt to answer: "I doubt there will be change."
I suggested he check out Rex Robinson's thoughts on the situation, which he did promise he would do.
"Maybe I ought to read it and maybe it will change my opinion," Richt said. "I'll read it."
@RandallDBruce asks: What is his response to people now calling him a whiner with his recent remarks?
Well, I posted much more about this yesterday, so be sure to check that out HERE.
Beyond that though, Richt said he doesn't think criticisms of him or his team are unfair. But he did admit that the landscape has changed in terms of how fans view him and the program, particularly in light of last season.
"I think they have a pretty realistic idea of what this league's about," Richt said, "but last year in particular, all that preseason No. 1 got everybody thinking this is it, and when you have a Stafford and Moreno, people have a tendency to want to judge the entire team on two guys. To me, when you're starting three freshmen and two sophomores up front, if you look at that, not many people would rank someone a preseason No. 1. But because of how we finished the season prior and because we had these highly regarded players, they thought, this is the year."
And if you're still looking for some more info from the Pigskin Preview, check out Part 2 of Macon Dawg's report at Dawg Sports.Thanks to those of you who submitted questions, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter if you're not already.