My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Media Days '09: More From Mark Richt

A few more quotes from Mark Richt from yesterday's Media Days session...

On what it will take to turn the defense around...
"Number one, we hope to stay healthy. Number two, we hope to practice the way we've practiced every year since I've been at Georgia, and that is to practice tackling by tackling, and to practice goal line by getting on the goal line, practice inside run by getting after it full speed, full contact.

"What we did last year, at my direction and my decision was to we backed off of some of those practice sessions in full pads with the intention of playing full speed as far as tackling to the ground, cutting below the waist, just playing football, because we got to the point where we were so thin at some positions, if we lost one more guy, we were gonna be in trouble with just having a guy that would know what to do.

"And so our injuries came fairly fast and furious. I mean, like, for example, we normally have three scrimmages in the pre season to try to determine who the starters should be, the backup should be, but also to hone our skills at playing football and tackling, playing with speed and energy and intimidation on defense. By our scrimmage number two last year, I made the decision to thud that practice rather than go full speed.

"As soon as it was over, I knew I made a mistake because you don't get good at defense by doing that. So the next day, we did scrimmage some, not nearly as much as we would have the day before. I was trying to at least get us back into that mode.

"But things like that happen throughout the year because of the number of guys that were banged up. I hope I'm not put in that situation again to have to make that decision, but if I don't flinch, we're gonna keep practicing the way you got to practice playing defense. Hopefully, we learned a good lesson there."

On handling off-field issues this year vs. last...
"There's really been no difference in our coaching staff's pursuit of educating our guys about those types of things. I think when it comes to that, that has to be player led. I did spend a lot of time speaking to our seniors.

"We have a character education class. We meet once a week for half an hour and talk about leadership. We sometimes get off of our curriculum and we'll just talk about the team, how we can practically lead the team.

"We talked about some of the things that happened last season. One of the things the seniors came up with is they felt like there wasn't enough accountability, you know, player to player. One guy didn't have enough accountability to his teammate in how he handled his business in a lot of ways, whether it was schoolwork, how hard he worked, what he did off the field. So they felt like they needed to be accountable to each other much more than they ever have.

"I think that Joe Cox, Jeffrey Owens, the two that are here today, and others, have done a very good job of relaying that to their teammates. I just think they see the value in that.

"I think there's a lot of players that got sick of it themselves. They didn't want it to happen again."

On Georgia's tough non-conference schedule...
"Yeah, non conference, to have three BCS conference opponents out of the four non conference games is pretty heavy duty. Then when you look at who they are, you know, Oklahoma State, probably pre season top 10 by most people, loaded offense coming back, a team that you hear the coaches say, We've been kind of pointing to this season for the last couple years, opening a brand new stadium. I think they're charging $100 a ticket. I think it's the highest pre season start for Oklahoma State.

"So they're gonna be off the chart when it comes to enthusiasm and excitement and expectations towards their season.

"Then you also have Arizona State. Another BCS opponent. Dennis Erickson has won a couple of national championships, at least one. Did he win one or two? He won two, didn't he, at Miami?

"Then of course, Georgia Tech, we've all seen what they've been able to do under Paul Johnson's direction. That's pretty tough when you consider who you play in conference.

"We might have bit off more than we should have. I think the plan was never to have three BCS opponents. We did say, after the 12th game was added, we would add try to add a BCS opponent outside of the Southeast Region. We decided to do that. Just because of the scheduling, it so happened the only way it would work, with some home and aways with Arizona State and Oklahoma State, it had to happen all in this year. But I doubt that happens again anytime soon."

On being the longest tenured head coach at one school in the SEC...
"When I said I was surprised I'm here, it wasn't so much because of any recent season or anything like that. I think I was reflecting back on being here for the first time nine years ago, and to think that you are going to be here nine years later in our league, in college football in general, the same team, the way things are going, you can't sit there and start predicting that that would happen.

"You know, every decision I ever made since I've been at Georgia has been to try to make a decision that would help us in the long run. I didn't try to do anything in a quick fix fashion. I was used to working for a man, named Bobby Bowden, he had so much success at one place, you know, that was attractive to me. I wanted to provide that same kind of stability for our players and our program and our staff and their wives and children, as Coach Bowden did for me and my family.

"So everything I've done is to try to make sure we will be here for the long haul. But it's humbling, no doubt. I don't know what that means other than we're doing a little something right here."

On prepping for a new defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State...
"You look at where he's been, and if it's consistent at Kansas, Miami, then schematically you know this is probably what he likes to do. But then as you're studying his scheme, you're not studying his personnel. If you're studying Oklahoma State's personnel, it's in a system that they're probably not going to be running. Coaches don't like the unknown, and we don't know for sure what's going to happen."

On Tim Tebow...
"If I had a vote on a national level, I'd have voted for him, too. I think that guy might be the greatest player/leader, maybe the greatest one ever in college football. When you take his ability, his productivity, his leadership, his ability to get everybody to rally around him, I don't know if there's been many like that."

On what he likes about Joe Cox...
"I've coached QBs a long time. To me, quarterbacks need to be accurate. They need to be great decision makers. They need to be able to handle the pressure of the job. And they need to be leaders. Joe is all of those personified. He also has the confidence of his teammates. A lot of guys have leadership qualities, but for some reason guys don't tend to follow them. Maybe he doesn't have that charisma that draw people to him. Joe's had that from the first day."

No comments: