Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Press Conference – Part 1


Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement:

DSC_0257Kentucky Wildcats, coach Joker Phillips is doing a great job over there I think. Of course he’s been there for quite a few years now. We know he was the coach in waiting and he’s not waiting anymore. He’s the head man and he’s got them playing extremely hard. Of course they had an unbelievably great victory last week. They were down 28-10 at the half and ended up shutting them out in the second half and scoring enough to win it. I think they scored 21 points in the second half. They took care of business.

They’ve actually had 14 games since 2006 where they were losing in the fourth quarter and came back and won, so those guys are very, very resilient. They are not going to give in. They have 21 kids from Georgia. That, I’m sure, will be a lot of incentive for a lot of those kids. Of course Kentucky is their No. 1 state for recruiting, but Georgia is No. 2 for them. There are a lot of guys that are on that team and a lot of guys who are playing well for them.

It’s a great challenge for us. We’re excited and thankful for the last couple of weeks and the job our guys have done. They have a really tremendous challenge going to Kentucky. Kentucky has beaten us two out of the last four times. I’m sure that they’ve gained a lot of momentum with that great victory over South Carolina, a top-10 team. Coach Phillips is really doing a super job.

On whether Georgia has a confidence issue playing on the road:

I don’t think so. As you mentioned, our road record has been very good if you’re talking about the opponent’s home. Our neutral site hasn’t been as exciting, but when we go into other people’s house we’ve had tremendous success. If you took the record over nine or 10 seasons it’s probably the best in the league, I don’t know. As of the last year or two it hasn’t been very impressive, this year especially has not been.

Do I think there is a confidence issue? I don’t think there is. Why is that the case? Usually it just comes down to whether or not you made the plays when you had to. The last couple of games we’ve played have been games where we started fast and kept the momentum and finished pretty fast. We’ve not won a game that’s been tight. We have to learn to make the plays when they count the most. We’re talking about the Arkansas game, didn’t finish and had a chance to finish. We had a chance at Colorado to finish the game and didn’t finish.

We’ve had some key turnovers or penalties in some of those very close games that have hurt us. We know red zone scoring is going to be huge. Are we going to get threes or are we going to get sevens? Are we going to keep them from getting touchdowns and getting field goals if they can get into that range. Third down conversions are huge. The margin for error is much less in this game than it’s probably been in the last couple. Going in we didn’t know that. Can we win a close game? That’s what we are going to find out.”

On how he delegates special teams coaching responsibilities:

I’d like to have one guy who coordinates how much meeting time does each of the big four need. How much field time does each of the big four need? What days of the week does it fit? Just to coordinate that, I want a guy to do that. But to be in charge of those teams, I don’t think it’s healthy to have one guy in charge of every team, because what happens is first of all, it still isn’t possible for that guy to do a great job. There’s just too much to do.

Sometimes it happens where the other coaches are like, ‘That’s his responsibility. It’s not mine.’ So when you have offensive and defensive coaches who have their teeth into the special teams I think it’s healthy for your team. Let’s say he leads one group, but he’s assisting another coach, he knows the value of his help to the guy who is leading his group. Because he knows when he’s leading a group he wants that coach to do a great job. I just think it’s better.

On how he determines who coaches what special teams group:

DSC_0305 When we brought Warren Belin in, he’d been doing kickoff coverage for a while at Vanderbilt. When he interviewed you could tell he’s very, very well organized. He knew exactly what he wanted to teach, how he wanted to teach it. I actually was kind of hoping through the hiring process that the guy we brought in might be more of a punt return/block guy. That was really where I was leaning, and I almost had Warren do that because he’s a mature coach and he’s done specials and I thought if you gave him an assignment he would do a great job with it. He’s so impressive with how he went about that kickoff coverage, I hate to just throw away all that experience.

I wanted to get Bryan McClendon a team. I was thinking he might be the kickoff coverage guy, but as it turned out we made him the punt return/block guy. What gave me some peace about that was coach John Lilly’s willingness to be there with him every step of the way when it came time to decide how we want to operate on a weekly basis. The offseason study, John was right there with him and now Bryan has pretty much taken it over with John and others assisting him.

When Coach Lilly came in he was replacing Dave Johnson. Dave had the punt team, and the tight ends coach to have a special teams make sense, and since that was the only one really open that’s how he got it. But it was John’s first experience doing that.

Again, when you hire coaches who are diligent and they are responsible guys, I felt like John would be able to handle it, and he did. Last year we were No. 1 in the country in net punt and the best punter in the country. That’s kind of how it’s been going. Tony Ball had had some experience with kickoff return in the past.

On whether winning the turnover battle has been a rallying point:

We’ve been preaching it. We’ve been repping it. I’m glad we’re finally wining it a couple of times because as much time as we’ve spent in the ball security and ball disruption drills that we do every Tuesday and Wednesday. In camp it was every day. I’m sure they are getting tired of it, but hopefully it’s paying off now. One drill that we haven’t emphasized lately is the sideline drill. Defensively if the ball is near the sideline, as you are trying to get the ball you might want to try to keep it in bounds and keep it in play.

The back of the end zone (in the Vanderbilt game) we had an opportunity there where we probably should have tried to do that instead of just get on it. The more you drill it, the more a guy might realize that’s the thing to do. (Akeem) Dent, I think he probably thought he could get on it and stay in bounds, but turned out he didn’t. That’s probably what we’ll emphasize today again is understand that phase of it.”

On players rewards for winning the turnover battle:

Anytime we win the turnover ratio, they get to grow their beards as long as they want. I said I hope they are the nastiest looking bunch in America by the end of the year. We actually started it last year, but unfortunately we were clean-shaven all year. That was a bad sign. This year they’re getting a little furrier. You learn who can grow a beard in a hurry. There are some guys who can grow it fast. (Fred) Munzenmaier, I think, is one of the fastest growing beard guys we’ve got.

Some guys once they shave it they are done for the year even if they let it grow the whole year. I don’t know if Ben Jones has any facial hair. If we’re in the plus for the season and we happen to have a wash, we are plus right now, so if it’s a tie (against Kentucky), then I revert to the overall. If it’s a plus I let them keep growing it. That’s kind of where we are at.

On who might address the team prior to the Kentucky game:

I’ve got something. I have a guy in mind. I’m not sure who will be in Kentucky, you want the right guy too, but I do have somebody coming in on Friday. I have someone coming in Friday before we take off on the plane.

On whether there is extra motivation with the SEC Eastern Division race:

I don’t know if it’s that or we just played good the last couple of games. We’ve won, we’ve seen some fruit from the work we put in. We’ve seen some very positive results. I’m sure it’s in the back of everybody’s mind that things could get more exciting, but things won’t get more exciting unless we win this game, so that’s where our focus has been.

No comments:

Post a Comment