Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Press Conference – Part 1


Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement:

DSC_0194Big game this week. Its great to have a game like this at the end of the season and in particular at the end of this season, to have a season where we’ve not reached some of the goals, or hardly any of the goals that we set out before us. As far as won-lost record, to play game 12 and still have a game that’s this meaningful is exciting for me as a coach, because we are always looking for ways to motivate and I don’t think well have to do a whole lot of motivating this week. 

Coach Paul Johnson has done a fantastic job at Tech. Once again, offensively they’ve got it going, averaging over 400 yards a game rushing. I think that leads the nation. Of course we know that Joshua Nesbitt got hurt and Tevin Washington has taken over. He’s running it very well. You can tell he’s getting more and more comfortable every game. A lot of people ask the question, How is it different to defend the offense with Tevin compared to Josh? Right now we don’t see a huge difference. We see the same plays. We see the same system, we see the same pass routes, so we don’t see a big difference there.

It’s a great opportunity this weekend. I’m embracing the fact that we are playing in the evening. We haven’t played many night games, and this may be the first at home. I think our players will enjoy that. I think our players will enjoy the buildup to that. There usually is a little more electricity at night. I know our fans will be there ready to honor our seniors, honor our team one more time. It will be Senior Day. Our seniors will come out and get a chance to have a picture taken with their family in front of the crowd. I want to encourage our Dawg faithful to get in the stands for that ceremony. It will be as close to kickoff as we can get it and still do the things that we need to do for our pregame warm-ups, so I’m hoping everyone gets there early enough to really honor these guys. It’s an emotional time for these guys, it’s a very important time for these guys. I know the Dawg Walk will be great. I guess the little league baseball team is going to be leading the pack for us at the Dawg Walk. Warner Robins did it again I guess. So Warner Robins little league team will lead the Dawg Walk out. We will have helmet stickers honoring the Georgia National Guard, and I heard our new governor will do the coin toss. There is going to be a way to honor Governor Sonny Perdue at halftime, so there are a lot of great things happening besides the ballgame.

On the Georgia seniors:

I tell those guys it’s hard to lead when things aren’t going right. Its easy to lead when you are winning. It’s hard to lead when you are not winning like you should or the way we feel like we should. To keep a team together and to keep a team motivated and to keep persevering is not easy. You can look at the seniors too. This isn’t what we wanted our senior year. They could have sacked their bats too. They’ve not done that or even come close to doing that. I’m proud of how they’ve led through the adversity and I’m very confident that when we come out of the gate, well be ready to play, the seniors will and the rest of the team will be ready to play. That’s part of the reason why I’m proud of the effort. Most every one of them is graduating, if not already graduated. Even the ones who had a few bumps along the way, which they all have, have come out of it the right kind of men, so I’m really proud of them.

On what the Georgia Tech game means to the Georgia seniors:

It’s the last time they are going to play between the hedges. It’s the last time they get a chance to wear the red and black in front of their home crowd, so they want to have a good final memory. Guys do tend to remember the last time they are in that stadium. A lot of times as its happening they don’t think much about it, but I try to help them understand that it will be something you’ll reflect on and you want to reflect on it in a real positive way and a way that you’ll be proud of it. Just that in itself is enough.

On whether he assumes an underclassman will leave for the NFL is he is highly rated:

No, we don’t always assume it. We always try to go through the process of educating ourselves and them as to the pros and cons of that decision and try to get up with the families and talk a little bit about it, and try to come to a decision that is in the best interest of the player.

On Georgia players attending the Georgia Tech-Duke game:

I’m glad that they wanted to go. I’m glad they wanted to go check it out. If I was a player, I probably would have liked to do that. I like college football period, and you have a chance to go watch a good college game. Also its who you are playing next. There are no rules against is, and when I found out about it, I thought it was a good idea. I’m glad they cared enough to do it.

On what the Georgia Tech game means to him:

We haven’t mentioned this much, and I should have mentioned it more, but there is also the Governors Cup at stake. There is a trophy that travels to the team that wins the game and it gets to be displayed at your athletic complex year after year. It’s also a very unique situation in that this game is not quite a bowl game, but it gets treated a little like a bowl game in that there are gifts that are being allowed to give out. Every senior of the winning team gets a trophy, and every senior who plays gets a watch to signify that they played in that game. Also, the head coach gets a trophy also with the names of all the seniors who played in the game. I really like those.

On the main benefits of playing in a bowl game:

The experience of the trip, I’ve never been to a bad bowl. Every bowl you go to, the people are wonderful. They have really neat things to do. You get a chance to go compete in another college game. You get to practice along the way, which I don’t know that the players are all that excited about that part of it, but as a coach you like to get more practice opportunities in. You tend to take some time to let the younger guys get a little bit more work. I don’t do that maybe as much as other coaches do. My focus is usually to make sure we are preparing to win the game. I know graduation day, historically at Georgia you have a bunch of seniors taking off to graduate, and it’s a day where we do some scrimmaging with the younger guys. That’s important too. I think its certainly nice to be able to say you have a certain streak of playing in a bowl game. That’s important too.

On the win over Georgia Tech last year:

That was a big day. We wanted to run the ball that day no doubt. The more you run the ball, the more you can control the clock. Everybody knows that and everybody wants to keep it out of the hands of an offense that is dangerous. That was kind of our plan going in, but we didn’t really expect to run it like we ran it or as well as we ran it or as often as we ran it. I don’t know if we could predict that to happen again. When you have some of the receivers that we have and the way Aaron has played as a passer, you don’t just want to forget about that part of your plan, but running the ball will absolutely be a big part of what we are going to try to do.

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