Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Press Conference


CSC_6367Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

"It's an exciting week because it's the first SEC game of the year. I know everybody is excited about that. We are definitely looking forward to getting conference play under way. We're taking a road trip to a new place, and that's something to look forward to as well."

"We have a lot of respect for what is going on at Missouri. Coach Gary Pinkel has done a tremendous job with that program. When you turn the film on, you see excellence. That's what I saw when I looked at the TV copy and the coaches copy, guys playing extremely hard and fast, very well coached and very well coordinated. Their defense created points and turnovers and a lot of opportunities for their offense and their special teams were outstanding. I saw an excellent team."

"It all starts with quarterback James Franklin. He's an outstanding player. He's a big, physical runner and he throws the ball extremely well. He's a threat to run and throw. When quarterbacks do that, it's tough to defend. We have our work cut out for us in that regard."

"What stands out about their receivers is how big they are. They are big, tall and physical. It will be an interesting matchup for our guys to play physical with those guys. Not only can they go downfield and make plays, but they do a lot of receiver screens, so our guys will have to make tackles in space. Their receivers are also very good blockers."

"Defensively, I was impressed with how hard they play, how athletic they look. They really are a talented bunch."

"Missouri is an outstanding team. They are solid and they are capable of beating anyone in our league in my opinion. We are looking forward to competing with them."

On the importance of this week’s game…

“We don’t want to start out behind. You never want to start out behind the eight ball and getting into a chase mode right off the bat. I don’t think anyone wants to be sitting there at the first game in league play relying on people to help us get to the SEC Championship game. It’s huge. All SEC games do count so much, and the first one especially is big. If you win it, it hopefully creates momentum for you and gives you a chance to continue to control your own destiny in the race to Atlanta. I’m sure everybody is thinking the same way.”

On not opening SEC play against South Carolina for the first time in 20 years…

“To open the SEC season and not start with South Carolina is a little different, but we are going to Columbia, so I guess that’s kind of the same vein. We knew when we added teams to the SEC that change was coming, so here’s the change. I like away games. I enjoy the travel with the team, and I enjoy the single purpose of the mission. There really aren’t a lot of distractions on the road – at least when it comes to travel, and the night before, and the time before the game. Now when the game kicks off, there is distraction with the crowd noise, but other than that I enjoy away games.”

On the expansion of the SEC…

“In life, change is good sometimes. You start doing the same thing over and over again, and sometimes that can be tiresome. I think starting out with our new opponent and our new Eastern Division foe is a good thing.”

On his memories of past Missouri programs…

“For me, I was born in Nebraska, and I moved to Colorado. It was Nebraska and Oklahoma a lot, but the next team was Missouri, and it seemed like Missouri was going to pop in there and throw a monkey wrench into Oklahoma and Nebraska’s plans. I did interview for the job a bunch of years ago, so ever since then I’ve kept an eye on them and I’ve been very impressed.”

On being Missouri’s first SEC opponent…

“Well, you have to play them sooner or later, and you have to play someone first. No matter who you play first, you’re going to be really concerned about them. It’s a game that means so much, and it’s a game that you know you’re going to be playing an outstanding opponent. It’s on the schedule, let’s play it.”

On his coaching interview with Missouri 12 years ago…

“Katharyn and I heard that it was a great town for family, and everything we heard about it was positive. Missouri was one that we thought might be a special place to be. I’m trying to remember exactly how it happened, but everything did happen quickly. It wasn’t like they said they didn’t want me in the interview at Missouri, but they were continuing to interview. I enjoyed the conversation, and I had the other interviews going on, too.”

On his decision to come to Georgia as a head coach…

“Five years prior to taking the job at Georgia, I got interviewed at Pittsburgh, and through that interview process, I realized that I wasn’t ready to be a head coach at that time. I felt like the Lord was telling me to get ready because it was coming. From that moment on, I began to pay a little more attention to what Coach Bobby Bowden was doing, and I began thinking in terms of what I might be doing if I was the head coach. I didn’t ever want to leave unless it was the right place. If we did ever leave, we wanted to move once. I enjoyed the stability of being in one place for a long time for my family. I just liked it, period. It was good, so I was hoping that if I did ever become a head coach, I wanted to be able to provide a stable atmosphere for other coaches and players. There’s something to that that is very attractive to me. There were other jobs in between those times that people had asked me about, but by the time the Georgia time came, I felt like that Katharyn and I just knew it was the one. Even though I about chickened out the night before, I knew that when Coach Dooley offered me the job, I knew in my heart that this was the one.”

On other states recruiting talent in Georgia…

“I don’t think it’s hard for them because there are just so many players. They are going to be able to come in and find some really good players and land a few. Hopefully, they won’t get the ones that we want.”

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