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Transcript of Richt's Wednesday press conference ...

  • Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications

    Head Coach Mark Richt
    Opening statement…
    “I’ve been running around the Southeast and around the country recruiting. I actually just got off a plane and got here just in time for this press conference. I have been watching film (of UCF) on my own. I videotaped their championship game. UCF is a very, very good football team. Coach (George) O’Leary, as we all know, is an outstanding coach. He’s done a beautiful job with their program.

    “When you are 6-6 and playing in a bowl, you kind of hope you are playing a 6-6 team. We are playing a 10-3 team. We are playing a championship team. It is going to be a great challenge for us. The good news is they are a top-25 ranked team. They are a championship team and we are going to have a chance to beat a very good football team.”

    “We’re looking forward to going to Memphis to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. Anybody I’ve talked to who has been there says the hospitality is tremendous. I think where we are staying is a great place, a very unique place. It’s very close to all the activities the players need to get to, so I’m not even sure we are even going to need a car or bus ride when we get out there, which is nice. We’re going to practice today and finish the morning of the 21st. Right around 10:00 or so everybody will go home for Christmas, then we’ll meet up at the bowl site on the 26th.”

    On the comparison of Aaron Murray to David Greene...
    “Aaron Murray and David Greene are very similar in their approach to the game. I’d say that’s the thing they are most similar. When Coach (Mike) Bobo and I started meeting with our quarterbacks 10 years ago when David was in the room with the others, he just was very proficient at listening, at writing down all the information, and then you could see him go through the progressions that you teach him. You could see him going exactly the way you say to progress. You could just tell he was creating some very good habits. That was one of the greatest emphasis we had this fall was for these young quarterbacks to create a lot of great habits that would serve them well for their entire careers at Georgia, not just this season. Habits of just the QB-center exchange, the ball-handling, you remember how David was such a good ball-handler and he would do a great job faking the ball. I think Aaron has taken that very seriously. Just your footwork in the pocket, knowing when to move up in the pocket and as you move up in the pocket to keep your focus downfield. Just not feeling like you have to throw the ball into coverage all the time or make some type of fantastic play, just learning to throw the ball away is OK. Very few turnovers Aaron has had this year, and David didn’t have a lot of turnovers either. Just the approach to the game I think is the thing that is the most similar about them. I think another thing is they had the respect of their teammates at a very young age, which is very good to have. I think both of them have that. They have a little bit different style, a little different stature. Sorry David, but Murray is a little more athletic than David was, but David has the 6-4 height advantage and that type of thing. Just great guys, guys that you as a coach have a lot of confidence to allow them to be the leader of your team.

    “Statistically Aaron has had a better season. Aaron could have one of the best if not the best statistical seasons of all QBs at Georgia, so just from a statistical point of view, you’d have to say Aaron did (have a better first season). Greene certainly had some real quality wins in there and a little bit better record overall, but I think they both did their jobs extremely well as freshmen.”

    On whether he thought UGA would have been 6-6 given Aaron Murray's performance, fewer penalties and fewer turnovers...
    “No, I wouldn’t have. If we had known he would have been as efficient as he was, turnovers got in the right direction in a positive way, our penalty situation was much improved. To think that you would be 6-6, I’d say no. But when we did turn it over, there were some very inopportune times for those to happen. That cost us. But no, I never would have dreamed that.”

    On whether passing efficiency is the No. 1 statistic for a quarterback...
    “It’s a pretty good guide as to how the guy is playing the game. It really is. I think the pass efficiency is a pretty good way to be able to take a snapshot of what the guy is getting done, but there are so many other things. You could also say how many games are we winning with him. How many championships has he won? I know a lot of people will talk about that when it comes to quarterbacks. I think when you talk about the course of a career, I think that’s probably something you want to measure. Right now Aaron has done just about everything we could have asked him to do at this point.”

    On Garrison Smith...
    “Garrison, we think he is a young man who is strong enough to compete at the Southeastern Conference level this season. He has great punch, we call it. When he runs into a guy, he can use his hands well. He has a low center of gravity. He has a great change of direction. He’s still learning his trade, but we think he’s had a nice freshman year. We don’t think there is any question he’ll be a lot better next year with the experience he’s gained and with the offseason we believe he’ll have. Of course you have (DeMarcus) Dobbs moving out of there, (Brandon) Wood moving out of there, Kiante (Tripp) moving out of there, so it’s just going to automatically create more playing time for guys like Garrison, but we’re really proud of what he did and we think he is going to be an outstanding football player.”

    On how Florida's hiring of Will Muschamp impacts Georgia...
    “I think one thing about Florida, Florida State and Miami, UCF and South Florida, they have a big state. There are a lot of players in that state. They are going to have plenty of guys to recruit in their state no doubt. But they are dipping into Georgia and we are dipping into Florida. I don’t think that is going to change at all. I think Will is a very fine coach. I don’t know if he’ll admit it to anybody, but he’s still a Georgia man in a lot of ways. I think he’ll do well. He’s a good coach and a good person.”

    On how many miles Georgia's staff has traveled on recruiting trips this week...
    “I don’t even know how many miles our guys put on. It’s just amazing how much ground gets covered. They are pretty relentless out there and you have to be. The recruiting wars are just as important as the wars on the field. So there is a lot going on, and everybody is just kind of swooping in at the last second. I landed just a couple of minutes ago, and timed it out just right for this 1:00. We actually pushed it back to 1:00 just so I could get in one more home this morning. We’ll continue to get on the road as we are trying to prepare. That’s the hardest thing you juggle when you are doing this bowl practice stuff. You are still out there recruiting, you are still out there trying to prepare for your opponent, and it’s not easy to do all those things at the same time. But we made sure our coordinators were off the road enough to get us enough of a plan that every practice would be valuable. Now it’s a matter of starting to practice and refine it as we go.”

    On prospects waiting until late in the recruiting process to commit...
    “It’s tough. You always hope that when a young man knows for sure where he wants to go he would just say it. I think those days are changing. There are a lot of them who do. There are a lot of early commitments, then all of a sudden it seems like everything dries up for a while for the guys who want to wait until the very end. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know and sometimes it’s because they are wanting to do it at an all-star game or whatever it is. I think they are getting encouraged to do that a little bit. It is a special time for them and they want it to be a special announcement, and their families do too. You can understand why sometimes it drags on, and then there are guys who flat out just don’t know until the very end. I think most of them have a pretty good idea of where they are going to go. It would be nice if they would all decide and we could start working on next year’s class, but that’s not where it is right now.”

    On whether the Georgia staff gets a heads up from prospects before they commit to UGA...
    “We do sometimes. Sometimes we’ll get something even as early as now for a guy who knows he’s not going to do it until the signing day, or sometimes it might be the night before they’ll let you know. I’ve rarely had a guy commit or sign with Georgia without me knowing it at least the night before. There have been a couple like that but it usually doesn’t happen very often. Usually you get clued in pretty good. Everybody is trying to find out what’s going on because if you are not going to get a guy you have to make plans, and if you are going to get a guy you’d like to let other men know that there may not be a space for you and let them move on too. It would save a lot of miles, time and travel for sure. But it’s just where we are right now.”

    On whether there is any added urgency in Georgia's recruiting this year...
    “I think that recruiting is always crucial, it’s always important. I don’t know if you could say this season more than any other. I do think this recruiting year in the state of Georgia, even as we were mapping it out a year ago because you are looking that far down the road. This class in particular we thought was going to be extremely strong, and we still believe that. Not only strong in athleticism and ability, but very strong in character from what I’m seeing. I really like the young men we’ve been dealing with as people too. It’s been a very encouraging year in that way too, which is kind of nice.”

    On Aron White speaking at the UGA commencement on Friday...
    “That’s tremendous. I was really excited for him. As some people know and some don’t know, Aron White will be speaking and represent the students at the commencement Friday. He is taking it very, very seriously. He has come by and talked to me about it. He emailed me a copy of it, I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but he has it down pretty good. He’s knows is a tremendous honor. He’s taking it very seriously and he just wants to do a good job. I’m really proud of that, and I’m hoping we can get some good pictures of that. That belongs in all our recruiting materials and things you want to start bragging about. Aron is a highlight, no doubt.”

    “It will definitely be a positive thing for Georgia football, for Aron personally, for the University of Georgia. I know he wants to represent the student body well, and as he said, our program well. I think it is a very positive thing for us.”

    On Aron White wanting to become an athletic director...
    “He is very capable, very intelligent, very outgoing. He communicates extremely well with people and I think that is a big part of that job. I think he’s smart enough to get the big picture. I think with the right training, he could make an outstanding athletic director.”

    On Darryl Gamble's career...
    “I think his career has been very solid. I think the NFL people really like him. They see that he can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, special teams, he’s been outstanding in that regard. He’s been healthy most all of his career. He just has a big frame, and he’s a good instinctive football player. When it comes to linebacker play, some guys never have a good day like he had against LSU (in 2008) with the two pick sixes. That’s what gets everybody’s attention, more so than a 15-tackle ballgame. It’s not surprising that he didn’t have another game that would outshine that, but he’s played a lot of really good football for us. There are some senior all-star games that are interested in him, and we are hoping to nail something down with him too.”

    On other Georgia seniors participating in all star games...
    “Clint Boling has been offered the opportunity to go to the Senior Bowl, and (Akeem) Dent has been offered the opportunity to go to the East-West, (Kris) Durham has been offered the opportunity to be at the Texas vs. the Nation game. There are other seniors we are working on right now. What happens sometimes is a guy will bump from the East-West to the Senior and that opens an opportunity for the East-West. So there are a lot of things that happen between now and then, but we have a lot of guys sitting up on there waiting lists who hopefully will get those opportunities.”

    On juniors Trinton Sturdivant and Cordy Glenn submitting their names to the NFL advisory board and whether that is a concern for Georgia...
    “You don’t want all your big linemen to leave. I think every junior in America is kind of curious where they sit as far as the NFL is concerned. There are a lot of guys who want to turn in their papers and see where the NFL sees them. I think that’s not all that surprising. These guys come in with the thought of possibly playing there one day. Now I think there is a lot of curiosity involved and there is a lot of education that needs to be given too so they make the right decision. The NFL is not going anywhere. We know there could be a lockout, but the league is going to be around, and they need to do what’s best for their careers. Also those young men and their families understand the value of that degree too. All those things have to be weighed and they’ll make their decisions before the deadline. The sooner they get their information in, the sooner they can try to get a realistic picture of where they are, because that’s still the very best gauge of where the NFL sees you. If you are going by what Coach Richt might say or what an agent might say, you are probably not going to the best source. The NFL is the best source to say where they see them. That’s a big deal, and we appreciate the NFL putting that together because before 1994 they didn’t have it and guys were just blindly making decisions off of what somebody might have said in the media or what an agent might have said or what a coach might have said. There were a lot of mistakes being made and I think this at least helps them have a better idea where they are.”

    “It’s part of college football today. Basketball, they get them for one year and they are off and running. We have a lot of quality linemen in our program and we certainly would hate to lose guys who know what the plays are and have had the experience to play in the Southeastern Conference. We certainly don’t want any of those guys to go, but we’ll wait and see what happens down the road.”

    On whether the Georgia coaches see Kwame Geathers as a possible starter...
    “We hope so. We want Kwame to have a great career. He does too, and as he continues to develop we want him to give him a lot more snaps than he is getting right now. He’s still relatively young in his career. He’s still a redshirt freshman, so has time to continue to grow and get strong and perfect his trade, so we hope so.”

    On his vision for Georgia's strength and conditioning in the offseason...
    “I don’t want to get too much into the future, but since that has become a topic because of the decision that I made to make a change in the strength area, first of all I think Dave Van Halanger is an excellent strength coach. I think he’s as good as any out there. I think there are different ways to skin a cat in strength, different philosophies. We aren’t saying that Coach Van isn’t a good strength coach, I’m not saying that at all, but I think there are different ways to do things, and I want to go a little bit more old school I guess. We’ll get after it a little bit differently. Like something I mentioned before, and by no means am I saying it’s just the strength area that we need to improve on when it comes to winning the fourth quarter and finishing, because coaching has to do with a lot of things. I’m sure that will be a big emphasis in our program is to make sure we truly finish the drill. We say finish the drill but are we really doing it? Did we do it this year? We did not.”

    On how he expects the Georgia players to respond to "old school" strength and conditioning...
    “We’ll see. I think the proof will be in the pudding in the end.”

    On new Florida head coach Will Muschamp coaching against Georgia...
    “For me personally, the first time I was at Florida State coaching against Miami, my alma mater, all the preparation, the offseason, even the week of the game, I didn’t think much of it. You watch the film, look at what they are doing and get a plan, and you are just working. I will say when we got to the game, I remember the Miami team hitting the field, knowing a good many of those players and coaches. Those were my colors at one time. So it was a little bit weird to get started, but once we started playing the game it kind of got back to business. It was kind of similar to when we played in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State here at Georgia. There was a little bit of emotion as the thing got rolling, but then once you start playing you just want to win the game maybe even more so because it’s your alma mater or where you worked for a long time.”

    This post was edited by Gentry Estes 4 years ago

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