Richt Discusses His New Role

Auburn's oldest rival, the Georgia Bulldogs, features a head coach who is taking on a new role this season.

Hoover, Ala.--In building his 61-17 record as head football coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt has handled the role of offensive coordinator.

This season he is handing off those duties to assistant coach and former Georgia quarterback Mike Bobo.

"I am not sure I am going to miss it now, but when I turned it over it was tough to give up because I have been doing it for about 15 or 16 years, calling the plays and planning the games," Richt says. "I felt like it was in the best interest of the team and the best interest of myself, physically. It is a grind. If you are just the coordinator alone it is a grind. If you are the coordinator and the head coach, it is more than that.

"When I was a only a coordinator, I had an offseason," he says. "I had time to get revived again. As a head coach sometimes your offseason is very, very limited.

"The other thing, too, is that Mike Bobo has matured to the point where I know he will do a better job than I was doing," Richt adds. "I think that is healthy for the team and healthy for me. I am not able to see the team from a different perspective.

"I think there is some merit to the leader being at the point right in the middle of where all of the battles are, but I think there is also some merit to being able to remove yourself a little bit and see the bigger picture to make sure everything is running as it should.

"It is definitely a new role for me. I am excited about it. At first I was leary of that decision, but now that I have made it I am really excited. It is a little bit of a revival for me."

*Richt says he believes the rule change that moves kickoffs back to the 30-yard line will be "very significant." Richt notes that last year UGA returned around 25 percent of kickoffs it received. He figures that number will jump to 75 percent to 90 percent. Richt says the Bulldogs have used high, directional kickoffs rather than going for touchbacks when kicking off. He notes that more teams will probably use that strategy this fall. "If you kick a low line drive and it makes it to the goal line and there is no hang time, you are at risk of a big return."

*Richt says that he doesn't think it is a big deal that no Georgia players were chosen by the league's coaches to the 2007 preseason All-SEC team. "The one that matters the most is at the end of the year. If we win, we will have guys on the first team. If we don't win, we won't. The teams that win get the accolades."

*One of the keys to rebuilding UGA's defense this year is linebacker Brandon Miller making the adjustment from the weakside to his new role in the middle, Richt says.

*The UGA coach says he sees signs that QB Matthew Stafford has matured on and off the field. He notes that Stafford had a 3.75 grade point average in the classroom and instead of just trying to fit in, as was the case last year, he is taking a leadership role this year

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