Buffalo Week: Wednesday's Richt Q&A

ATHENS - Georgia coach Mark Richt meets with the beat media on Wednesday before the Buffalo gam

We're about done. One more day. One more day of practice. Then a meeting, then a walkthrough then we go. We're ready to go. I know y'all are ready to go. You probably want to report my boring comments after practice. I'm bored, too. Let's play some games. Let's play some football. You can ask me anything and I'll answer most everything.

Q: Are Washington and Geathers going to be fine for this weekend?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you still anticipate Hunter as the only one who won't be able to play this weekend because of injury?

A: He's the only one I'd rule out this minute. Hunter is the only scholarship guy that might've played but won't be playing this weekend. He was in the two-deep.

Q: So is it just precautionary with Jay Rome's injury?

A: With Jay, you just have to see how everyone is feeling. It is a while, still, before the game, but I think he might end up being a game day thing, just seeing how he's doing. He may, by tomorrow, be great. Now today, we weren't trying to go with a tempo today. We purposely went with a low-tempo in route running. We emphasized a bit of the run game on offense. Tomorrow is the last day we'll have them try to run any kind of routes.

Q: Buffalo's coach said they'd like to use their entire travel squad in Saturday's games. What are your thoughts with how many players you'll play?

A: Our goal is to win the game and we'll go from there. Our goal is to win the game.

Q: As coaches you don't pay attention to people say, but from a national perspective, how would you like Georgia to be perceived in the national arena?

A: One of the best. That's what you want. You want to be considered one of the bests.

Q: You mentioned Lou Tipper a little bit yesterday. Did you all crossed paths at some point in your careers?

A: I think he was at LSU a minute. I'm trying to think if we crossed paths. I think we might have.

Q: He'll be 67 next week. Do you think you'll still have the fire in your belly when you're getting up to age 70 to want to stay in this?

A: I think when you're the coordinator you have to be. You don't have a choice; you have to go… I won't count it out. I wouldn't count it out.

Q: Do you know who's handling kickoffs for you?

A: I'm pretty sure. I know it's down to two. It's between Marshall Morgan and Jamie Lindley. Very honestly, I'm not sure. I'll tell you why later. I won't tell you why now. It's a mystery. You like mystery. We just don't know. I just haven't asked Coach O(livadatti). They've both kicked well enough to do it.

Q: Any chance you'll do an alternating system like you did last year with two kickers?

A: I don't think that'll be the plan going in but I wouldn't be shocked to see them both kick off.

Q: Did you think the defense was a top 5 defense nationally last year?

A: Statistically, we were. I mean, it's kind of how people rank offensive and defensive units. Total defense—which is a good stat. Points-per-game is probably a better stat. Whether you win the championship or not is the best stat. I think our defense has absolutely gotten a lot of attention for the job they've done. I think they're building a strong reputation. There's a lot of anticipation for this group that everyone is writing about. It is mainly because we did finish top five and most everybody is back. That's why we're getting the attention, and we'll just see how we do… You can be No. 1 in America in defense statistically, but you get in a game and you need a stop, great defenses get the stop when you need the stop, whether it's to win the game or get the ball back for the offense to win the game…That's what's going to define in my mind whether we're a great defense, offense, special teams, or team in general. Statistically, that is a good indication of how you're doing on a game-by-game basis. You look at our PPG last year, you look at anything off a kicking situation or a pick-6 or a fumble inside the five, it'd be interesting where we would've been ranked nationally from a scoring defense perspective. Scoring defense is a team thing—special teams and offense are involved in that. Same for scoring offense. If your defense or special teams gets a bunch of points for you, then your scoring average goes up for offense. A lot of those stats are team stats, too.

Q: You renewed former walk-on Blake Sailors's scholarship. What does he do for y'all?

A: He's a great special teams player. He's continued to work hard on his craft at cornerback and getting better there, but he was without question one of our better special teams players last year. We expect him to be that again this year.

Q: Is there one position group you are intrigued to see play Saturday?

A: The kickers. Kickers and punters, I'm really interested to see how that goes. I'm very interested to see how that goes. It's going to be fun to watch our [running] backs. Those will probably be the top two right now.

Q: Merritt Hall is still listed as the starter at fullback, but how much has Quayvon closed the gap for the starting fullback position?

A: He's going to close the gap. The more he learns the more he'll close the gap. He just has a lot of the physical attributes you want in a fullback. He has the right kind of attitude and mentality toward the physical contact that it takes. Now when he gets to the point where he doesn't make the mental errors that he's still making….when you make a comment like that, people say it's bad. But he's learning; he's a freshman. You make mistakes as you go, and you can't hardly do anything in life without making a mistake along the way. He's still learning, but the more he learns and the more comfortable he gets, the more playing time he's going to get.

Q: With this team's theme being a more player-driven team, have you actually noticed anything that you hadn't noticed in previous years that separates this team from others?

A: There's been a lot of times when younger guys, especially, don't do things the Georgia way—the way they're supposed to do it. The players know it. The coaches know it. But I've seen more veteran players say ‘get back in there and do it again' or ‘don't you dare quit' or ‘if you're on the ground, you get up.' ‘You don't loaf at Georgia' or whatever it might be. Or ‘Don't lose contain.' Some kind of key coaching point where a guy makes the mistake and they're like ‘nah, get back in there and do it again.' Seeing a lot of that.

Q: Is that a big help for the coaching staff?

A: Yeah, it's great. Coaches are still out there driving. I can promise you that. Even the best of the best need a kick in the rear every once and a while. But there's a lot of it coming from the players, which is super.

Q: Doesn't seem there are as many quad, groin or leg injuries as there have in the past. Can you talk about what Sherman Armstrong has done?

A: I've been not wanting to make a comment on that yet. I've said I'm not superstitious. I don't want to start bragging on the lack of pulled muscles. I just don't want to do it. It is a good observation though, I'll say that. I'll say this: to this point, we've had a lot less of that kind of thing. It probably has a lot to do with what we did in our offseason and I think Coach Armstrong would be one to credit along with the guys' willingness to get in there and do it and be coached.

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