Mason Involved in Dawgs' Game Plan

CHARLOTTE, NC - Mark Richt and his staff continue to prepare their game plan without Mike Bobo.

Losing a coordinator before a bowl game is not a new situation for Richt, who went into the 2009 Independence Bowl without defensive coordinator Willie Martinez. Richt fired Martinez at the end of the Bulldogs’ disappointing 2009 season.

Senior defensive back Damian Swann said he can tell Bobo is no longer with the offense because he doesn’t hear him screaming at practice.

“Bobo has been around for a while,” Swann said. “We know what kind of energy he brings, and it has been a different feeling. But I think guys understand how it goes. It is a business. When you are doing good you get opportunities. But all of the assistant coaches have picked up the slack. Every coach and player has done their job. We just have to keep on grinding.”

Richt said the Bulldogs are even relying on quarterback Hutson Mason, who has been in the program for five years.

“That’s big,” Richt said of Mason’s tenure in the program. “Hutson really understands everything well. Hutson is a guy who we’ve always wanted to know his input all year long. As you (get down to) exactly what you are going to call we will probably spend a little more time with Hutson to make sure he’s comfortable with all of the things that are going to be in the plan - and if he doesn’t like something chunk it because there is going to be plenty of offense to play in this game.”

Seeing Grantham

The Bulldogs got to see former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham over the weekend. Mark Richt said he saw Grantham at an event on Friday night.

“There was a coaches reception last night,” Richt said. “It got to shake his hand and see Paige, his wife."

When asked about “bad blood” between him and Grantham, Richt said there was none.

“Its a business. It is a business,” Richt repeated. “We understand that. People have to do what they think is best for their kids and their families, and I understand that.”

Swann, on the other hand, had more urgent things on his mind when he saw his former coach of three years.

“I spoke to him,” Swann said. “It was just a greeting. I was trying to get back to my food.”

Speed Kills

Richt and Swann took part in the Bulldogs’ ride around Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday - riding in the passenger seat of a stock car that went upwards of 160 miles an hour.

“Imagine - that was three laps,” Richt said. “They do that sort of thing for hours, and with 40 cars out there. I’ve got a much greater respect for what they do. And I’ve been up close to a race before. But to sit in there and go through a few of those basic maneuvers - I’ve got a lot more respect for those guys.”

Amarlo Herrera estimated that about 80% of the Bulldogs took part in the test ride, but he didn’t.

“I was at the front of the line,” Herrera said. “I signed up for it, and then I saw them go by, and I was like: ’No, I don’t want any part of that.’ I walked away.”

Richt said that one player, offensive lineman Hunter Long “fell out of the car”, but that otherwise the Bulldogs had a safe trip around the racetrack.

“All of that is a little out of my league,” Swann said. “I think I will stick with what I do. I really don’t see any of us being NASCAR drivers any time soon.”

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