Richt: Bulldogs not as good as some think

Practice went a little long, some conversations with a few players were called for, and his chauffeur, aka brother-in-law Kevin Hynes, was late to pick him up, and then they needed to get gas.

Practice went a little long, some conversations with a few players were called for, and his chauffeur, aka brother-in-law Kevin Hynes, was late to pick him up, and then they needed to get gas.

Not that it mattered much to the Georgia-dominated crowd at the first Macon Touchdown Club meeting of the year at the First Presbyterian Day high school gym.

The timing was good for Richt to show up anywhere: his team moved up to No. 8 in the AP poll, fresh off a 30-0 win at Clemson, and another highly-touted team in the southeast neighborhood, Auburn, was licking its wounds after a 23-0 loss at home to Southern Cal. Plus, safety Thomas Davis was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his 11 tackles against the Tigers.

But Richt reiterated to the crowd of about 225 that the Bulldogs didn't look as good as that score indicated, offering reminders of Clemson scoring opportunities when Georgia was up only 13-0.

"That game very easily could've turned into a barn-burner," he said. "All of a sudden, they (might) gain confidence and we start to get tight."

He was told of an observation by a TV commentator that Georgia was the most overrated team in the nation, and combined that with what happened Saturday.

"We weren't that bad," he said, "and we're not that good." The best thing about the win? Richt clasped his hands together.

"To roll into Clemson with just a lot of adversity and not sure really how everybody was going to react, it was very gratifying to see the team unite, and get stronger where we were weak. Just to watch them celebrate after the game."

He said the Bulldogs success with so many players out should be a humbling experience.

"We don't have to have you, you know," he explained of the impact of winning shorthanded. "You need Georgia and you need this team and you need these coaches maybe just a little bit more than we need you. The world's not gonna stop just because you don't show up.

"I think it helps them understand that no one person is more important than the team."

Richt could empathize with how rough life became late Saturday afternoon for Clemson's Tommy Bowden as he talked about trying to retain defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder as long as possible.

"I wouldn't mind if we won some games 42-41, just so they wouldn't say so much about Brian Van Gorder," Richt joked. "As a matter of fact, they were trying to hire him as the Clemson head coach on the way out."

Richt said some writers actually asked Van Gorder about that topic as the team left Memorial Stadium.

Richt said starting tailback Tony Milton is a little more banged up than previously believed. The bruise is on his leg just below the shin, not the thigh. Thus Richt answered a question about Michael Cooper's playing time by stating that the redshirt freshman from Screven County has a chance to start Saturday against Middle Tennessee State.

Richt said the staff couldn't decide whether to put in Cooper or Ronnie Powell behind Milton last week, and he said Cooper probably would be the No. 2 tailback this week.

"(The bruise) might be a little more serious than we thought," Richt said. "It could be Cooper starting this game."

Richt said he expected freshman Kregg Lumpkin, who has been battling a hamsting problem for weeks, to be available.

He expects a tough game from Middle Tennessee State, which lost on the last play of the game Thursday night. He recalled talking to MTSU coach Andy McCollum last year, and noted that McCollum was very confident that his team could beat Alabama in the opener. The Tide held on for a 39-34 win.

"He believed they could beat Alabama, and when a head coach believes like that, the players believe like that," he said. "Sure enough ... They've played in every big stadium in the Southeast. They're gonna be hungry."

Dawg Post Top Stories