Questions about clock management come up early

Coach Richt is under more scrutiny than most coaches when it comes to decisions made at the end of games.

Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt knows what its like to be second-guessed. Most head coaches do. But after a string of strange clock management decisions last season, Richt is under even more scrutiny than most coaches when it comes to the decisions that he makes at the end of games.

It only took one game this season for clock management to become a source of discussion.

Last week against Clemson, with the game in the balance, Richt called for Georgia to go for it on 4th down and inches from its own 39-yard line with little time left in the game.

Get the first down, and the game is over. But if Clemson stops you, the game is still in jeopardy.

"You just have to go with your gut," said Richt about the call.

The Dawgs got it.

"I still got a lot of people thinking it was a dumb thing to do, even though we made it."

After a surge from the offensive line, a block from defensive end David Pollack, and a leap from running back Musa Smith, Georgia converted the 4th down play and won the game.

Richt said that there were several reasons why he chose to go for it on 4th down and inches rather than punt the ball away to the pesky Tigers.

"It was about ten inches. We had a play that I really felt would work. I had a bunch of guys that that believed that they could get it done. And I have a freshman walk on (snapper), first time that he's ever snapped in his life."

But when you are Mark Richt, every late call in a game is put underneath a microscope.

Pointing out that he would have been second-guessed no matter what call he made, Richt said that if something would have gone wrong with a punt, he would have been criticized anyway.

"Anything can happen on a snap. If they wanted to line up 11 and bring 11, well we only have 10 to block. So there is a chance that you could get it blocked. If we punted and they blocked it, scooped it, and scored, then I would have been a dummy for that too. They would have said 'well why couldn't you get it, it was only six inches?' "

After the game, the Georgia offense was excited that Richt had gone for it on fourth down. Richt said that his offense gained confidence as a result of the decision to go for it.

"We believed in them to get that play accomplished and they did it. The buzz on offense after the game was that we believed in them enough to do it. They had a real good feeling about that."

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