Richt Talks Special Teams & More

Read on to see everything Mark Richt was saying following Monday morning's practice.

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement

“It was a very good, fundamental day. It was our normal, lot of kicking, lot of fundamentals, our team run, our team blitz, our move-the-field stuff, offense versus defense. For a tough, long practice, they did a nice job, I thought. The offense actually won the day today, which was great. It took the two [second string] offense to get three out of four on the very last drive against the No. 1 defense. That was huge for them. They haven't had a lot of success against the No. 1 defense. Much more competitive, really every day - the first couple of the days, the margin was pretty bad. But even when the defense has won the last day or two, it's been a tight, tight race. That's a good sign. I don't know - Groundhog's Day, I don't know what to tell you."

On which players he plans on working as returners on special teams units…

"It's so hard to say. I do think we have a good many guys that can be returners, we just have to decide. A lot of people want the most prolific return man, but I want the most dependable return man first. If he happens to be the most prolific, as a runner or a guy who can stick it in the end zone, great. But if he's great at that and doesn't field the ball well, or doesn’t secure the ball well, he won't be the guy. I want the most dependable guy. We're working so many guys, I don't even know what to tell you on that. The good news is, we have more than one or two or three guys that can do kick and punt return.

“Braxton [Berrios], Stacy [Coley], Malcolm...we're teaching Sam Bruce. Corn [Elder]. Then Mark Walton on kickoff return and Gus [Edwards] on kickoff return. I think Coley on kickoff return. Braxton and Corn...most of them double it up."

On the decision to use Gus Edwards on kickoff returns…

“He might be the off-return man, but he's back there. He'll probably be more of an off-return man. But if the ball goes his way, he'll be returning it."

On if he has seen the players practice with the level of consistency they have been preaching…

"Not yet. No one is really doing that yet. But we're getting closer, and we're pursuing that, obviously. For those guys to be saying it, they know how important it is. We're getting better. Even when you watch film, offensively, when you start out, you might have seven out of 11 [players] doing it right, and you get beat. When you get eight, nine, 10 out of 11 getting it right, you're getting closer but you still might end up losing that rep. When everybody starts doing it, that's when you start really clicking. I will say this, today, if we caught the ball when the ball was right in our hands - I'm talking about the tight end and wide receiver position - it would have been, not a landslide, but there would have been no drama at the end. We dropped too many balls today."

On what he has seen from the team’s defensive line…

"I just like the way the defense is playing, period. I like how hard they're playing. I like the energy they're playing with. I definitely like what the front four is doing, but I like what all of them are doing. They've really impressed me. It's night and day on the effort level and the execution, especially open-field tackling - it's changed dramatically from the spring to the fall."

On playing first string versus second string in scrimmages…

"In the fall we tend to go ones versus twos and twos versus ones. In the spring we'll go ones versus ones. Part of it is, say you're in the season, and you're mostly scout-team work but will still do stuff against each other. Let's say we need Cover 2. We might ask Manny, 'With the twos, can you run some Cover 2 for the one offense?' Defense might need to see zone read. The scout team could do it okay, but you're No. 2 offense is going to give you a lot better look. The two offense and two defense tend to give a really good look. If there's something we do in our system, we'll call it that way, if that makes sense. That's a big part of it."

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