Florida A&M Post-Game: Mark Richt

Read on to see what head coach Mark Richt had to say following his team's 70-3 win over Florida A&M.

Head Coach Mark Richt – September 3rd, 2016

 

Opening Statement…

“Just very thankful for the victory. I thought our guys showed up with the right frame of mind and played very well early on. I thought towards the mid-second quarter, there were a couple lapses on offense that weren’t really clean - jumping offside on a quarterback sneak on third-and-one, or dropping a ball that should have been caught on a deep ball. The deep balls could have been thrown just a little bit better, to allow the receivers to run away from coverage a little bit. A couple of catchable balls - I thought the one to [Stacy] Coley quite frankly, I guess I’m not allowed to say, but I thought it was pass interference but I won’t say that. The play before, I’m not supposed to say, but I didn’t think it was holding either.

 

“Anyways, at the very end, getting a punt blocked wasn’t great, but I thought the rest of the special teams were outstanding. We blocked a punt and returned one for a touchdown, which was great. We ran the ball well obviously – three backs got over 100 yards, which is unique, but we got three really solid backs and we have a few more behind them that aren’t bad. That was good. I thought the line played well in the run game. We gave up a sack on a third-and-medium that was a little hitch-and-go route that I thought we had open for a big play, but we just had a lineman not block the gap he was supposed to block, which was disappointing on a third downs. I think that was the third down right after the one where we jumped offsides. We jump offsides then give up a sack, which wasn’t very good. Other than that, I thought we played pretty good. I’m just thankful for the victory.”

 

On making his debut as head coach of the Hurricanes and the emotions surrounding it…

“I’ve had the ability to kind of focus on the things I can control: the types of plays that we’re going to call, the formations they’re supposed to be in, calling a game for the first time in a while, that’s where all my thought process was. I want to give props to [defensive coordinator] Coach Diaz and [special teams coordinator] Coach Hartley, because I’ve not spent much time at all getting in the middle of defense or getting in the middle of special teams or the kicking game, so I can focus on the job I’ve got to do as a play-caller. Really, my emotions I don’t get too emotional when I try to focus. My goal is to stay calm and try to make the best calls I possibly can for the team. I don’t know, for whatever reason… there are times when I’ll get visibly mad or visibly happy, but this wasn’t one of those games. It just didn’t turn out to be that way, pretty anti-climactic type thing. I’m just trying to get guys to play hard, execute the whole way though and, for the most part, I thought we did.”

 

On the emotions of his first Hurricane Walk…
“That was good. I enjoyed that – just being with the people and seeing the fan base and the families, and just driving in and seeing the traffic. There was traffic - that was great. There was a lot of people tailgating throughout the entire parking lot, more than I can ever remember as a player really. I’m sure it was good or better for certain games or certain days, but I thought our fans did a great job. Seeing all the students up in the stands early was great as well. I really appreciate what the students did. Obviously the Band of the Hour, we love them too…cheerleaders, everybody.”

 

On the nervousness of his first game calling plays in a while, and if he was able to sleep…

“I actually slept pretty good last night. For whatever reason, there was a calmness that started last night. I was able to sleep. I didn’t go to bed until about midnight, but once I laid my head down, I slept pretty good.”

 

On getting back to play-calling…

“I enjoyed it. Any time you don’t score, you get upset with yourself from a call, or lack of execution or something along the way. We probably practiced more things than we should have going into this plan, but gosh, we had so long to get ready for the game, it’s hard not to put all those ideas together. My guess is we maybe called a half of what we repped [in practice]. There were a few more things that I thought were going to give us a chance, but at the time, it wasn’t time to throw certain pass routes once it got out of hand.”


On his evaluation of the play of quarterback Brad Kaaya…

“I don’t know. He did miss one on a scramble that he probably could have hit for a touchdown. We threw the deep ball to Ahmmon [Richards], which was a very catchable ball, but he had to slow down just a tad. [Stacy] Coley’s, he probably could have kept him on the run a little better too. I thought he got interfered with. But it’s better to put the ball in play to overthrow it, too. Overall, I thought he managed the game well, I thought he got us in the right running game just about every time he came to the running game with the options that we give him. I thought he did a nice job. I don’t think there’s any balls that could have or should have gotten picked, which is big for me. I thought he did good job.”

 

On his evaluation of the play of the freshmen linebacker trio…

“I think the defense in general played very well. It’s hard for me. Again, I’m focused so much on offense and even in between plays, I’m talking to coaches upstairs, talking to the run game guys - Coach Brown Coach Searels – about what we might run the next series. I’m really active. I’m not the coordinator, but when you call plays, there’s things that need to be done in between series as well. I didn’t watch a whole bunch. I’ll get in position where I’ll watch more as the season goes on, but for Game 1, I wanted to make sure I was doing my job well.”

 

On how to evaluate the team’s play with a 60-point lead…

“We want them to play hard, obviously we want to win the game, but we focus on the plays themselves and execution of the plays, and how hard we played and how well we tackled, how well we do our assignments – not just the assignments, but the technique. That’s what you have to focus on every play. That’s what I talked to them about at the end. I felt like, on that punt at the end, somebody on Florida A&M cared more than we did at that moment, and that can’t happen any time. You have to cherish every moment you get, every snap you get. If that had been the first play, I hope that wouldn’t have happened. My guess is that somebody relaxed a little bit and got the thing blocked.”

 

On the first running back trio to each rush for over 100 yards in a single game…

“Those guys all deserve it. They’re all very quality backs. The blocking was good. A lot of times they did make people miss, but there was some good blocking up front, there was some good blocking on the perimeter. The one touchdown to Ahmmon [Richards], even though it was not a run, there was very good blocking by the other two receivers. There was some good downfield blocking and perimeter blocking, which turns a six-yard gain into a 60-yard gain sometimes. In the end, guys have to make people miss to get long runs like that, and they were able to do that.”

 

On being a well-conditioned team, and what he thought of his team in that area…

“We were tired at times. Both teams were tired. It was hot. It was muggy…it was warm enough and muggy enough to make it tough. There were times that we had guys fatigued. But they played through it. I know we're in good condition. I know we went through the entire camp, and the way practiced we had one I.V. the entire camp on Day 1, and that was probably from nervous energy. We might have had a guy or two come out, but I didn’t see a lot of cramping. But there were a guys that probably came out. Overall, I think we’re in good condition. We can’t go backwards in that area. It’s too late now. We’ll keep practicing hard and keep practicing in the heat. We’ll get better.”

 

On if this season opener was any different than his time at Georgia…

“I’ll just say this: I really, really like it here. I do. I like these players, I like this University, I like the vibe of the city. I’m very thankful to be here at The U.”


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