Mark Richt: Post-FAU Comments

Read on to see everything head coach Mark Richt was saying following his team's 38-10 win over FAU Saturday night.

Opening Statement…

“You guys must have been inside. Because if you were outside, you might have been gone by now [laughter]. When the games are over and we win, I’m mostly just thankful. I don’t get too jacked up one way or the other. Every once in a while, the juices will pump on a victory, but I’m more thankful that we got the victory. I’m thankful the guys played well, overall. I’m thankful that most everybody came out of there without any kind of injury that I think would cost them playing time, or cost them the season, or even worse. So I’m thankful for that.

“I thought our defense played spectacular, very obvious how great they played. They would not let it get interesting at all, with the way they played. Hats off to Coach Diaz and the rest of the defensive staff, and the players…just a beautiful job. Offensively, not pretty by any stretch. We were off in our timing throwing and catching a little bit. We had some opportunities, but just couldn’t cash in on them. We have to get better there. Then we just began to run the ball and have what people call ‘RPOs’ – just run-pass option stuff, simple zone plays with the little bubble screens to the receivers. That kind of settled us down and we started moving the ball on a consistent basis, and we executed well. You still have to execute those, but we simplified everything and just made it to the point where we could just line up and know for sure what we were going to run, not have a bunch of combos. Early on we checked to a pass and ended up throwing a pick. It was very good by their defense, they did a good job of showing pressure and they came out of it. We ended up throwing the ball into the linebacker’s hand – got to give them props as a coaching staff and as players executing that well. Brad [Kaaya’s] second pick, he got hit as he was throwing.

“I think, overall, it was a good, solid victory - no doubt about that. It was good to finish the game the way we did, just get into a two-tight set. I had the itch to launch one, because they were selling out completely to the run, and we probably could have got another deep ball. But at that point, it’s time to finish the game and not get stupid. You drop back, get hit and the ball pops in the air and when there’s a fumble, scoop-and-score, and all of a sudden the game changes with just four minutes to go. So just line up in two tight [ends] and finished it out. That’s about how it went. One more thing - the roughing the kicker, we can’t do that. Especially playing that good defense early in the game like that, and they have to go back out and play D again…we either have to get better at that technique or just not come after it.”

 

On no Miami team scoring more points in its first two games than the 2016 Hurricanes…

“I don’t know. I don’t get too worked up about that. I just want to score enough to win, truthfully. I like it when there’s not a whole lot of drama at the end. I like it when we can finish a game without everybody having a heart attack out there. It’s good to score points. The defense set up a bunch of them, the offense did their share. I guess we ran for close to 300 yards again, that was good. We had a couple of backs over 100 [yards], which is nice. Good, solid running backs, good blocking. A couple of times they just used their athleticism to break a big run. A lot of times we blocked it so-so, maybe got a stalemate, and they bounced it or made one guy miss and got a long run out of it. I like winning more than I worry about points.”

 

On the inconsistency of the down-field passing early in the game…

“We had the deep ball to [David] Njoku…we thought that play was going to be there, and it ended up being exactly the way we thought it would be. I don’t remember exactly the throw…I think, again, if we hit him on the dead run, maybe he scores. That’s my guess. And Brad [Kaaya] will tell you, he missed a couple opportunities in this ballgame. There were a couple that might have hit our hands that we could have made a catch on, too. The throwing and catching tonight was really what stagnated us a little bit, so we said, ‘Alright, if we’re not going to throw and catch, let’s hook it up and run the zone and throw some bubbles out there and see what happens.’ It really settled the game down for us.”

 

On explaining the early struggles of the offense…

“I don’t know. I think part of it is not being 100-percent sure what they were going to do. They made some changes. They didn’t play it exactly  the way they had played it, played more one-high stuff, a little more getting the numbers right to stop the run, which I thought they might. We ran the ball well last week, and I’m sure they wanted to hold up against the run without being in kind of a two-deep type of look, which they do quite often. They played a little bit more one-high stuff, which wasn’t shocking, but when you practice something all week and it comes up a little bit different, it just takes a little while to get comfortable with it. I think we’ll look at that film and say - I can’t even imagine how many - but either the ball or the protection or, there will be something in the pass game that kept us really being sharp and having some big numbers.”

 

On the performance of running back Mark Walton, who had four rushing touchdowns…

“He ran the ball extremely well. He’s very physical. I guess somebody told me he had four touchdowns, that’s a bunch. 9.2 yards per carry, that’s pretty good. He did a nice job. [Joe] Yearby did, too.  Yearby does a super job of making people miss and breaking tackles. They’re both really tough, physical runners, and Gus [Edwards] is too. We just didn’t get him in the game as much as we normally would. But the top two guys did a great job.”

 

On the play of the team’s trio of freshman linebackers…

“I didn’t see much tonight because I was, again, trying to do my job in between plays and trying to get a good plan for the offensive schemes. I was watching in general - the defense playing fast, penetrating, getting some tackles behind the line of scrimmage. You can talk about those linebackers all day, because how often do you have three true freshmen show up and start playing good ball for you like that? Again, props to the last staff for recruiting them and getting them here in January. I think that was huge. If they didn’t show up until first or second summer session, it would have bene a lot tighter race to get them ready, and not as much comfort level as we had because they went through spring.”

 

On the team’s nine penalties…

“Very disappointing on the penalties. Some of them, there’s no excuse whatsoever. We have to get better. I don’t want this to be a recurring theme, but just not enough discipline, and I’m not doing a good enough of sending the message I guess.”


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