Richt Talks About Keys to Beating GT

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

Opening Statement…

“Today was just helmets only, which we usually do on Thursday. We did it today and we’ll do it tomorrow, because after the open date, we’re ahead of schedule. Today was about trying to gain confidence in the plan, not going backwards with our effort and our focus. I thought it went well. Coach Diaz told me it went well on the defensive field. I thought on the offensive field it went well. It’s a tribute to our scout team. Starting with them, they’re doing a good job on offense, defense and special teams, for that matter. I thought the focus was there. It’s not a super long practice, but when you can split a dress rehearsal day into two days, like we can here, you don’t have to just wear them out. We focused on third downs, short yardage, goal line, red zone. Tomorrow we’ll do more end of the game type of stuff.”

 

On making his return to Georgia, where he spent 15 years as head coach…

“There will be family there. I don’t know if I’ll see anybody, because we’ll be having our routine the night before the game and everything. There might be a minute where I get to hug everybody’s neck, real quick. Of course, the game happens real fast in the morning. The next time I’ll see them is after the game, like any home or away game. But when you travel, you get on the plane, you get on the bus, you go to the hotel, take care of business there, you get on the bus, go to the stadium and you play. There’s not a lot of socializing during that time.”

 

On the atmosphere at Bobby Dodd Stadium…

“They get it going. Their students do a great job, their fan base does a great job. It’s going to be a 180-degree contrast of the scenery around. We were looking at mountains last time we played, and now we’ll be looking at mountains of buildings. Both of them have their beauty to it.”

 

On the familiarity with Georgia Tech and if it provides his team an advantage…

“I don’t know if it does. If you play them year in and year out, you’re going to have as much familiarity as anybody else…Miami has been playing them every year. It’s not like this is a one-time special event. Our players are used to playing Georgia Tech every year. I would say this – if I was a defensive coordinator, and I was in the nuts and bolts of every single decision that is made to try and play that offensive system – I would say maybe there would be an advantage going from where I was to here. But because I’m on offense and have always had to lean heavily on defensive coordinators to handle this detail, I don’t know if it’s a big advantage.”

 

On if there was any preseason concern about defensive end play…

“When you coach as long as I have, we talk about attrition. You have attrition in so many different ways. God forbid, it could have been an injury to put somebody out for the year. Guys transfer for different reasons, guys, at times, get suspended or whatever it is. You always have to have the mentality of, ‘Who’s next? Let’s go play ball.’ What do we have to do to win now has always been my philosophy. If something bad happens – either a holding penalty or something happens with an injured player, or whatever it may be – you have to assess where you are, what you have and what’s the best course of action to try to win. That’s all we really focus on.”

 

On his evaluation of the defensive end play…

“They’re doing a nice job. The guys are doing a nice job.”

 

On what his team needs to do offensively to be successful against Georgia Tech…

“We put a lot of pride in being able to run the ball well. When people talk about balance, balance for me is if they pack everybody in the box to stop the run, then we must be able to throw good enough in those situations. If they start double-covering our receivers, and give us a softer box as far as numbers, we must be able to run the ball. I think we’ve got a good mix of that. When you add [run-pass option] to that…when you come to the line of scrimmage, it might be a run. If they look one way, if they look a different way, you might throw it out there. I think we’re diverse enough. Really, it comes down to our ability to execute the plays that we call. I think they’ll be sound plays. I think guys will have to block and get movement, and block and get space for the quarterback, as far as a pocket. Quarterbacks have to make good decisions and hit their target. Guys have to catch the ball – probably some tough catches. The closer you get to the red zone, or the goal line, the tighter the windows are. Guys have to make catches with people contesting them and striking them once they catch it. It’s pretty much the same as every other game.”

 

On if his family is fielding more requests with his return to Georgia…

“When I was in Athens – my mom, my dad, my brother, my two sisters and all their families, we all lived within 10 miles of each other, maybe five miles of each other. Everybody is still there. Most everybody there is going to go to the game. Then there’s friends. There was a lot of demand. Katharyn [Richt, his wife] manages all that. Like I said before, we’ll fly in, bus to the hotel, do what we have to do, go from the hotel to the stadium, play, then load it up and go back home. It’s very similar to any other away game.”

 

On any excitement from fullback Marquez Williams, a Georgia native…

“Not really. When the ball is snapped, he gets excited. But he’s a pretty laidback guy. He has a little country in him. Not as much as Dayall [Harris], but close.”

 

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