Mark Richt Tuesday Q&A

Read on to see everything Mark Richt was saying following practice on Tuesday.

Opening Statement…

“I’m going back to a little bit of a scouting report here. We have Coach Fedora coming in with his Tar Heels. I’m looking forward to a great battle, and I know it will be that. He’s done a really great job there. It’s just obvious when you turn on the tape and see the results, and just watch what’s happened the last couple of years. You see the results. They’ve got a very veteran group of offensive players. They have one guard, [Caleb] Peterson, who has 42 career starts. Their center has 32 career starts. Another tackle, [Jon] Heck, has 43 career starts. So a lot of veterans up front. As far as the wide receiver position, they’re loaded. Most of them are big and tall and long and lanky and very capable. I know Bug Howard was a guy we recruited at Georgia and we did not get him. He’s 6-5, 220 [pounds] already. I can’t believe he’s already a senior. [Ryan] Switzer is the guy who is kind of taking everybody by storm with a bunch of catches. He already has a career in five games, basically - 49 catches already, almost 600 yards and a couple of TDs. He’s really done well. Mitch Trubisky, their quarterback, I know he has had at least three games of over 400 yards and really running their system great. They’re spreading it out, they’re going quick. They’re doing a lot of run-pass option stuff which really stresses your defense, just getting lined up and ready to play. Without [Jamal] Carter being there, it just adds to it for us. Guys are just going to have to step up and really do a great job of playing hall.

“On the defense, Coach Chizik has them going there too. He has a very veteran secondary - 32 starts, 26 stat, 33 starts, 18 starts - back on the back end. Really an outstanding bunch. They know what they’re doing, and they do a great job of not giving up the big play. We’re going to have to do a good job of driving the field. That’s what happens when you play a defense like this. You have to be consistent. You have to keep getting first downs. You can’t have any self-inflicted wounds. That’s what we’re going to have to get done there. They do rely on their front four and there are usually two linebackers in a three-receiver set to handle the run game. It’s usually not a heavy box when it comes to numbers, but it’s heavy when you look at personnel they have and the job that they do. They obviously can play one-high and bring pressure and do things like that, which they do a good bit as well. But they play a lot of two-shell stuff where we’ll have to do a good job of running the football.”

“At the kicking position, their kicker is 6-for-9 – 67 percent – and has made 25 of 26 PATs. Their punter [Tom] Sheldon has a 43-yard average. Switzer, you don’t have to say a lot about him as a return man – he’s one of the best in America. I know he had a big one against us last year. Then their kick return man [T.J.] Logan is averaging 27.2 yards per return and had a long, 95-yard touchdown return on their kickoff team. As far as their specials are concerned, they do a lot of different things. They really make you think, even if it’s an extra point – some swinging gate stuff - and also a lot of things even covering kicks and trying to figure out who’s who and figuring who to block. They do a good job disguising that as well. We have our work cut out for us there.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there at Hard Rock [Stadium] again. I know a 3:30 start is great. When you’re playing at 3:30 and at night it’s a good sign for your program. It’s going to be a big one for both teams. I’m looking forward to our fanbase being as jacked up as they were last week, because they really did a super job, we really appreciate them.”


On the two-shell look that North Carolina defense shows…

“Two deep. If you have two safeties deep and three receivers, you have two safeties and two corners, that’s four. Somebody usually walks out on a receiver, at least halfway out of there, that’s five people. So you have six defenders left in the box. I’m talking tackle to tackle, basically. We’ll have six blockers as well, in a three-receiver set. We have three guys out, a quarterback - that’s four - and six guys left to block. And, of course, a back. We’ll have a hat for everybody when they’re in a two-shell look. When they’re in a one-high look, one of those safeties comes down in the run game and all of a sudden you’re outnumbered. They do both, but statistically, they’ve shown more with two-high kind of looks. Now their safeties, even from a two-high look, they’ll be that extra hat, that extra defender off a rotation and things of that nature. They get them in there, but usually it’s from a two-deep look.”


On how quarterback Brad Kaaya practiced Tuesday

“He threw a lot better than I thought he’d throw. I wouldn’t have known that his arm was bothering him – and I don’t know if it was, I didn’t even ask him. I was just watching him throw it and he zipped the ball well. So I didn’t really think there was an issue. He practiced the whole day. He did a good job.”


On the message of President Frenk to the team before practice…

“He wanted to come and say how much he appreciated just that moment last Saturday night, because he saw the big picture. He saw the fans, he saw the students, he saw the band, he the excitement and the passion. I think he saw the best of what we can be, and he just wanted to tell the guys he appreciated it. He appreciated their effort and how they played, as far as their effort and how they represented the University. That was his message. I didn’t even know he was coming. That was a nice surprise.”


On the decision not to make quarterback Brad Kaaya and freshmen available to media…

“Just didn’t feel like it. I guess my prerogative as a head coach is to decide who does and who doesn’t.”


On if there is any need to utilize tight end David Njoku more, given his physical toolset…

“We have more than one good tight end. We’ve done a good job of spreading the ball to those guys too. I’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t have many ‘him routes’ – where we throw it to ‘him’ no matter what. The coverage does dictate where the ball goes a lot. Even sometimes it depends on what personnel group we’re in, whether he’s the primary guy or not on a certain route. It’s about spreading it. Let’s think about it – Stacy [Coley] is pretty good. [Braxton] Berrios is pretty good. Ahmmon [Richards] is pretty good. Those tight ends are pretty good. Those backs are pretty good. They’re all talented, so you want to spread it out and not give the defense the feeling that we have to stop this one guy and we’ll win the game. That’s the way you want to play offensive football, if you can.”

Canes Time Top Stories