Mark Richt

Wednesday Q&A with Mark Richt

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

Pittsburgh – November 2, 2016

 

On the status of DB Corn Elder and an evaluation of his play…

“He’ll be ready. Corn has played great. Corn has played great. He has played above the expectations I had after spring. I think he’s been a different kid in the fall, I really do – just what he did in the offseason, and mostly in regards to the physical play. I knew he was a skilled guy. I knew he could cover and had good ball skills. But I didn’t know he could play that physical. For that position, it’s impressive. As you know, a lot of the game is played on the perimeter. So many balls get chucked out there, and there are so many times people are trying to get it out there, and a lot of times a receiver goes and blocks the safety, and now the cornerback is the last unblocked player to make the hit in the run game. You have to be a willing participant there. He’s done a really good job.”

 

On what the team’s freshmen are learning in their first season…

“I think it’s been a grind for everybody, quite frankly. For the freshmen, it’s their first time going through it. Thankfully, truly, if they came in summer, I don’t know how they’d be holding up. They came in January, so they got all the spring ball, they got all the offseason, they got all of the indoctrination of just how we wanted to practice every day, the effort that it takes, the nutrition, the strength…that helped them. If these guys would have been late graduates and couldn’t start until July 1 or June 1, I don’t think they’d be in the frame of mind and the physical state that they’re in right now.”

 

On if there are players in addition to DB Corn Elder who have impressed with strides since spring…

“A lot of the defensive linemen. This is kind of going from Coach Kool [Kuligowski], seeing what he saw in the spring and what he has seen in the fall – just the effort, the physical play, the technique, the pad level. He has been really pleased with the progress that those guys have made. I would say two things. I think our seniors have really fought hard for this football team, regardless of what has been happening. That’s a tribute to them, knowing it’s their last year. Then you have some brand new freshmen that probably shouldn’t be playing normally. I was looking at our kickoff team, and I think six of them are true freshmen. There have been snaps on defense where we have had five or six true freshmen playing. For them just to be functioning, and still excited, and still moving forward, it’s not easy to do. So I’ve been pleased.  Everyone in between has been bought in. Sometimes it’s not easy to buy in when you’re having the streak that we have here. At this point, I see a lot of positive things in regard to the word ‘team’ and what it means.”

 

On the fourth-quarter fumble against Notre Dame and his assessment of DB Jamal Carter’s play…

“The first time he had a shot at it, it was pretty hot. The ball was moving pretty quick. It was a tough reaction. Then it kind of Sunday-hopped into his belly – or at least where he could gather it up – and he was gathering it, but he didn’t quite get it covered. You want to get your back to the defenders when you wrap up on the ball, and the ball kind of ended up under his leg. He had a hold of it, but another guy comes in at full strength and he can pull a lot better than he can hold on…by the time they unpiled, the other guy had enough control of the ball where they gave it to the offensive player. He was in better position to get it, when it all was said and done. I think it was the quarterback who went in there and got it.

“His play has been great. Very physical. Great on special teams – that’s another thing. A lot of veteran players play in the special teams, a lot of starters play in special teams. He’s been doing a beautiful job on that too. I really like what he has done for this team.”

 

On first-year assistant coaches…

“We’re all in this thing together. We’re all working hard. We’re all on the same page. The things we’re doing are sound. I’ve been coaching 33 years. We’re not trying to reinvent football or anything. We’re doing things that are sound. Like I said before, we have to continue to get better at it. Life is about experiences and how you react to them.”

 

On if he knows about Pitt running back James Conner and his return from cancer…

“I’ve heard enough about his story and not being able to play. I’ve been through a little bit of cancer, with my wife, who is fine now but I don’t know how many years ago it was, I think it was 2006…when you hear somebody in your family has it, it just changes everything. Your perspective on life does a 180. Anything that seemed important is probably not that important in comparison to the health of your spouse or even yourself. He had to battle through that. From what I hear, his positive attitude towards attacking it – like great athletes do attack the offseason – was probably one of the greatest factors of him overcoming it. Not only overcoming it, but here he is the big bruiser that he was before, and maybe even better.”


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