Mark Richt: Bowl Game Q&A

Read on to see everything Mark Richt was saying following Sunday's announcement.

Opening Statement…

"I'm very excited about this opportunity to play in Orlando and to play in the Russell Athletic Bowl. I haven't talked to any of the players. I talked to a couple of the coaches, because we've been doing a little bit of recruiting today. I know everybody is loving this opportunity. We're playing a great football team in West Virginia, a team that just got 10 victories this season. Coach [Dana Holgerson] has done a great job there. Orlando itself is a great town and a great place to have a bowl, because the players usually have a lot of fun things to do. The coaches' wives and kids have a ball too. The coaches tend to work hard in bowls, and don't do a whole lot of the fun stuff, but it'll be a great challenge and a lot of fun for us."

 

On how the team is using the time off heading into the bowl game...

"They've been lifting, running. The coaches have been recruiting this past week and this week will be more of the same, just making sure we finish strong academically - all the focus is on that. There will be times when they'll be able to slip out and get a workout in. We won't start practicing until our final exams are over. We're debating whether or not to have one this weekend coming up during official visits. We may have a very short, sweet practice Saturday. We haven't finalized that yet. But if we don't, the first one, I believe, will be the next Thursday. There will be plenty of practice days the way this thing stacks up. We'll be practicing on campus, then we'll have a day to travel, then we'll have the ability to have some more practices and kind of a walk-through day before the game on the 28th. We'll definitely be in Orlando Christmas Day and we'll have a chance to get all the practices in that we need."

 

About West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgerson...

"I don't know. How far back has he been there? In 2005, we won the SEC Championship and played West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl. I think that was the Sugar Bowl where the hurricane hit, and the Sugar Bowl was actually in Atlanta, if  I'm not mistaken. We lost that game, I don't know what the score was...that's the only time I can remember. In 30 years of coaching, I can't think of another time where we played West Virginia."

 

"I know he has been more of an offensive coach throughout his career. I was just listening to some of the comments of the bowl about when he first became head coach, he was more of an offensive coordinator mindset...a lot of the same things I went through way back in 2001. I know he has done a great job there. I guess he got an extension there too, which is nice for him."

 

About the recruiting period during bowl season and recruits attending the bowl game…

"We're not allowed to have contact with [prospective] student-athletes during the bowl practices. I think they can be at your bowl practice, but you can't have contact with them. There may be some guys at those practices...we cannot make tickets available to the bowl game either. If they do end up at the game, it'll be somehow other than us providing that opportunity. I hope a lot of them come and watch the game, if nothing else because we're in the state and we're having success. I think that will be good enough.

 

"Even if they make it to a practice, I think, as far as I can remember, we've never been able to have any contact with them at this time of year. It's usually a dead period. You can't have that kind of contact. But if they can come and watch, that's what we've done in years past."

 

On having conversations about future plans with NFL Draft-eligible players…

"We've begun the dialogue. It's a process. It's not a one-time, sit-down conversation. It's more trying to get a feel of where they are and also have them understand the process I've always gone through as head coach - to just let them know that my goal is to help them get as much good, critical information that they can get from the NFL clubs. Obviously there is a committee that does that. There are also some different people that I know and people on the staff know throughout the league that can give us and give those guys a feeling on where they might be rated, so to speak. There's conversations about the value of finishing your degree when you're in school and all types of things. It's kind of a business decision, but it also becomes an emotional decision too because there are still a lot of things to play for - a possible championship in the future, national awards and the opportunity to get your degree...those are some of the things they'll be weighing when trying to decide what's best for them."

 


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