Mark Richt

Mark Richt: Walton is a Machine

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

On the first day in pads…

“Good, very good. I was very pleased. We try to take pride in how we practice as far as our energy level and our hustle and getting off the ground when we get on the ground – things like that, it was good. The other thing is, when you put pads on the defensive guys tend to want to tackle a guy on the ground. And offensive guys tend to want to cut block or do whatever full speed, which it’s not. We’re in our helmets and shoulder pads, basically. We didn’t have our bottoms, our football pants on the bottom there. And we weren’t scrimmaging, so we call it “thud” – thud is full speed without tackling and without blocking below the waist. I thought we did a real good job with that -- very few times were guys on the ground. It’s a good sign of knowing what you’re doing, it’s a good sign of athleticism, it’s a good sign of people just paying attention.”

 

On the cornerback position…

“They’re developing, they’re getting a ton of reps. We’re working three units – one offense, two offense, three offense, same thing with defense. Everybody’s getting reps. And it’s part of the reason why practice is a little bit sloppy because you’re trying to get that many guys reps. We’re getting a hundred guys repetitions. It’s hard to get everybody doing it just right and that’s why we do it. That’s why there’s spring ball. The few that don’t think spring ball is valuable are missing the mark because there are so many things they can learn right now.”

 

On the running back group…

“That’s the biggest thing for me – we’re dangerously thin at the position. If one guy got hurt we’d really be in trouble at this moment. We’re still trying to possibly get some more help at that position before camp starts. I like what I see. Mark (Walton) is a machine. Mark loves football. He loves to compete. He loves to do things right. If you just watch him practice, either as a coach, a player or a fan, you’d love it because he’s just that way every day. Then you got (Robert) Burns learning, you’ve got Travis (Homer) knowing more but getting more opportunity. And Crispian Atkins is our fourth-team guy right now, a walk-on who’s really a very quality walk-on and doing a really good job.”

 

On if any freshmen are starting to get in…

“Well, it’s only one play but we ran a power, it’s just called power. But when you have a power you have a tackle and a guard side by side and if there’s a guy in the middle, a defender, he’s called the three technique. We call it a deuce block where we double the three to the backside backer. Well, Navaughn (Donaldson) was the tackle over here and his job is to knock that three technique into the guard and then go off to the backside backer. We use the term, we like to get ‘movement’ on the three. He just washed it all the way down, went up and fitted up on the linebacker. It’s just one play but it was just a great example of when he knows what he’s doing and does it right, he’s got a chance to be pretty good. I did notice that. The other guy I noticed…is (Jonathan) Garvin. He really looks good…I’d peek out the window in my office to the weight room and see him doing some lifts. Very impressive for a long, thin kid. He’s going to grow so much more. But he’s got a natural strength about him for a relatively thin guy that’s impressive, and even for a guy that’s really long certain lifts are made for shorter guys that don’t have to move the weight as far. He just really is a good athlete, got a little power to him. I haven’t really noticed a whole lot in practice because I haven’t been watching him that close today. I didn’t see him in pads today but I like what he’s doing.”

 

On Deejay Dallas…

“Deejay is doing some good things. One thing I really like about him is he will reach out and snatch the ball. So many kids will let the ball come to their body, catch it in their body so what happens if you catch it in your body and the defender’s behind you he’ll swipe it from behind you. But if you reach out here and snatch the ball that DB’s hands are back here somewhere. You keep him away from the ball when you reach out and snatch it. That skill alone – if they don’t have it, it’s hard to teach. He’s already got that. He’s got to learn what to do. He’s got good quicks, he’s smart, he loves football, too. He’ll do fine.”

 

On having former players back at practice…

“I like it when former players come, period. A lot of the guys who just finished up and are getting ready for Pro Day are hanging around here for their Pro Day on Wednesday. We always welcome former players to come, the pros who work out here in the offseason or if they’re finished with their football careers and just want to come back and check out a practice and be around family, we love it.”


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