Georgia Football: Tuesday Press Conference

Mark Richt, Photo by Danny Bishop

Mark Richt, Photo by Danny Bishop

Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media Tuesday during the Bulldogs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

“We are going to Vanderbilt coming off a loss and one that stung, but we know in our league you have to shake it off and get ready to go again, because no one is going to feel sorry for you. So that’s what we’ve been doing. Vanderbilt is a very good team. Coach (James) Franklin has done a superb job with that program. Of course the last time we were there it was a very heated game and a very close game. Thankfully we came out of there with the victory.”

“They are an outstanding football team. Playing there is always tough. Historically for whatever reason it’s been a really tough venue for us to go in and not have a battle royale to the very end. The fact that that’s all we’ve had this year I assume we are going to have another one like that. So Georgia fans, get ready. It’s going to be a tough game.”

On the injuries this season…

“You can’t control injuries, and I don’t really try to assess it other than who’s left and what they can do and what gives us our best chance of winning. That’s what I try to focus on from a pure football and strategy point-of-view. The personal part of it is that you feel for your players. As they’re rehabbing, you want them to still feel a part of the team and not feel like just because they’re not producing that they’re not as important as they used to be. They really are to us, but sometimes it’s hard for that guy to feel that way because he’s not producing. It’s a production business.”

On preventative measures against injuries…

“With the ACL, I don’t think there’s anything to do with conditioning. A lot of ACL injuries are freak injuries and non-contact injuries. Obviously Malcolm Mitchell’s was non-contact. Well, I guess there was a (chest) bump when he landed wrong on that celebration. Justin Scott-Wesley was just trying to keep from hitting the punt return man as he made a fair catch as he was trying to cover a kick. Obviously Keith Marshall’s was a contact injury, but ACL’s I think don’t really have a whole lot to do with conditioning. I think most hamstrings go when there’s enough fatigue, and guys are bursting when they’re tired. The muscle just pulls, but I think we do a good job. Last year, we had very few hamstring injuries. It was one of our better camps for that because a lot of times they happen in camp. You can practice all summer, and you’re running routes with your quarterback, but you can hardly simulate that two to two and a half-hour practice or that volume of camp. You’re running a lot of routes and there’s installation. Guys usually pull their first one then. We have a little bit more than usual, but I think we’re doing the right thing when it comes to strength and conditioning and flexibility. Sometimes I think we as coaches have to be wise, and I think the players just have to know if their hamstring is beginning to get tight or fatigued a little bit. It’s hard for a guy to go to a coach and say that their hamstring is sore. It’s not because the coach is going to yell at them, but the guy is trying to make the team. He’s trying to get a starting position and he doesn’t want to look soft, or whatever it is. Sometimes the players just have to do a good job. Our older guys are really good at saying if something is tightening up on them and they need to pull back. Our veteran guys will do that, but some of our younger guys don’t understand that right away.”

On Todd Gurley being able to practice today…

“I wouldn’t anticipate that. I wouldn’t predict that. He’s definitely progressing, but do I think he’ll run plays today with even the scout team? I don’t know if he will.”

On the Coaches Poll and his voting process each week…

“I’m fine with it. I’m a voter, and my goal is to do the very best that I can with who I think are the best teams. I think all the coaches do that. I have no idea what other coaches do, but I look at every game that I can, as far as when I’m free to watch games. After we play, I spend the rest of the evening watching games and highlights and things of that nature. I’m always looking at the scores and looking at the standings and win-loss records. Every once in a while when I’m not sure, I try to look at who played who and what the results were. I do the best I can. I don’t worry about trying to be perfect every week. I think it’s good for me that it’s not public every week because I’d probably spend more time on it than I want to. I know that as the year goes on, it all kind of weeds itself out sometimes. If you have one team a little bit higher than the other by a spot or two, and they’re going to play each other two weeks down the road, it really doesn’t matter what it is today. It matters after the game more, so I don’t get too crazy about it, but I think I have a pretty good pulse of what’s going on. In the last few weeks when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, I’ll look at the overall season and try and do a good job to put everybody where they belong.”

On whether Georgia could benefit next year from the four-team playoff…

“Well the one thing about us this moment in the polls is that we’re the highest-ranked team with two losses, so that’s at least a sign of respect for our program. We need to take on the responsibility, in that respect, and try to keep it that way. Hypothetically, if it was next year and you’ve got two losses but you can win this league, I think you’d have a pretty good argument, but that’s what it would be – an argument. You’d be building your case because again, it’s going to be people deciding who they think the best four are. I would imagine if a team has a bunch of midseason injuries but at the end of the year they’re more full speed again and playing good at the end, you’d probably have a shot, if it was next year.”

All photos are copyrighted property of Sonny Kennedy Photography,

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