Richt previews OSU game for Athens boosters

 

 

Logan Gray will play. (AJC staff)

Logan Gray will play. (AJC staff)

Mark Richt told a packed ballroom at the Athens Country Club Tuesday night that Caleb King probably won’t make the trip to Stillwater, Kiante Tripp also looks doubtful, Logan Gray will get in the OSU game as a quarterback, and he’s concerned what effect practicing in cool weather the past couple of days will have on his team in the Oklahoma heat on Saturday.

When featured speaker Richt was introduced at the season’s first meeting of the Touchdown Club of Athens, the crowd of several hundred gave him a standing ovation. He joked, “I want to see if my Dad stood up.” (His father, seated at the table next to my brother Tim and me, did indeed stand for his son.)

Club President Mixon Robinson, a former Georgia player, earlier had alluded to this year’s Bulldogs being a much easier team to like than last year’s underachieving star-studded group, and Richt himself noted that, “I’ve enjoyed from January to today probably more than any year I’ve been coaching.” 

With a nod to Vince Dooley, who was in attendance, Rich added: “I want to thank Coach Dooley one more time for giving me the opportunity to be at Georgia.”

Richt noted how hard the players worked in drills this summer, while still managing to achieve a team GPA of better than 3.0, and said it apparently was “the best summer our guys have ever had.” In the closest he came to criticizing last year’s Dogs, Richt added: “I think the players were a little bit fed up with some of the things that kept us from being champions last year. … I don’t have any idea what the potential of this team is, but I am excited about them.”

Richt gave a very Dooleyesque rundown of Oklahhoma State’s offensive prowess. After mentioning how good Cowboys kick returner Perrish Cox is, Richt noted with a touch of sarcasm directed at those of us who’ve criticized his special teams, “All you guys that are worried about the [Georgia] kickoff team can get even more worried now.”

He did say, however, that “our coverage team should be better” than last year, when injuries depleted the talent available for special teams play. “We have better runners and hitters.” As for who will kick off, Blair Walsh or Brandon Bogotay, Richt said he honestly is “not sure … it’s just such a close competition.”

Summing up his own team, Richt seemed most confident about the offensive line, linebackers and fullbacks. And, he said, “I think we’ll be much more pleased” with the tight end play than last year. He also expects his defense to get more turnovers than last season because “we’ve got a bunch of guys back there who can catch the ball.”

Discussing his running backs, Richt said, “I feel very confident in Richard Samuel. He’s fast and he’s strong. He does run a little more upright than I would like, but that’s his style.” On Caleb King, still not back to full speed after a hamstring injury, Richt said, “He probably will not travel” to the OSU game, though a final decision had not been made. 

In answer to a question from the audience about whether he had signed a back who would show up Knowshon Moreno, Richt said, “I wouldn’t bank on that. Knowshon was a very special cat.” He said watching film from last year made him appreciate even more the amazing things Moreno did. But even without Moreno, he said, “I think we can be as productive [at running back as last season] because we’ll block better.” Speaking of blocking, he added that in the past couple of days the tailbacks themselves had spent “a lot of time on blitz pickups.” 

Richt said he assumed the questioner was talking about Washaun Ealey, and the head coach drew an inadvertent laugh from the crowd when he noted that when Ealey arrived in camp “He really looked good in shorts.” Chuckling, Richt amended that to say Ealey looked good in noncontact drills. But he said that Ealey’s hyperextended elbow had kept him from going full speed “for about 10 practices,” and hurt his progress. He added, “Just in the last couple of days he’s perked up again.” Richt noted he’d told Ealey not to assume he was headed for a redshirt and if he keeps working hard “you could be the starter by the third game.” 

As for quarterback, he repeated his frequent praise of Joe Cox’s leadership and hard work. “Joe’s the guy,” he said. “Joe understands he doesn’t have to be the hero. He has to manage the game.” Also, Richt said, “We’re going to see Logan [Gray] some” in the OSU game. “He will get in the game as a quarterback.” He said Gray also will play safety on short punts, either making a fair catch or letting it roll.

At receiver, he said, “We’re very thin. … We’re in a situation where we must stay healthy.” He said the two freshmen, Rantavious Wooten and Marlon Brown, will play. “They have to play.”

Richt said he thinks the Dogs will have a better pass rush from the defensive ends, though he noted that Kiante Tripp, one of the backups, has “had a stinger and may not make the trip” to Stillwater. Talking about true freshman Montez Robinson, Richt said, “Skill-wise, his potential is pretty much off the chart. But first he’s got to learn how to do it.”

The coach thinks defensive line play from the likes of Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, Kade Weston and DeAngelo Tyson will help with the pass rush by “pushing the pocket back in the quarterback’s face,” even if they don’t get sacks. He said he originally had thought all the freshman defensive linemen probably would redshirt, but Abry Jones is “coming on strong. I think he can help us before the season is over.” 

He thinks safety play will benefit from the injuries in the preseason that meant some of the younger players got more reps in practice with the first unit. But, he said, “We’re a little bit thin at the corners,” with only Prince Miller, Brandon Boykin, Vance Cuff and Branden Smith. “We might have to make some moves” like possibly shifting Sanders Commings back from safety.

Richt also said, “I’m not thrilled at the weather the last few days. It’s been little too cool. That concerns me a little bit” since it will be much hotter in Oklahoma. “We’re in as good a condition as we can be, considering the cool weather. But we will have to substitute” frequently and early.

61 comments Add your comment

Scout Dawg

September 2nd, 2009
7:19 am

It is time. Let’s tee it up. GATA! I pity the nerds.

Yeah

September 2nd, 2009
8:14 am

Go Florida GATAs

[...] Richt at the Athens Country Club Jump to Comments Bill King’s got a solid write up at his AJ-C blog this morning.  It’s definitely worth a [...]

Dustin

September 2nd, 2009
8:39 am

Can’t wait for Saturday. Dawgs are going to shock the world with a huge victory in OK!!!

Ali Akbar Allah

September 2nd, 2009
8:42 am

Pokes run the Dawgs off the field and win by 30+ – book it.

Dawg Fan 4 Life

September 2nd, 2009
8:45 am

3 more days boys and girls. Let’s get it on!!! Dawgs will show up big time on Saturday!

Flea bag

September 2nd, 2009
8:51 am

No king playing and already a 2 qb’s. What happened to Cox? I thought he was special. This doesn’t bode well for the mutts.

Hob Nail Boot breaks Cowboy's nose!

September 2nd, 2009
9:15 am

Coach Richt has a 30-4 record at opponent’s stadiums. It will be 31-4 after the Stillwater Stomp this saturday. T. Boone Pickens will cry all night. GO DAWGS!

AltamahaDawg

September 2nd, 2009
9:20 am

It has been a long summer for tech fans waiting for the UGA season to start.

Cuz

September 2nd, 2009
9:25 am

The OSU team and coach are imploding just days before the game. What’s next the new stadium?

D&D fan

September 2nd, 2009
9:25 am

Ali Akbar AhLikeNakedBoys; if you were on fire, Id throw more gasoline on you!

dbc

September 2nd, 2009
9:26 am

Trust me, this Pokes team looks much better on paper than it will on the field. They lack depth at the defensive tackle position and that spells trouble. Gundy already looks so geeked out by this game that he’s starting to say strange things. Look for his team to be tighter than a nun’s a hole come game time. And when can anyone ever recall Richt saying it was time to “turn it loose?” Dogs never trail and win by at least 10. I’ll go with 31-17.

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 2nd, 2009
9:28 am

I like men. I really like hairy, sweaty arabs like Ali Akbar Allah.

tom-vinings

September 2nd, 2009
9:34 am

Time to throw the Pokes into the pile with Hawaii & Boise State & ASU… looks scary until they met the SEC… Go Dawgs!!!

BruffDawg

September 2nd, 2009
9:37 am

Let’s see: off field arrests, preseason injuries at crucial starting positions, and multiple distractions from players leaving to coaches being afraid of handshakes. This teams lack of focus and bad luck reminds me of another team that didn’t live up to expectations.

Flea Bag

September 2nd, 2009
9:41 am

I like everything I hear coming out of Athens! Still a little disappointed in Caleb King, and am wondering if he will ever live up to the hype! Martinez D needs to show up big in this game, and thats a tall order with the OSU Offense. GO DAWGS!

Dawg327

September 2nd, 2009
9:44 am

“It has been a long summer for tech fans waiting for the UGA season to start”, so true!

The funny thing is, they actually have something to be excited about over there. Yet they would rather come over to UGA blogs and attempt to trash talk. Sad.

superDawg

September 2nd, 2009
10:03 am

Gundy is scared.

Hayseed Dixie

September 2nd, 2009
10:07 am

OSU is doing everything they can to lose this already.

If OSU is believing the hype (ironically, like the pups did in ‘08) a focused Richt team will grind them to dust.

AdMan

September 2nd, 2009
10:17 am

Get ready Tech fans. This weekend starts the journey. We’ll be counting down the days til the rematch in November.Its gonna be a beat down of large proportions. Tech’s going down hard. And the Dawgs won’t be the only team to take you down this year. I see Tech losing 5 or 6 games. Revenge is going to be so sweet! IT’S GREAT TO BE A GEORGIA BULLDAWG!

L-Dawg

September 2nd, 2009
10:18 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!!

I FEEL SORRY FOR SMACK-TALKERS… THEY ARE MISSING THE FUN THAT IS COLLEGE FOOTBALL PASSION!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!

3 SHORT DAYS MY FRIENDS!!!!!!!

Ubiquitous GA Alum

September 2nd, 2009
10:20 am

Forecast for Stoolwater on Sat … Showers and 81 … Samuel b/w the tackles and Thomas on the sweep – all day long.

1eyedJack

September 2nd, 2009
10:22 am

We are going to scalp enough cowboys to make Custer’s last stand look like a girl fight!

uuugh...

September 2nd, 2009
10:23 am

He should be scared…all of the expectations are on them. Looks like Gundy’s media blackout last week didn’t work. I guess there are so many pretty girls in Stillwater that it makes CB’s drive on suspended licenses and TE’s up and quit the team! Tough luck on the LB injury…I wish a rash of injuries on no team after last year.

Only a few days now…SWEET! Let’s embarass the Big 12 and another one of their 7 on 7 offenses!

As my 2 year says when asked about football: “Doe Dawds!”

SimpleDawg

September 2nd, 2009
10:23 am

The Okie Pokeys look good getting off of the bus…..they will be exposed Saturday in Stillwater….

Look like Tarzan, play like Jane.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 2nd, 2009
10:23 am

Hey guys give those Tech fans some time to adjust. All this excitement over on North Ave is new to them. A lot of them have never experienced it. Some it has been awhile. Be kind to our friends over there they do have something to look forward to this fall. Good luck bees!

jaglaw

September 2nd, 2009
10:29 am

just hope that the dawgs can tackle those quick receivers in cox and bryant. if someone puts the wood on them early…..game set..its over. one thing that always seems to suprise ooc teams is how hard the the sec defenses hit. thereafter, those teams fall quickly, no matter how great their offense. lay the wood to them early and often, set the tone.

murfdawg

September 2nd, 2009
10:29 am

If you have your team scared of a pregame handshake, how can you have them prepared for “collision/contact/violent game?” Is Gundy a sly fox trying to set up the Dawgs to be overconfident? Or is he scared he doesn’t have a #9 team? Stay tuned for another exciting chapter in The Young and the Clueless.

jaglaw

September 2nd, 2009
10:30 am

correction, cox is not a receiver but a returner. oops

jaglaw

September 2nd, 2009
10:33 am

I WONDER……would CMR allow a kid play the week of an arrest? I bet if cox would have been arrested next week, he wouldnt be playing against Rice……wow Rice??%%!!!

senoiadawgs

September 2nd, 2009
10:34 am

My plans for Sat. like every UGA opener year in and out. Shoot some doves, listen to the dogs on the radio except with the good game this year, catch the 2nd half with the boys and some dinner.

Can’t wait!!!!

Go DAWGS!!!!

[...] I have meetings this afternoon, so I’m not sure if I’ll be back on the blog today. In the meantime, if you haven’t checked out my report on Richt’s talk to the Touchdown Club Tuesday night, here it is. [...]

SatchelBuzz

September 2nd, 2009
10:38 am

Memo to all Georgia fans,…..late November can’t get here soon enough, but you’d do well to concern yourself with this Saturday. Don’t worry,..we’ll be waiting on you.

THWG!

Topp Dogg

September 2nd, 2009
10:40 am

Its a good thing all you like is hairy Arabs , because that describes GT population, both men and women Rumble On.

1eyedJack

September 2nd, 2009
10:49 am

gdawginkalamazoo

I have no friends over on North Ave.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 2nd, 2009
10:49 am

jaglaw, is that kid that got cuffed going to play Saturday?

1eyedJack

September 2nd, 2009
10:50 am

Way back when I broke up with my HS sweatheart because she was accepted and went to GT.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 2nd, 2009
10:55 am

OSU has some players on that team. Good QB, great WR and a 1500+ yard RB suiting up Saturday. The RB scares me the most, especially if he gets most of his yardage around the corners we may be in trouble.
I just want to win the damn game and have everybody get out healthy. No call for embarrassing anybody or any conference. The Big 12 had THE conference to watch last year.

1eyedjack, me either but it sounds diplomatic doesn’t it? I prefer the beatdown on the field.

Mike Gundy

September 2nd, 2009
10:58 am

I’m not man enough to beat Georgia.

GetOverIt

September 2nd, 2009
11:10 am

I wouldnt have worried about the GT part 1handJack, its the sweat part that would have sent me running.

Saint Simons

September 2nd, 2009
11:19 am

OSU 48 uga 3

ToccoaDawg

September 2nd, 2009
11:35 am

Dont count the Hokey Pokeys out just yet. Gundy will have his team fired up.

ToccoaDawg

September 2nd, 2009
11:40 am

1eyedjack that was for the best. If you had married her your kids would have been real confused from the techie side of the family.

Maryland Dawg

September 2nd, 2009
11:40 am

Saint Simons,

Have you got your Klingon costume ready for the dragoncon parade?

Roll Tide Roll

September 2nd, 2009
11:54 am

Make the SEC proud. The Tide should be the ones giving UGA the beatdowns.

Kendawg

September 2nd, 2009
1:15 pm

If UGA wins Saturday, will we hear once again that the opponent was “overrated”?

mexdawg

September 2nd, 2009
1:29 pm

Look for an SEC sweep this weekend,USC over NC ST,AL over VT and of course the DAWGS over the pokes.I can’t believe it’s finally here.GATA and LET THE BIG DAWG EAT.

Jackets Always Dissappoint

September 2nd, 2009
3:37 pm

Look for teck to escape the Jacksonville game a la Gardner Webb.

Denver Dog

September 2nd, 2009
5:20 pm

Ok Techies, get some new lines anyway…………Oh yeah you don’t have any.

I like the coache’s synopsis. I think that we will see a good scrap in TBoone stadium. I don’t understand the brawl comments by the OSU coach. I haven’t seen a lot of reasons to have ever thought that unless that is what he is coaching. Looking for a big running day myself. They will have to play perfect to close down both the run and the pass, don’t think that they can. Our question is covering the passing attack. Dogs win by a couple of points, maybe evern O time. but that is how I see it. UGA 14-0 going to a BCS game, but not the championship. Mark it down

lance

September 2nd, 2009
6:13 pm

it is amazing how a measley 3point win can fuel the tech population! It just shows how pitiful they have been through the years of this rivalry.