As spring practice gets under way, Chris Low of ESPN.com has been visiting Athens and posted some interesting quotes from Mark Richt in which the coach touched on a number of topics, including his “gut-wrenching” decision to fire most of his defensive staff after last season.
But the two comments that jumped out at me were dealing with subjects near and dear to Dogs fans’ hearts: the quarterback battle and tailback Washaun Ealey.
Richt again said that he’d love to have the starting QB settled after spring practice but “chances of that are going to be fairly slim.” The main problem, he said, is that the quarterbacks aren’t hit in practice, so you don’t know how they’ll do in a real game. “Now, if we decided to make every quarterback live, we’d probably know a lot more about him at the end of the spring. But it’s not worth taking that risk.”
And the matter won’t necessarily be closed when a starter is picked, Richt acknowledged. “You may think you’ve got your No. 1 and then you start playing the games and you’re on national TV and the bullets are flying. Sometimes, you’re three, four or five games into it before you get a gut feeling of who it should be or you’re really certain who it should be.”
OK, that’s not exactly a scenario Dogs fans want to envision.
But we can take comfort in the fact that Richt said Ealey has shown up big in the offseason mat drills, is even faster than originally thought and looks to be a much improved tailback in 2010.
“Washaun will only be better next season,” Richt said. “He will be in much better condition, will understand much better what we’re trying to do, and he’ll understand what it means to play in the league.”
Again, you get the definite impression that Richt and Mike Bobo are thinking they’re going to be leaning heavily on their running game, at least to start with, until they feel comfortable with whoever winds up at QB.
DOGS IN SEC ELITE FOR THE DECADE
Mark Inabinett of the Mobile Press-Register broke down the SEC records for the past decade (2000-2009), and the Dogs generally rank in the top three no matter how you look at it.
In overall record, Georgia (98-31) came in third behind Florida (100-30) and LSU (99-31). If you go by conference record, Georgia (55-25) was tied with LSU behind Florida (61-19). For nonconference record, the Dogs (43-6) were second behind LSU (44-6) and ahead of the mighty Gators (39-11). Going by record against other BCS conferences, Georgia (21-5) was on top, followed by LSU (13-4), Kentucky (9-5), Florida (13-10) and Auburn (10-10) and Alabama (7-7).
Finally, he notes that Florida, Georgia and LSU were the only SEC teams that went to bowls after every season of the decade.
A pretty impressive record.