Richt not giving anything away in talk to fans

Coach Mark Richt told fans in Athens he liked what he saw this spring. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Coach Mark Richt told fans in Athens he liked what he saw this spring. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

While it’s billed as Mark Richt’s annual “State of the Bulldog Nation” address, his appearance at the Touchdown Club of Athens spring meeting at the Athens Country Club Monday night was really just a relaxed overview of the progress the Dogs made this spring.

Richt was talking with the friendliest of audiences — at one point he scanned the crowd and said, “Hi Dad. I love that guy” and at another point looked over at Bulldog fixture Loran Smith and teased, “Wake up, Loran!” But the coach still played it close to the vest on the upcoming post-spring depth chart at quarterback. “I’m not going to give away anything, because it’ll be all over the Internet,” he said with a grin. (Smart man.)

He alluded to the lack of a clear-cut starter at QB, however, by saying, “I think we have more than one answer at that position.”

And he offered an assessment of each of the quarterbacks’ performance at G-Day, starting with a defense of presumptive front-runner Aaron Murray. “The spring game for Murray is not indicative of how he practiced. It was not his best day,” Richt said. Zach Mettenberger, Richt said, had previously “shown flashes” of the performance that wowed fans on Saturday, but “that was one of his better days.” And Logan Gray’s play on G-Day was “about the middle of what he’s done.”

Overall, Richt said, “I really liked what happened in the spring.”

He had high praise for new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. “It took me so long to get the right guy,” Richt said, adding that some day he’ll tell “the whole story” of that hiring process, but not this night. Grantham, he said, is a man with “a plan,” but this spring he had to teach the other coaches his 3-4 defensive scheme as well as teaching the players. Sometimes, Richt said, Grantham “is, quite frankly, the only one out there who knows what’s going on!”

When one fan questioned why there often were four defensive linemen in a three-point stance on Saturday, Richt noted that the 3-4 scheme sometimes looks deceptively similar to the 4-3 when one of the outside linebackers “has his hand down on the ground.” Richt said what he particularly likes about the 3-4 is that “in the 4-3 it’s very obvious who the four rushers are” while in the 3-4 there are the three down linemen and the fourth rusher can be any one of the four linebackers. So the offense “is not sure where the pressure’s coming from. It’s much more confusing for an offense.”

It also “really allows you to get after the quarterback,” who is the one person on the field most likely to make a mistake and turn over the ball, he said.

Playing against the developing 3-4 defense was also good for Mike Bobo’s offense, Richt said. After nine years of the offensive coaches knowing what to expect from their defensive counterparts, the new system “kept them on their toes.”

Among Richt’s other comments:

  • He had not seen tailback Washaun Ealey’s tussle with defensive back Nick Williams until he watched the CSS replay of the G-Day game on Sunday night. “Washaun will be disciplined” for taking a swing at Williams, he said.
  • One fan asked whether Georgia being so deep this year at tight end might result in Orson Charles playing wide receiver some. Richt said he didn’t want to give anything away, but asked rhetorically, “Can Orson play receiver? He can.” Even last year Charles was often “flexed out” from his usual position, Richt said, and is considered a “mismatch” against the linebackers or safeties who have to cover him in such situations. The coaches have big plans for Charles. “We’ll have a little section of the game plan for him, just like we’ve got an A.J. Green section,” Richt said.
  • Despite all the veterans on the offensive line, Richt said he thinks redshirt freshman Chris Burnette “is going to be able to help us this year, whether at center or guard.”
  • Assessing the safeties in the new defensive scheme, Richt said Bacarri Rambo “has probably picked it up the best, though he has missed a couple of open-field tackles” and still has some work to do. Nick Williams has “a chance to play a lot,” he said, and junior college transfer Jakar Hamilton “we’re very pleased with. That guy will play for sure this year.”
  • Will former tailback Richard Samuel be able to help the team at linebacker? “I don’t think there’s any doubt he will,” Richt said. “But will it be this season? I’m not certain.” He said if Samuel winds up one of the “top two” at his position, he’ll play this year. If he isn’t one of the top two, a redshirt year is more likely.
  • Asked to cite some of the leaders of this year’s team, Richt mentioned the offensive line of Clint Boling, Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones, Chris Davis and Josh Davis, along with receiver Kris Durham and linebacker Akeem Dent. And, he said, “Darryl Gamble has a desire” to be a leader.
  • Richt also said that after his surprise announcement at the Lettermen’s Club dinner last week that Reuben Faloughi, winner of the walk-on of the spring award, had earned a full scholarship, the young man was in tears. Aside from being in the locker room after winning a championship, Richt said, “giving a walk-on a scholarship is about as fun as it gets” for a coach. Faloughi, he said, is “very smart and he’s got some skills to be able to play some coverage.” He told Faloughi (Fa-LOW-gi), whose name was mispronounced in the G-Day coverage, “you make a couple of tackles and they’ll learn how to say your name,” noting that at first David Pollack was called “Po-lack” by some announcers.

46 comments Add your comment

Go DAwgs!!

April 13th, 2010
10:17 am

Mirna from smyrna

April 13th, 2010
10:22 am

Good stuff Bill! Thanks.
Now we settle in for the long summer……

wsewell525

April 13th, 2010
10:30 am

honestly, it doesn’t matter who our quarterback is, we are going to win. Just maybe though Mettenberger is more of a game player instead of a practice player. That’s what I was. Anyways, as long as the defense can produce turnovers our running backs will be able to make work of short field position. Also, our return game will be even better this year. We win off of special teams, and defense!

Bremen Dawg

April 13th, 2010
10:36 am

Good article Bill.

UGA ALL THE WAY

April 13th, 2010
10:38 am

Agreed Bill, nice article. Thanks for gettin the blood flowin till fall…

JimDawg

April 13th, 2010
10:42 am

CMR is always going to keep it close to the vest. That’s his job. Congrats to Faloughi, I hope we here his name called often next fall. My guess is that the defense will be slow to grasp the new defense through the first half of the year but will improve in the second half. I can’t wait to see Washaun’s second season. If he can go over 1,000 yds next year, we will win a lot of games.

Red Clay Hound

April 13th, 2010
10:51 am

Now that’s what I’m talking about Bill. Good job!

Delusional Dawg

April 13th, 2010
10:55 am

Has Richt contacted Nick Stephens yet?

Richt's Rule

April 13th, 2010
11:05 am

The Dawgs are loaded and ready for an SEC East title. Florida’s way down—this is the year for the Dawgs to take control, beat Florida and go to the SEC title game.

Murray

April 13th, 2010
11:22 am

Good article. I still think Murray is the front runner. If Bobo will just get him out of the pocket, so he can see the field better, then I think he will look better. Also, there were a lot of dropped passes that were thrown really well.

Dwayne(gator hater)

April 13th, 2010
11:23 am

It does not matter where Fla. is, until the Dawgs beat them, they are the favorite in the East. Ease up on the kool-aide.

[...] what folks learned about the Dawgs during spring practice?7.  Mark Richt doesn’t want fans reading to much into the G-Day performances of his QBs.8.  Quarterback isn’t the only position battle that will drag on until fall.9.  [...]

Otto

April 13th, 2010
11:38 am

Sounds like MEtt really changed what CMR was expecting to annouce at the TD Club. Keep up the good work Mett. I want a QB that is a gamer on the field not a practice and QB mechanics pet.

common sense

April 13th, 2010
11:39 am

@richts rule: I hope you’re right. Florida is loaded with talent and that game will be tough. Arkansas and Auburn worry me too. USC should be manageable as long as we don’t give away to much in the La-lafayette game. The late bye could be an issue also.

Hopeful

April 13th, 2010
11:43 am

I am hopeful that we don’t give up 3 quick TDs to someone. If we do, all the secrets will quickly be revealed.

How2fish

April 13th, 2010
11:54 am

Dwayne(gator hater) until we beat them the Gators are the East fave’s and rightfully so…but that is the kind of change I could believe in !

Real Texas Dawg

April 13th, 2010
11:57 am

HitMan was lacking the “hits” Saturday…..hope the #23 is not a curse!

DawginLex

April 13th, 2010
12:09 pm

guaranteeing victory over the gators in 2010 is like a techie doing the same about us.

I believe this team will struggle coming out of the gate and be really good the last half of the season. If we can squeeze a win out in the chicken coop, we could be in position to play for the East.

RedandBlack

April 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

Mettenberger clearly played with more consistency and drive throughout the game as he continuously led his team downfield. I did not see “Flashes of Brilliance”. I saw good, consistent decision making that resulted in downfield progression. Gray may have exuded some similar traits, but definitely not from Murray. Hutson Mason should bring additional heat to the fire for this QB competition when he arrives this Summer. This competition only makes the Bulldogs better. Go Dogs!!

Minnesota Dawg

April 13th, 2010
1:08 pm

Thanks Bill for your blog. It’s a salve for my longing heart up here in Minnesota land. Only thing I don’t like is all the dawg haters! I guess when you are feared, you will be hated. Go DAWGS!!!

Dwayne(gator hater)

April 13th, 2010
1:31 pm

I’d love for the Dawgs to beat the gators. The closer it gets to kickoff, the more kool-aide I drink. It is difficult to pick them to beat S. Carolina, Tenn., and Florida. CMR does not strike me as a motavator like meyer, saban and spurrier. I hope i am wrong.

Reality Dog

April 13th, 2010
2:23 pm

Georgia upsets florida in Jax—-GA 29 Fl 27

You heard it here first!

Bill King is a ..................

April 13th, 2010
2:34 pm

I dont understand why Richt has to “play it close to the vest?” We arent good enough to be keeping these things a secret. We all know what the bama’s and uf are going to do. They dont hide anything!! They line up and whip asses!!! When will we get to the point where we can send a team our game plan and dare them to stop us??? We need to name a damn starter at QB and let him start taking more reps that a starting QB normally gets. Thats why none of them(QB’s) look that good….they arent getting enough practice!! They have to shaarre it with the others. God forbid they get hurt feelings. Obviously, MR didnt learn his lesson at qb with Joe TIII. You would think he woulda learned by keeping the ‘crash test dummy’ (Cox)at qb last year because he was a 5th yr senior and had waited his turn. Make a damn decision at qb and lets go with it!!!! For F’s sake!!! oh and GO DAWGS!!!

RxDawg

April 13th, 2010
2:40 pm

Well that was a great spring season…

Now we wait. Patiently, hungry.

Dawg Stephen

April 13th, 2010
2:47 pm

I love how the imposters can post, but i am still heavily restricted. No matter. Still writing circles around ya Bill, and you know it. Much better information for free. Over on the blog, you wont let me link.

RxDawg

April 13th, 2010
3:04 pm

It’s free here too Dawg Stephen. I don’t have a problem with you posting a link to your blog though. In fact there is a long list of different blogs on the right side of each blog post by Bill. Maybe it’s one of those “it should go here, not there” kind of things.

Dawg Stephen

April 13th, 2010
3:20 pm

No, RX dawg, I have been banned from listing my link here. I am able to on Tim Tucker or Mark Bradley’s blog… Its personal, because I told Bill off in an email for how he seems to switch sides. Its ok.

St. Stephen

April 13th, 2010
3:57 pm

Bill is a no-neck troll. Being petty goes right along with trolldom…don’t take it personal Stephen.

DawgBuzz

April 13th, 2010
5:59 pm

CMR alluded to the lack of a clear-cut starter at QB, however, by saying, “I think we have more than one answer at that position.” I like his thinking here. Hope Mett wins the starting job ( even though he can’t start the first game ).

Doggie Stevie

April 13th, 2010
8:46 pm

yep you’re a real fan…want a little cheese with that whine…grow up and take your ball and go home…why would you even want to post on someone else’s blog where the man obviously doesn’t want you…quit your whining and tuck your tail between your legs, get dressed up in your UGA game jersey, look in the mirror and keep telling yourself what a great writer you are…dolt

Tally Dawg Fan

April 13th, 2010
9:20 pm

i know how Mark hired Todd. He spent many hours in prayer seeking God’s wisdom in making this decision as well as his decision to let previous coaches go. He is a man of faith who constantly leans on God for guidance and direction.

AltamahaDawg

April 13th, 2010
9:24 pm

Thank goodness the man finally figured out that there is an internet and guards his words now.

Dawg Stephen (The Real One)

April 13th, 2010
9:39 pm

Hey Doggie. Not necessarily complaining my links are blocked as much as I am that trash like you can come on without any restrictions and post. The only reason I want my link on here is for my own personal blog to get read more anyhow. I have a faithful following, so its ok, I will still come here, just think its pretty childish to allow posts and links from everyone else, but to only exclude my posts when it includes a link. If i leave the link out, I get through.

And all because I told the truth and told the facts. Bill isnt as good as he says, he is too critical when he has no idea sometimes what he is saying, and his picture scares the children.

Las Vegas Chainsaw

April 13th, 2010
9:56 pm

What the he// is the big deal in Coach Richt not naming a starter yet. Did they moved the opening game to May? Let the man do what he has done the last nine years, he’ has the most class of any coach in the nation. Those of you crying about Coach not naming a starter need to get back to working the drive thru window…breaks over!

Doggie Stevie

April 13th, 2010
11:05 pm

Hey Doggie…I’ve look at your site and like I said go put on your football team jersey…if you have a problem w/ this blog, then stay the h3ll off and stick to the others that permit you to put your link out there…been listening to your cheerleading for two years now and all you have is an opinion, just like the rest of us…cry baby

FalconUGAFan

April 14th, 2010
6:57 am

Good stuff, Bill.

Dawg Stephen, a little unsolicited advice. Stop the bickering on the blog. You are hurting your site. Stick to the facts about the Dawgs and people will come to it.

Will

April 14th, 2010
9:40 am

This season comes down to one game and one game only at this point. That is our trip to the armpit of the south…… Columbia, SC! If we show up and lay an egg as we have done there before our season is in major trouble and we are probably looking at another 2nd or 3rd tier bowl. However, if we can eke out a win look for an 11-1 or 10-2 BCS season. I hope we bring so much pressure on Garcia he wishes he was back home stealing hubcaps again.

Delusional Dawg

April 14th, 2010
9:45 am

I love it when the fans come on these blogs in the off season to make bold comments about beating Florida and then follow that with a statement like “take it to the bank!”. I always think to myself, based on what?? Surely not based on CMR record vs Fla or any kind of recent trend or certainly any kind of logic. And I notice those same proclaimers of “take it to the bank” or “book it” usually end up “broke” and “bankrupt” in by early November.

you forgot one Del. DAWG

April 14th, 2010
10:11 am

Don’t forget the “Wait Until Next Year”… this quote is made after CMR goes with the wrong player at a position out of some kind of loyalty (like it’s not enough to provide a free ride), refuses to take the redshirt off a RB, QB, WR, refuses to get involved with the DC or the OC because he’s playing CEO…

How2fish

April 14th, 2010
3:22 pm

Delusional Dawg those guys annoy me also….you win on the field not on a blog….but that being said I HOPE we can win THIS year… and I think we will have a decent shot but until we HAVE I will give the Gators the grudging respect they have won on the field.

Bulldog59

April 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

Regardless of the starting QB, the Bulldog Nation is hoping for a less predictable and more wide-open offense in 2010. Many opponents could tell what we were about to run based on a pre-snap read and the associated down-and-distance. Maybe that was due to the limited abilities of Joe Cox in 2009? We don’t expect huge changes from the offensive scheme, just a few more wrinkles to keep the D guessing!

The D

April 14th, 2010
5:33 pm

Do you think Richt meant we have two possible starters with Mett being the drop back passer and Murray or Gray being a more run oriented QB???? Hopefully it is down to just two soon! Go Dawgs

UGA 2010

April 15th, 2010
4:02 am

Dont scare the children!!!

Alaska Dawg

April 16th, 2010
9:05 pm

Awesome work, as usual, Bill. I am so proud the Dawg nation has Richt. I would never trade him for that clown Urban Meyer. Go Dawgs!!!!!

Richt Rules

April 17th, 2010
9:45 am

With Richt’s class, UGA should be much better than florida and alabama. 2010 should be a big year.

TheMatadorSports | Zach will not be back

April 19th, 2010
11:00 am

[...] depth chart for QB at the University of Georgia just got a little shorter on Sunday. Coach Mark Richt dismissed from the team troubled QB Zach Mettenberger. The redshirt freshman was poised to be the [...]