It’s that time of year when Georgia fans examine every comment Mark Richt makes for clues to what we can expect on the field this fall. So far this spring, Richt has pretty much stayed on an even keel, as he usually does, although he has sounded optimistic enough to have stoked expectations up a notch or so among many in the Bulldog Nation.
Despite all the questions about an inexperienced quarterback and revamped defense, I’m hearing more and more fans saying they expect the Dogs to achieve 10 wins this season, at the very least.
How realistic that is, we can’t really say until we see the team perform.
So we look for clues from Richt. So far I like what I’m hearing for the most part, including some comments he made in a recent interview with Fox Sports South.
Asked whether tight end Orson Charles can take pressure off A.J. Green on the outside just as well as any secondary receiver, Richt said flatly, “He can. In our base set — two receivers and a tight end — he is basically on the same side of the field as A.J. So if they choose to double A.J., there’s no way they can also double the tight end right next to him, so Orson — and Aron White for that matter — really benefited from the double teams that A.J. was getting. Now that Orson has established himself in our TE position, people are going to have to think twice about leaving a linebacker on these guys.”
On the subject of which defensive players are most likely to thrive in the new 3-4 scheme, Richt said Justin Houston is “going to benefit from it. I think he’s going to be put into a position to make a lot of plays for us. On the other side, opposite him is Cornelius Washington. Cornelius is a guy who is tailor-made for this defense as it will allow him to become more of a playmaker. Quite frankly, he’s matured to the point physically and mentally where this should be a big year for him whether we had changed our defensive scheme or not.”
When asked whether there’s a new slogan like “Finish the drill” to sum up 2010 Georgia football, Richt put the emphasis in the right place by answering, “Win the turnover margin.”
Not as colorful perhaps, but very much to the point.
And for us old-school fans there was this summation of how the players are approaching the season: “I would just say that our guys are looking forward to playing hard and getting after people, really going back to the Vince Dooley and Erk Russell days, we just want to get after people. I think that’s going to be an attitude that this team is really going to embrace.”
GATA, in other words.
Some might portray this as just offseason pandering to what the fans want to hear, but everything we know about Todd Grantham points toward a more aggressive style of play on defense. And aside from Aaron Murray, the Dogs will have a veteran offense.
I think the optimism is well-founded. What about you?