Richt on quarterbacks, turnovers, kickoffs and punishing Washaun Ealey

Mark Richt on kickoffs: "What do you want to hear?" (Associated Press)

Mark Richt on kickoffs: "What do you want to hear?" (Associated Press)

An extremely animated Mark Richt charmed the Touchdown Club of Athens Tuesday night with a mixture of humor and humility, even doing a passable Bobby Bowden imitation, but he refused to be put on the spot about his plans for backup quarterback Hutson Mason.

Asked by a member of the audience at the Athens Country Club if Georgia fans will see the No. 2 quarterback play Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette, Richt smiled. “That’s a really good question,” he said. “I wish you didn’t ask me that.”

He did say again that it’s been the subject of discussion by the coaches, but “I’d like to tell Hutson before I tell everyone else.”

Talking about starter Aaron Murray, Richt asked fans to be patient. “Murray’s going to be learning,” he said. “Murray’s going to make mistakes.”

At the same time, Richt said, with a veteran cast around him on offense, “he’s got about as good a situation as you can have coming in as a freshman quarterback.”

“Murray’s got what it takes,” Richt said, “But he doesn’t have the experience.” The coach cited a couple of key errors Murray made in the Dogs’ recent practice game. In one situation, when the defense sniffed out a screen pass, the young quarterback scrambled around and got sacked, taking the offense out of field goal range. Later, in a goal-line situation, he at first avoided throwing into coverage but then scrambled again and threw what would have been an interception had the scout team defender not dropped the ball.

Because it was in a game-like setting, “the point was driven home better to him,” Richt said. “But that’s the kind of thing he has to live through. You just want to get them out of the way in practice.”

Still, Richt cautioned, Georgia doesn’t allow quarterbacks to be hit in practice, so “that kid hasn’t been hit in a game in two years,” and how he reacts to real competition will be the key.

A fan noted that Murray had impressive running stats in high school, but Richt said he’s tried to teach Murray that he doesn’t have to be “the hero” in college. “He’s used to scrambling and making plays. But he’s got to understand you can’t just run around in this league and be a playmaker when the guys that weigh 280 pounds are just as fast or faster than you.”

In other comments Tuesday night, Richt said:

The season’s first Dawg Walk through the Tate Center parking lot into Sanford Stadium is scheduled for 10:20 Saturday morning. Richt urged fans to turn out for it because “it does mean a lot to our players.” And he said that, per his custom, he’ll participate in the first walk. “I go to one a year,” he said, joking, “I go to the first one because I know we’re undefeated and that’s when I like to walk through the crowd.”

Richt again said his No. 1 message to his team this year has been fixing the turnover ratio. “Flip that stat and we probably win 10 or 11 games last year. Make them beat us. Let’s not beat ourselves.” Along those lines, he said, in practice players are disciplined for every turnover or penalty and then after practice their unit is also disciplined.

The subject of kickoffs, a fan pet peeve over the past couple of years when Blair Walsh frequently was asked to kick directionally to a corner rather than go for a touchback, prompted Richt to get loud. “What do you want to hear? We’ll let him kick it as far as he can? Yeah!” But Richt added that while Walsh has been told he can “kick it away,” if the receiver takes a kick five yards in the end zone and then gets a long return, “you’ll know why we say some hang time is necessary. Fans sometimes don’t seem to understand that.”

The head coach lamented that he didn’t get to see the Dogs’ veteran offensive line practicing together every day during preseason camp because of injuries and illness, and he noted that Cordy Glenn dropped 15 pounds during his bout with mono.

He referred to tailback Washaun Ealey’s “really dumb decision” to drive on a suspended license after being told not to. “He blew it,” Richt said, and is paying the price by not only sitting out the first game but getting up at 5:45 every morning for punishment running and by sitting on the sidelines at practice most of the time with the fourth string. “I know it’s killing him,” Richt said, “but you’ve got to pay a price.” He added that everyone on the team except two players (one of them being Ealey) has a valid driver’s or motorcycle permit.

New UGA athletic director Greg McGarity also was at the Touchdown Club dinner, where he was greeted warmly by many old friends. After former Georgia player Bobby Poss, part of the usual entertainment at Touchdown Club meetings, had finished up his wisecrack-filled door prize session with one of his infamous jokes, McGarity said, “I really feel home now after hearing Bobby Poss get up here and speak.”

McGarity also singled out UGA radio personality Loran Smith, saying, “I don’t think you get all the credit you deserve,” and said of Richt: “I think our program is in great hands.”

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103 comments Add your comment

5150 P.O.A.D

September 1st, 2010
3:59 pm

Scary thing is that B. Curry, B. Ross, G. O’Leary, Chan Gailey, and Jon Tenuta All got a Head Coaching or DC job after his time at Tech. No, nada, not one team has ever called to try and get Richt or Bobo to be their head coach or OC after their time at UGA. What ever happened to

1eyedJack

September 1st, 2010
4:02 pm

George, congradulations on gradiating sixth grade.

5150 P.O.A.D

September 1st, 2010
4:05 pm

sorry: Whatever happened to Dooley, Goff, and Donnan after their time at UGA? Dooley was forced out as the AD and he was old so I give that a pass, but the other UGA coaches did so little with so much talent that NOBODY wanted these guys to run their programs.

how2fish

September 1st, 2010
4:13 pm

5150 P.O.A.D what ever happened to selling out the Joke By Joke for the season opener this year..I’ll give you a hint…Dragon Con..what time will you be there?

5150 P.O.A.D

September 1st, 2010
4:13 pm

1eyed waht did George say that was wrong?

5150 P.O.A.D

September 1st, 2010
4:16 pm

how3fish Dad and I will be at Tech for the game about 11:45. What time will you be at the UGA game? DragonCon is no joke. It is a HUGE money maker for downtown Atlanta. People dress crazy for the show once a year, but I see a few Dressed and painted Dawgs(grown men too) for every dawg game. Please tell me difference.

5150 P.O.A.D

September 1st, 2010
4:22 pm

1eyedJack what is GRADIATING? I didn’t learn about that in Elemenrary school.
Sorry I read it again and I know what Gradiating is. That is what a Heavy Equipment Operator does to get his license.

Oompa Loompa Dawg

September 1st, 2010
4:24 pm

Looks like CMR is trying to prepare everyone for the midget. I sense that this ” MTM ” may be a bust. Mason wont play till late in the 3rd qtr of the SC game when the chickens have the game all sewn up. BWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHh

BDAWG

September 1st, 2010
4:35 pm

CMR will be judged on how he handles adversity and how well this team performs this year. What he did the previous 9 years is in the past. With a program like UGA, we should never have to rebuild. If we recruit the way we are supposed to, we should be able to plug in the next guy and the train keeps on moving. The position of QB and RB should be overflowing with talent, but we can’t seem to attract top talent do to the pathetic playcalling. Everyone wants to bring up Matthew Stafford, but if his completion percentage was better, we probably would have won a NC. Oops, I forgot, we had a defense half coached by the great Willie Martinez. All I can say is that when we cleaned house on the defensive side, some of the offensive coaches should have been replaced. OC is a bust, the RB coach is suspect and the WR coach is not getting the job done either. The OL needs to be more aggressive and should be beating opposing lines up. The upcoming games will tell the story and I hope that I am very wrong because I want to win every game this year. GOooo Dawgs.

We_Run_This_Country

September 1st, 2010
4:48 pm

UGA WINS FULMER CUP!

AT LEAST YOU GUYS ARE CHAMPIONS AT SOMETHING!!! HAHAHAHA!

Oompa Loompa Dawg

September 1st, 2010
4:54 pm

Oh look at the midgets falling out of the sky !

Gratefuldawghead

September 1st, 2010
5:10 pm

AJ8 for Heisman!

Oompa Loompa Dawg

September 1st, 2010
5:37 pm

I love dudes

Dawgs Top

September 1st, 2010
5:50 pm

This will be the year of the dawg—Grantham’s nasty 3-4 D, best O-line in the SEC and power running game. Murray just has to manage the O. Florida’s way down and the Dawgs willt them apart—mark it down!

jerry

September 1st, 2010
6:01 pm

There are still people on these blogs who think that Richt gave Bobo the OC job because Richt could not handle it. I have not noticed Bobo being any better or any worse than Richt. Neither has proven to be exceptional so far.

drzlstrangelovejr

September 1st, 2010
6:04 pm

how2fish sucks. I am annoyed by him. He is not a UGA fan. He is only a CMR fan. Go away.

Pago Pago Dawg

September 1st, 2010
6:04 pm

We’re not sure why you people think UF will be down this year, they’ll just re-load and finish in the Top Five.

Paul in RDU

September 1st, 2010
6:13 pm

I have to applaud CMR. His discipline of Ealey looks about right to me – he’s punishing the kid where he feels it. Ealey knew his license had been suspended, promised the coaches he wouldn’t drive and then ignored them.
Bravo

Rabun Dawg

September 1st, 2010
7:18 pm

Hey Coach Richt, the reason Murray has no experience is mainly due to the fact that you did not pull the “redshirt” last year. Yea, I know, we arm chair QB’s know it all, but this one was no mystery with Cox not getting the job done. Better play Mason this year, or we may be back to square one again next year should something happen to Murray late in season. Me thinks every team needs to have two Qb’s ready to play, and it is obvious that Logan was not going to be the one! JMHO

PT

September 1st, 2010
7:26 pm

The locals are picking Tech to beat South Carolina and UGA to struggle the next week?

45ACP

September 1st, 2010
7:28 pm

Good read Bill. I don’t care what anyone says, I think Mark Richt is a great coach.

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 1st, 2010
8:32 pm

But Richt added that while Walsh has been told he can “kick it away,” if the receiver takes a kick five yards in the end zone and then gets a long return, “you’ll know why we say some hang time is necessary. Fans sometimes don’t seem to understand that.”

I like that.

I guess I was confused all year out how the opposing team seemed to always end up starting between the 32 and 45 after every kickoff.

I guess field position means nothing in this sport. Wow I must be a dumb fan

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

Since Im a dumb fan

Bill could you have Richt explain

why we keep getting beat downs by FL and why I have to donate so much to endure this crap

Ed

September 1st, 2010
8:55 pm

Us dumb fans don’t know much about anything. We think Georgia should kick it deep, since it couldn’t be worse than the great field position our opponents get with “directional kicking.” Also, many of us don’t understand why, with an ineffective senior quarterback, our quarterbacks of the future stood on the sideline and watched all last year. Dooley let Buck play in ‘78, and he lead us to comeback victory against Tech and generally progressed nicely from there. Finally, we can’t figure out why Richt can’t motivate his team to play rivals like Florida and Auburn without resorting to embarrassing endzone celebrations and cheesy uniform changes…that don’t work. We can’t figure out why Richt didn’t discover until the end of the ‘09 season that Willie Martinez was a hapless defensive coordinator. Most of us started to figure it out as early as the ‘06 Sugar Bowl. Finally, we silly fans can’t figure where the beloved head coach who roamed the sidelines from ‘01-’05 went. The guy we’ve seen the last 3 years looks a lot like him, but otherwise doesn’t seem like the same guy at all.

mike

September 1st, 2010
9:17 pm

A little tough on Richt there Ed aren’t you? Could it be that you may not know everything that the coaches do? Naw, I’m sure you know more.

savannah dawg

September 1st, 2010
9:29 pm

Loran Smith is as big a part of Georgia football as anyone who has ever been associated with Georgia football. Not one person in this beautiful state loves the DAWGS more than Loran. I dread the day when there is no more Loran Smith on the radio. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

savannah dawg

September 1st, 2010
9:39 pm

Loran Smith is as big a part of Georgia football as any person who has ever been associated with Georgia football. It will be a sad day when there is no more Loran Smith roaming the sidelines for the DAWGS!!!!

Man Enough

September 1st, 2010
9:45 pm

Pago Pago Dawg, I agree with you about UF. They will reload and will still be tough. I keep hearing all these Dawg fans talking how we will beat them now that lord Tebow is gone. I’m not buying it until I see us play a game or two and see how we look this year. But what is encouraging to me more than Tebow being gone is CCS being gone. I know they still will have the talent but I do feel that their D will hurt some after losing Strong. I feel like we will match up better against them than we have for a while, but I want to see how we look first. I’m not getting to up or down on our team this year, just a wait and see thing. But we have to step up, not rely on them falling back.

On a side note, I do hope to see Mason get some playing time Saturday. If not then I think Gray needs to get some reps in at qb. I’ve got a feeling CMR will play Mason when them score/time is right. He does seem worried about the lack of experience at the position, so I think he wants to get Mason involved just in case.

AltamahaDawg

September 1st, 2010
10:51 pm

At what point, in exactly what game would you have pulled Cox out and inserted a true freshman that had not been able to practise at full strength? It’s often said we should have played Murray…where and when? IN hindsight that woudl ahve been nice but its really not that simple. As I recall, that team and this fan base was pretty intend on winning as many game as possible at the time, not tomorrow. No coach would have done a substitution in a critical game or situation. Mop up duty I suppose except that there really was so little of that and does it really do a kid much good to play in a blowout when they aren’t going to be calling anything but a set 3 plays. Compared to what he can learn studying film and on the practise field? Do you waste an entire year of eligibility for that? The types of situation that Richt was desribing that Murray needed to recognize and make better decisions are NOT what he was going to be facing in mop up duty. They can simulate that just as well in a controlled scrimmage.

Not to mention that he was NOT the backup QB last year. Gray was. You play the back up just in case he should have to come in. And typically he is not giving up any eligibility to do so. Not sure you stick a third stringer in so that he can just say he played a few downs but lost what would have been his absolute highest quality year in his career in the back end.

I do agree that Mason is sitting in a different situation this year.

AltamahaDawg

September 1st, 2010
11:00 pm

Ed, UGA kicked it off as deep as as any team in the conference last year. Deeper than most. It’s time to bury that dead horse. ONE fraking year 2008 we had a short KO plan, with a freshman kicker that admitted losing leg stregnth as the year went on. The reason he talks about hangtime for the dumb fans is that they refuse to realize it not where the ball lands that matters as much as where it’s spotted after the other team makes a long runback. Kicking deep wasnt the problem last year.

AltamahaDawg

September 1st, 2010
11:07 pm

BTW I was at the 07 UF game , were you. I wasn’t embarrrased in the least and I thought it worked like a charm. I don’t know any real UGA fas that wouldnt agree. I have also been to all of the black jersey games, and half the time is was great. That AU black out might have been the most exciting game I have been to in Sanford in 20 yrs. So, you know, speak for yourself.

12-2

September 2nd, 2010
1:48 am

“Richt on Wednesday voiced his preference: that the Bulldogs play only one nonconference game a season against a team from a BCS conference.”

“We’ve been doing it, but I don’t think we need to do it anymore, quite frankly,” Richt said. “I don’t think anybody in the league needs to do it. I think if we win our out of conference games and win the league, we’ll be in really great position.”

“This league is strong enough and if you go overboard on that it may hurt your chances on being able to win the league title,” Richt said. “Even though it’s an out of conference game, it still takes emotion and energy and travel time and everything else.”

You left that OUT, as you did Coach Richt THROWING MATTHEW STAFFORD UNDER THE BUS AS NO DAMN GOOD.

AltamahaDawg

September 2nd, 2010
6:55 am

Quantum leap there, Boweevil.

papadawg

September 2nd, 2010
7:18 am

I can’t wait to see how this new defense works

The Most Interesting Man Alive

September 2nd, 2010
8:11 am

Man enough, your name says it all. Fact is both teams lost enough from last year to not know what to expect Saturday. I believe UGA will have a little tougher time saturday simply because La Laf was better than Miami of Oh last year and the heat in Athens shouldn’t bother a team who has been training in La compared to a team who has had fall camp in Ohio. Go Gators and Go Dawgs(except once a year).

James T. Kirk

September 2nd, 2010
8:22 am

BirdDog

September 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

Some of you need to be reminded that Murray had shoulder tendinitis last year and wasn’t 100%. But I guess you “experts” would have played him anyway…

Lonnie

September 2nd, 2010
8:34 am

Serious Dawg fans need to start organizing and demanding that Richt be fired. Otherwise, sports writers will be asking the same questions this time a year from now.

Richt represents mediocrity. Saban and Meyer represent excellence and championships. Richt simply isn’t in their class, nor will he ever be. Richt would have to be incredibly lucky to win the division, and the odds against him winning the SEC championship would be at least 50:1.

Those are the simple facts, and there’s no amount of enthusiasm or cheerleading or Top 5 recruiting classes that can get around it.

As they say in poker, “Read ‘em and weep.”

Sojourner

September 2nd, 2010
8:37 am

Attention, everyone, especially dawgtards. We will now observe a moment of silence in memory of Saint Jan Kemp, who exposed the shameful practices at UGA that were initiated and carried out by slimeball Vince Dooley. Dooley’s image as a coach and a nice guy were forever shattered during the trial, not to mention the one million dollars that dawgtards had to pay Saint Jan. These practices of recruiting morons and coddling them for four years, them tossing them out like garbage, are still going on, but at least the world knows what’s going on now.

And now, the moment of silence…
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Thank you, you may resume your normal activities now.

Big dog fan

September 2nd, 2010
9:40 am

To 76 Dawg. If you had been paying attention you would have known that Murry was injured with a sore arm most of last year. It would have been pretty stupid to play him and risk a more serious injury.
Just lay off the couch, and let him do His job. I;m sure He knows His players better than you do.

Hater

September 2nd, 2010
9:53 am

I;m sure He knows His players better than you do.

And that says it all!!!

bruce mac

September 2nd, 2010
10:42 am

PT, Yech does not play South Carolina and if they did noone would pick them to beat them. Yech tries to stay with Vandy and MS ST so they can fool themselves into believing they can compete with SEC teams for 10 weeks. Then, oh crap UGA whoops that azz again. Back to reality.

robodawg

September 2nd, 2010
1:29 pm

Richt rocks. His best days are still ahead.

singstar26

September 2nd, 2010
2:30 pm

Tech doesn’t play South Carolina… they play South Carolina State. BIG DIFF.

AltamahaDawg

September 2nd, 2010
2:31 pm

Still waiting on the exact game and situation what he should have lifted the stating QB last year. its not really a tough question. Look at the schedule, remember the situation, and point out the place we should have given Murray substantial learning experience, in a situation that wasn’t a complete waste of his senior season.

Spurrier

September 2nd, 2010
4:33 pm

Unbelievable, another Georiga player does something if any of the rest of us did would land us in jail, no questions asked. Richt appears to do nothing more than slap him on the wrist and the Bulldog faithful keep repeating over and over how good of a man Mark Richt is. Yet, something like this happens at Florid and Urban Meyer is a creep, blah, blah, blah. How’s the Kool-Aid Dawgy fans.

AltamahaDawg

September 2nd, 2010
6:36 pm

I seriously think you fellow do not even know what the term slap on the wrist means. You heard it used somewhere, need to pretend to have an opinion, and use it but have no idea what it means.

Rumors

September 2nd, 2010
7:16 pm

I’ve heard through my cousin’s boyfriend’s sister in law’s boss’s relative that McGarity said CMR has 2 years and if we dont at least win an SEC championship, he is gone, And that he is going to clean up all the player arrest’s and getting in trouble. Seriously, I dont know the source but did hear this. Sounds like McGarity is gonna turn this thing around. Can I get a thanks Damon?

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2010
7:08 am

Pillow talk?

UGAG is gitting the ncaa death penalty, he he ha ha

September 3rd, 2010
9:33 am

Hey Steve, I am here to take a big dump on the uga blog…here it comes….THE NCAA IS GOING TO GIVE UGAG THE DEATH PENALTY, IMHO….FIVE LONG YEARS OF NO FOOTBALL….