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

First McGee

September 1st, 2010
11:20 am

First suckas. I knew i could do it

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tim Tucker and Gordo, AJC Junkyard Blawg. AJC Junkyard Blawg said: Richt on quarterbacks, turnovers, kickoffs and punishing Washaun Ealey http://bit.ly/bJelv2 [...]

82Dawg

September 1st, 2010
11:27 am

Lets play some football…………………..HBTD

Poncho

September 1st, 2010
11:28 am

Ealey for Heisman

Poncho

September 1st, 2010
11:30 am

AJ for Heisman

G Time

September 1st, 2010
11:31 am

There are mistakes we can handle:
–overthrows
–inaccuracy
–short yard passes
–sacks

But we can’t handle more than 1 interception every 2 games.

Bryan

September 1st, 2010
11:34 am

Branden Smith

September 1st, 2010
11:36 am

jdawgs34

September 1st, 2010
11:36 am

A valid liscense today, is great, but if they go through a camera at a red light, and do not get ticket via mail, then it is suspended. Education is great, but evidently they do not listen. So probably some new rules will be in place. My question is that someone from downtown called over and said, Hey, he is in trouble. And still did not take action. He can sit on the sideline for awhile, so the team will see what the big picture is….now, can we play football this Saturday at Noon….

Joshuwont Alittlebit

September 1st, 2010
11:43 am

This could be a special year for the Dawgs……I sence a silent confidence in CMR this year that I have’nt heard in a while…..we are starting out a little under the radar which is a good thing….

WOW!!!!!!

September 1st, 2010
11:44 am

Urban sure is tough on his players. At UF when you get arrested you don’t get suspended but you do get praised by Urban as being a great leader. WOW!!!!!!!

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gator_clause/2010/08/gators-freshmen-matt-elam-and-solomon-patton-arrested-for-possession-of-alcohol.html

LHardingDawg

September 1st, 2010
11:46 am

Coach Richt is a good coach, but a better man. Good luck this year coach.

droopydawg

September 1st, 2010
11:49 am

G Time – more than 6 interceptions on the year would be too much for you? Talk about insanely raised expectations.

droopydawg

September 1st, 2010
11:50 am

Thirteenth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

droopydawg

September 1st, 2010
11:51 am

WOW!!!!!!: You have to pretty darn naive to have any problem with college kids drinking.

dap01

September 1st, 2010
11:52 am

CMR needs to quit trying to explain how those directional kickoffs work. He acts like us average fans don’t recognize that the end result is way below average. If that worked, it would be recognized.

Don’t explain your stupidity.

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

September 1st, 2010
11:53 am

GATA CMR! Glad to see Ealey is up at 5:45 running stairs/guts. He better learn!

dawginfla(help!)

September 1st, 2010
11:56 am

Sixteeth!

Wooo!

Look at me!!

I’m Sixteeth!

Like Tech would be in a 16 team SEC.

SCdawg

September 1st, 2010
12:06 pm

Here is to a great 2010 season – just please beat SC!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuXYxKa2d9Q

WOW!!!!!!

September 1st, 2010
12:06 pm

droopydawg – or you could just read my post again and you would see I said nothing about having a problem with kids drinking but I do have a problem with Coaches who do not suspended their players for being arrested when other coaches do.

Remarkable

September 1st, 2010
12:28 pm

Why is Travis Leslie in an air cast? Inquiring UGA Basketball fans want to know.

guy

September 1st, 2010
12:30 pm

ha! uga basketball fans….

good one.

RxDawg

September 1st, 2010
12:34 pm

Great quotes from the dinner Bill.

Fellow Dawgs, it’s almost here!!

Spike

September 1st, 2010
12:44 pm

What’s that comin’ down the track?

funny

September 1st, 2010
12:55 pm

The funny thing is Guy, UGA has more basketball fans than Tech despite your Parade all-Americans and lottery picks. Plus we beat you more times than not with those players. Funny, but sad!!

G Time

September 1st, 2010
12:56 pm

If Fla & Bama QB’s only throw 4-5 interceptions per year, Georgia’s got to compete.

guy

September 1st, 2010
1:12 pm

guy

September 1st, 2010
1:17 pm

also to draw on the uga staple of citing the overall record in the uf-uga football series, i’ll point out that tech leads the series in basketball 101-85

Wednesday lunch buffet « Get The Picture

September 1st, 2010
1:18 pm

[...] kind of focus:  “Richt again said his No. 1 message to his team this year has been fixing the turnover [...]

[...] Georgia fan that much more nervous. Murray’s talking about his nerves and being too amped up. Richt is downplaying expectations. All this to remember that, yeah, the guy’s a freshman. You don’t want to read much [...]

BDAWG

September 1st, 2010
1:23 pm

Murray is green, but you can’t become one dimensional and predictable like the last couple of seasons. Bobo has to become more creative with the playcalling or CMR should take back the duties. He has to take his lumps in order to become a better QB. Better decision making will come with experience, but better playcalling will also help the entire game plan. Bobo was not a great QB himself and he is an even worse OC. I’m sorry for being so critical of him, but he has not impressed me over the last two seasons.

guy

September 1st, 2010
1:25 pm

But for Tech being a Basketball school you would think they would have a bigger lead in the overall series then they do. I guess UGA isn’t all that bad.

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 1st, 2010
1:36 pm

I’m with you BDAWG, I hope to see improvement from Bobo this year but I won’t hold my breath. CMR needs to call the plays.

G Time

September 1st, 2010
1:41 pm

Look for Washaun to take out his frustration on South Carolina. I look for him to play with a fury. He’ll pound the line, and gauge them for some big runs.

how2fish

September 1st, 2010
1:42 pm

Good article Bill here’s to a great season ! Now lets tee it up !

UGA insider

September 1st, 2010
2:01 pm

CMR is more upbeat because he knows he has his best team since 2005. Talent everywhere and a nasty, nasty defense. If we blowout SC like I think we will look for UGA to be undefeated in Jax.

I still say

September 1st, 2010
2:16 pm

When they screw up demote them to the scout team so the starters can punish them until they earn their spot back.

Evansdawg

September 1st, 2010
2:33 pm

I agree with McGarity on Loran. Loran Smith does not get half the recognition he deserves for all his years of loyalty and service to our University. He is an important part of our tradition.

76-DAWG

September 1st, 2010
2:40 pm

CMR said Murray just needs to get a little experience. Whose fault is that? Two gigantic mistake made last year .
1– Not getting rid of Martinez 2 years earlier
2- Not playing Murray the last 6 games to get him the experience that he, now, has to get this year. Everyone knew UGA was either going to lose 5 or 6 games. What a perfect time to get ready for 2010.
I think CMR is a great coach and I am glad UGA has him because unlike Saban or Meyer he will be at UGA long term. When he makes a commitment it’s for real. Saban and Meyer will be gone within 4 years. But, having said that CMR needs to act like the head man or CEO of the football team and make big decisions on a timely basis.You can’t wait a year or two to see if inactivity is the best policy. If you try something else and it doesn’t work you can always go back to what you were doing but if you don’t try the other thing at all you want know if it works or not. CMR you are getting payed like a CEO act like one.

The Real SugarHillDawg

September 1st, 2010
2:51 pm

I wonder why Loran felt compelled to speak up for St. Mark??

Dawg_Mike

September 1st, 2010
2:52 pm

76 Dawg, I agree somewhat. Thats why we will see Mason play this week.
NO REDSHIRT.

cadawg

September 1st, 2010
2:55 pm

yeah matt elam–what an example he sets for the other freshmen down at florida. i’m never one to throw stones at other programs for disciplinary problems (people in glass houses), but it’s amazing that meyer would not only not suspend him but would cite him as an example for other players to follow.

i think it’s odd that the elam story wasn’t more widely reported; he was a huge recruit and there wasn’t much going on when it happened (early july). oh well who cares? i think we’ve got a hell of a team and can’t wait to tee it up on saturday. GATA dawgs!!!

404

September 1st, 2010
3:10 pm

Richt sounds very worried

orangeman

September 1st, 2010
3:11 pm

Good luck Aaron Murray. I coached the kid as a 9 year old in youth football, and he’s always had that special something. Great kid, great family. Although I live in FLA, I am now a UGA fan. Like I told him back then, he’ll always be one of my guys. Go Aaron, go Dawgs.

404

September 1st, 2010
3:11 pm

What’s that comin’ down the track?

Looks and sounds like a train-wreck

guy

September 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

funny: for as many advantages as uga has over tech, you’d think they’d have more than a 20 game lead in the overall football series too, what with being such a football powerhouse and all. i guess tech isnt all that bad.

404

September 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

OK OK enough of the Bug Bashing for not selling out the Joke by Coke for the OPENING DAY of football season..we have a valid reason…I said reason not excuse…Saturday is Dragon Con…ask a Bug to choose between supporting his football team over a chance to be seen with his light saber..and well you know what we will pick every time..and if you don’t believe me just check out the empty seats at the Joke by Coke on Saturday…but again its not our fault after all Dragon Con is the center of the Buggish Universe.

h

September 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

Enter your comments here

baddawg

September 1st, 2010
3:32 pm

I like Richt but I knew the excuse of no actual game experience would come up this year. Should have un-redshirted Murray last year and given him some game experience when Cox was throwing all those int’s. So what if Muuray lost a year of eligibility because we have Christian Lemay coming and Hutson Mason so the future QB posistion will be crowded.

George

September 1st, 2010
3:57 pm

Congradulations to Georgia for winning this year’s Fulmer cup.