All hands on deck: Richt sounds ready to shake things up

Malcolm Mitchell will get a look as a two-way player, Mark Richt said. (Associated Press)

Malcolm Mitchell will get a look as a two-way player, Mark Richt said. (Associated Press)

It’s the time of year in college football when all teams are undefeated, most fans are optimistic, and coaches talk a lot of ideas designed to get those fans excited (though in many cases they never pan out). There might have been some of that in a few of Mark Richt’s comments to reporters Thursday, but I still found a lot to like in what he said.

Richt sounded a lot more flexible in terms of shaking things up and making the best use of Georgia’s talent base with position switches and two-way players than he has at times in the past.

Malcolm Mitchell playing offense and defense?

“Quite frankly, we’re going to experiment with that a bit,” Richt said.

Same with Richard Samuel possibly playing fullback. And there’s not a lot of difference in Todd Grantham’s defense between Ray Drew playing outside linebacker and defensive end, he said. Versatility is a hallmark of defensive players under Grantham, Richt noted. “A guy who at one time might be standing up as a linebacker, the next play he’s got his hand on the ground rushing the passer.”

Freshman linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons also might get to play some offense as a receiver. (Associated Press)

Freshman linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons also might get to play some offense as a receiver. (Associated Press)

Also, while incoming freshman linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons isn’t likely to play safety, as had been rumored, Richt said he probably can stay in the game when the defense is in a nickel package, and “he’s also got some offensive skills and he may be just the right guy to throw the ball to in the red zone. So whether he can handle all that as a true freshman, I don’t know. But before his career is over we’ll definitely give him an opportunity to do some things offensively as well.”

Of course, chances are not all of those changes will stick in the long run past spring drills. But I like the way Richt is viewing his talent base.

And while I’m not thrilled that he isn’t budging on not naming a special teams coordinator, he did again emphasize that change is coming in that department.

As the head coach put it: “If that means a guy playing both ways or two positions on defense or if that means we have to put the entire starting lineup on offense and defense playing special teams, I don’t care what it is, we have to do whatever we have to do to get the best players on the field. … We may have to stretch guys a little bit here and there from a learning standpoint and from getting more reps. … [Most] guys are going to play some special teams at one time or another. So we’ve got to get all hands on deck. We’re going to make sure everybody understands how crucial they are and how special teams are just as important as playing first down on defense or offense.”

Sounds like Richt has gotten religion, so to speak, when it comes to improving the Dogs’ special teams play.

I also liked the fact that he reminded the defense that while they were highly ranked last season and return most of their starters, “The one thing they all want to do a better job of is finish. We could’ve finished better in our last two ballgames as a team, not just defensively. Our defense knows, at the moment of truth, when we’ve got to get a stop, we’ve got to get a stop. Same thing offensively; when we’ve got to score, we’ve got to score.”

Sounds like Richt wasn’t satisfied with just getting back to a 10-win season. Like I said, sometimes these offseason chats are simply the coach playing to the fans. But I get the feeling Richt is serious about making the moves necessary to get his program back to the next level.

What did you think of Richt’s comments?

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

220 comments Add your comment

big dawg

February 24th, 2012
10:20 am

big dawg

February 24th, 2012
10:21 am

oh and first!!! isn’t that what i am suppose to say?

ChewDawg

February 24th, 2012
10:21 am

First?

And I like that Richt is looking at a wide variety of options…how much of it transfers to the field this fall will tell the true story. Can’t wait! Go Dawgs.

ARdawg

February 24th, 2012
10:21 am

Macclenny_dawg

February 24th, 2012
10:21 am

I think Richt and Bobo need 2 coach every game like its there last!!! They have 2 become unpredictable!!!

ARdawg

February 24th, 2012
10:22 am

Foift demmit. Anyway GO DAWGS

anotherdawg

February 24th, 2012
10:24 am

I like it. We really need this to be a special year!

GTBob

February 24th, 2012
10:34 am

But I get the feeling Richt is serious about making the moves necessary to get his program back to the next level.

Something tells me that Bill will be writing this same sentence every offseason until like 2025 when Richt finally gets bored and retires.

anotherdawg

February 24th, 2012
10:35 am

I don’t really have a problem with not having one special team coordinator, as long as we have someone good in charge of each aspect of it. I know the NCAA limits the number of coaches each school can have, so it might be better to let several different coaches focus on just one part of it. Whether it’s preparation or getting the right players on the field, we definitely need significant improvement.

Coach Bobo's Playbook

February 24th, 2012
10:37 am

Coach Richt didn’t mention playing 4 aggressive quarters of offense, instead of getting a modest lead and crawling into a turtle shell, hoping to hang on long enough to win……. Play to win vs. “play not to lose”. There’s a big difference – Coach Bobo’s playcalling indicates that Bobo doesn’t understand it, and Coach Richt doesn’t demand it. GO DAWGS!!!

Moobs Johnson

February 24th, 2012
10:38 am

Wow, he throws the D under the bus for the Mich St game? Really?

Call some plays that gets one first down to secure the win rather than nut up and call the same play three times in a row. The man just doesn’t get it.

Blah blah

February 24th, 2012
10:45 am

Please tell us that Murray will stop throwing pick 6’s at the worst possible time, coach.

Bubba Mutt

February 24th, 2012
10:46 am

“All hands on deck: Richt sounds ready to shake things up” OK, does that mean a new Offensive Coordinator by chance…well, we can at least wish can’t we

UGA Insider

February 24th, 2012
10:49 am

UGA is going to be a good team next season…not a great team I don’t think. Too many questions on special teams and O-Line. Although neither can be a bad as they were last season.

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

February 24th, 2012
10:49 am

Maybe it’s a new d-coordinator who doesn’t average 37 pts to ranked teams and let Vandy light up his secondary…

Oh hopes and dreams…

George Stein

February 24th, 2012
10:52 am

Might make more sense for y’all to redshirt JHC and get some weight on him, no?

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

February 24th, 2012
10:52 am

” most fans are optimistic” HA! And the understatement of the year on a UGA article goes to Bill King.

Bill, what are you going to do?

I’m going to the Clarke County jail to visit Sanders!

Frankly

February 24th, 2012
10:54 am

Enter your comments here

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

February 24th, 2012
10:54 am

Oh I know, it’s not embarassing the SEC (Boise, MSU). Or maybe not whining about oversigning. Geez, the suspense!

schmeckdawg

February 24th, 2012
11:03 am

I like what CMR had to say. Now what about Aaron Murray’s prowess at making HUGE mistakes and at the worst times?

Naked Mole Rat

February 24th, 2012
11:07 am

Grantham has put a fire under Richt!

Krystal Burger Association

February 24th, 2012
11:09 am

Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it,

Your new handle should be: Tide fans are taking off their britches and nothing can stop it.

Pilfer Dawg

February 24th, 2012
11:10 am

Bill- Thanks for the blog. To me it sounds like Mcgarity wasn’t satisfied with a 10-win season maybe more so than even Richt. They taught athletic excellence in all sports under Jeremy Foley and I think Mcgarity won’t be an ioda different.

Krystal Burger Association

February 24th, 2012
11:12 am

Also, for Tide fans such as yourself we have created extra seating in our courtyard so fans like yourself will not try and sit on another man’s head. Outside of Alabama that conduct is deemed inappropriate.

buckheaddawg

February 24th, 2012
11:20 am

losing the SECCG and bowl game will do that to you. 10 win’s aint S*it without a champsionship

Big Crimson 75

February 24th, 2012
11:30 am

Amazing — no team ran the 3 – 4 scheme on defense when Saban got hired in ‘07. Now : UGA – Fla – Arky & SC run it.
If you can’t beat em — copy em!

TJ

February 24th, 2012
11:36 am

I think his stance on getting the best players on the field and using them in many places is fine. What that doesn’t address is the lack of creativity and aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball from his coordinator and the strategies employed in the ST segment. So once again, he’s evaluating the players harder than he is the coaches/strategy, which is why we will continue to lose games we shouldn’t.

UGA fan...not fanatic

February 24th, 2012
11:37 am

That’s right, Alabama invented the 3-4, no other team in history has ever used it. Go back to Greenbow lil crimpsen 69 and blow another Krystal patron.

Hybrid Hyena Catfish

February 24th, 2012
11:37 am

whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooos yoo daddy fewl????????????????

sogadog

February 24th, 2012
11:38 am

CMR still doesnt get it. He spoke about the defense finishing games when in fact it is the offense that caused the South Carolina, Michigan State and LSU losses. Grantham’s defense was the reason we had success last year. Murray’s turnovers, Bobo’s play calling, the offenses inability to get first downs late in games and its failure to run the ball cost the Dawgs three games last year NOT the defense.

Dawg Haus

February 24th, 2012
11:42 am

Sounds good to me! If only Richt hinted at getting Lemay and Bauta involved at QB from time to time.

tvradioguy

February 24th, 2012
11:43 am

Believe it when I see it. Apparently, Richt does a MUCH BETTER job coaching up the team after the first two losses than he does getting them ready to play the season. If he can just get them over the first part of the season without a loss, I think we have a fighting shot. Just sayin.

OkieDawg

February 24th, 2012
11:44 am

If CMR is really serious about shaking things up, he should call an end to the Bobo experiment.

Hey Dawgs Fans...

February 24th, 2012
11:44 am

we have heard this before…nick marshall playing wildcat ring a bell????

TJ

February 24th, 2012
11:45 am

Bingo sogadog which comes back to this simple fact- he’s a stubborn, prideful man. It is his one true character flaw (that we know of at least) and he will NOT ever admit that his offense is either outdated or isn’t utilized properly by him or his OC (likely both)…that’s taking too much responsibility when it’s so much easier to just blame it on the “execution”.
Sad, but if he’d go get a qualified OC and let him put some wrinkles in this thing, we could have something great; alas, we will have another “good” season that will only leave the faithful saying “if” and “wait til next year” once again, while losing at least 1 or 2 games we shouldn’t.

Dogs Smell

February 24th, 2012
11:48 am

First Loss is to Missouri

what of it?

February 24th, 2012
11:54 am

so did we not have all hands on deck for special teams last year? Playing guys both ways is going to seriously risk injury especially when our strength and conditioning program is a product of blatant nepotism. Anyone who was satisfied with last season isn’t paying intention. This program has no excuse for mediocrity.

mcdaviddawg

February 24th, 2012
11:54 am

Richt has never shaked things up in his life. It requires him to do something, it will be the same old thing.

Lobosolo

February 24th, 2012
11:55 am

Moob… READ… READ TWICE… TRY TO COMPREHEND…

Hammerdawg

February 24th, 2012
11:56 am

I did not hear CMR say that OC Bobo is longer going tho be the OC….
Thats the only thing I want to hear… Which would mean that CMR is serious about winning a National Championship…because as long as Bobo is the OC we wont!!!!!!!

dbc

February 24th, 2012
11:57 am

What TJ said…

DawginLex

February 24th, 2012
11:58 am

The proof will be in the on the field results.

We all want 14-0 and a title.

I am actually expecting it in 2012

The OL is an excuse for losers. We have 16 players there and according to Richt, he expects 9 of them to be ready to play.

We have an experienced defense returning and a QB whose best days are ahead of him along with a promising QB in Lemay.

There are no excuses. Richt KNOWS the defense is loaded in 2012 and 2013 we will be young on that side of the ball.

Win now coach.

Jacket99

February 24th, 2012
12:04 pm

Versatility is a hallmark of defensive players under Grantham, Richt noted. “A guy who at one time might be standing up as a linebacker, the next play he’s got his hand on the ground rushing the passer.”
———————————–
I agree with this. Also, shifting from one to the other in the same play can really mess with blocking schemes. Y’all should have enough depth to rotate guys in so they’re not gassed in the 4th quarter.

Abe Lincoln

February 24th, 2012
12:07 pm

ville dog

February 24th, 2012
12:08 pm

What about the best coach in the pressbox and on the sideline ?

59bulldawg

February 24th, 2012
12:08 pm

Wish the season started next week!

Abe Lincoln

February 24th, 2012
12:08 pm

Leave Samuel at Tailback. He’s earned the right to be the starter in the spring.

Milledgeville DAWG

February 24th, 2012
12:09 pm

Sounds good in February, but trust me Bam Bam will still run Calton Thomas off tackle 7 times a game for a total gain of 3 yards.

Nothing Could Be Finer

February 24th, 2012
12:14 pm

Richt should experiment with Murray at place-kick holder.

He’ll be less apt to throw INT’s at that position.

shlomo

February 24th, 2012
12:15 pm

I’d like to know why CMR is losing all the home grown talent to Bama?