As Mark Richt walked to his red truck in the Cobb Galleria Centre parking deck after last night’s Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club meeting, he admitted that he’s more restrained about what he says at such gatherings than he used to be.
“You gotta be more careful,” he said. “It’s just going to get blown way out of proportion [if you’re not].
“I think in years past everybody would get on the old tour and you’d say a joke about a certain opponent. And it’d never get out there because it was just everybody having a little fun.
“But then all of a sudden it becomes Internet [material]. You can’t even tell a good joke anymore without it becoming a big stinking deal. And so you got to be careful what you do.”
The first question from the floor to Richt last night tested his caution: “Based on this year’s plan, how bad are we going to stomp Florida?”
Richt did not, as Mark Bradley noted, take the Gator bait.
Richt said he likes the fact the Dogs have an open date before the Gators game, then offered only this: “I can promise you there has never been one game we have played at Georgia that we didn’t believe we were going to win. And the same thing is true this year of all our games, including Florida.”
Richt did offer some interesting insights on a range of topics, which I tried to cover in this story.
One of those topics was the coaches’ predisposition to play –- rather than red-shirt – all of the incoming freshmen at skill positions other than quarterback this season. That’s no surprise at receiver (where Georgia must get help from Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten), tight end (Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch) and tailback (Washaun Ealey). But Richt said after the meeting that he also was referring to the incoming freshmen at linebacker and defensive back.
“When you talk about special teams, you want your runners, your hitters,” he said. “We’re starting out saying, ‘Hey, let’s play these guys; let’s get them on special teams and teach them what to do.’ They’ll help us on special teams, and they will grow as players at their positions, too.” Some of them might grow into starters by mid-season, if not before, he noted.
Preseason practice, by the way, starts one week from today.