ATHENS — The final question of Mark Richt’s press conference on Tuesday: There’s sort of a sentiment that maybe you’re too nice of a guy to make the hard decision if it came to that. Do you think people misread your leadership?
Thought you might like to read Richt’s full reply:
“Oh, I don’t know. I’m not reading that because I’m not reading anything, but I guess you are saying that’s what is out there. Coach [Bobby] Bowden made that comment way back when I got the job.
“And let’s face it: We’ve had the best winning percentage in the history of Georgia football. We’ve done pretty well. This year we have not, OK? We are averaging, you know, 10 wins a year and won the SEC twice, and [Georgia] hadn’t won one in 20 years. So it’s not like we’ve just been floundering around. Now, this year we have been, let’s face it. And I don’t like it.
“People that know me well or the team or the coaches -– they know that I’ve got another edge to me that maybe I don’t show publicly all the time. Maybe that’s what the public wants to see. But if you are going to be accused of something, being accused of being a nice guy is not one of the worst things to be accused of. ”
Richt’s record at Georgia is 86-26, a .768 winning percentage. Vince Dooley was 201-77-10 as UGA coach, a .715 winning percentage.
Talking about the decision to start Caleb King at tailback this week because of freshman Washaun Ealey’s struggles in pass-protection, Richt recalled another freshman running back who struggled initially as a blocker.
“That’s one of the main reasons why Knowshon [Moreno] ended up redshirting [in 2006],” Richt said. “He was struggling at [pass-protection], and we had three veteran guys, three very proven guys. So if we played Knowshon, we thought, how many reps is the guy going to get?
“He might have gotten a lot more if we had tossed it to him a couple of times,” Richt added with a laugh. “But this time around we are playing the freshman and kind of taking some of the lumps.”
We pause here for a couple of links, if you missed ‘em: Here’s a story on the furor about what’s wrong with the 4-4 Dogs, and here’s a notebook with items on how the decisions went down to keep Joe Cox at quarterback and to start King at tailback.
Georgia used the season’s fifth different combination on the offensive line last week and -– barring injury -– might stick with this one for a while.
Richt and Mike Bobo thought the line’s play improved, leading to relative success in the running game against the vaunted Florida defense.
“Hopefully we can stay with the same group,” Bobo said after practice Tuesday night. “Clint [Boling] got banged up at the end of the game, but it looks like he’ll be able to go. Hopefully we can get two weeks of continuity up front.”
Boling suffered a knee contusion.
Last week’s line: Boling at left tackle, Cordy Glenn at left guard, Ben Jones at center, Chris Davis at right guard and Josh Davis at right tackle.
Much has been made, and appropriately so, of how many turnovers Georgia has committed this season: 21 in eight games. But just as problematic is how few turnovers Georgia has claimed from its opponents: 6.
Of the six opponent turnovers, five are interceptions and just one – one! – a fumble recovery.
Opponents have fumbled 10 times, and the Dogs have recovered but one. By comparison, opponents have claimed eight of Georgia’s 14 fumbles.
“Why is the ball bouncing that way? I don’t know,” Richt said. “I’ve studied the film, and for whatever reason, when the ball is on the ground, it ends up closer to one of their guys than our guys. Why’s that happening? I don’t know. It’s just happening. But that’s football.”
Saturday’s game against Tennessee Tech will be Georgia’s first in Sanford Stadium in 35 days. Seems longer.