There was no answer to the big question –- call it The Willie Martinez Question -– but there were some interesting comments on Mark Richt’s weekly radio call-in show Monday night.
If you missed it:
– The first question, not surprisingly, was about any plans for changing coordinators or other assistant coaches.
Richt’s reply: “I’m not going to make any comment about anything like that. I think people think that just because we need to get better or make some kind of change — they think it always involves changing of people, too. And that’s not always necessarily true. But, you know, we’re going to get things back on track, I can promise you that.”
– Richt was asked about his angry reaction to a slightly premature attempt to drench him in Powerade near the end of Saturday’s victory at Georgia Tech.
He said he had told the players at halftime that he didn’t want to see anyone smile until there was no time left on the clock. “Sure enough, it’s a minute and 20 [seconds] or whatever left and we get the ball back and they decide they’re going to dump me, figuring the game is over,” Richt said. “But I had my jaw set still and I wasn’t smiling or celebrating until that [clock] went to zero zero and we got the victory. And that’s why I got upset, and Bryan Evans basically got the brunt of it, and I love the kid dearly. I love all those guys. He was a little taken aback at my attitude, but afterwards I got a chance to hug his neck and tell him I love him and all that good stuff.”
– A caller said Tech coach Paul Johnson downplayed the importance of the Georgia game early last week and asked Richt, who is 8-1 vs. Tech, his thoughts on the magnitude of the rivalry.
“All I can tell you is our boys and our coaches don’t need a whole lot of motivation, I guess, to get fired up about this game,” Richt said. “And I’m not going to sit here and deny that what happened a year ago [helped] fuel it. It did; there is no question that it did. Them tearing up our hedges and doing some of the things that they were doing after the game at our expense didn’t sit too well with us. And we wanted to do something about it, and we want to continue to do something about it in years to come. And I’ll say this: I’ve always had a respect, a very healthy respect, for Georgia Tech and their football program, and we will continue to have that respect because they are an outstanding team and they do a great job over there. But it’s very, very big to us.”
– Richt had much praise for safety Reshad Jones’ performance on Saturday – his interception, his tackling, his pass breakups on Tech’s last series and the way he never gave up in chasing Tech receiver Demaryius Thomas on Thomas’ 76-yard touchdown.
“There were a lot of guys that made great plays, but I want to pay a special tribute to Reshad Jones,” Richt said. “I thought Reshad did such a great job of tackling, such a great job of making that interception. And also at crunch time he had to cover a couple of those deep balls and did a beautiful job of that too. I thought it was great for Reshad, considering all the grief he caught a year ago for that same ballgame.” (Jones, as you know, got much grief for botching a tackle on Tech’s game-clinching touchdown against Georgia last year.)
– And finally, the show’s last caller cited statistics on how many more times the Bulldogs have allowed 30-plus points under Martinez than under predecessor Brian VanGorder.
Richt’s reply: “You’re definitely going to win a whole lot more games if you can keep people under 30, there is no doubt about that.”