Q&A: UGA’s Mark Richt discusses recruiting philosophies, ethics

Q&A WITH MARK RICHT

As there will be a whole new round of discussions and interviews at the SEC Meetings today, I figured I’d just share pretty much all of what Georgia coach Mark Richt said on the record yesterday as it’ll be rendered mostly moot after lunch. I’ll also provide a Q&A of the media’s session with UGA basketball coach Mark Fox a little later. Here’s what all Richt had to say:

Q: So where do you stand on the over-signing issue and the roster management proposals?

Richt: “I’m just going to listen to what everybody else has to say before I decide. Sometimes you think you know the right answer and then you hear someone elses’s opinion or rationale and you may feel differently. It’s like when we were talking about an early signing date a few years ago. I thought one way going into the meeting and I came out of the meeting feeling differently after hearing everyone’s thoughts on it. So I really don’t know what I think right now.

Q: Does 28 seem like a good number?

Richt: “Same answer. I’d like to hear what everybody else says about it before I canreally make a good decision on that.”

Q: Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, it has been characterized that you’re pitted against Coach Saban and Coach Nutt and some others regarding your philosophies on signing players. Is that accurate?

Richt: “I was asked my opinion on the oversigning thing. First of all, I think everybody should have a right to manage their numbers. I think every university should he able to do that. I think over-signing is OK, in my opinion, if you sign over the number.

“Let’s say you have space for 15 on signing day and you sign 20. Well, if five of those guys know up front if there’s no room in the end and they’re willing to grayshirt and willing to come in the next January in the end, if the kid knows, the mom and dad knows, the high school coach knows, everybody involved in the recruiting process knows, if they know there’s a chance there’s no space for you, if everybody knows that on the front end, then I don’t see anything wrong with it ethically. I personally think if everybody knows it on the front end, that’s fine.

“We all know from signing date until they enroll in school, there’s usually attrition historically and usually there’s enough attrition to make room for any over-signing. If those five guys know they can come in if there’s room when everybody else comes in, come in with your class. If there’s not, you’ll come in in January. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

“What I’ve said is, if you sign five over and you get to that moment of truth and you have to tell two or three kids who thought they were coming in with everybody else and then all of the sudden you spring on them that there’s no room for them, they ave to come back in January, I don’t think that’s right. But I never said anybody did that. I wasn’t accusing anybody of anything. I was just saying if everybody knows on the front end I don’t have a problem with it.”

Q: Where do you stand on grayshirting?

Richt: “Some kids just want to come to Georgia. Some of them are willing to take that chance of being grayshirted. But if there’s room they come in their class. If there’s a guy that you sign that you know will not qualify, then you know you might have signed one over or however many over that you had available. But you know 100 percent that guys’s not going to qualify and he’s going to go to junior college, I don’t see a problem with that. So that’s a lot of what’s been going on.

“But if there is a kid that gets shocked, or there’s group of 25 guys there in the summer and there’s only room for 20, at the end of the summer you decide which five have to come to school in January, I don’t think that’s right. Is that what the legislation is going to come ouot with, I don’t know. That’s all I’ve said about it. If somebody wants to spin it another way, that’s fine. But I’ve never accused anybody of anything.”

Q: Football scholarships are renewable on an annual basis. Why not just not renew players that aren’t contrinuting late in their careers?

Richt: “hey all know it’s a one-year renewable deal. But if a guy in your mind isn’t good enough, I personally don’t think you should be pushing the guy out the door because we didn’t think he was good enough. Guys develop and get better. . . . You’ve got to do what’s in the best interest of the kid. You’ve got to do what’s in the best interest of your program, but there’s a right way of doing those things, I think.”

Q: With what happened recently to Jim Tressell at Ohio State and at other places in the last year, is there an integrity problem in college football?

Richt: “I can only speak to the way we do it. We try like mad to do it with integrity; we try to go by the rules.”

Q: Is negative recruiting prevalent in the league?

A: “We try to talk to the recruits about Georgia. I always take it with a grain of salt if another school is talking about somebody else’s school. We really try to just talk about the reasons why Georgia is a great place for whoever we’re recruiting. We try not to tell a kid about another school. We stay away from that. I’m not going to say people don’t ever pull out depth charts and look at situations at a position ot something like Other than that we don’t get into telling anybody what’s going on at another school.”

Q: Is it possible to win big any more without pushing the limits on rules?

A: “Again, everybody’s human. Everybody’s going to make mistakes. The rule book is sometimes very specific and sometimes it’s kind of vague. So it’s hard to sit there and never have any kind of secondary violation or anything like that. I don’t think that’s possible. But from a gut-level, philosophical point of view, do I think you can win and do things right and do things within the rules? Yeah.”

Q: Do you think there’s growing pressure on coaches to break rules in order to win big?

Richt: It’s up to them to decide if there’s pressure to do that. I’ll do something else for a living if I have to do that to succeed and win. I had the same conviction when I was being interviewed by Coach Dooley and President Adams. I asked them the question: Do you think you can recruit in this league 100 percent above board and win. Their answer was yes. And I said, ‘Good, because that’s the way we’re going to go about our business.’

Q: The last five national champions have come from the SEC. Do you think that’s puts more pressure on the coaches who have not won a BCS title?

Richt: “I think everybody wants to win. I think the only thing we can truly control is whether or not you win the SEC. We can control winning the SEC East, we can control winning the SEC. A national champion, you can’t control that. In 2002 we were 13-1 and were a pretty good football team. But Ohio State and Miami were undefeated and we weren’t able to get in. Even if we were undefeated that year, I’m not sure we would’ve gotten into the game. That happened to Coach Tuberville when he was at Auburn; they were undefeated and didn’t get to play for the national championship.

“So you can only do what you can do. But every year, if you’re a competitor, you want to win the league. The bottom line for me is, I’m going to go about my business the best I possibly can, do the very best I can and hopefully the results are what I want and what everybody else wants in the Bulldog Nation and that’s to win the Southeastern Conference and hopefully have a chance to win the national championship.”

105 comments Add your comment

Matthews Dawg

June 1st, 2011
9:30 am

Frist!! Again, can I be this lucky!!

Matthews Dawg

June 1st, 2011
9:31 am

Now, let the bashing begin about calling first! Go Dawgs!!

Dawglasville

June 1st, 2011
9:33 am

Good job Matthews Dawg.

EW

June 1st, 2011
9:37 am

I am a huge Richt fan but doesn’t it seem like he did a total 180 from questions 1 and 2 to number 3???? It was “I want to wait to decide” to “now I have an opinion”….

Dawglasville

June 1st, 2011
9:40 am

Man, I hope this guy can win one national title before he goes out. I use to say the same thing about Bobby Cox and then it was, “Man I hope this guy can win another championship before he goes out.”

JAWJeRDAWG

June 1st, 2011
9:46 am

I’m glad CMR is our coach and think he has been in spoken wisely in his answers to the oversigning issue questions.

Others may criticize his coaching ability, but I think his and UGA’s approach to signing recruits is transparent, honest, and in the best interest of both the player and his family, and the university. .. Go Dawgs!

CJJScout

June 1st, 2011
9:46 am

He is a stud, no two ways about it.

Matthews Dawg

June 1st, 2011
9:57 am

Dawglasville…thanks and I agree with you 100%. I’m also pulling for CMR and the Dawgs to win one NC. It will be tough this year, but they will be close next year with the talent they are piling up. I’ll be pulling for them win or lose! Go Dawgs

Top Row Dog

June 1st, 2011
9:57 am

Now, let’s win 10………or 14.

Whisky Breath

June 1st, 2011
9:57 am

Sound like tough guy CMR is backtracking. He so much as called the over signing coaches out and now doesn’t want to take credit for it. Come on Richt, show some guts for once in your life. You have all but pointed the finger toward Nick Saban because of his success, man up to it. By the way, the last time you Ga people changed the rules, it bite you in the butt. 15 yard penalty for excessive celebration in the endzone. Man that was funny! By the way, you can’t bring Saban down.

Can Richt cling to his core?

June 1st, 2011
10:03 am

Remarkable

June 1st, 2011
10:15 am

Oversigning isn’t a big problem or we would have heard more about it before now.

dawgman

June 1st, 2011
10:15 am

Whisky, it’s whiskey and lay off of it and get busy. You’re burning my cheeseburger and my fries are getting cold.

dog nutt

June 1st, 2011
10:18 am

cmr is a competitor. ifeel like this year we are going to sneak up on a lot of teams.we will find out early when we play south carolina.

Gravy Train

June 1st, 2011
10:19 am

Hey Wiskey Breath, run on back to the mobile home park.

After watching what has transgressed at USC, Alabama, Auburn and now Blowhio State, I am more than thankful CMR is the head of our program. CMR has damn near the same winning percentages as USC Pete and The Sweater Vest of Darkness. I don’t have to worry about Coach Richt dragging the program through the mud getting caught up in used car salesmen tactics. Saban knows he’s bending the rules. Saban also knows CMR ain’t scared. Looks like the Dream Teamers think so too. CMR is still standing because he does his job with class and integrity. Make no mistake about it, these Dawgs are headed back to the top.

Gravy Train

June 1st, 2011
10:24 am

The Coach T workout is making stronger Big Dawgs. Big Dawgs go for the throat.

Gravy Train

June 1st, 2011
10:29 am

You best protect your neck, Bammer.

51WTGW50

June 1st, 2011
10:30 am

Richt has turned on his Limp Wrist approach again. Tough Talk before the meetings, but NOW that he will have to face all the other coaches he has gone Limp again. The ONLY issue that Richt has a fixed firm opinion on is his belief in God and Christ, but everything is debatable.

Big Johnson Dawg

June 1st, 2011
10:31 am

Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino are upset about what happened to their friend and comrade Tressel. Birds of a feather, I guess.

Beast from the East

June 1st, 2011
10:38 am

“I don’t have to worry about Coach Richt dragging the program through the mud getting caught up in used car salesmen tactics.”

Be careful. We ALL believe that our HC’s are trying to do things the right way, but as it turns out that is not always the case. OSU is a prime example. Most rational people thought Tressel was a stand-up guy and that he would not do anything unethical, but he swept some things under the rug for the sake of staying competetive. The temptation gets even greater when you’re on the proverbial “hot seat”. Not saying Richt has done or will do anything wrong, but just a word of caution.

Uuugh

June 1st, 2011
10:42 am

Never thought I’d say this…but I totally agree with Beast from the East.

Rubber Neck

June 1st, 2011
10:43 am

Everybody knows Saban cuts players. I don’t need Georgia’s coach to name names.

Charles

June 1st, 2011
10:43 am

Beast from the East – No, most rational people did not think Tressel was above board. He cheated at Youngstown State and had red flags coming into that job. The only people who thought Tressel was a stand-up guy were the folks who were too naive to look past the sweater vest.

SimpleDawg

June 1st, 2011
10:44 am

Stevie Wonder must’ve typed this article……

chiefdawg

June 1st, 2011
10:46 am

So if he believes it is ok, why didn’t he sign another player to take the place of the Mayes kid who is having to go JUCO? I am more and more confused by CMR. He’s just walking around aimlessly.

Ya'll....

June 1st, 2011
10:48 am

Are in trouble! I can smell it.

AltamahaDawg

June 1st, 2011
10:55 am

Be careful of what? If Richt gets busted pulling a Tressel, it’s going to catch everybody off guard. That is no reason to measure your word in publically stating that you feel confident he won’t. If you’re wrong, I don’t think it would have made it a tad better had you only not said that. Speak your beliefs.

dkg

June 1st, 2011
11:01 am

I do respect Coach Richt’s recruiting priciples. How would you like it if your son was offered a scholarship, then at the last minute it was withdrawn? I think that Georgia’s recruiting philosphy will benefit it in the long run. Yes, this is big business and in business you sometimes have to be ruthless, but remember these are still kids. I do want Georgia to get back on top, but I want it done in an ethical manner. I have seen Coach Rich and Coach Gardner in their recruiting efforts and admired their honesty. Because of their priciples, I witnessed them convince an excellent prospect to come to Georgia. I have no doubts that Coach Richt will get the bulldogs back on top. I also have no doubts that Georgia will not have coach Richt do this and then find out that NCAA violations occured and have us put on probation. Look at what has happened at Ohio State, look at what is likely to happen at Auburn and Alabama. True bulldog fans appreciate what you have. Fair weather fans, go give your pitiful support to some other team.

Tobias Funke

June 1st, 2011
11:02 am

I’m not too interested in the BCS National Championship. SEC Championships is what I want. You win that and you are more than likely to win a NC.

Chiefdawg

How long have you been in the recruiting and coaching business? Shouldn’t you be recruiting right now instead of typing on a blawg?

Blackoutanyone?

June 1st, 2011
11:11 am

Richt sounds good with oversigning to me… what will you people use as an excuse now?

1eyedJack

June 1st, 2011
11:21 am

Oh my. Oh my my my my my. This is a severe setback. I am distraught. I am more than distraught, I am devastated. What happened? Did Houston Nutt and Nick Saban threaten Coach Richt’s children with bodily harm? Did Petrino threaten to be his friend? Why the waffles Coach Richt? This sort of behavior does you no credit in the eyes of your colleagues, or in those of the other patrons of this waffle house which we shall call the SEC!

I shudder. I quake. The revulsion I feel for modern college football, and all other manifestations of contemporary decay, is, I have no doubt, the equal of y’own.

DurableDog

June 1st, 2011
11:22 am

Chip,

Does Richt come across as out of touch or arrogant in interviews? He refused to answer 3 of your questions, and Richt supposedly doesn’t feel pressure like a hotseat, and is still referring back to his lucky 2002 year.

I don’t know where the Coach is coming from, according to a recent poll by 30,000 fans, Richt’s seat is 6x hotter than anyone else’s in the SEC. If he doesn’t win the SEC East, I feel he’s gone.

Richt’s AD didn’t extend Richt’s contract this year.

GT Dude

June 1st, 2011
11:23 am

Mark Richt by any other name would be Huston Nutt
Oversigning is just plain wrong

DurableDog

June 1st, 2011
11:23 am

We need a coach here at UGA who’s in track with what other SEC coaches are doing.

If it’s legal, do it. Period.

GT Dude

June 1st, 2011
11:27 am

Dur-Dog, just because it is legal does not make it ethical

Brook

June 1st, 2011
11:37 am

Why does Richt give UGA a Richt set of rules, in addition, to the NCAA rules? Come on, have to compete, no wonder this guy’s gone 14-12 last 2 seasons. Crazy to have a whole additional set of rules, on top of NCAA rules. No wonder Richt went 6 & 7 last year.

Big Dawg

June 1st, 2011
11:37 am

I admire Coach Richt and hope that he indeed does turn around the Dawgs this year. That he tries to run an above the board and ethical program with only an occasional minor infraction is a credit. Now as to the over signing issue, as Coach stated if all parties involved know going in and there are no surprises I don’t have problem with it. But giving these kids scholarships and then yanking them because they did not live up to expectations that is a totally different story and in my opinion is unethical. Now that is what should be banned, a Coach or school that does that is just wrong. Anyway I have no say in the Georgia program but it is my opinion.

Go Dawgs

Chip Towers

June 1st, 2011
11:54 am

DurableDog: No, CMR doesn’t come off as arrogant. If anything I’d say he comes off as guarded or cautious. There’s no question he has backpedaled a bit on his stance on over-signing since he arrived here. But that’s actually true with all the coaches as they are forced to sit in a room together for two straight days. The bottom line is I think the conference is going to come closer in line this year with the signing criteria under which Richt and UGA have operated philosophically the last several years.

As for the hotseat, neither Richt nor anybody at UGA has denied that this is a big year for him and the program. I don’t think there is any East or else mandate but, suffice it to say, 6-7 won’t be tolerated again.

Joey

June 1st, 2011
11:55 am

Tressell lied to the NCAA and school officials at Youngstown St, and now has done it at OSU. I would think “rational people” would have known what to expect from a liar, Beast.

[...] Q&A: Mark Richt on recruiting philisophies, ethics in college football [...]

Edawg

June 1st, 2011
12:13 pm

I’ve been critical of Coach Richt on several issues but this one where I think he’s 100% right and I’m 100% behind him on it.

It’s funny how the coaches that so up in arms against more restrictions are the same ones who take other team’s castaways and the same ones who refuse to suspend players unless the public outcry forces them to.

Baller

June 1st, 2011
12:14 pm

Might not be an SEC East Championship mandate, but there probably is a top 25 mandate (finish in the top 25 or else). Might be unspoken, but I sense it’s there. And to finish in the top 25, you typically need 9 wins. Let’s say Richt loses to Boise & South Carolina, then he can only lose 1 more game all season to get to 9 wins. Don’t see it happening. Florida? Auburn? Miss St? Kent? Tenn? Ga Tech? All could be losses. Will be lucky to go 3-3 there. Plus the 0-2 start, that’s a 7-5 season, not a top 25 ranekd season. Going to be dicey year for Richt, if he starts out 0-2, may as well fire him and start the search.

Tom

June 1st, 2011
12:15 pm

Thought his earlier comments were somewhat suspect. What a weasel.

Joey

June 1st, 2011
12:17 pm

Durabledog,

You need to go back and read Chip Tower’s article from last Thursday on what the UGA Athletic Board, Adams, and McGarity were saying about Mark Richt. One long time member said, “It will be very nice if he can improve that 6-and-7, at least modestly.” I didn’t read anything about UGA needing to win the East.

It opened my eyes for sure. I would venture to say that if the Dawgs go 8-5, or even 7-6 this season, beat UF and beat Tech, he will be right back next season, probably with an extension.

I think with the powers that be at UGA, if the football team is being competitive in the SEC, and is going to a bowl annually, and making lots of $$, Mark Richt will be the coach here as long as he wants to be here.

From the remarks on here the past couple of years, I think most of the fan base is okay with 10-3, as long as we beat Tech. You’re in the minority if you think the talent is in Athens to do better than that.

You have to admit, as a Dawg fan, you don’t have to worry about days like Ohio State and USC have had the past week.

AltamahaDawg

June 1st, 2011
12:19 pm

No wonder? I think it still is.

John

June 1st, 2011
12:21 pm

When it comes down to it, Saban, Miles, and Nutt would sell their soul to the devil if it meant more wins. They are win-at-all-costs coaches.

Baller

June 1st, 2011
12:21 pm

I don’t see a problem with over-signing. You sign 5 more than you need, let them compete, and the best keep their scholarship. Also, don’t have a porblem with looking at a scholarship as a 1 year contract. If a guy gets injured or becomes academically ineligible, coach has every right to not renew it. Coach Richt comes across as naiive on these things some times, seems to shy away from competition, and sort of feel like, Well, the kid’s entitled to a 4 year scholarship as long as he stays out of trouble. I don’t like anything that discourages competition and rewards an entitlement culture.

Blackoutanyone?

June 1st, 2011
12:30 pm

You dawg fan are ridiculus. I don’t see anything wrong with oversigning and taking scholarships away from the deadweights. The scollies are only for one year anyway. I really don’t care if the kids get there degree or not. There job is to play football, then study.

Edawg

June 1st, 2011
12:31 pm

Baller,

I could agree with you if the kids are told that’s the way it’s going to be when they’re being recruited. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it’s handled.

MoCity

June 1st, 2011
12:32 pm

Until Coach Mark Richt gets a contract extension, I don’t see the administration as confident in him as the long term Head Coach, regardless of what they might say publicly.