UGA’s Richt volleys ‘must-win’ questions, players defend their coach

Georgia coach Mark Richt found himself on the defensive for a brief time in Tuesday's press conference. (Photo provided by DawgTime.com)

Georgia coach Mark Richt found himself on the defensive for a brief time in Tuesday's press conference. (Photo provided by DawgTime.com)

ATHENS – Just three days after Georgia’s season-opening loss to Boise State, Georgia’s Mark Richt is already getting the type of questions reserved for November of a horrific season.

Twice Richt was asked during his weekly press conference Tuesday if he felt Saturday’s game was critically important to him as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

Phrased a different way by two different reporters three minutes apart, Richt gave the same terse answer.

In the first case, Richt was asked if he viewed the South Carolina game as “pivotal for you and your program.”

“I view it as a very important game,” he said, without further elaboration.

A short time later, a reporter from a South Carolina newspaper asked if Richt felt like it was “a must-win game.”

“Didn’t I just say it was a really important game?” Richt snapped back.

“But is it a must win?,” the reporter repeated.

“I think it’s a really important game,” Richt said, now glaring. “You want to ask me again? Because you can, and I’ll answer it the same way.”

And so the tone was set for this week’s SEC opener against No. 12 South Carolina (1-0) at Sanford Stadium on Saturday.

It could be argued that the game was already markedly more important than the opener against Boise State. But after the Bulldogs (0-1) fell 35-21 to the No. 4-ranked Broncos, the perception is that Richt’s job is on the line against the Gamecocks.

That’s certainly the message that Georgia’s players are getting. And they left little doubt Tuesday as to where they stand on the issue.

“We always try to play for Coach Richt, seeing how much he’s done for us,” said junior defensive end Abry Jones.

Said senior tight end Aron White: “I feel like we’re defending Coach Richt just like he defends us. We’re playing for him just like he’s coaching for us. We’re behind him 100 percent. I have complete confidence that all the players on this team are playing for Coach Richt, regardless of what we might agree with or not agree with. He’s still our coach, we’re still his players and we’re in this together. We have full support for him, We’re pulling for him, we’re playing for him, we’re doing everything we can.”

The fan reaction to the Bulldogs’ loss on social media platforms and blogs has been prolific and vitriolic. Likewise, it has been nearly impossible for players and coaches to avoid the negative feedback.

“I didn’t even check my Twitter account,” tight end Orson Charles said. “We know everybody we have in that team meeting room is all we have. If things are going right everybody’s going to jump on board. If they’re going wrong then that’s when things start breaking down. I just pray that the fans stay behind us. Yeah, we let them down in that first game. But I don’t see us letting them down the rest of the season. We just have to come out there and bounce back from this loss.”

Said White: “We catch a good bit of it, now more than ever. I remember coming in in ‘07 and they were coming off disappointing season and there were a lot of people saying a lot of crazy stuff back then. It just comes along with the territory. You have a bad season, you lose games and people are going to talk. You’ve just got to rise above it. You’ve got to tune it out and realize you’re playing for the guys in that locker room.”

Regardless, the players insist fan sentiment and negativity won’t have an effect on how they play against the Gamecocks. As always, it will come down to blocking, tackling and execution.

“We’re not trying to worry about that,” quarterback Aaron Murray said of the hot-seat talk. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. We just know it’s a big game just for ourselves, to get back rolling in the right direction, to get a win under our belts and to get a big win against a great opponent in an SEC game. It’s a huge game. We definitely don’t want to start 0-2 an you don’t want to start 0-1 in SEC play, especially against a team like South Carolina that’s predicted to win the East. We just want to get the ball rolling and get a big win this weekend.”

– Chip Towers

813 comments Add your comment

SCDAWG

September 6th, 2011
2:44 pm

Ryan

September 6th, 2011
2:45 pm

Why didn’t anyone ask questions about the playcalling. I didn’t watch every play, but I don’t recall seeing a toss sweep or a screen pass, instead we just keeping running the ball up the middle or getting Aaron Murray sacked.

SCDAWG

September 6th, 2011
2:47 pm

So many people to thank for this award. I’d like to thank Chip for all his hard work and super writing. I’d like to thank Coach Mark Richt for his dedication in doing what is right. And I’d like to thank Mike BoBo for his lackluster playcalling. I spent $300 this weekend for nothing.

UGA Advocate

September 6th, 2011
2:49 pm

We’ll be fine! We just have to calm down and execute while being smart and aggressive on D.

coachx

September 6th, 2011
2:51 pm

Go Dawgs !

Lets play some defense this week. Look foward to hearing reports on how competition is going for the guys filling in for Olgetree.

Herschel Talker

September 6th, 2011
2:51 pm

What an unmitigated disaster we have on our hands. Richt just needs to fold up shop and get on with the preaching. He will surely do the world a much better service as a preacher than he will UGA as a football coach, so he just needs to get on with the next stage of his life.

UGA Advocate

September 6th, 2011
2:51 pm

Im just as disappointed as the next fan, but when you think about it….we did play the #5 team in the land whom just happens to have agood team. Even i thought they were overrated but now we see they are actually a descent team. However, I would like to see Richt take over Offensive Playcalling…..I’ve lost faith in Bobo for the moment.

we-SAID-IT-2

September 6th, 2011
2:53 pm

Georgia fans are some bandwagon jumpers for sure. I love the Dawgs, and want them to win, but after seeing some of the stuff posed about Richt there is no way i would want to be in his shoes. i would leave and go to FSU.

a real dog fan,

lets go dawgs, beat SC and go all the way! back to the dome!

SOS

September 6th, 2011
2:55 pm

History tells us…well, it’s like this…Ray Goof, the pyramid scheme guy, Coach Richt. It don’t matter. I love to coach against UGA.

DBCOOPER

September 6th, 2011
2:56 pm

The team was not prepared. Period. They were on their heals wondering around while Boise was obviously ready to play. Coaching! UGA recruits in the top 10 every year it seems. Where does Boise shake out? It’s about fielding a product based on the amount of talent acquired. How does UGA shake out? Coaching!

I was at the game. Boise traveled thousands of miles came into a hostile environment and took care of business. We looked pathetic and lost. Coaching!

From peewe up to D1 football if your first play from scrimmage your team is confused and rattled to the point they jump off sides, you’re not ready. Even pop-warner kids on the first series are crisp and show they’re ready to play. Coaching!

Mr. Dawg

September 6th, 2011
2:56 pm

I may be among the dwindling few. But I support MarK Richt and his staff 100% and am still hoping for a great season. Keep fighting Bulldogs! There are still fans that are with you!

Bright Idea

September 6th, 2011
2:57 pm

It appears UGA does not have the linemen needed to execute any offense or defense. They simply aren’t very good.

sandman053

September 6th, 2011
2:57 pm

UGA Advocate I lost faith in Bobo about two years ago and when I mentioned it I got chastised vehemently on here.

Just Curious

September 6th, 2011
2:57 pm

Has anyone tracked the slide of the UGA team to the growing responsibility of Bobo……….and is Willie Martinez available…..hard hitting tackling might help some. But, I ain’t no football person

Nothing Could Be Finer

September 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

Got a feeling the Georgia-Boo-Birds will be in full force for the SC game.

RxDawg

September 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

I’m worried about what the stadium is going to be like come Saturday. Not many fans think we’re going to actually beat USC. So that means they’re going in expecting a loss. It’s a huge recruiting weekend too, so I hope the fan base isn’t too vocal.

That said, Bobo deserved every bit of that boo he recieved when he ran that shotgun draw play on 3rd and long. If you do that, you better damn well be planing to go for it on 4th. I mean, I know I’m no football coach… but WTH? He should come out and explain that one because the fan base has lost faith. I swear, it’s like they don’t even watch the game. I think he has his nose in a spreadsheet full of plays to play during certain situations. He never deviates from it. And it’s the same spreadsheet for the past 10 years.

BigDawg

September 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

Demote or Fire Mike Bozo and let Richt earn his money calling plays like Petrino and Spurrier!

Sonya

September 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

Perhaps we should have MikeInValdosta calling the plays

PTC DAWG

September 6th, 2011
2:59 pm

South Carolina sucks.

GATA

September 6th, 2011
2:59 pm

Here’s hoping the best for Jeremy Sulek. I imagine he has to have a boatload of determination and grit to walk on at an SEC school and make it to the depth chart. I hope he plays smart and hungry and good things happen. Go Dawgs!

chris fountain

September 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

Very disappointed….all I can say is I am very confused. Everyone has been saying that we had no running game, and that boisie state was a fun and gun offense that will blast you all over the field if you let them ( which they did )…. I just do not understand the play calling from the get go..Why did we play right in to their game plan. You think we have no running game we step up and establish one like a big bad sec team should. We then control the tempo of the game and the clock. Do not give them the chance to throw at will. When did we become a spread no huddle attack. We have no established receivers but yet we depend on this to bring glory back to uga. We have a very un-healthy thin offensive line but then we add the pressure of no huddle..i don’t get it. Then this not only stop’s the clock it kills our field position. Stop me if I am wrong but I believe boise never started any of their drives deeper than the 35 yard line…the defense never had a chance to get off the field and catch their breath. 3 and out, 3 and out. Why did we come out of the locker room so late before the start of the second half. There was zero warm up time for the players. That is why they were so flat to start the second half. These are all things I JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!! But most of all 3rd and 16 and we run a freakin DRAW!!!!!!!!!!!! Grrrugh! i mean really BOOBOO you can only ride on that pass to cory allen at grant field for so long!Enter your comments here

Dawg Tired

September 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

SCDAWG,

Bobo runs Coach Richt’s plays. If Richt took over for Bobo, the same plays would be run. Running the ball on 3rd and 15 would still have been called.

JB

September 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

Nothing good comes from being a bad football team. The players left If Richt leaves will have a sour taste in their mouth for the University who courted them. The new guy will have a tough time winning this bunch over, due to Richt’s “style”, and you can take that any way you want to.
A big win Saturday would ease a lot of things. After watching both our lines play Saturday, I don’t think that is physically possible. I think Carolina is bigger and probably more physical than Boise. We got our work cut out for us.

Abnerish

September 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

Playcalling is a generic term that doesn’t really mean much because each situation calls for a different play and each play has the potential to work if executed successfully. But what is more important to me was a completely disjointed or even non-existant strategy. Why did we continue to run a no-huddle when a time-consuming ball control style would have helped the tiring defense? And when we did run I-formation plays, we were much more effective. What was Richt’s strategy? I love to know what their plan was going in. Because it wasn’t obvious to me.

Nothing Could Be Finer

September 6th, 2011
3:01 pm

I’m worried about what the stadium is going to be like come Saturday.
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Probably empty by halftime.

sandman053

September 6th, 2011
3:01 pm

We all know how little Petrino is liked in the state of Georgia, but right now rational people would likely pick him over Bobo calling plays….simply sad.

NewnanDawg

September 6th, 2011
3:03 pm

Everybody loves to hate Bobo, but he’s just running the plays Richt gives him to run.

Remember when we were all screaming that Richt needed to get an offensive coordinator and stop trying to call plays from the sideline?

Unless we find 2 or 3 new offensive linemen this week, this coming Saturday may be painful to watch….

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 6th, 2011
3:03 pm

Well the Pitchfork clad fans look to be getting what they want at the expense of the players. Waited all offseason and after one game the thing has gone sideways. Still at least 11 games left. This at best looked to be a 9-3 calibur team. Some of you fans act just as entitled as you whine about the players acting. This has the earmark of a very long season and its week 2. Disappointing and terrible for the players to have to answer these types of questions.

Lots of good players on the team.

September 6th, 2011
3:04 pm

They don’t do much with it. Spurrier said years ago, UGA gets the players, and look what happens to them. If Boise takes the players they get and coach them into that team, you wonder what is missing ag UGA

Nothing Could Be Finer

September 6th, 2011
3:04 pm

Unless we find 2 or 3 new offensive linemen this week, this coming Saturday may be painful to watch….
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You must have heard that Jadeveon Clowney was quite impressive in his debut.

UGA was out coached

September 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

from the first day of camp. Simple as that.

sandman053

September 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

I’d run a toss sweep behind Figgins all day long at Mr. Clowney until he begged SOS for a breather. But wait we don’t run the toss sweep anymore.

Nothing Could Be Finer

September 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

Disappointing and terrible for the players to have to answer these types of questions.
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Granted, some of the players bring it on themselves.

Tarverres King and Brandon Boykins trash talk somes to mind.

NewnanDawg

September 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

Why do you think Richt wears a headset with a microphone? He can veto Bobo’s play call anytime he likes.

This is Richt’s offense. Getting rid of Bobo won’t fix UGA’s problems.

whattsamattayou

September 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

A few years back Richt said, “I want these guys (players) to have a good time during their time in college and and not make it such a chore for them. They need to be able to enjoy it”. Well, here’s the result. How enjoyable is losing?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

Rx and NCBF,

If it goes sideways Saturday the fans will be totally irresponsible. Forget the recruits on hand and the collateral damage. We have seen it in Athens before. Lets hope it does not come to that.

boss dawg

September 6th, 2011
3:07 pm

UGA advocate; its not about losing to the #5 team, its not being in the game after the 1st quarter. You cant hand the ball off 7 yards deep against a fast dline and expect to consistently gain positive yards.fla and auburn executed this play because the QB had the option of keeping the ball and running.The I formation was working in the 3rd quarter and after we got past the 50 we went back to the shotgun for negative yrds.Bobo needs to get his mind right and use the massive load of a fullback to do some blocking.

JB

September 6th, 2011
3:07 pm

Finer, Sprurrier finally paying dividends for you guys. He has your team peaking and Richt has our tanking. It’ll be a war Saturday. always is. I think Carolina is just too much of a load. We will show. We will fight. Good luck.

Ken

September 6th, 2011
3:07 pm

We are getting a lot of comments from ones who are not UGA fans. Mark Richt, is a great coach and also a great recruiter. Remember there are a lot of schools, especially down South that would like to see Coach Richt go because of his recruiting ability. He will get this turned around, lets give him time. I will definitely take the number of wins and losses that we had under Mark Richt’s leadership during his first ten years, for the second ten years with him as our head coach. Being a Christian, we must remember that we had better be careful what we pray and hope for, because we just might get it. Which means that if we lose Coach Richt, we might not be as near as successful as we would be if we kept Coach Richt. Lets keep our Coach, the wins will eventually come. Go Dawgs.

Scrimp Daddy-Oh Yeah

September 6th, 2011
3:09 pm

Maybe if Bobo and Grantham could coach and call the right plays you PLAYERS could play ?

btgt69

September 6th, 2011
3:09 pm

keep Mark Richt,,, he is to uga what reggie ball was to GT

Nothing Could Be Finer

September 6th, 2011
3:09 pm

Finer, Sprurrier finally paying dividends for you guys. He has your team peaking and Richt has our tanking. It’ll be a war Saturday. always is. I think Carolina is just too much of a load. We will show. We will fight. Good luck.
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SC’s pass defense is still pretty weak. The Ga passing game will be able to move the ball on Saturday.

Everyone knows yall will fight. Good luck to you as well.

beachside bulldawg

September 6th, 2011
3:10 pm

We played 15 true freshman. Boise wasn’t ranked #5 because they have a few trick plays. We got beat and beat down. Can we come back and compete in this league? It looks unlikely because after the first eleven, we got nothin’. Either support what we have and give them credit for effort or get off the wagon.

Scrimp Daddy-Oh Yeah

September 6th, 2011
3:10 pm

How hard is it call a slant to the receiver ? Its almost an unstoppable play. Look at how it worked for Boise St. against us…

CHDawg

September 6th, 2011
3:11 pm

Much as I love talking about football and speculating what might happen, the level of negativity from some of the haters, impostors, and obnoxious fans has turned me off. Go Dawgs. Millions still support you and the coaches. We are smart enough to know that the panic driven emotionalism that these losers are trying to generate–right in the middle of the most important part of the season, only hurts the Dawgs. If changes need to be made, that needs to come at the end, and under wise counsel. I’m all for constructive criticism, like what kind of plays can be called to minimize inexperience on the offensive line, or any other constructive point, but the negativity has gotten hysterical (not the funny kind).

JB

September 6th, 2011
3:11 pm

The jar is real half full…and half empty for us. A butt kicking new regime would not sit well for our foes. That may happen……But, let’s play Saturday and see what happens. Never know. They might overlook us…LOL

dawgfacedboy

September 6th, 2011
3:11 pm

What’s more frustrating? Watching Richt and the boys continue to be outcoached and waste top notch talent each week with a confused, unprepared, and underperforming bunch of high school all americans or being called a “non-fan” because we criticize the job they are doing and the product they are putting on the field? Alumni continue to support them financially, they are given state of the art facilities, top 5 merchandise sales, top 8 recruiting classes in a state that is oozing high school talent yet I am “non-fan” because I refuse to sit back and play the “everything will be fine” card. It’s not, it hasn’t been, and I’ve seen nothing so far that leads me to believe it will be under this regime.

A hard fought loss would’ve done wonders for A LOT of fans but the fact that you once again got embarrassed on national t.v. looking like the same poorly coached, confused, and underprepared team should not give anyone an optimistic feeling.

DawginLex

September 6th, 2011
3:11 pm

IF we get the start ECU got this Saturday, SC won’t come back on our defense. A little better than ECU’s

da rock

September 6th, 2011
3:12 pm

I don’t think it’s asking too much from a coaching staff that makes millions, to have their team ready to play. If they were beat after a hard fought battle, or if they played hard and were just outmatched..Okay. That’s no the case at all. The team was not prepared it was MORE than obvious. Losing is not what it’s all about ..it’s the manner they lose. The look confused , lazy on defense (still walking around while Boise is lined up ready to go). Their helmets popping off about a dozen times. The whole thing was not Georgia football we grew up watching.

Okay the other teams better! But at least look like well oiled team. UGA is far from that right now.

Tina in Jackson

September 6th, 2011
3:13 pm

Richt has become UGA’s version of Phil Fulmer or Paul Hewitt – hanging around way past his time. McGarity must be mainlining Kool-Aid these days to postpone doing what he knows is inevitable – dumping Richt.

Do it now and end the bleeding and the humiliation.