Richt: ‘We spent ourselves in a worthy cause…. You’ve got to kind of get over the heartbreak’

Georgia coach Mark Richt said his program is moving on from the “heartbreak” of Saturday’s SEC Championship game loss and “getting back to work.”

Mark Richt: "It was heartbreaking, no doubt." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mark Richt: "It was heartbreaking, no doubt." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

“You know what? We spent ourselves in a worthy cause,” Richt said Sunday night. “We of course wanted to play for the national championship. We knew we were just a couple of yards away, maybe a couple of seconds away or a tipped ball away or however you want to say it. We were at least in position to win it.

“It was heartbreaking, no doubt. We were all highly, highly hurt by it. … We just came up short. It was one of those games where either team could have won. So you’ve got to kind of get over the heartbreak of that. And I’ve always had the ability to understand what the reality is and move on.

“We’re already out recruiting. We’re getting back to work.”

Despite the dashed dream of playing for the national championship, Richt said he expects his 11-2 team to be enthused about its trip to Orlando for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska.

“We’ve got a new goal in sight: We’re excited to try to get 12 wins,” Richt said.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity acknowledged that the day after the SEC title game was a difficult one in Bulldog Nation.

“I know we’re all still hurting a little bit right now,” McGarity said. “But the sun came up … and there’s nothing we can do about it but learn from it and move forward.”

How coaches ranked Dogs

After Georgia’s 32-28 loss to Alabama, voters in the USA Today coaches’ poll ranked the Bulldogs everywhere from No. 2 to No. 11.

The highest vote cast for Georgia was by Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, who had the Bulldogs No. 2 (behind Alabama and ahead of Notre Dame).

The lowest votes cast for Georgia were by Baylor’s Art Briles and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, both of whom had the Bulldogs No. 11.

Richt and Alabama’s Nick Saban voted Georgia No. 3 — ahead of Florida, which both put No. 4.

Coaches’ individual ballots were released for the first time this season, per customary procedure on the final poll before the bowls.

Overall, Georgia was ranked No. 5 in the coaches’ poll. In the other two components of the BCS standings, Georgia was ranked No. 5 by the Harris Poll but an average of No. 11 by the computers. That added up to an overall BCS ranking of No. 7.

Conference limit to be eliminated

The rule that kept Georgia from playing in any of the four BCS bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange) will be scrapped when college football goes to its new playoff system in the 2014 season.

The current rule is that no more than two teams from a conference can go to BCS games in a given season. Alabama, of course, got one of the SEC’s spots this season with its berth in the national title game. Florida moved up to No. 3 in the final BCS standings, clinching the SEC’s second spot because of a rule that stipulates a team ranked in the top four automatically gets a BCS invitation unless two other teams from its league are ranked higher. Georgia is the highest-ranked team not in a BCS game.

McGarity noted that the SEC has six of the top 10 teams in the BCS standings — but only two of the 10 spots in BCS games.

“It’s obviously being corrected in 2014, so a number of individuals thought that was not a fair way to treat conferences,” McGarity said. “I think the way it’s set in 2014 will reward those conferences that have the ability to place teams in the top 10.”

Under the 2014 model, there is no specific limit on how many teams from a conference can make the four-team playoff and the other top-tier bowls, although various arrangements between leagues and bowls will still be a factor.

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who sharply criticized the inclusion of Northern Illinois in a BCS game (Orange Bowl), scoffed at the current two-per-league limit. “Who came up with this rule?” he asked on air Sunday night.

Herbstreit added: “To leave teams out like Georgia and … Texas A&M and Oklahoma, all of us want to see those teams in games that matter, and you’re going to give us Northern Illinois.”

‘They call themselves the CornDogs’

Georgia’s bowl opponent, Nebraska, brings back childhood memories for Richt.

“It’s kind of personal for me in that I was born in Omaha and my mom and dad grew up in Nebraska and all my cousins on that side of the family are big Husker fans,” Richt said.

“They like the Dogs, too,” he added. “They call themselves the CornDogs, actually — combination of Cornhuskers and Dogs.”

Richt said his family moved from Nebraska to Colorado when he was 7 or 8 and then to Boca Raton, Fla., when he was about 13. But “I still had Nebraska on my mind, really, up until the time I went to college at Miami.”

— Tim Tucker, AJC

Click here for full story on Georgia’s Capital One Bowl invitation

781 comments Add your comment

JB

December 3rd, 2012
9:32 am

WE need OL….and a tackling coach.

Joe Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
9:33 am

Well Mark you let us down again. It will probably be another thirty years before we get another opportunity like this. Just wanted to say; Thanx again Mark. We still only went 1 for 3 against ranked teams this year. Pathetic.

JB

December 3rd, 2012
9:34 am

And NO, I’m not cracking on our line play from Saturday, but you had to notice that Bama just steam rolled our D with a big, experienced line. Put Gurley behind THAT line for 30 carries a game and you have a Heisman winner in Athens with 2,000+ yards

Bammer

December 3rd, 2012
9:38 am

Hey JB…do you mind heading over the the Dome and tell Lacy he can stop running now?

JB

December 3rd, 2012
9:38 am

And speaking of Gurley……..After this off season the weight room and a year under his belt and our OL coming back, look for 1500-1800 yards next season. He’ll add 10 pounds of rock by next year.

adam

December 3rd, 2012
9:38 am

We lost but covered the spread and don’t have to worry about Harvey Updyke poisoning the peach trees in Atlanta

JB

December 3rd, 2012
9:39 am

Bammer Good game. Ask your players what kind of game it was. The game WAS IN DOUBT down to the scoreboard reading 00……

John Galt, MBA, CPA

December 3rd, 2012
9:40 am

Joe Dawg,

With all due respect, sir, you are a moron. We were with a tipped pass of being in the NC game. There is a difference in losing and being beat, and we were beat. You probably want to criticize Murray as well. IDIOT!

I demand that you find a new name to use when posting. You are not a scholar, nor a gentleman, and you sure as hell are not a true Dawg.

flo-ri-duh

December 3rd, 2012
9:42 am

Joe
Dawg – JUST SHUT UP.

Vadawg

December 3rd, 2012
9:42 am

OL wins games and defense wins championships………….worthy cause….sounds like a charity game or something!!??!!

AltamahaDawg

December 3rd, 2012
9:46 am

Sounds exactly like you are cracking on our line.

Alabama has some AAs with a LOT of expereince and have/could win the Outland trophy. We have a couple of first year players. That’s not on Will Friend. He has done an outstanding job with this squad.

That’s on our recruiting failures (and to some degree some bad luck) a few years back. But you can’t blame the 2nd year coach for the issues he inherited from the previous position coach, especially when he HAS turned it around and we are not a bad rushing team by any means.

Dawg Fud

December 3rd, 2012
9:49 am

Painful but proud night. I loved the fight to the bitter end.

I know how bad I was hurting. I know the coaches, players and families were hurting 100 times more.

I am proud of the effort. Thank you 2012 Bulldogs! I tip my cap to you, and also, to Bama.

Paul (I use my real name) Midler

December 3rd, 2012
9:50 am

Any so called Bulldawg fans that say anything bad about our Dawgs, or scream fire Richt. Go away. Find another team, I am very proud of our coaches and players.

Dawg Fud

December 3rd, 2012
9:52 am

At the end of the day, 350 rushing yards against our defense is why we lost the game.

It wasn’t the “spike debate” at the end.

We forced two Bama tunrovers and scored a special teams TD. That was still not enought to overcome the rushing yards by Bama. Penalties did not help either.

If you think differently, I understand but that is the analysis as I see it.

Doosey

December 3rd, 2012
9:54 am

All of those NFL Prospects….

GoDawgs75

December 3rd, 2012
9:55 am

I was a critic of Richt last year, and I went to the SEC championship hoping we could just have a good game. It was a great game, we almost won, and I am proud of UGA for playing so well. You could complain on both sides of the ball, plays, defense, ect, but nobody is perfect. Alabama fans were complaining as well, just like us. We came back and kept coming back, UGA was able to keep coming back and answering Alabama. Great job for the Dawgs, and Richt for not putting up with the lousy media remarks. Go Dawgs!!!

Fair n Balanced

December 3rd, 2012
9:56 am

Joe Dawg,

I hope you are enjoying the attention, because nobody woul put up such a dumb comment unless he wanted to attract some ire from the real true fans of the Dogs and CMR. go away. You’re not helping!

sam

December 3rd, 2012
9:57 am

It was a tough loss. I’m as disappointed as anyone but you can’t lay blame on anyone. the players played their hearts out and the coaches did a great job of preparing them and calling plays. Bamma was one play better. thats it, no excuses, no shame.

Dawg for Life

December 3rd, 2012
9:59 am

If our effort didn’t make you swell with pride then you are not a Dawg fan, yes we lost, yes it hurts like hell and will for while but you know what, we were there and we had a chance, just came up short. Great effort Dawgs! Coach Richt, I am proud you are our leader, if my sons ever have the opportunity to play SEC football, your would be the man I would want leading them! GO DAWGS!

drsoul

December 3rd, 2012
10:01 am

Bottom line….the greatest SEC Championship game to date….two teams who fought it for 60 full minutes…great running games…down to the wire….what more could you ask for in a game??? both teams should hold heads high as they represented exactly what college football should be… don’t bash coaching…they both made mistakes at the end of each half…maybe???? no one will ever really know what a decision change would have brought… also a game played with class… I am first proud of my team BAMA for winning; two for the Georgia great team that gave us thrills to the very end; third for a great representation of the SEC… we are the best all around…!!!!

7576DAWG

December 3rd, 2012
10:02 am

Whether we won or lost the game we were going to have ONE more game to play and 2012 is going to be history. Then everything starts over, new. THIS IS NOT A CONTINUATION, IT STARTS OVER EVERY YEAR. Yes I wish we had won and were going to play for the National title but we didn’t. The BCS has us #7 in the polls and if we beat Nebraska we will end up between 5 and 7 in the last poll in 2012 and then 2012 will be OVER. The point is whether we won or lost to Alabama we have to move on and get 2013’s team ready.
Coach T needs to get the Strength and Conditioning thing going and the kids need to understand how important nutrition is ,and the 8 or 10 early entree recruits need to start learning the system. Georgia has a great team coming back and a great recruiting class coming in to fill the gaps left open from the Defensive stars leaving. I will be very surprised if we are not pre-season in the top 7.
The changes Richt and McGarity made in 2012 worked , keep it going.

Joe Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:02 am

What is different from last year? Not a dam thing. Same old Richt apologists. What a waste of an opportunity. And yes aaron choked again. Epic fail.

DIT

December 3rd, 2012
10:03 am

I’ll be there in Orlando. Our Dawgs DESERVE our support on the 1st. Let’s pack that Bowl Stadium. Go Dawgs!

travis

December 3rd, 2012
10:04 am

Joe Dawg has probably never played a down of football in his life. like I told my seven year old when they lost the peewee football championship, listen son, one team wins and one team loses in great games, we came up short but gave one hell of an effort and that is the way it goes in sports. The other team is trying to win too.
We should be proud of the heart our boys showed and the fact that a tipped pass might have been the difference in the game. As for me and my house we are proud dawgs!

Bubba

December 3rd, 2012
10:05 am

I for one am proud of this football team! CMR is a great man and a great coach. We are lucky to have him! All those haters can go root for someone else as far as I am concerned. Go DAWGS!

I just hate it when coaching...

December 3rd, 2012
10:06 am

…plays a part in losing a game – but both coaches had brain meltdowns, Saban at the end of the first half and CMR at the end (despite his denials that he did the “right” thing)…and for Murray to be so smart, how come he did not take the lead and just spike the ball anyway…

IF, if, if – the biggest little word in the dictionary…but at least the game was not 31-0 at halftime this time – UGA even played really well the entire game – kudos to them…

egeagle

December 3rd, 2012
10:06 am

Tackling problem was the desire to strip. Lacy’s style and strength made that ineffective. Also, as great as the block and score was, it put a tired D right back on the field. Awesome Bama O line got to keep pounding. Dawg D found the guts to get the ball back for the final drive. Taunters have their day, but true Dawg fans see that Dawgs left it all on the field. Painful, but the future is bright

Dawg Fud

December 3rd, 2012
10:06 am

Joe Dawg,

Though I disagree with you on several points, you have as much right to this forum as anyone else.

If you fired Richt, who would you get? There are so many openings this year it would be a bloodbath to fill his position. Plus, what coach would want to come coach a program that cans its coach after an 11 win season.

Not attacking, just asking.

DIT

December 3rd, 2012
10:07 am

Joe Dawg – Please go troll another blog. I’m sorry that your life revolves around having to win a NC every year. If this team choked and played the way it did in the earlier loss, then I would understand your ranting, but to say the crap you are now please. It’s shows your lack of class and your ignorance.

Joe Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:07 am

Sorry Travis; your right there are winners and losers; you sir are definitely a loser; and anyone who is ok with losing is not a real fan. Yea they played hard; but not hard enough and it goes back to coaching.

I just hate it when coaching...

December 3rd, 2012
10:08 am

…and as Spurrier said when he left UF, 12 years at one school is about right for leaving – here’s hoping CMR was listening and takes his cue to leave after this “most exceptional” (to paraphrase that Olympic dude) year…

bubba4dawgs

December 3rd, 2012
10:08 am

To sum it all up, it came down to our “D” simply being gassed late in the 3rd qtr and thru the 4th qtr. That’s why they couldn’t stop the 2 point conversion as well….which turned out to be critical. The DAWGS would probably have been going for a field goal at the end which would have won the game instead of having to score a touchdown. Oh well, coulda, shoulda woulda. GO DAWGS…..we love your anyway! With a bit better handling of the defense (substitution considered), the DAWGS probably would have won the game. It’s hard to stop a freight train with a tired defense!!

Kim

December 3rd, 2012
10:08 am

Not only that, Joe Dawg has never BEEN to a UGA game.
You know who’s saying this is “the best” SEC CG? Bama fans & GA fans.
Go Gators!!!

Joe Dawg or GT Joe...

December 3rd, 2012
10:09 am

…one and the same, just different blogs and different targets – for UGA it is CME, for GT it is Vad…

Destin Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:09 am

Great effort !! one play short at the end…. we on a new level of performance and coaching… go Dawgs beat Nebraska !!

RedandBlackDAWG

December 3rd, 2012
10:11 am

Joe Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:02 am

You Sir, are an idiot. I think you need to just come out and say what is quite obvious. I am a tech. fan and this is the only recourse I have because GT is a second rate team at best, and is once again playing in sunny El Paso and will once again lose, finishing with an outstanding record of 5 wins and 8 loses. You should be ashamed that your team was even granted a waiver to play in a bowl game, even if at best, it is second tier.
The epic fail you speak about is yourself and your team.

7576DAWG

December 3rd, 2012
10:12 am

This SEC Championship game of 2012 will go down as one of the greatest college football games ever. Every player in all of college football whether current or former can fill proud of the sacrifice they make mentally and physically to the game when we witness a game like that. Maybe everybody doesn’t have the talent that we saw Saturday but their love for the game and sacrifice is the same and is the reason that college football is so great.
Can’t wait until 2013 games start.

Columbus Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:13 am

Dawg Fud is exactly correct on his take. There are numbers of UGA alum who are wondering what it is going to take to get Georgia a defense that even closely resembles one of Dooley’s great defenses. Actually Van Gorder coached very good run defense in 2002, and decent in 2003, but other than those years, UGA has given up tons of rushing yardage to good run teams in all other years under Mark Richt. Does anyone know what the future looks like for UGA? I do not mean the future as in this crappy bowl game that “Ears McGarity” wants everyone to focus on. Is Murray gone? Is Geathers gone? Is there any plan in place to plug NUMEROUS holes on 2013 defense? Did Richt promise Mason the starting job if he hung around like he did Cox? The only way Richt survives is to maintain current level of play, even with large personnel losses. From where I’m sitting this looks impossible. A win in the dome would have bought Richt some time regardless of outcome in Miami, but he won’t survive the three years that it will take for UGA Football to become competitive again without it.

ola

December 3rd, 2012
10:13 am

Georgia played their hearts and I am proud of the whole team. Richt can only prepare and it is up to the players to execute. They did best they could and I am proud of them.

Buckeye

December 3rd, 2012
10:14 am

dogs,

Everyone who knows anything about football knows to spike the ball in that situation. Murray ( being Murray in big game Murray) looked to the sideline for permission. Murray shoulda woulda coulda spiked the ball instinctively.

Poor coaching (not giving Murray the green light to make a decision) coupled with Murray (being Murray in big games Murray) made a poor decision and showed a lack of confidence and leadership on the field to spike the ball.

Oh well, dogs.

February is a few short months away and you can reclaim your delusional off-season #1 ranking.

Joe Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:14 am

Kim the skank; you don’t know me; so shut your mouth. Sorry i live in reality and can see this for what it is. UGA got out coached and outplayed again. I guarantee we will not have this opportunity for a long time again.

#3 in BCS

December 3rd, 2012
10:15 am

Ga. had their chance and blew it. Rambo ran his mouth and got run over (probably needs another brownie). Ga. defense is not very good and either is Bama’s. No doubt if they spike the ball Ga. wins. Ga. 1 -2 against good teams this year and the one win was a Gator team turning it over 6 times to hand Ga. the victory……enjoy Orlando……..AGAIN

GFY

December 3rd, 2012
10:16 am

nice comments, drsoul. Was truly a great game that unfortunately someone had to lose.

gdawginkalamazoo

December 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

Proud of my Dawgs Saturday night. Played all 60 minutes and put up a hell of a fight until the end. Beat Nebraska and Roll Tide, I hope you guys destroy Notre Dame.

Joe Dawg

December 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

Jesus are you people retarded? What;s it gonna take to convince you people that yes Mark Richt is a nice guy; he will never ever bring a national title to Athens. The sooner you people see this the better. Alabama would have fired richt 3 years ago.

True colours

December 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

Looks like tech nerd is posting as #3 in BCS when his/her/its moniker should be #2 in state of Georgia.

Sick and Tired

December 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

Same old song and dance with our stupid coaches. Everyone in the world knows that they should have spiked the ball IMMEDIATELY! Then we would have had enough time to have two possibly three plays to get a touchdown. Whoever called that play – Boo Boo or Richt – owe the players a huge apology. The players played an excellent game and they lost on that one stupid decision. Yes, I know we gave up way to many rushing yards but we still had a chance to win in the end and they took that chance away with that stupid play call. I am now convinced that we will never win the big games with these coaches. No excuse for being that close and giving it away – again!

Texas Pete

December 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

The problem with the world today is that people don’t know how to handle losing and that makes us softer, especially men. Look at all the senseless shootings because some nut didn’t win a contest or a job at some point in life. Or some nut can’t handle a relationship with a woman or his kids. We all have challenges and problems in life. Deal with it and move on.

People like Joe Dawg are the ones who have their kids playing a sport the kid grows to hate because he doesn’t teach them how to win, but rather, to fear the idea of losing. “If I don’t do well here then daddy is going to yell and call me stupid.”

You’re a real man Joe Dawg. But I guess whining on a message board illustrates that for us all.

Oh yeah, that Bulldog Club thing on Facebook needs to let go of petitioning to get that Bama player suspended for the helmet-to-helmet hit that wasn’t called. It happened, Murray is okay, and the sun came up Sunday morning. Let’s move on.

Dawg4Life

December 3rd, 2012
10:18 am

Go Fighting Irish!!!!!

Huh?

December 3rd, 2012
10:19 am

When the clock struck 0 on saturday, I stayed on my feet and applauded. I am a life long DAWG fan and was happy to witness such a great game. I of course wanted the outcome to be different, but it wasn’t a question of heart or coaching as has been the case. I do not believe in moral victories and UGA is going to the proper bowl (base on the system). It is time to move on and forward. The team still gets to go to what is considered the 2nd best bowl for the SEC (Capital One Bowl picks first after the BCS) and hopefully they will show and play strong. Don’t think that losing last year turned a receuit or 2. Play with that same passion as Saturday night ( rushing D excluded ) and the Dawgs finish with 12 wins.
What happens next? Who is going pro. Jarvis has too, but I think that Jenkins fills in nicely. Ogletree is the key. He is a projected top 15 pick, like Jarvis was last year. Does he come back to prove himself Top 10 next year? Let’s hope so. Need the incoming JUCOs and top freshman on D. If Murray stays, 11 returning starters on offense ( for those that don’t know, that is the whole team) ( I do know that T King is a senior, but the WR rotation will be solid).
Anyone that didn’t see the change in this team over the course of this season is an idiot. They progressed and played better as the year wore on. That is a sign of good coaching. Lots of sunny days ahead. GO DAWGS