A quick wrap-up on Georgia coach Mark Richt’s end-of-the-football-season wrap-up with reporters on Thursday.
1. On whether the Bulldogs can be among elite teams again next year . . .
“We plan on being that. We hope to be that. We’ve got to earn that. Know one really knew what ws going to happen this past season. There were some big question marks a year ago, mostly offensively and offensive line probably more so than any other position, and running back as well. That’s all I answered questions on. . . . By the end of the year they came through. So more questions will asked of the defensive side of the ball this year. So those guys have to do their thing and be able to come through.”
2. On early signs of progress for the Bulldogs’ 13 early enrollees . . .
“They’re almost a class unto themselves. There are 13 of them and last year, what did we have, 15? So it’s a really large number of midyear guys. . . . I told them to look out for wach other and help each other. They’re doing fine.”
3. On Kwame Geathers’ decision to turn pro . . .
“I’ve known that for a good little bit.. It just means more opportunities for the next guys. That’s why we’re recruiting d-linemen like we are. We knew there was a possibility of having this type of attrition. So we’ve been kind of preparing for that in our recruiting numbers. So there’s just just going to be more opportunity for the guys that are on campus and the ones that are coming in new. They’ll have a chance to find some of the playing time that Kwame would have had. We’ll just keep recruiting them and developing them and get them in there and see what they can do.”
4. On whom might step up at noseguard?
“I definitely think we have enough of a talent base there. (Chris) Mayes is obviously a noseguard, I think Michael (Thornton) is obviously a noseguard. I think Jonathan (Taylor) has some versatility where he could end up being an end as well. But I think we’re going to end up having enough beef and ability to be able to get it done.”
5. Are you well-equipped to reload after the massive exodus on defense?
“Well, we better be ready. I’ve got a lot of faith in these guys. But they’ve got to work. They’ve got to prepare right now. They can’t just sit here and wait until camp starts or even summer. They’ve got to start now and I talked to those guys about it. Their goal must be greater than just getting to play or getting to start or even being All-SEC, for that matter. They need to prepare to be the very best in America at what they do. . . . They have to be thinking, ‘am I going to be good enough to help this team win a championship.”
6. How will Aaron Murray coming back fit in with Hutson Mason’s return at quarterback?
“If Hutson (hadn’t redshirted) and he was in essence the second-team guy, which he really is, he’d have played a lot this year. He might’ve even played more than our second-teamers did based on our faith in his ability to function well. He might’ve gotten in a series or two earlier here and there. So I think he would’ve played a lot and hopefully he’ll have the opportunities to do the same next year.”
7. Might it look what you had with David Greene and D.J. Shockley, in which you had a regular rotation of every few series or so?
“I’m not sitting here saying we’re going to do anything like that.”
8. What’s impact of getting a former defensive coordinator in Chris Wilson to coach defensive line and will he have any other titles?
“I think we’re very fortunate to get Chris, with his experience of being a coordinator and co-coordinator and those types of things. He’s actually had some special teams responsibilities throughout his career. So he’s a very well-rounded coach, very experienced, very mature man, great family man. Just a great role-model for our kids. So I’m thrilled and I know Coach Grantham was excited to get him and the whole staff is excited about Chris being with us.
“As far as titles and everything, I don’t know if there’s anything coming down the road or not. Right now we’re just glad we’ve got him and we know he’s going to be doing a great job for us immediately in the recruiting area and getting to know our players and our system. But we know we got a really good one and we’re very fortunate.”
9. How do you handle the multitude of quarterbacks behind Murray and Mason?
“I’m expecting everybody to learn what to do and keep getting better. Hutson’s to the point where he certainly knows what to do. He’s ready for the next step, which is playing time. What that looks like I don’t know. But these other guys still have to learn and perfect and get to the point where they’re ready to go. Aaron is obviously the starting quarterback. He’s the guy right now; everybody knows that; there’s no question about that. But if something were to happen with Aaron, Hutson would be ready to play. Whatever game circumstance that were to come up, Hutson would be able to perform and perform well. That’s kind of where we are. Guys after those top two still have things to learn and perfect.”
10. On Michael Bennett’s progress . . .
“He’s doing very well. He’s got a very good attitude and Ron feels that he’s making great progress. As far as spring ball, I know he won’t be doing anything live. . . . There may be a possibility of his doing some route-running and catching balls. It may be a little early on that as well.”
11. On chances of early-enrollee Tramel Terry playing this season, and what position might he play?
“History has shown guys have been able to play as early as six months sometimes. But we just want to make sure he gets very healthy. If we do get him into competition setting we want him to be completely healthy before we do that. We don’t want him to have a setback. So we know if we need to redshirt we could, it might make sense. But we’re not going to say that’s what we’re going to do. . . . It could be he might not be ready game one but he might be ready not long after that. So we’re just going to have to wait and see. . . .
“He’s going to be in Coach (Tony) Ball’s room as a wide receiver and that’s where he’s pegged right now.”
12. On status of naming a new recruiting coordinator . . .
“First of all, there’s no rule that says we’ve got to name a recruiting coordinator as far as being one of our nine full-time coaches. We don’t need to do that. When Darryl (Jones) came in (as on-campus recruiting coordinator), there were a lot of things done in-house that are administrative things that a recruiting coordinator might be in charge of. The burden of that, Rodney was getting . . . it was just too much to coach ball, be a recruiter and be the recruiting coordinator in the truest sense of the word, where he’s organizing everything. Now there’s some things that can be done organizationally that doesn’t have to be from an on-the-field coach. I mean, all coaches recruit and I just expect everybody to be on top of it, of their areas and of their position. And with the help of Darryl and Connie (Connelly) and the rest of our staff provides for us . . . we have a group of poeple that does all those things recruiting related. We may not have to name a guy a recruiting coordinator and I’m not sure that we will.”
13. On plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons . . .
“Well, that’s one thing I want to make sure our coaches are all in agreement and Josh knows exactly what we’re going to do before I say anything. We just had our very first meeting — I just walked out of it — and it was all recruiting related. The coaches haven’t even sat down and graded the last game against Nebraska. So when it comes to that type of question, that’s something we’ve all got to get on the same page on and make sure all parties know what we’re going to do before we start to say anything public.”
14. Competition at place-kicker . . .
“Every year, every spring and every fall, if a guy comes in and can boom it and do it better than what we’ve got, I think there’s always the possibility of competition. So I would say, yeah, if somebody can do it better, we’re going to let him play.”
15. Impressions of BCS Championship between Alabama and Notre Dame . . .
“I didn’t watch every single minute of the game but I saw enough to see where it was going. And, I don’t know, I think it maybe, I don’t know if it proves the strength of our league. I’m sure there are some doubters here and there. I know a couple of our teams didn’t win bowl games. But I think it gave more evidence to what we think is true, which is, year in and year out and game in and game out from beginning of the season to all year long, the gauntlet of our league is rough and it prepares us for games like that. I think we’ve got one heck of a league and Alabama did a great job.”
16. Any other attrition expected . . .
“To my knowledge, at this point, no. There’s always the possibility of that. This is the time of year (transfers) happen one way or another. But there’s nothing right now that I know of.”