Head Coach Mark Richt
Jan. 9, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia football coach Mark Richt wrapped up the 2011 on Monday by saying that the goals for the 2012 team are the same.
“As always, we want to compete and prepare in such a way that we can win every time we go out onto the field,” Richt said.” The goals aren’t going to change. We want to win the East. If you win the East, you have a shot at the SEC, if you win the SEC you have a shot at the National Championship. Those goals aren’t going to change for us.”
While the goals remain the same, the make up of next year’s team will be different than that of the team that reeled off 10-straight wins on its way to the SEC Championship game.
“We’re going to have a new team next year,” Richt added. “I know as soon as we walked out of the Outback Bowl that the team right there was gone. We will see a new team next year, with a new dynamic and new leadership. We have to make sure that we continue to get better everyday and be in a position to compete at the highest level we possible can.”
As successful as this past season was, Richt and his staff are aware that there is always room for improvement. One of areas that Richt sees could use some improvement are the special teams.
“I think there is no doubt that we have to be a whole better on special team, top to bottom,” Richt said. “We went through some growing pains with some young guys and kind of bit the bullet playing some true freshmen and some inexperienced guys. The good news is that that will have a year of experience heading into next year. It will be all hands on deck when it comes to special teams next year. We’re going to do whatever it takes, personnel and coaching wise, to make sure that we improve.”
Coach Richt and his staff are also dedicated to having a stronger, more consistent running game.
“We played a lot of inexperienced running backs and those guys have gained some experience,” added Richt. “Hopefully, because of that, those guys will become more consistent and more mature players. That is going to be the two most important things for me going forward. We also have to work on the fundamentals, like ball security, but the most important things are consistency and maturity at the running back position.”
Richt also noted that he hasn’t heard from many of the draft eligible players about their decision to return to Georgia for the 2012 season. Of the ones that he has heard from, many have decided to return next year.
“I don’t think many of the [draft eligible] players have made up their mind one way or another,” Richt said. “We have had some players who we know are coming back. We had a team meeting last night and everyone was there. Now, I don’t know if that means that they are definitely coming back, but that usually indicated that they haven’t made up their mind. Usually, the kids come and talk to me when they are thinking about leaving early, but I haven’t had any of those conversations yet.”
Richt noted the accomplishment of Brandon Boykin, who was named the 2011 Paul Hornung Award winner, an honor given to the nation’s most versatile player.
“Brandon is an awesome young man. A year ago, he was trying to decide whether he should stay or go, but he decided to stay, he decided to lead and decided to become the very best player he could be. For him to be named the nation’s most versatile player, I think is just fantastic. I have made the comment before that I wish I had three of him because I would start one on offense, one on defense and one on special teams. He’s just a super player and great person.”