Mark Richt's Tuesday Press Conference

April 2, 2013

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Tuesday to discuss the G-Day spring football game that will take place this Saturday at Sanford Stadium at 1 p.m. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt
Opening Statement...
"We don't normally have a press conference in the middle of spring ball, but I'm glad we're here today. We are moving along very well. Today will be practice number 10 out of 15. Normally spring ball would end at G-Day, but we decided to go ahead and have a couple of practices after that. The main reason why is because we really enjoy having a day off in between every practice. It's really been helpful for our coaches to spend the time evaluating what happened in practice and for them to cover that with players on the off day. If there's anything to install, we can go directly into installation in our meetings rather than trying to squeeze in other things all in one day. That's the main reason why we decided to do that. We'll see how that goes. We won't do any tackling after G-Day. Right after that, our coaches will be jumping on the road in the spring, recruiting and making evaluations of this class and the classes to come. I've been pleased with what's going on with spring ball to this point."
On team format for G-Day...
"It will basically be our number one offense with our number two defense on a team. The other team will be our number two offense with our number one defense. We'll split our coaching staff up with Coach Grantham heading up one team and Coach Bobo heading up the other. We're finalizing the roster, so I'll probably wait until Thursday to see which coach gets which team. We'll try to make the teams as even as possible, and then whichever coach wins the coin toss gets to choose which team he gets. When the "ones" are playing, they'll be going against the "ones", and the "twos" will go against the "twos," which makes for a pretty even ball game. Over the years, our scores aren't usually a high-scoring affair. We always try to put our best on the best so that it becomes more of an even game. We'll have 12-minute quarters, but we won't take time off for kicks. We're not even going to kick-off; we'll just set the ball on the 25. When we punt, we'll line up in a punt set but we're not going to rush it. If the guy kicks it 80 yards, it's still going to be a 35-yard net punt. We're not going to cover it. We'll line up for PATs and field goals and go ahead and kick them, but we won't rush those either and the time won't run during that."
On the offensive line...
"We've rotated a bunch. We're experimenting right now. A guy like Xzavier Ward has really come along, so we might give him some shots at right tackle and move (John) Theus over to left. You've got (Mark) Beard and (Kenarious) Gates that can play tackle, but maybe they can play guard. We're trying to find who our best five is for next year. We know we don't have (Chris) Burnette practicing right now, but chances are he'll line up at number one when he's back. What's happening is that we are getting some of the younger linemen who are understanding more and getting in a better position to compete. We're rolling things around to find the best five."
On Garrison Smith...
"Garrison is a guy that is a senior on defense, and we have very few of those. His whole career he's been under the wing of these veteran lineman, and all of the sudden these veterans leave and he's it. He's had to be the teacher and the leader now. I think he's really tried to embrace that role. He's a guy that earned playing time when there were a lot of good veteran players because he played hard, and he's continuing to do that."
On Amarlo Herrera's leadership...
"We're looking for leadership, and Amarlo is trying to provide that. Part of it is communicating to everybody, and getting everybody lined up the way that they should. You still have to do your job and do it well to keep a starting position to have that role as a leader, but I like what I'm seeing in regards to that. He's still got a way to go to be a dominant football player. You want your middle backers to be really physical and dominating in the way they go about their business, but he's still got some work to do in my opinion on that area. But as far as knowing what to do and getting people lined up, he's certainly doing a good job of that."
On this year's spring practices...
"We lost Coach Garner and Coach Wilson has come in, but when you have your coordinators come back and the majority of your staff, it's a lot easier just to roll into spring ball. We were able to get started relatively early, and that's just a sign of having the continuity that we have. Because of that, I think the players know what each player expects and the coaches have a very good standard of what we want to get accomplished on a daily basis. It's run very smoothly, and I thought our Coaches Clinic last week was terrific. We had close to 350 coaches that came, and it was very well received and very well organized."
On Damian Swann...
"I think Swann is leading extremely well for us, and he's practicing hard. He's to the point in his career where he's trying to perfect what he does. He's not learning what to do. He knows what to do. He really doesn't have to prove to anybody that he's a very good football player because he's already proved that. Now it's just a matter of can I lead and can I become the very best football player. I think that's his mindset. I'm seeing good signs of that, but the offseason will be big for him to get all of the younger guys organized. When you become the teacher, I think everything just makes more sense. All of the sudden you have to teach these guys why we're doing things, and it means a lot more to the player."
On Tray Matthews...
"He's been impressive. I really don't know if he's doing everything correct, assignment-wise, but he's a very fundamentally-sound football player and tackler. He enjoys competing, and he enjoys the physical aspect of the game. When a guy can tackle out in space like he does and just plays with speed and confidence, it's been impressive. He hasn't nailed down any particular job yet, but he's made a very strong impression on everybody. I think he's proved that he's earned playing time. "
On J.J. Green...
He's a young man who's very strong. He's got great change in direction and good speed. As a runner, he's really got a little toughness about him. We really weren't sure how he was going to respond to everything, but so far, he's learned extremely well and he's competing hard. He has a long way to go, but he's making some progress. We think eventually he can get out of the backfield and become a receiver."
On special teams...
"We work all of our special teams in the spring. A lot of times, we'll do more fundamental work and the types of things that you have to do to learn how to block well. We'll spend a lot of time on protection with our punt team, and maybe not so much on our coverage. We'll set up drills just so we can evaluate talent and personnel. It's more broken down into fundamental drills to see who can get the job done."
Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the new uniforms and lighter material...
"I feel great in them. When you put them on you feel like you're not wearing much. It's a lot more flexible and breathable. I really enjoy wearing them."
On the importance of G-Day for back-up quarterbacks...
"It's a huge day for them. They're all trying to earn that spot and trying to be the guy that travels, too. That's pretty big. I think we take three or four quarterbacks to the game. You want to be able to travel to all the games, that's always fun. Practices are great. Coach Bobo says practice shows a good amount, but scrimmages and G-Day really show all that you've learned and all the work that we've put in these last few weeks. They see what you've taken away from it and how you can produce on the field in more game-like situations."
Running Back Keith Marshall
On J.J. Green...
"He is very impressive in the fact that he hits the hole. He's not trying to balance everything or hesitating. If it's not there, he's hitting the hole and getting everything he can from it, which is one of the things that the coaches teach us. I think he's done very well."

On the youth of the defense...
"Last year we had so many beasts. All of the defensive linemen and linebackers were older guys. I think we'll be a little bit younger this year, but I still think we have just as good of players. They're not seniors yet but I think they'll be just as good when they get that age."
Defensive Lineman Garrison Smith
On leaving a legacy at Georgia...
"I want to leave a legacy as one of the all time greatest teams to ever come through the University of Georgia. We're going to have a lot of young guys coming through. Me being the lone senior on the defense, I would love to go out and bring a National Championship to the University of Georgia and for Athens and the whole state of Georgia. Just to bring the title here would be some of the greatest history ever made."
On how he thinks this year's team could end up compared to other great Georgia teams...
"I think about it all the time. Naturally, we're trying to teach these guys to leave our own legacy here and make our own mark. We're not trying to live off of Herschel Walker anymore. We have Todd Gurley and all these other guys. We need to make our own legacy. We're trying to make something special here."
On his role of leadership in the upcoming season...
"I just try to lead by example. That's what I have been trying to do ever since I started playing football. I don't like to be a cheerleader or a hype man or a motivational speaker, that's not really my role. I just try to lead by example and show my play and my effort and show guys how to do it the right way. I try to be a man of a great character off the field and do well in school. When I finally do have to speak, it's going to be important and it's going to be like the law when I do say it because I really don't talk much. That's how I try to put my influence on the team."
Linebacker Amarlo Herrera
On how the defense has looked so far this spring...
"I think we've done pretty well. We have all the young guys on the same page and they're working hard the way that we work hard. I think we have done a pretty good job of that so far.  Our job is to work hard and these young guys are hard workers. They go out and work hard and improve each day and you can see that in the way they practice. They're making plays."
On what the team will be trying to accomplish on G-Day...
"We want to make sure that everyone goes out there and does their responsibility and that we all have fun. The guys that have been here, [James] DeLoach, TJ [Stripling], and the freshmen and Ramik [Wilson] are going to be making plays for us next year. These are guys that people are going to need to look out for on G-Day and next fall."



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