Richt Previews Preseason Camp

Coach Richt talks to the media before the team opens up the 2014 preseason practice camp.


Aug. 1, 2014

ATHENS --- Georgia head football coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media on Friday for the preseason media day luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt
Opening statement...
"Football season is here, finally. We're all excited about that. We started our walk-throughs, day one of our five-day acclamation period. We decide to walk-through in the morning and practice in the afternoon this year. We've done it both ways and that makes the most sense to get your walk-through prior to getting out there on the field and doing a dress rehearsal. It's the way of teaching, you teach in the meeting rooms, then you'll teach through the walk-throughs, and then we'll do individual drills that'll help reinforce and group drills that'll help reinforce what we're doing and then we'll watch the film of it. There's a lot of ways we teach and reinforce. I'm very excited about the start of the season. Everybody's in good spirits as they should be. We'll see how it goes from here."

On off-field issues during the offseason..
"The guys that misbehaved have been the problem and that's why we discipline them. The rest of the guys don't. Some are still here and some aren't. It's part of the consequences of not doing what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it, but the majority of our guys are doing a great job, and we're proud of them. The guys that haven't, and there's difference levels of that obviously, even a good man makes a mistake sometimes. We'll take care of those things and we have always and always will and not hide from that. Like I said, the majority of everybody is doing what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to do it. That's why we have the optimism that we have right now before this season begins."

On whether the national attention to Georgia's discipline issues frustrates him...
"I can't really worry about that right now. Again, we're going to hold true to what we believe is right. We're going to care of business as business comes up and we'll play football."

On Malcolm Mitchell and his injury status...
"First of all, we won't make any guesstimate on when he'll play. He's going to play when he's healthy and ready to go. It was a scope. It was a cartilage issue so we'll just see how quickly he can come back. It's really hard to say for sure when he'll be back and we don't want to try do that."

On Malcolm Mitchell's injury affecting his and Coach Bobo's plans...
"As you start camp and the way we practice, we need everybody and we're down one guy before it even starts and you begin to adjust. You get your plans made and if somebody gets an injury, whether it's a one-day injury, or something that's a little longer than that, then you just have to adapt and improvise. It's kind of a pain in the rear, but that's part of football, and so we'll adjust with the depth we have left over. We got a lot of guys that play that position and at a pretty good idea of what to do. Some of them have played extremely well in big games over the years so we've got some good quality guys that know what they're doing, but Malcolm obviously, it's sad not to have him practice right now."

On Malcolm Mitchell's spirit...
"You feel awful for him and then you go see him, I saw him this morning- big Malcolm Mitchell smile, got his books ready to read. He's kind of been through this rehab thing before. If you go by the countenance on his face, his spirit is excellent. He is a positive guy and he tries to stay that way through any kind of adversity. He's grown a lot since he's been here."

On Keith Marshall's recovery from injury...
"I don't think Keith is going to have any limitations. People ask if a guy is full speed or 100 percent but I don't know if you can really say a guy is 100 percent until he gets in a game and plays how we know he can play. Right now I don't think there's any limitations to him. If he gets sore we'll back him down a little bit, but there's not a drill right now that he's excluded from.

On Jay Rome's recovery from injury...
"Rome's toe is still a little tender. My guess is there will be some modification to what he does as far as if he'll get every snap of every single practice that he'd normally get. I don't know. It will be based on how he's feeling. But more than likely he'll miss a rep here or there or a certain drill we hold him out of to get him to the 11-on-11 part of the day. Again it will be on how he feels."

On Justin Scott-Wesley's recovery from injury...
"He'll practice. I'm not sure when he'll be able to play a game of football for us. We think it will be this season. He's moving along but maybe not as quick as some of the others."

On changes to the practice sessions...
"Now that we have 105 guys out there we'll have situations and team drills that in the past we'd have had one group there and everyone watching and now we have a group working here and a full group working there. It's a little bit different. We call it two-spotting. We tried it in the spring and liked it but we didn't have enough guys to do it. But now in the fall we have more guys to work with so we'll do that."

On other injuries...
"Jake Edwards hurt his knee. Jake's an offensive lineman for us and he had an ACL injury that he's rehabbing from. Of course back in the spring Eddie [McQuillen] got hurt and A.J. Turman at the end of the spring had toe surgery and he's about out of his boot. He'll probably be ready sometime during the season but it will be a little while."

On the WR depth...
"Reggie has had some good playing time. Rumph had a very good spring. Tibbs is a guy who's kind of been waiting in the wings so to speak so maybe it's time for him to fly, but he had a very summer and is in great condition. He knows what to do now so he'd be a guy that could help us. We've also got some young guys rolling into town that give us a good chance like Shakenneth Williams and Isaiah McKenzie. Charlie Hegedus is here. He actually is able to play this year after playing one or two years at N.C. State, so we've got guys who can come in and help us. Of course Kenneth Towns has experience. Erdman has experience. So we've got a bunch of guys that have a pretty good feel of what we're doing and how we're doing it."

On Coach Jeremy Pruitt...
"He's a really good communicator and teacher but he expects guys to pick it up quick. He doesn't have time for a guy who's not serious about learning. He's going to get on the guy and that guy will move back on the depth chart. He's basically following through with what he said in his first meeting in that he's not going to give them what they want, he's going to give them what they earn. I think everyone on that defense understands that and he's following through with his words from the original meeting he had with those guys."

On Sony Michel and Nick Chubb playing into the deep tailback rotation...
"J.J. [Green] moving [to defense] made it not quite as deep. Right now on the depth chart we've got three guys ahead of them in Gurley, Keith Marshall, and Brendan Douglas. And then these guys will be getting a lot of reps. It always comes down to learning what to do. I don't think there's going to be a problem when we get them to the mesh point and hand the ball off and see them run."

On who the offseason leaders were...
"We had a bunch on offense quite frankly. David Andrews up front was outstanding. Some other guys up front are just the right kind of guys. You've got Theus, Beard, and Kolton Houston. Jay Rome does a good job leading his group. Hutson Mason is obviously the quarterback in a position of leadership and he did a super job there. Gurley popped up and began to really teach the young guys and encourage other teammates in certain conditioning drills. Michael Bennett and Chris Conley and other solid guys who have been in the program awhile and understand how things go around here also take care of business on their own and help lift up other guys as well. I think defensively Amarlo [Herrera] and Ramik [Wilson] have really stepped up. [Damian] Swann and Corey Moore; Lucas Redd's been a really good leader for us. Jordan Jenkins and Josh Dawson as well. Those are some of the guys I can think of off the top of my head. But to say one guy's leading the pack I don't know if I could say that."

On the energy going into camp...
"On the first day of camp everybody is fired up and can't wait to get out there. There's usually a lot of nervous energy going into the first day of practice. I think everybody just wants to get if off on the right foot, coaches included. The head coach with the organization of the practice. Position coaches making sure their drills are right and reaching the standards we have set out for these guys. This time of year I don't know if it matters who you're playing but the closer you get to that first game there will be a strong buzz, especially since we played these guys [Clemson] last year and lost."

On the depth of the defensive line...
"As far as practice is concerned and trying to two-spot and all that, that might be the one spot that's stretched the thinnest. But if you're trying to get a first or second team ready to go I feel very comfortable. That's what happens when you work in two or three units you look at it like, `oh my goodness,' but when you really whittle it down to the guys that are going to play in the game we've got plenty."

On Lorenzo Carter...
"We're going to find out what Lorenzo can do. You see Lorenzo walk down the hall and you get a little more excited than some. He might be one of the first guys off the bus when we go to games and stuff like that. Usually the camera catches the first guy. I'm just kidding around a little bit but he's a pretty looking athlete and talented. He's a smart, conscientious kid and we can't wait to see what he can do. And we can't wait to see what all these freshmen can do."

On being a grandfather...
"I've enjoyed it. Just had a brief one or two minutes with Jaden right before the press conference. John, being a volunteer quality control coach with us, is grinding just as hard as everybody else, spending the night with the team doing curfews and all that so they've got to steal every minute they can. So when John's stealing a minute I get to steal a little bit with Jaden, too, and it's a lot of fun."

On switching Brendan Langley to receiver...
"After Jeremy worked with him and seeing him run 40s and all that stuff and his skill set on that side of the ball, we felt like he may be better suited as a receiver. It's just a more natural position for him to play with his speed, agility and ball skills. He's got to learn what to do, obviously, but we think he can really help us there. That's the thing about our coaching staff. We want to make decisions based on what's in the best interests of our team and we felt like that was a good one."

On Rico Johnson switching to corner...
"When Rico came to camp way back, both sides of the ball wanted that kid. The offensive staff was just the first one to jump in there and say `let's offer him.' But you're allowed to do certain drills in the summer time and Jeremy watched him and thought he could play that position and Rico was excited about it. That was a big thing, too. You want a guy to be excited about it and he kind of looked at the depth on both sides of the ball and thought he had much more of a shot of making an impact [on the defensive side] this year, so he was happy about it."

On recruiting players based on their character...
"We do everything we can within the rules to get to know these guys. I'll say this right now, Bellamy made a mistake that was stupid and he knows it. He's remorseful. But he's not a bad person. I think if everybody's really gut level honest with themselves and they think about things they did in college that maybe they didn't get caught doing, people do things they shouldn't do. Grownups do it. There's issues in every level of society where people aren't doing what they're supposed to do. You hate it. It's like I told Bellamy, I don't like that you made the mistake but I'd rather you make the mistake now and learn from it then be thirty years old and have something like that happen and you lose your job or marriage. You hate that it happens but we certainly do everything we can within our power to learn as much as we can about these guys. The reality is, if you look at who we sign, they've got offers from 5-20 schools that we compete with. It doesn't mean we're all recruiting bad guys--we're all doing our homework. There's people we go cold on during the recruiting process because of things we may find out on a visit. They may come and one of our current players may say `he's not going to make it around here.' We had one kid last year who had some stuff on social media we didn't like. We told him and his coach we don't condone that and he persisted, thinking we wouldn't find out, and we found out and we cut him. We rescinded that offer to him because if he isn't going to do what we asked him to do at that point what's going to make us feel like he's going to do it when he gets here. There's definitely a process that we're very serious about."

On what kinds of things he doesn't like to see players post on social media...
"I'm not going to get into specifics, but anything that would offend my wife [laughs], that's probably a good start right there."

Senior QB Hutson Mason
On going into the season as the starter...
"You're not really used to being the guy that people come to to ask questions or to make important decisions. The difference is that you feel a little bit more important. To the guys, the coaches, the staff, you're the guy. Any decision that needs to be made, as far as a player decision, guys are coming to you. In the summer, the coaches aren't around that much, so you're the head guy. You're the guy getting meetings together. You're like the mini head coach for the summer."

On Malcolm Mitchell's injury...
"We've got a lot of depth and a lot of talent [at wide receiver]. Obviously not having Malcolm is definitely a buzzkill. It's upsetting. He's upset. I went and spoke with him last night. You can't really say anything to a guy like that, you just pray for him. A lot of people ask me how this team is going to be this year and I ask what our injury list looks like. Those are the types of things that you hope and pray don't plague our team like we had last year. The good news is Malcolm's going to be back very soon."

Junior TB Todd Gurley
On the start of the preseason...
"I'm excited to get back. We have our first practice in a couple hours here. It'll be exciting to see what the new guys are about. It'll just be good to get out on the field and compete with my team and have fun."

On getting to see the new guys...
"We've seen them as far as skeleton drills, 7-on-7 and stuff like that. But that's about it. Of course I'm excited to see Sony [Michel] and my boy Nick Chubb. I'm very excited to see what those guys are going to do."

Junior OLB Jordan Jenkins
On the group of linebackers...
"People are wondering what we can do. People are always here and there, talking bad about you, talking good about you, so we try and leave that out of our minds. Amarlo, Ramik, Leonard and myself, we all know what we need to do. Everybody on the defense knows that it's up to us this year. We don't want to have, like last year, the other team scoring such-and-such points that we have to rely on the offense to get us out of the game. We want to make it to where we are the ones keeping it close where the load is not on our backs this season. "

On his personal goals for the season...
"This year I'm not going in with a number mentality, but going in to go hard every play to just try and make the best of this season. Really just see how much I can get, see how more mature and how better I can make my game this season and during this camp."

Sophomore OLB Leonard Floyd
On the pre-season accolades...
"I haven't really been reading into what everybody has been projecting me to do. I just expect to play like me, play the same way I've always been playing."

Senior SS Corey Moore
On the young players behind him at his position...
"Having Swann with me all four years, that's one person that I do recognize. I recognize Dominick Sanders before he came in because I played with his brother. Other than that, those other guys are still like my brothers. We are all family."

On Coach Pruitt as both a coach and person...
"Coach Pruitt is a great coach and a great man. I can relate to Coach Pruitt, first of all because he's pretty country and I'm a country guy myself. We actually had a senior dinner at his house, maybe two days ago, I really sat down and got a different perspective and more respect for him because of who he is as a person. He's a great man."

Senior CB Damian Swann
On the dinner at Coach Pruitt's house...
"It was just barbeque. Something simple that the guys are going to like. It was just a time for us to just sit down and talk about life, not just football. I think he is one of those guys that is going to help a lot of guys get to where they want to be."

On Pruitt on and off the field...
"If you see Coach Pruitt out in public he's a different guy. That's how it has to be. When you're on the field, you're a football player. Once you're away from Butts-Mehre, that's a time when you can relax and enjoy him."

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