Georgia football: Coach Mark Richt gets feisty at tour stop in Macon

April 30, 2011 

Takes exception to fan’s question

By MICHAEL A. LOUGH

sports@ledger-enquirer.com

MACON, Ga. -- The interrogators’ voice was low, and only those around him could hear it.

He was unhappy with Georgia’s running game, running backs, play-calling, a lack of scoring, not enough rushing, too much passing and the performance of running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

Mark Richt heard the man loud and clear, waited for him to finish and answered.

“I’ll tell you this, and you’re certainly close to an expert in football, I’m sure you are,” Georgia’s football coach said as the 250-plus fans at the Macon stop of the Bulldog Club tour Thursday night at the Walnut Creek Shooting Preserve began to create a buzz.

And he dissected all of the elements that lead to a good running game, and then he noted that a team has to do more than just run to win.

“I’ve seen teams throw the ball and win the national championship; I’ve seen teams run the ball and win the national championship,” Richt said. “Believe me, you can win the SEC doing it more than one way. Steve Spurrier, when he was at Florida, he chucked the ball, and he won how many SECs?”

And then the temperature rose a little bit more.

“I see your frustration; I understand your frustration,” Richt said, politely but sternly. “I wasn’t born yesterday, I’ve coached football for 25 years, so I know what the hell I’m doing, OK?”

Richt displayed a fire and almost testiness that most fans have yearned to see, and it was met with a strong ovation.

“I appreciate your passion; I appreciate your support for this football team,” he said. “Everybody can just calm down and know that we’re in good hands.”

Then he wound down on the topic.

“And Bryan McClendon is a hell of a coach; he’s a hell of a recruiter,” Richt said. “And I’m glad we got Bryan McClendon.”

A few minutes later, the man was ready to ask another question, and Richt recalled his word usage during the reply.

“Excuse me for saying ‘h-e-double heck,’ ” Richt said. “I know there’s a media member here. Can you just say that I know what the heck I’m doing? Just so my Sunday school class doesn’t give me grief?”

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