Quote Roundup: Georgia coach Mark Richt teleconference

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 13, 2013 

AUBURN, Ala. — Georgia head coach Mark Richt took part in the Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday.

Here’s what Richt had to say during his call with reporters, which lasted a little more than seven minutes:

Opening statement:

"We had a good practice yesterday. We're looking forward to this game with Auburn. It's just amazing what they've done to turn this thing around from a year ago. Of course, we've got to go back to Auburn twice in a row, which is tough news on the scheduling, but that's the way it is when you add a couple new teams and got to get it all figured out. We're looking forward to going."

On how to get his team to play with emotion without getting penalized:

"You want to play as physical as possible without getting a foul. That's a big key to the game, no doubt. Penalties can really make a huge difference, especially when they happen down the stretch or in a time where it seems a little more crucial than earlier in the ballgame. But we've got to do a good job of playing hard without getting a foul, which is not always easy to do in these types of games."

On how difficult it is to prepare for Auburn's passing game given how often the Tigers have run the ball in recent weeks:

"First of all, I don't think they're throwing the ball because they don't have to throw the ball. I think they can throw the ball, and I think they can throw it well. We're preparing for that. We're preparing for play-action pass, we're preparing for them taking shots and those types of things that running teams will do to you, so we've got to be ready for that. But I think they'll go into this game like a lot of the other games — they'll have a plan to do both, and if the team just cannot slow them down running the ball and they keep moving them chains and scoring points, I don't think they're necessarily going to throw it too much if they don't have to."

On whether it's more difficult to prepare for Auburn's offense or one that is more close to a 50/50 balance with the run and the pass:

"We also have film from other games (Auburn head) Coach (Gus) Malzahn has coached over the years at Auburn as a coordinator and that type of things. So I think we've got a pretty good idea of the things he likes to do. There will obviously be something new, some kind of twist that would be impossible to prepare for. I think that happens every week. I think we've got enough information that if we execute well, we'll have a chance. It's one thing to know what a team likes to do. You know, offensive teams have tendencies because they're good at something. So you're like, 'Oh, you know their tendency. That's bad.' Well, no. When you say you know their tendency and you're saying that might be bad for the offense if they have too many tendencies and people can predict. But the problem is, if they have a tendency that you can predict, they're probably really good at it. So now it's a matter of if you can really out-execute them at what they do the best, and that'll be the key for us."

On Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson:

"He's outstanding. There's a reason Auburn is playing so much better on defense. And really, he's got a long history of going to different places and then within the very first season turning that thing around statistically in a big way, and he's done it again here at Auburn. So as much as running the football has been big for Auburn and Nick Marshall playing great has been big and the whole attitude of what Coach Malzahn has brought to the team, but that defense has been a big part of this turnaround as well."

On whether he is concerned about former assistant and current Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner knowing too much about the Bulldogs' players and schemes:

"I think people know what we're going to do, so can they out-execute us? Same thing with us — can we out-execute them? After a while, there's really not many secrets. The reality is we all get each others film, we get every single game film that we want, so you can't really hide what you do. You can maybe know something and there may be something you can tweak or change that can make a difference, but most everything that there is to learn, you can learn it by watching the film."

On whether he is surprised they are still in the running for the SEC Eastern Division title given the number of injuries they've had this year:

"The injuries hurt. We've had some season-ending injuries — Keith Marshall actually had surgery yesterday finally to repair that ACL injury. And Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell obviously (also had season-ending injuries). Another guy that has missed a lot of time is Todd Gurley and a few others — Chris Conley, we're still not sure if he can go — and we missed Artie Lynch last week, so it's been a bunch of guys, mostly on offense. Then there's been some spots at safety where we were missing guys at different times of the year. Am I surprised we're still in it? I don't know. We're fighting hard. Just about every game has gone down to the last play or the last series and we've just been fighting hard. We've won enough and South Carolina beating Missouri has given us some hope that we can still get in this SEC Championship Game. So it's nice this deep into the season to still, mathematically, be in it. It wouldn't be shocking if Missouri got beat a couple of times, although they're a very good football team and it wouldn't shock me if they won them both, either. We know it's possible, I guess, and the main thing is because it's possible, we've got to keep believing that every game is for the SEC division championship and it helps to motivate (guys) right now."

On how tough it is to turn around downtrodden programs in the SEC:

"It's tough, and you don't know what everybody's dealing with and what they're walking into. What's there when they get there? What has to be done? What changes, philosophically and schematically, need to be done? And sometimes things take time. I think it's very, very difficult, and that just adds to what Coach Malzahn has done in his first season. It's just been amazing the turnaround they've had in such a short time. He did have some familiarity with the team — he did recruit some of those guys to run his system, so there was a little bit of things in place for him that weren't there for the others (first-year SEC coaches Bret Bielema, Butch Jones and Mark Stoops), but even so, 9-1 right now after a 3-9 season is a tremendous, tremendous accomplishment."

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