ATHENS, Ga. -- At one point, Mark Richt reminded the media members Sunday that the season wasn’t over. There’s still the matter of a bowl, almost certainly a month from now in Memphis.
Still, it was evident by the questions Richt fielded on his Sunday teleconference that the offseason had all but begun.
Richt, Georgia’s head football coach, was pinned down on several issues following the completion of a 6-6 regular season:
Does he plan any staff changes? No, he answered, and that includes much-maligned offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
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Does Richt himself plan to return in 2011, even with his alma mater Miami possibly interested in him? Richt said he “absolutely” plans to be Georgia’s head coach.
“I have the same answer for that as I had for the other one: Georgia’s my home. and it’s where I want to finish my career,” Richt said.
He also said he had not been contacted by Miami, where he played quarterback from 1979-82. Richt also went to high school in nearby Boca Raton, Fla., but since taking the Georgia job 10 years ago, he has moved much of his extended family to Athens.
“It’s like I’ve been saying. Georgia’s my home and that’s where I want to be,” Richt said. “I don’t think I’ve got to go any farther than that.”
None of Richt’s assistants are going anywhere yet either, at least at the behest of their head coach.
Last year Richt ousted several assistants, including defensive coordinator Willie Martinez. Asked if he was considering any staff changes now, Richt repeated the question, then simply said, “No.”
Richt also had a one-word response -- “Yes” -- when asked if Bobo would be the offensive play-caller going forward.
Bobo, in his fifth year calling plays, was the focus of plenty of criticism, especially during the team’s 1-4 start.
But Richt on Sunday defended Bobo by pointing to the team’s seven straight games of 30-plus points, a school record.
“A lot of really good things happened offensively,” Richt said of a season in which the Bulldogs ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring offense but eighth in total offense. “The bottom-line is whoever is calling plays is going to get critiqued, going to get criticized. It’s just the nature of the beast.”
Georgia’s defense struggled often, as well, especially in Saturday’s 42-34 win over Georgia Tech. Todd Grantham, in his first regular season as defensive coordinator, oversaw a unit that was fourth in total defense in the conference and seventh in scoring.
Grantham said the month to prepare for a bowl and the 15 allotted practices, would help his team look at younger players and continue to acclimate players to his system.
“We’re going to basically practice the young players,” Grantham said. “I mean we’re going to practice everybody, but I always think that the first part of practice is really working the young players, and really giving them some work to give them some more reps in the system that we’re going to play.”
That bowl is expected to be the Liberty, with a matchup against Saturday’s Conference USA championship game between Central Florida and SMU. But nothing can be announced until Sunday, when it will be known whether one or two SEC teams are in the BCS.
The Bulldogs will take this week off from practice, as the coaches hit the recruiting trail. Richt acknowledged that the team is “working some” junior college players who could have an immediate impact. He mentioned a “big, physical nose guard” as an immediate need he would like to see filled.