ATHENS, Ga. — After four weeks of seeing the same losing result on the football field, Mark Richt decided to change the practice agenda Monday.
Instead of regularly scheduled special teams work, Richt instructed his players via text to get ready for a full pads, full contact practice.
The change marked the first time in Richt’s tenure at Georgia such a physical practice has been held following a game.
“We hadn’t been blocking and tackling real good, so we decided to have a little spring ball (Monday),” Richt said. “Normally we’re in shorts and get in a little running and work on a few things, but we decided to get the pads on and get after it.”
The “spring ball” term meant that Georgia players went through drills, with each offensive and defensive starting unit competing against each other.
The switch in plans led to an “emotional” practice, according to players.
“I look at like Coach Richt said, we’ve been doing the same thing and getting the same result, so throw the curve ball and try something different,” said senior cornerback Vance Cuff. “We got after it (Monday) and when it came up to the team guys were like, ‘Yeah, we’re about to get after it.’ Because everybody feels like we’ve got to tighten down and change up and do some stuff. That was a nice curve ball to comeback out on Monday and be able to hit. I mean, we are football players, guys like to hit.”
Richt said players displayed “very good tempo” and called the session a “high energy practice.”
And adding to the good news once the dust settled: Richt said there were no injuries.
The obvious question seems to involve why Georgia had to endure four losses before making the change.
“I mean, players play, coaches coach,” Cuff said. “He tells me what to do and I do it. I’m sorry I didn’t give the answer, but that’s all I got.”
No flea flicker
After Caleb King’s crucial fumble late in the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs in field goal range, many fans questioned the play call.
Some thought a flea flicker had been called, saying it looked as if King was turning to pitch the ball back to quarterback Aaron Murray.
This was not the case, King said.
“Everybody said it was a flea flicker, but it was a draw play,” he said.
“We don’t even do flea flickers.”
In actuality, the play call was the exact same run King used to gain more than 100 yards on the his previous 11 carries.
The play, 44-draw, is Georgia most basic run play, Richt said directly after the game.
“The whole time I saw the man coming off the edge,” King said. “I tried to spin before he got there, and I guess the ball wasn’t there yet. It’s part of the game, so it’s something we just have to look past and get ready for Tennessee.”
The fumble cost Georgia its chance at a game-winning field and also ruined what had been a great night for King until that point.
“Yeah since I’ve been hurt, the only time I’ve really got the ball like that was the first game,” he said. “It really felt good to have the ball in my hands. Every time I got it, I wanted to do something with it.”