Bulldogs Blog

On safety in football: Richt recalls when he 'saw stars'

ATHENS - For those living in a cave, there is an ongoing discussion about the safety of football, and possibly even the future of the sport. Georgia head coach Mark Richt weighed in last year, saying he agreed with the radical idea of getting rid of kickoffs, which seems to feature the most catastrophic injuries.

Richt spoke a bit more on the subject of football safety on Tuesday, when he was in Macon for the UGA Day.

"It's probably gonna have a lot bigger effect on the game than maybe anybody is imagining. It's very hard to say. A lot of this litigation may change the game in one way, shape or form," Richt said. "I do believe the kickoff is probably the one play that has the highest rate of speed."

Richt also pointed out that research shows the "cumulative" amount of blows, such as in boxing, takes its toll. He pointed to offensive and defensive linemen, whose helmets collide on almost every play.

During his own playing days, as a quarterback at Miami, Richt said he took a couple hits that left a mark. One he recalled was at Notre Dame, when Richt was a true freshman, where a safety knocked him out on a blitz by Ross Browner.

"I didn't really know what I was supposed to do. I dropped back, and got drilled," Richt said. "I saw stars. I was out."

Some other notes from Richt and Mark Fox appearing last night in Macon:

- During the question-and-answer period with fans, Richt talked about staying with an eight-game schedule in the 14-team SEC. He said they might only see a team once every 10 years, but that seems to be better for Richt than giving up the annual rivalry with Auburn.

But also echoed what athletics director Greg McGarity has said, that when the SEC announces the schedules for 2013 and beyond, it will be for the next 12 years.

"They don't want to go through this again," Richt said.

- Richt said he expects all signees to be qualified academically.

"Every once in awhile there's a guy that doesn't make it (till later) ... but I'm not anticipating that," Richt said.

- Receiver Blake Tibbs has a chance to play, simply because he's the only player at that position in the signing class. He could get a look at special teams.

"The punt return job really is wide open," Richt said. "But at the receiver position, it's a matter of how many good ones (you have). If a guy comes in and makes plays and shows what he can do."

- Tailback signee Todd Gurley is "at latest report" 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, according to Richt.

"He's a very interesting guy, another skill player, who you just get him in there, give him reps and see what he can do," Richt said.

"When the season began most people would have said Marshall was best in the state. But when the season ended, people still thought Keith was fantastic, but some thought Todd might be the best in North Carolina. We were just glad to get them both."

- On the basketball front, Fox reiterated that the 2012 class is done, after last month's signing of Houston kessler. That put Georgia at the scholarship limit

- On the schedule, Fox said they have a couple open dates. They could play up to 31 games, he said, but they had not decided whether to do that or stick until 30. The team is still waiting on the SEC to set the conference schedule.

"The league has not yet decided who we're gonna play in the league. So we're really just deciding on what we're going to do with the last couple spots," Fox said. "I thought we would know the league schedule by now. We're not gonna know anything by Destin. I hope we'll decide there. I'm sure we'll argue in Destin."

Fox said he didn't know the rotation or the "natural rivals" that Georgia would have.