Richt's Tuesday Press Conference

ATHENS - Quotes from Mark Richt's weekly press conference.

Opening statement…

"Big game this week. It's great to have a game like this at the end of the season and in particular at the end of this season, to have a season where we've not reached some of the goals, or hardly any of the goals that we set out before us. As far as won-lost record, to play game 12 and still have a game that's this meaningful is exciting for me as a coach, because we are always looking for ways to motivate and I don't think we'll have to do a whole lot of motivating this week.

"Coach (Paul) Johnson has done a fantastic job at Tech. Once again, offensively they've got it going, averaging over 400 yards a game rushing. I think that leads the nation. Of course we know that (Joshua) Nesbitt got hurt and Tevin Washington has taken over. He's running it very well. You can tell he's getting more and more comfortable every game. A lot of people ask the question, ‘How is it different to defend the offense with Tevin compared to Josh?' Right now we don't see a huge difference. We see the same plays. We see the same system, we see the same pass routes, so we don't see a big difference there."

"It's a great opportunity this weekend. I'm embracing the fact that we are playing in the evening. We haven't played many night games, and this may be the first at home. I think our players will enjoy that. I think our players will enjoy the buildup to that. There usually is a little more electricity at night. I know our fans will be there ready to honor our seniors, honor our team one more time. It will be Senior Day. Our seniors will come out and get a chance to have a picture taken with their family in front of the crowd. I want to encourage our Bulldog faithful to get in the stands for that ceremony. It will be as close to kickoff as we can get it and still do the things that we need to do for our pregame warmups, so I'm hoping everyone gets there early enough to really honor these guys. It's an emotional time for these guys, it's a very important time for these guys. I know the Dawg Walk will be great. I guess the little league baseball team is going to be leading the pack for us at the Dawg Walk. Warner Robins did it again I guess. So Warner Robins' little league team will lead the Dawg Walk out. We will have helmet stickers honoring the Georgia National Guard, and I heard our new governor will do the coin toss. There is going to be a way to honor Gov. (Sonny) Perdue at halftime, so there are a lot of great things happening besides the ballgame."

On the Georgia seniors…

"I tell those guys it's hard to lead when things aren't going right. It's easy to lead when you are winning. It's hard to lead when you are not winning like you should or the way we feel like we should. To keep a team together and to keep a team motivated and to keep persevering is not easy. You can look at the seniors too. This isn't what we wanted our senior year. They could have sacked their bats too. They've not done that or even come close to doing that. I'm proud of how they've led through the adversity and I'm very confident that when we come out of the gate, we'll be ready to play, the seniors will and the rest of the team will be ready to play. That's part of the reason why I'm proud of the effort. Most every one of them is graduating, if not already graduated. Even the ones who had a few bumps along the way, which they all have, have come out of it the right kind of men, so I'm really proud of them."

On what the Georgia Tech game means to the Georgia seniors… "It's the last time they are going to play between the hedges. It's the last time they get a chance to wear the red and black in front of their home crowd, so they want to have a good final memory. Guys do tend to remember the last time they are in that stadium. A lot of times as it's happening they don't think much about it, but I try to help them understand that it will be something you'll reflect on and you want to reflect on it in a real positive way and a way that you'll be proud of it. Just that in itself is enough."

On whether he assumes an underclassman will leave for the NFL is he is highly rated…

"No, we don't always assume it. We always try to go through the process of educating ourselves and them as to the pros and cons of that decision and try to get up with the families and talk a little bit about it, and try to come to a decision that is in the best interest of the player."

On whether he is comfortable Aaron Murray will play Saturday…

"If you are asking me do I think he is going to play, I think he is going to play. It's still not 100 percent certain that he is going to play, but he practiced well yesterday. He wasn't very sore if any. There wasn't a lot of soreness from yesterday's practice to today. At the rate he is going and his mentality right now, I think he has every intention of playing, and we're pretty sure he'll play. We hope there is not a setback. I don't foresee one. We will be in pads today, and somebody could run into him on accident, but we don't want them to. The next two days we'll gear it down even more so he shouldn't have a setback."

On how much more comfortable he is with Hutson Mason compared to at the beginning of the season…

"A lot more comfortable now. We did give Logan (Gray) a couple of snaps, but it wasn't to be the starter if something happened to Aaron or be the first guy in the game. But if Aaron couldn't play and you've got Hutson, then Logan would've been the next guy in the game, so we wanted to get him a little bit of work for that reason. But Hutson, he's had so much meeting time and practice reps that we're comfortable with him being able to run our offense."

On Chad Gloer

"Chad Gloer is a kid that was a walk-on, had high hopes, hopes of one day playing and hopes of one day earning a scholarship. He was able to accomplish both of those things. I'm really proud of his perseverance in that regard. He's a hard worker, he's tough. On the special teams he does make plays for us and he's a big part of our special teams, but then he's also out there practicing with the scout team all day long too and gives great effort in that regard, so we're really proud of the job he's done all throughout his career. He is going to represent our seniors at the coin toss, one of the four. Every senior we have will wear a C. They are all captains, but Chad deserved that right from the special teams play."

On Georgia players attending the Georgia Tech-Duke game…

"I'm glad that they wanted to go. I'm glad they wanted to go check it out. If I was a player, I probably would have liked to do that. I like college football period, and you have a chance to go watch a good college game. Also it's who you are playing next. There are no rules against is, and when I found out about it, I thought it was a good idea. I'm glad they cared enough to do it."

On what the Georgia Tech game means to him…

"We haven't mentioned this much, and I should have mentioned it more, but there is also the Governor's Cup at stake. There is a trophy that travels to the team that wins the game and it gets to be displayed at your athletic complex year after year. It's also a very unique situation in that this game is not quite a bowl game, but it gets treated a little like a bowl game in that there are gifts that are being allowed to give out. Every senior of the winning team gets a trophy, and every senior who plays gets a watch to signify that they played in that game. Also, the head coach gets a trophy also with the names of all the seniors who played in the game. I really like those."

On the main benefits of playing in a bowl game…

"The experience of the trip, I've never been to a bad bowl. Every bowl you go to, the people are wonderful. They have really neat things to do. You get a chance to go compete in another college game. You get to practice along the way, which I don't know that the players are all that excited about that part of it, but as a coach you like to get more practice opportunities in. You tend to take some time to let the younger guys get a little bit more work. I don't do that maybe as much as other coaches do. My focus is usually to make sure we are preparing to win the game. I know graduation day, historically at Georgia you have a bunch of seniors taking off to graduate, and it's a day where we do some scrimmaging with the younger guys. That's important too. I think it's certainly nice to be able to say you have a certain streak of playing in a bowl game. That's important too."

On Kris Durham and his chances to play in the NFL…

"I think he can. I think a lot of the scouts have taken notice. They like what they see. Of course earlier in the year he had a little bigger role in that when A.J. (Green) wasn't there he kind of became the go-to guy and responded well and made a lot of plays. They like his range and like the fact that he's tall and can make plays. He's never had trouble getting by people. He's never had trouble getting open deep. As Aaron was kind of feeling his way around, Durham was running by people and Aaron was getting it to him, but if he could have it him on the dead run a couple of times, who knows how many touchdown passes he would have. I think Kris has an excellent opportunity."

On Washaun Ealey and Caleb King this season…

"I think that they did a good job, but I think they could do a better job. I think overall they had a pretty good season, but they could do better. Hopefully Saturday they'll do extremely well."

On the win over Georgia Tech last year…

"That was a big day. We wanted to run the ball that day no doubt. The more you run the ball, the more you can control the clock. Everybody knows that and everybody wants to keep it out of the hands of an offense that is dangerous. That was kind of our plan going in, but we didn't really expect to run it like we ran it or as well as we ran it or as often as we ran it. I don't know if we could predict that to happen again. When you have some of the receivers that we have and the way Aaron has played as a passer, you don't just want to forget about that part of your plan, but running the ball will absolutely be a big part of what we are going to try to do.

On continuing to run the ball against Georgia Tech in the game last year…

"It went very well, we were scoring points, we had a lead. We felt like that was the way to continue to go throughout that ballgame considering the fact that we had the lead and we were having success doing it. We'll be ready to do both."

On whether the defense this year is better than a year ago…

"That's kind of a reflective question. Let's wait until the season is over and we will talk about those things."

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