Q. Is there any part of you that wants to
go out at the 50 tomorrow and just gesture and say, hey, I made it to all your
detractors, give some sort of signal?
RICHT: No, no. I mean, I'm thankful. I've always tried to have a thankful
attitude anyway, but this year in particular I'm very thankful for what has happened. I'm thankful for a group of men who
bought in back in January and went through all the things that you have to go
through to prepare a team and to create a team atmosphere and a great
we, of course, had our camp and it was an outstanding camp. I just felt very good about the
football team, and then all of a sudden we're 0‑2 and coming off of a 6‑7
season and all the things that I knew were swirling around, I'm sure,
intensified. I didn't pay a lot of
attention to it, quite frankly, but I knew it was out there.
just real proud of how everybody just stayed the course, kept believing, and we
began to win. I knew we had the
ingredients for a very good football team. Over time we began to prove it.
Q. For those of us that weren't there,
what was that week like and maybe locker room like after 0‑2 and
RICHT: Right. Well, I've mentioned this a few times,
but after every game you address your team. After a loss you've got to think of something that will
hopefully keep the spirits of your team and keep your team together. Sometimes you, quite frankly, you've
got to make something up.
after South Carolina, I was encouraged, because I saw a team that fought
so valiantly. We had some
mistakes, a fumble for a touchdown, interception for a touchdown, fake punt for
a touchdown, another fumble to the 5 or whatever it was. But every time we kept coming back, we
kept fighting, we kept taking the lead back, and it was back and forth.
I just saw a team that was very resilient, a team that had a lot of talent and
had the ingredients to be pretty darn good if we weren't so generous with some
of the gifts we were giving out.
when I talked to the team, I just said, you know what? I think we've got what it takes to be
pretty darn good, so let's just stay together, keep fighting, keep believing in
each other and get back to work and start grinding. Thankfully, everyone did, and we began to win and had a lot
of fun celebrations along the way.
to ramble, but the hundredth victory for me, personally, I wasn't trying to
make it much of a big deal, and it wasn't that big of a deal to me until the
game was over and I saw the players respond in such a way that really blessed
me. They really cared about that
and wanted to celebrate that with me.
That was great.
the Florida game, coming back from 14, and after all the history in that game,
for everybody to keep it together, we got a chance to celebrate that. The Auburn game, I don't even know why
we celebrated that one. That was
just one of our better games, but we had a good time in the locker room after
course the next week we played Kentucky, and by winning that game, we won the
Eastern Division, so we're celebrating that. Then you go play Georgia Tech, and that is a season unto
itself for us. Governor's Cup on
the line. It's just one of those
365 day a year games, and we've got a chance to celebrate that.
we've had a lot of really special times with this team this year. I've enjoyed it maybe as much as any
season that I've coached.
Q. Coach, you guys played LSU in
2009. It's been a little
while. Jordan Jefferson gets a
decent game in that game. Talk to
me about how much has he grown since you played him last and matured and
RICHT: Oh, yeah. Well, the college experience helps guys
grow period. The more reps you get
in football, the better you're going to get. But he's become a true dual‑threat. He's a tremendous passer, very good
runner, a very physical runner.
He's 6'4", 220 pounds.
He's a big man and he's hard to take down.
you add some triple option ‑‑ well, maybe not triple
option ‑‑ but some option football to a power running game and
a guy that can just drop back and swing it and has the weapons he has, it's
very, very difficult to defend.
got a lot of respect for Jarrett Lee, too. He's a heck of a football player too, and there is a chance
he may end up in the game. Of
course, they have another quarterback we know pretty good in Zach Mettenberger,
known him since he was just a young kid, have a lot of respect for him
too. He's a really fine player and
a fine person.
Q. Who is the most likely candidate to
start or play the most at tailback for you tomorrow?
RICHT: I'm not telling
(laughing). I haven't really
talked much about the tailbacks this game. I don't even know why.
I just got tired of talking about it. I didn't tell our local media guys, so we'll wait until the
RICHT: We'll wait. We'll wait. Game day decision.
How about that one? That's
a good one.
Q. I think you played New Mexico State in
the afternoon that day, right?
RICHT: I would think that was an
Q. Did you see LSU‑Alabama that night?
RICHT: Oh, yeah.
Q. Just your general thoughts on it?
RICHT: It was about what I thought
it would be. Just a highly
charged, emotionally charged game.
Guys laying it on the line and extremely physical ballgame against two
wasn't shocked at how the game went, necessarily. Just the fact that it went to overtime. They're two great football teams.
people who didn't like that game don't really understand football to me,
because some people might want more offensive fireworks. But you talk about drama and every play
meaning something, and you know, great defense, great players, great
coaches. It was a heck of a
Q. Can you just talk about in all your
time as a coach, have you seen anybody, or any team with LSU's depth, even when
you were at Florida State?
RICHT: I mean, it's as good as
I've seen. You can't go too deep
in your lineup. Not many people go
to third and fourth stringers very much.
But they certainly have a lot of guys that they can interchange and get
the same level of play out of.
because of the depth, it makes the first teamer better because of
competition. It also makes them
better because he's fresh. He
doesn't have to play every snap.
He doesn't get worn down as the game goes on. He doesn't have to get worn down as the season goes on.
also creates a tremendous amount of morale on your football team. The more guys that play significant
snaps on your team, the better morale you're going to have. The better practice is going to
be. The better off‑season
you're going to have. And it helps
you recruit. Because kids know,
you know what, I'm going to get a chance to play, even if I'm not the starter.
Q. I thought I saw on a TV interview or
something you actually say straight out that even if you guys beat LSU, you
thought they should and would still play for the National Championship?
RICHT: I would think so. If you go by how the BCS is set‑up,
and if you look at all the one‑loss teams, if, in fact, they became a one‑loss
team, you just look at who at the played.
They played Alabama, they played Oregon, they played West Virginia, and they
played the SEC schedule.
I would think they'd be a shoe‑in to play. I know that's not what they're focusing on, because you
don't go 12‑0 unless can you focus on every game. I understand the importance of it. I know that they're doing that.
when the question was asked if, hypothetically, if we won, do I think they
should be in the game? I said yes.
Q. President Adams said yesterday he'd be
very surprised if you were not coaching at Georgia next year. How long do you envision yourself
coaching at Georgia?
RICHT: Well, I don't know if I'll
give the Bobby Bowden answer or not, but what Coach Bowden used to say is as
long as I'm healthy, as long as Georgia wants me. That's kind of how I feel today.
don't know. Life can change
things. When I came to Georgia, my
goal was for Georgia to be the last stop for me. I left a place that was awesome, Florida State and Coach
Bowden is one of the most influential men in my life other than my father, and
to leave there it had to be a special place, and it had to be a place where I
wanted to spend the rest of my career.
I didn't want to go somewhere thinking it was a stepping stone to go
too hard emotionally for me to recruit guys and look them in the eye and say
I'm going to be your coach and knowing deep down, maybe, if something better
comes along I'm leaving. I just
didn't ever want to operate that way.
So Georgia's my home and my family's home.
Q. You touched on LSU's focus in this
game. Could you talk about your
team's desires and maybe what this game means to them and what they feel they
could prove with a victory here?
RICHT: I don't think we're trying
to prove anything other than trying to win the next game. It gets kind of boring to hear that
answer, I know, but that's kind of how we operated all year.
were 0‑2, 0‑1 in league play. We still had the initial goal of winning the Eastern
Division, and we knew we'd probably have to win every single game to just keep
pace, let alone hopefully overtake South Carolina in the standings.
it became a one‑game season for us.
Every game was an elimination game for us in league play. Then the games that were non‑conference
games, those games we tried to sell that we're pursuing the Eastern Division
Championship to play for the Southeastern Conference Championship.
game may not affect that if it was non‑conference, but this game may
affect what happens when we get there if we're fortunate enough to get
there. In other words, we've got
to improve. We've got to improve
this week. We've got to improve
only did we want to get here, we wanted to improve enough that when we got
here, we'd have a chance to compete well.
We have improved a lot.
Have we improved enough? I
don't know. That's why we'll play
tomorrow. But that's been the
mindset all along.
Q. Now that you're here, what does this
accomplishment mean? Do you have a
bigger priority for your program?
RICHT: Well, there is no bigger
priority than this game to us. I
mean, this is what we gear all of our ‑‑ all of the hours that
we work, all the things that we do we're trying to get to this game.
mentioned it earlier at the luncheon, but the Southeastern Conference is an
awesome conference in that if you win the league, you know you've done
something special. Your fans know
you've done something special.
It's not easy to get here, and it's not easy to win this league.
if you do that, you've had a tremendously successful year where I think in some
other conferences you might win the league, but it's like oh, well, so
what. And that's not the way it is
in this league. That's not the way
this game is. It's a great league
for that reason. It's an
unbelievable challenge, but if you happen to win it, you'll lay your head on
the pillow that night and know you did something special.
Q. If you win, you'll be the conference
champion. What about the concept
of two teams that haven't won their leagues playing for the National
RICHT: Well, we were in that
situation in 2007, I guess, where we were fourth, and then two teams ahead of
us lost. So we thought maybe we'll
move up to the top two and get to play.
But everybody had a big uproar about, well, Georgia didn't win their
conference championship. They
shouldn't play in the game.
didn't agree with that. I still
don't agree with that bottom line is if you play a game or have a season or
have a system, there are certain rules that you abide by. If the rules say you must be conference
champion, then that's the way it is.
But if the rules don't say that, I don't think you have to be conference
championship to play in that game.
felt that way then, I still feel that way. If you want to change the rules and everybody understands,
that's the rule. But if it's not a
rule, why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should
be part of the criteria when it's not.
So it's not part of the criteria.
I think it's fine to have people that don't win the conference play in
Q. I caught some of your interview on
Monday. You had very high praise
for LSU's fullback J.C. Copeland.
You spoke very highly of him.
I wonder if you can repeat some of those sentiments?
RICHT: Well, Mr. Copeland,
44, a lot of people will take a guy that big and maybe make him a fullback on
the goal line or short yardage. It
makes a lot offence. You want to
get that yard and get somebody big and physical to knock somebody out of the
way. Well, they do it every
down. Not every down, but, you
know, he's ‑‑ I see him and their fullback more than anybody
know he's substituting and all that kind of thing, but he is their
fullback. I've never seen a
fullback quite as physical as this kid.
I've seen people just start jumping out of the way of this guy,
seen him bury guys. I've seen him
wear people down. By the end of
the game, they want nothing to do with him. 6'1", 270, 280, I don't know what he is in
reality. I think the flip card
says 270, but who knows what he weighs right now. But he's a big man, and he's very agile.
many guys that big ‑‑ you might get a big, strong, tough guy
that can run a straight track and everybody's going to get out of his way. But you have to redirect a little bit
from time to time to really strike a defender, and he is a very good athlete.
think it's a tremendous idea. I
mean, I've been looking around our campus or our practice field just scoping
out either a D‑lineman or a guard or somebody who maybe is not playing a
lot, but could maybe do that. I'm
thinking about doing some of that in the spring myself. I think it's a good idea.
Q. I just learned the status of DeAngelo
Tyson and Richard Samuel, neither one of those guys will make it to Atlanta?
RICHT: Yeah, they're both
coming. Whether or not they play,
I don't know. I think if they do
play, they'll be gutting it out.
Q. Do you guys get a big lift playing in
this building with the fans you may have, or does the first year against Boise
kind of indicate it's about the teams on the field?
RICHT: Well, it is about the teams
on the field. I mean, I never feel
bad playing in a place called the Georgia Dome. That is a good thing.
I think that's a tremendous neutral site, quite frankly. As a matter of fact, it's probably my
favorite neutral site. Let's not
get into that.
our fans will be there. I know
there is a certain way to give out tickets. I think this game is sold out maybe a year in advance. I don't know how it works, but so many
tickets are saved for Georgia people and LSU people and whoever wins their
there will be a lot of noise. One
thing I know for a fact is it's going to be loud for both teams. We did underestimate how much noise
could be created by Boise State fans.
No disrespect on their fans, but there weren't many in the Dome compared
to what we were going to have.
They created enough noise for our guys to flinch and jump offsides, and
be late off the snap.
we started the game with a verbal cadence, thinking it was going to be okay,
and it wasn't okay. That was the
worst decision I've probably made all year is not to be ready for the noise
that first game. That won't happen
Q. I'm guessing that means you're going
RICHT: Oh, yeah.
Q. Could you talk about Tyrann Mathieu is
probably the explosive player on their defense, but Claiborne is the consistent
one. Could you touch on Claiborne?
RICHT: Right. Both are dynamic players. Both will probably make All‑American
teams. So different in style,
really. Mathieu is not as big, but
he's perpetual energy. He plays
with maybe more intensity of anybody I've ever seen.
Pollack played with a lot of energy.
David Pollack ripped the ball out.
It wasn't enough for him to make a sack. He wanted the ball out. Pollack would block field goals. Pollack would block extra points. Pollack would block punts.
be a punt safety and he'd run through there and block a punt. So those guys are a lot alike in how
hard they play, and how they're always looking to do something special above
and beyond what's called for. I
think Claiborne is a very polished player and one of the best cover men in the
country right now.
Q. On Monday, Les basically said he
doesn't understand how people at Georgia could not appreciate the body of work
you've had there. Knowing how much
and what you've done lately kind of business that you're in, just talk about
that and how demanding the job can be.
Coach Miles was in a similar situation as well in terms of criticism in
the last couple years.
RICHT: Yeah, it's that kind of a
business. People ask me how did I
personally handle all the noise, all the stuff swirling around, and I would
just real briefly point them to Jeremiah 17:7. You can look that one up and you can look up Colossians 3:23,
then you might even throw in Psalm 56:11, and that will give you a good idea of
how I handle that kind of stuff.