A relaxed Richt answered questions about Penn State, freshmen, social media, the Honey Badger, and much much more…
How did SEC Media Days go?
“There were 1,100 people from the media asking me questions for about 6 hours straight… it was wonderful”
Do you have your eye on the Penn State players who may leave due to the sanctions?
“One of the sanctions is that because of the ban on the bowls and because of the ban on the scholarship reductions, the NCAA has allowed any of the players to leave. A lot of colleges will be interested in those players - we’re one of those teams. It’s pretty well documented that were under our 85 players, so we’ll try and get in touch with some of these men and see what happens. We want someone who can help us, and will be the type of guy we want to bring in to the program.”
How do you think your faith will play a role this season
“I think we all have a belief system which is the filter where we make decisions from. I believe God created all of us and provides a way for us to spend eternity with him. We know what the end is so regardless of what happens on this Earth, you have a good place to be in the end.”
How will our kickers be this season?
“We had 2 outstanding players leave, a kicker and punter. We knew those guys would be leaving, so we knew we needed to find some guys who could get the job done. The guys that we signed at kicker, like Marshall Morgan, are very powerful and can certainly kick it into the end zone on a pretty consistent basis. One of the things we like about him most was not only was he accurate, but the ball gets pretty high.”
How are you going to fix the problem the team had, in the past, coming out of halftime?
“I think we tend to only remember the games we lose. It wasn’t like every second half was poor…but the last two games definitely were. We had a tremendous first half and ended up losing both of those games. What I think happens sometimes is when you live through that, it strikes a nerve. We’ve got a lot of veterans coming back, not only to improve draft status, but to come back and win. It’s our job as coaches to practice in a way where we start strong and finish just as strong. Defensively, you have to be able to get a stop when it counts the mot….one more stop and we win the game. Not only do you have to do well throughout the season, you have to get it done when it counts the most.”
How do you feel about the guys having social media accounts?
“I don’t tell the guys that they can’t have social media. I think its art of growing up, being able to handle things with responsibility. If a guy has something that’s problematic we’ll give him a warning, and if he does it again he’ll get taken off. It might be the wise thing to shut everyone down, but I think a lot of good things can happen through it as well.”
How come Alabama didn’t kick to the Honey Badger (Tyrann Matieu), but we kicked directly to him?
“Wow…why did we do that? That was a bad thing. There’s two things you can do: kick it extremely high and let your team get under it, or kick it far. If you kick it far, you’ve got problems. We kicked it too far and gave him space to get going. This season I think Colin will be able to do better kicking it high. He’s extremely powerful. For directional kicks, when you turn to the side you make it tougher on your protection so it can get blocked easier.”
Do you think that Ray Drue will play more?
I think that he will play more…as a guy who will play with his hand on the ground. We also have John Jenkins at nose guard who is 365 lbs. The more productive you are the more plays you get. You earn your way and Ray is well on his way.”
How are the new additions to the strength and conditioning staff?
“I think it’s one of the most exciting things to happen in the offseason. We hired John Thomas who had been the strength coach at Penn state for over 20 seasons. We also got Sherman Armstrong who had a business in Tampa training Olympic, College, NFL athletes. Then we got Justin Lovett who has an expertise in mixed martial arts and boxing. We also added a little yoga for these guys to give their muscles the ability to recover.”
What is your input on non-conference games?
“When we went from 11 to 12 games our philosophy was to add one other BCS school outside of the region. It sounded like a great idea until you went there…it takes take a toll on you so we backed off on that. There’s a big debate on whether to have 8 or 9 conference games.”