Are Dawgs being spied on? Coaches say yes

Mark Richt

ATHENS – Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer thinks Georgia spied on him last year, and Bulldogs coach Mark Richt doesn't blame him.

Beamer closed his practices this year after 20 years with an open-door policy and part of the reason is because of Georgia's 31-24 win in the Peach Bowl.

"We practiced out at Georgia Tech, and we let all kinds of people through there … people we didn't really know," Beamer told the Roanoke Times in Virginia. "And I thought it hurt us in the bowl game. I'm not blaming anybody … but I thought Georgia knew exactly what we were doing in several situations."

For the record, Richt said, Georgia had no advance knowledge of the Hokies' game plan.

"But I can understand why he would want to close a practice," he said. "I wish I could just close (Georgia's practices) down completely."

The Bulldogs allow media members to watch the first 20 minutes of practice. The general public is barred from all practices at the Butts-Mehre Building although prominent alumni and friends of the program watch at times.

Still, Georgia's coaches have felt like they were being spied on, Richt said.

"I can understand why any coach would want to close everything they do," he said. "Sometimes(your opponent) gets the right call at the right time and if that happens enough times then I think coaches begin to wonder. I can't tell you how many times that I've been signaling plays in and then if things aren't going well, I'll immediately grab the guy and whisper in his ear what the play is and I'll run him in there because I'm concerned they've got my signals. It's natural."

Richt is more worried about information leaking out than he was when he took the Georgia job, he said.

"I see a lot of things," he said. "I think people can't help themselves."

A sharp defensive coordinator can learn something by watching the background of a local newscast or reading Internet chatter posted by fans, Richt said.

"I don't think anybody is necessarily purposely trying to sabotage Georgia," he said. "Even if we let our fans in who love us, they would just talk about everything that happened and then people would read it and find something that would help them win."

It's not unheard of that detailed reports of Georgia practices will wind up on fan message boards posted anonymously.

"You really don't know if it's coming from sometimes," Richt said. "Sometimes it's somewhere from within, some young kid out here, not really trying to hurt the Dogs just trying to brag on some knowledge they had and then giving away the goods."

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