That’s fine because most everyone still wants to talk about the past one day after the Bulldogs beat Florida 42-30, specifically the massive celebration that set off Georgia’s first win over the Gators since 2004.
“That thing, it became a bigger mess than I expected it to be,” Richt said Sunday.
More than 60 of the Bulldogs’ 70 players stormed the field to celebrate after Knowshon Morenoscored on a 1-yard run to put Georgia ahead 7-0 with 6:00 left in the first quarter.
Florida coach Urban Meyer clearly was infuriated by the move but declined to blast the Bulldogs after the game and again Sunday.
“We’ve got to keep them out of the end zone so they can’t do that,” Meyer said on his weekly Sunday teleconference. “It’s none of my business.”
It may end up being the conference’s business. An SEC official at Saturday’s game said disciplinary action could result.
“I can see now in hindsight where if somehow tempers flare it could have been bad,” Richt said.
Overall, though, he was unapologetic for a move that many considered out of character from a coach whose has been lambasted by his fan base and the media for being too stoic.
“I think the people who know me well enough know I wasn’t trying to disrespect anybody,” Richt said. “This situation was strictly the decision to sacrifice 15 yards for the emotion it might take to win a game like that. That was the only thing we were trying to get done and everybody did seem to think it did jack the boys up more than they had seen in a long, long time and might have been a factor in outcome of the game.”
Richt, who improved to 2-5 against Florida, said he was tired of seeing his team on an emotional rollercoaster, flying high against Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt and going through the motions in other games.
“Tennessee we had very little emotion and Vanderbilt we spent a lot of time looking at each other and wondering who was going to make something happen. I didn’t want to see that again,” he said. “If it costs us, it costs us, but we were going to play with a lot of heart, a lot of spirit.”
Richt maintained Sunday that he was surprised to see almost all his players on the field even though he had condoned a celebration penalty.
“They took off, and I was like, ‘Oh boy,’” he said. “I’m just glad it’s over with, and I doubt that will happen anytime soon, not by us any way.”
Richt was much more willing to talk about the incident than about what the victory means for his team, which is quite a bit. The Bulldogs jumped to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll Sunday, and, more importantly, are now in first place in the SEC Eastern Division. Georgia (6-2, 4-2 SEC) is one-half game ahead of Tennessee (5-3, 3-2).
If the Bulldogs beat Auburn and Kentucky and the Volunteers lose one more conference game (they play Arkansas and Vanderbilt at home and at Kentucky), the Bulldogs will play in the SEC championship game, but Richt isn’t interested in talking about “if,” he said.
“Here’s the deal, we’re going to let everybody else talk about where we might end up being,” he said. “We’re going to talk about Troy. We’re going to talk about trying to play just one more time. We’re not going to talk about anything else. We’ll leave that to the fans if they want to.”
The Bulldogs will play Troy at 1 p.m. Saturday in Sanford Stadium before returning to SEC action on Nov. 10 against Auburn.