Richt says ‘We've got to face up to what happened'

David Greene (Photo: Dean Legge)

Georgia coach Mark Richt gave his players space Sunday to handle Saturday night's loss to Florida in their own way.

Georgia coach Mark Richt gave his players space Sunday to handle Saturday night's loss to Florida in their own way.

Come today, however, Richt says the mourning period will end.

"They've got all day to decide how they're going to react,'' Richt said Sunday. "If they want to mope all day, they can. But (today) we're going to face the issue that everybody did a bad job. Then we'll turn our attention to Ole Miss.''

Added Richt: "They know if they mope around they're going to get whipped again.''

The obvious incentive to quickly regroup is the fact Georgia still can advance to the SEC championship game if it beats Mississippi Saturday night at 7 and then wins at Auburn on Nov. 16. The Bulldogs still sit in first place in the SEC East.

The Bulldogs fell only two spots to No. 7 in The Associated Press Top 25 Sunday. They fell to No. 8 in the coaches poll.

The fifth straight loss to Florida was crushing, especially for Georgia seniors.

Georgia (8-1 overall, 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference) was frustrated by its three turnovers and missed opportunities in the 20-13 loss to the Gators. But any temptation for the Bulldogs to suggest they deserved to win the game is offset by the sobering fact that they failed to convert any of 13 third-down plays.

"I think we've got to face up to what happened,'' Richt said. "We've got to honestly evaluate what happened and then we're going to try to correct the things we can correct.''

Richt second-guessed himself for not fully taking advantage of Georgia's success running the ball. Musa Smith had 22 carries for 100 yards and Tony Milton added five carries for 40 yards. On a night David Greene (11 for 29 passing for 141 yards and one touchdown) struggled with his accuracy, Richt said he should have given the backs more carries.

"Yeah, there's no doubt about that,'' Richt said. "I definitely should of given the run game more of an opportunity than I did. There's no doubt about it.''

One problem, said Richt, is "We were just so pitiful on third down. You're not going to win in third-and-long. ... If I could do it again, I'd definitely give the run more of a chance.''

Richt even took blame for the interception thrown by D.J. Shockley that was returned 47 yards for a touchdown by Guss Scott.

The pass from Shockley was intended for Terrence Edwards, and Richt says he didn't give the two enough practice last week running the play against the Florida scout defense.

"I did a poor job of coaching the thing,'' Richt said. "It was not run the way I wanted to, but you know what I did not coach it enough.''

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