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January 10, 2013
Georgia head coach Mark Richt held his season-ending teleconference with reporters Thursday afternoon.
During the nearly 20-minute conversation, Richt revealed that the Bulldogs will begin their mandatory weight lifting sessions on Monday, with mat drills set to being the Monday prior to National Signing Day.
But that was just a tiny bit of the information Richt passed along, the rest of which you can read for yourself in the following Q&A.
When did you know that Kwame Geathers was headed for the NFL?
Richt: "I've known that a good little bit. It's just more opportunity for the next guy and that's why we're recruiting D-linemen like we are. We knew there was a possibility of having this type of attrition, that there were seniors leaving and also we knew there was a chance Kwame would decide to go, so we've been kind of preparing for that with our recruiting numbers. There will be more opportunities for the guys on campus but also the guys who are coming in new who will have a chance to find some playing time that Kwame would have had."
Are there ways to play Hutson Mason into some games this fall?
Richt: "I'll say this, if we weren't trying to redshirt Hutson and he was the second-team guy which in essence he really is, he'd have played a lot this year. He might have even played more than our second-teamers did based on the faith we have in his ability to function. He might have gotten in a series earlier here or there, and hopefully we'll have the opportunities to do the same this year."
Do you feel there are enough bodies on defense to make up for the losses the team will feel due to graduation?
Richt - "We'd better be ready. We don't really have a choice, obviously, but I've got a lot of faith in these guys but they've got to work. They've got to prepare right now. They can't just sit here and wait until camp starts or until summer. They have to start now and I've talked to those guys. Their goal must be better than getting to play or getting to start or possibly being All-SEC for that matter, they need to prepare to be the best in America at what they do. So, I don't want their goals to be 'I'm going to get to play, I'm going to get to start,' that kind of thing. I want them to ask themselves am I good enough to help this team win a championship? That's what I want them to be working on."
Can Georgia be an elite team next season?
Richt: "We plan on being that, we hope to be that, we've got to earn that. Knowing what we had coming into this season, there were some big question marks, you'll remember, mostly offensively and offensive line more than any position. Running back as well, and by the end of the year they came through. This year, more questions will be asked about the defensive side of the ball so those guys will have to do their thing to be able come through."
What is Georgia getting in new defensive line coach Chris Wilson?
Richt: "I think we're very fortunate to get Chris with his experience of being a coordinator, co-coordinator, those types of things, special team responsibilities over the course of his career, so he's a very well-rounded coach. He's very experienced, very mature, a great family man. He's just a great role model. I know Coach Grantham is excited, I think the whole staff is excited about Chris being with us. We're glad we got him and we know he's going to do a great job for us immediately in the recruiting area, plus getting to know our players, getting to know our system. We know we got a really good one. We're very fortunate."
What do you expect with the rest of our scholarship quarterbacks, including freshman Brice Ramsey?
Richt: "I expect everybody to learn what to do and keep getting better. Hutson's to the point he certainly knows what to do and he's ready for the next step, which is playing time. What that looks like, I don't know, but the other guys, they've still got things to learn and perfect and get to the point where they're ready to go. We're in the situation with Aaron and Hutson that Aaron is the starting quarterback. Everybody knows that. There's no any question about that part, but if something happened to Aaron, would Hutson be ready to play? Yes he would. I think he would play and play well, but those other guys, they've still got things they've got to learn and have to perfect."
How is Michael Bennett's recovery going?
Richt: "He's doing very well. He's got a great attitude and Ron thinks he's making great progress. As far as spring ball, I don't know if he will be doing anything live and I don't remember if Ron (Courson) said there would be a possibility of him doing any route-running or catching balls out of a competition phase, but it may be a little early on that as well."
Will Tramel Terry, out with an torn ACL, recover in time to play this season?
Richt: "I think history has shown that guys have been able to play, as early as six months sometimes but we just want to make sure he gets very healthy and if we do get him into a competition setting of learning what to do and trying to compete. We want him to be really healthy before we do that because we don't want any set-back. If we needed to redshirt, we could and it might make sense. But we're not going to say that. We want to see how well he rehabs, how fast he rehabs, and see what he's capable of when the time comes. It is a long season. He might not be ready Game 1, but he might be ready not long after that so we'll just have to wait and see."
Will anybody take over the title of Recruiting Coordinator?
Richt: "First of all, there's no rule that says we have to name a recruiting coordinator, as far as one of our nine full time coaches, plus when Daryl (Jones) came in there are a lot of things that are done in-house that are administrative things that a recruiting coordinator would be in charge of. The burden of that, Rodney was getting ? it was just too much for a guy to coach ball, recruit and be the recruiting coordinator in the true sense of the word where he was doing everything. There are some things done organizationally that doesn't have to be by an on-the-field coach, plus all coaches recruit. I just expect everybody to be on top of it, to know their areas, to know their positions and with the help that Daryl, Connie (Connelly, the rest of our staff ? Ben (Brandenburg), Thomas (Guerry), we've got a group of people who do a lot of things that are recruiting related where we may not have to name a guy to be recruiting coordinator. I'm not sure that we will."
What is the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons?
Richt: "That is one thing I want our coaches to be in agreement on before I say anything. We just had our first meeting and it was all recruiting related, we haven't even sat down and graded the last game against Nebraska, so when it comes to that type of question, that's something we've all got to get on the same page on and know what we're going to do before we start saying anything public."
With Jamie Lindley graduating, will there be a competition for the backup placekicker job?
Richt: "I think every spring and every fall if a guy comes in and can boom it, and do it better than what we've got, there's always the possibility of competition so I would say if somebody can do it better, we're going to let him play."
Was it painful to watch the BCS Championship Monday night or was there a sense of justification knowing you were right there?
Richt: "I didn't watch every snap, every single play but I did watch enough to see where it was going. I don't know. I don't know if it proved the strength of our league - I'm sure there are some doubters here and there - but I think it gave more evidence to what we think is true that year in and year out, from the beginning of our season to the end, the gauntlet of our league is very rough and it prepares us for games like that. I think we've got a heckuva league and Alabama did a great job."
When did Aaron Murray let you know he was coming back?
Richt: "He told me a day or two after the game there's no way that I can leave. But he did hedge at the end, saying 'I feel this way from the emotion of it' but said that somewhere along the line 'I'd have to weigh it out with the family.' He expressed how he felt after the game but he didn't say that was what he was going to do. He said that was how he felt."
What is (son) Jon Richt doing?
Richt: "He's actually got the opportunity to play in the Raycom Bowl in Montgomery, it's where the Blue Gray Game used to be and he's training for that. Does he have a shot? Darn right he's got a shot. You get in a game like that, you'll get seen. We'll see if somebody likes him."
Will anybody else off the current team leave or transfer?
Richt: "To this point, to my knowledge, no. There's always the possibility this time of year, but nothing right now that I know of. Sometimes a kid may know and he's looking around and I won't know before he comes to me and says he wants to transfer. He might have already had his high school coach check out some things before he comes and walks in my door, so usually there's some homework done before they do."
Do you feel good about the players who will replace Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins?
Richt: "I definitely think we've got enough of a talent base in there. (Chris) Mayes is obviously a nose, I think Michael (Thornton) is obviously a nose but Jonathan (Taylor) has some versatility to be an end as well, but I think we'll have enough beef to get it done and enough ability."