DESTIN, Fla. - Georgia head coach Mark Richt was hit with a myriad of questions during Tuesday's first day of the annual SEC Meetings.
You name it, Richt was probably asked; from his thoughts on possible league expansion, to questions about being on the hot seat, to if his Bulldogs have what it takes to make some serious noise in what some are predicting to be a wide-open conference race.
"I think it's hard to predict how good we might be mainly because of our quarterback situation and the fact we're implementing a different defense," Richt said. "But there are some things where we're pretty solid and the story goes if you are in those particular spots then you've got a chance. One is a having a veteran offensive line, which we do. Another is a solid kicking game, which we have. Let's face it, our tight ends and running backs matured a lot last year, and getting (Kris) Durham back will help our wide receivers. I think Tavarres (King) has come on and of course we've got A.J. We've got some other guys who have proven themselves over time."
In time, Richt believes Aaron Murray will do the same.
A redshirt freshman, Murray topped Georgia's post-spring depth chart at quarterback, and from all indications will be the starter when the Bulldogs kick off their season against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Richt said he also possess many of the intangibles it takes to becomes successful signal caller.
"I love the fact that he led his team to a state championship and that he understands the team concept," Richt said. "He's not super tall, but he is at least 6-foot-1; he's tall enough. I've seen a lot of 6-1 guys have success. Aaron's got a strong arm, a quick release and he's more mobile than people give him credit for. If he people could see him without his shirt, they'd realize how physical he really is. He loves football, he loves the team, he loves Georgia and he wants to be special."
As for Logan Gray, Richt said the redshirt junior will go into preseason as the No. 2 quarterback, although he said incoming freshman Hutson Mason will be given every opportunity to show what he can do and possibly move up the depth chart.
Richt also has high hopes for sophomore receiver Marlon Brown, who struggled his freshman year picking up the Bulldogs' system.
"I like what Marlon's doing. He played in a high school league that did not challenge him much physically, in my opinion; he was a man among boys, in my opinion," Richt said. "I thought it might take some time for him to get up to speed, but he has made good progress like I thought he would. He's in tremendous condition and he's smoothing out his route running. He might be the best blocking receiver we have right now, and he's always had strong hands. I like what he does."
As for Georgia's incoming freshman class, Richt said that Dalton defensive end Jalen Fields and Wilcox County receiver Lonnie Outlaw have not qualified.
Sources told UGASports that Fields will attend Georgia Military College, although Richt said he did not know his future plans.
"So far, there have been no surprises," said Richt, who added that the remaining members of Georgia's signing class has qualified.
Richt cracked a smile when asked about several stories which have made the rounds, suggesting he is on the hot seat following last year's 8-5 campaign.
"I haven't heard that, really?" Richt asked a reporter. "My mindset has always been, let's do what I think we need to do to succeed and try not to be influenced by anything other than the people who are closest to the program. And quite frankly my goal has always been to try to conduct myself in a way so that the university would be proud and my Lord and Savior would be proud too. So I'm trying to do things . . . with a lot of integrity and a lot of character. And hopefully we're winning games and we're still educating young men.
"Of course you want to win. Absolutely. But also we still want these guys to get their degrees; we want these guys to be preparing for life after football. We think you can have it all."
NOTE: Richt added that defensive back Sanders Comming and wide receiver Israel Troupe will not be playing baseball for the summer-league Athens Pirates as has been rumored.
Richt confirmed that cornerback Vance Cuff ran the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds during summer testing.
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