“AT&T Bulldog Hotline” comes your way every Monday night at 8:00 p.m, over the air on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network from IMG, and online at georgiadogs.com. You can call in to the AT&T Bulldog Hotline number at 1-888-81-DAWGS (1-888-813-2947). Or submit your questions for Coach Richt via the Dawgs’ Official Facebook page, facebook.com/georgiabulldogs, and the Official Twitter page, @UGAAthletics, using the hashtag #bulldoghotline. Look for posts on these sites every Monday for instructions on submitting your questions. The Dawgs get back into SEC play this Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky at 7pm. The game will be aired on FSN.
Scott opens things up by welcoming Richt back, who explained that there was a full pads practice today which is not normally the case on Mondays but it is after an open date. Coach Richt said they competed well, got after it. They’ll go in shells tomorrow and then have a couple dress rehearsal days on Wednesday and Thursday. Scott then asks about last week’s preparation. Richt says they practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They met and lifted on Monday. On Friday they let them go and have the weekend off. On Wednesday it was a full pads practice, a lot like spring practice. The losers had to run four more gassers which is a pretty big motivator.
Mike in Columbus mentions that his prediction against South Carolina was wrong, luckily they lost in Baton Rouge. He mentions that we’ve given up some big plays and asks about losing players in the secondary after this season. Do we have enough depth going into 2013? Richt mentions that the big plays against us is due to mistakes in the back end and they have to get that solid. It’s not a talent issue right now, it’s an issue of guys being where they’re supposed to be. Says this class will be the largest he’s seen at Georgia. Hope to get some mid-year enrollees. He also likes the guys in the secondary who are not starters.
Steven in Dalton mentions an ESPN graphic shown that points out that Georgia is 0 for their last 10 against teams that finished gthe season ranked. Would like to see the trend turn around and believes it can happen. Would just like to us execute better in the big games. Richt says we all would like that trend to turn around. Gives credit to South Carolina. Says it was an electric atmosphere and it’s our job to bring the crowd back down, but that didn’t happen. Just couldn’t make a play to stop the bleeding. Tried to get the points before the half but couldn’t get on the board and “tighten it down a little bit”. Now we’ve got to make every correction that needs to be made. Some were bad decisions by players, some were bad decisions by coaches. All the goals are intact. Practice has gone well and it starts again this weekend with Kentucky. Team has not lost heart, were disappointed. But will be ready for the rest of the season.
Conner in Lexington (young caller) says LSU had success running the power I against South Carolina’s defensive front. Should we have run more from that formation? Richt says they wished they had done that more once they went back and reflected on it after the game. It’s a downhill, between the tackles run. Can run it from the I or the one back set and the coaches feel like they didn’t give it enough of a chance. And then there were times we did run it and just didn’t block it well. But overall they think they should’ve stuck with it more.
Injury report: Jarvis Jones (ankle) out of practice, Brandon Burrows (hand) is out, Sterling Bailey (thumb) also out.
Rob in Cartersville is hoping for some upsets this weekend with Florida over South Carolina. Go Dawgs! Richt says the team has to focus on the task at hand. Nothing wrong with pulling for some teams that need to help you. Admits that he has a little bit of orange in his shirt this evening and is a Florida fan this week [laughs]. But the reality is that they have to focus on this game and getting better. Have been studying the film and they know Kentucky’s record. But they had South Carolina down 17-7 early. Have a team that can jump on you. Got to be ready.
Mitchell in Calhoun asks about the offensive play calling in the South Carolina and specifically if they could’ve rolled Murray out more so he wasn’t getting so much pressure. Or used a waggle to move the pocket and be able to get rid of the ball. Richt says they probably should have. They rolled Murray out one time and had a nice completion, the next time they did Murray had to throw ball a little quicker than he wanted to. They did use a lot of quick screens and “quick game”, but Clowney really impacted what they were trying to do. Used some cut blocks to try and get his hands down since he’s so tall. But yes, believes they should’ve used moved the pocket more. Agrees.
Christopher Daniel Slossen wants to know what Richt believes is the most aggressive part of the team. Richt says he thinks our safetues are pretty aggressive. Like to hit people. Merritt Hall is a tough kid too. The job description is a collision with a linebacker on just about every play. The fullback and the linebacker collision start a good bit apart and take a downhill run. Impressive what Merritt does.
John says it seemed like we lost some things on the line of scrimmage and wonders if the coaches saw anything on the game tape along those lines. Richt starts with the offensive line and says we did not protect the edges very well. Didn’t lose every battle, but couldn’t contain their pass rush when we needed to. Should’ve tested between their tackles more. Says this is with the benefit of hindsight, not criticizing Bobo. As for the defensive front there was the added responsibility of controlling the quarterback’s containment. Says it had to be a “controlled rush”. And we didn’t do that well enough. Moving forward we believe in our guys up front. Have to stick with the running game a little more and not give up the big plays on defense.
Mike Moody wants to know if John Jenkins will be utilized in short yardage offensive plays. Richt says that he wouldn’t want to hand the ball to him, but wouldn’t mind him being a lead blocker. They’ve talked about it. But there haven’t been many issues getting yards in shortage situations. Thinks John would be capable as a lead blocker, but it would take some time to develop.
Brad in Crawfordville asks how Richt gets the team’s morale back so that they bounce back. Richt mentions that he talked to Coach Vince Dooley about this last week when he came to visit. You don’t want to lose the morale, the continuity and their trust. So it’s important to stay together and stay positive, but correct the mistakes. Told the team the bad news is we got whipped, but got whipped as a team. By Tuesday they were correcting mistakes. No one is hanging their head right now.
David in Cumming asks if there’s any possibility Richt would take over the play calling again and Bobo would just concentrate on the quarterbacks. Richt says whoever is calling plays is going to be criticized, just as he was at FSU and at Georgia. He believes in Coach Bobo. Says he does a great job. Before the South Carolina game no one was even thinking about that as the offense was on a record breaking pace. That doesn’t happen by accident. The last game there wasn’t much offensive production, it was frustrating. But it was one game. He’s doing a very good job and we’re all lucky to have him.
Jonathan in Butler asks about how Malcolm Mitchell will be used going forward. Then asks for a shout-out for Chloe and Olivia, his daughters. Richt obliges and then explains that Mitchell is still meeting with the defensive coaches but is primarily an offensive player. Says it’s about an 80-90% offense in terms of time being spent in preparation. He spends enough time on defense to stay fresh just in case he’s needed. Expect to see a lot of him on offense, maybe some on defense. Also says he liked the way Mitchell returned that kickoff. Scott asks him to clarify if that means Mitchell might replace Gurley back there. Richt says they like the way both guys hit the hole hard. Says Malcolm might have more speed and quickness, at least initially. But Gurley is hard to tackle and bring down with just an arm.