April 16, 2009

A change in the air?

Georgia coach Mark Richt Thursday echoed what many have suggested about what they know about the 2009 Bulldogs - there's definitely a different sense of responsibility present that wasn't necessarily there this time a year ago.

Last year, the Bulldogs were being talked about as a possible contender for the 2008 national crown, with quarterback Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno receiving most of the preseason hype.

While Richt does not begrudge the media for that, Richt did say during a teleconference conducted by the SEC, that the extra attention on the pair likely did have an effect on how the team approached last year's campaign.

"The media - whether we liked it or not - wanted to portray Matthew and Knowshon as the team. They couldn't talk about Georgia without talking about Stafford or Moreno," Richt said. "Now, obviously, they were great players and deserved every bit of attention they garnered. This year, the media believes the only way that Georgia has a chance is to play together. That's been real healthy for our team."

Richt touched on a number of other subjects during the 10-minute interview:

Regarding quarterback Joe Cox and Georgia's quarterback situation:

Richt - "We've got the utmost confidence with Joe in charge now. The other thing that's good is that Logan (Gray) had a real fine spring and a good spring game which I'm sure gave him some confidence as well as the rest of the team. The two freshmen we have (Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger) at times had great reps and practices where I can look at each one and say that they absolutely can play the game. It's just a matter of learning what to do and becoming consistent enough to help you win."

On whether or not he would like to see a "real" spring game against another opponent, like Clemson:

Richt - "I think it would be a lot of fun. Our fans would go nuts over it, but I don't know if it would be the wisest thing to do. The thing about our spring game the way it is now is that all our guys are able to play. If we played another team, it's very likely that fewer guys would be able to play and get fewer opportunities to show what they can do. But there's not doubt the people would love it."

Are spring games really necessary?:

Richt - "I like the spring games for a couple of reasons. One, we would have a scrimmage on the final day anyway. We're only allowed X-amount of times to tackle to the ground, so it obviously is good for that reason. Plus, all spring we're always offense versus defense. That's how we line up and every day everybody is on different sides. When we divide into teams for G-Day, we've got offense and defense together, players are wearing the same jerseys, coaches are wearing the same shirts and we're working together to try and win the game. Plus, you can't simulate fans and what guys will do in front of a crowd because it does feel different when you're scrimmaging in front of people. It's almost like a preseason game. It's good to see how the guys will respond."

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