ATHENS—The day after primarily receiving questions on his Monday night radio call-in show regarding Georgia’s embarrassing 38-20 loss to Florida, head coach Mark Richt immediately fielded more of the same this afternoon at his weekly press conference.
“There were two things that got us the most,” Richt said of his defense’s poor performance against the Gators. “At times when we were supposed to set the edge, and when I say ‘set the edge’ I’m talking somebody’s responsible for keeping a play from bouncing out the back. … There were times where we just got too far inside and we just allowed [the play] to bounce. … A couple of times, not as many times, but a couple of times we had issues with guys not staying in the right gap.”
Richt concluded that some of his defenders were “trying to make a play” against Florida’s ground game instead of simply “doing their job.” However, the coach stressed there were no cases of “anybody moping or giving out or giving up,” but more of an “execution issue” than anything else.
The fact that both of the Bulldogs’ two losses this season have resulted following bye weeks was brought up, prompting Richt to declare “I know,” as if this had been pointed out to him many times before the last few days. “In hind sight, yes, what can you say [on whether or not the bye weeks had negative effects],” Richt asked. “Do you revisit what we do in open dates? We’ve been doing this a certain way for quite some time now and haven’t necessarily had those [negative] results, but this year we did.”
Actually, “those results” have been happening for several years. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, Georgia is now 6-4 following a bye week; and, of the six victories, five were by a winning margin much closer than what was forecasted, so to speak (i.e., against the point spread).
During the individual player interviews, a couple of Bulldog defensive linemen—Toby Johnson and Sterling Bailey—were asked if their preparation, or at least their mindset, for the Kentucky game is altered in anyway because of the 18-point loss to the Gators: are they being coached to not let one bad loss turn into two?
“Not really,” Johnson replied. “The coaches do a really good job of keeping us humble and ready to work. It’s not going to be any different this week against Kentucky [than Florida]; just do the little things a lot better.”
Notably, in the last 10 years, Georgia has just a 9-5 record in games immediately following double-digit losses; and, of the nine victories, eight were by a winning margin much closer than what was forecasted, again, so to speak.
“No, we’ve moved past it,” Bailey said in regards to the sizable loss to Florida actually assisting the team in preparation for this Saturday. “It doesn’t weigh in moving forward towards Kentucky.”
A recent weekly press conference wouldn’t be complete without a question, or two, about Todd Gurley and his current suspension. Regarding the additional two-game suspension, Richt speculated that his star tailback wasn’t expecting to be reinstated right away. “I think he had a wait-and-see kind of attitude,” Richt said. “I’m sure it hurt when he heard that news [of his additional suspension] because I’m sure there was some hope [of being reinstated prior to the Florida game].”
Richt was then asked if he had communicated with Gurley about finishing this season “strong” upon his return for the Auburn game on November 15th: “I don’t know why we keep bringing that up. [Gurley’s] there and he’s [currently] practicing. He can’t wait to play.”
Although apparently Gurley can’t wait to play, he must wait one more game until he does so. As for his one-time backup, freshman Sony Michel, who has missed the last four games due to an injury, Richt is hopeful for his return against the Wildcats.
“[Michel] is getting there; he’s practicing,” Richt said. “We’ll know more in a couple of days, and again, we’re hopeful he can play.”
However, as for junior Keith Marshall’s status, and the chances of him being redshirted since the junior tailback has appeared in just three games in an injury-filled season, Richt had evidently been asked about this before, as well.
“I’m not even going to talk about that right now,” Richt said of Marshall possibly being redshirted. “We’re just trying to win games.”