October 31, 2009

Richt hints at possible changes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The question was inevitable after Georgia's 41-17 loss to Florida. It wasn't like it hasn't been asked before.

With Georgia a disappointing 4-4, what changes might head coach Mark Richt have in mind to get his Bulldogs turned around?

During his opening statement, Richt agreed that it indeed is his responsibility to correct the problems and promised that he would.

However, when asked for specifics Richt was not ready to spill any beans.

"Not right now. No. It's not good to make decisions within minutes after an emotional ball game. I've always learned that's better to settle our spirit and settle your mind, look at the big picture before you make any kind of decisions," Richt said. "But we'll do that."

What changes Richt has in mind remains to be seen.

Rumors persist over the future of defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, but Richt seemed to be speaking about possible personnel moves than any season-ending changes with staff.

Richt denied that his program is in any kind of "trouble."

"We're 4-4 on the season. I don't think it's any indictment on the program, it's an indictment on how we've done this year, really. The more you win the better your feel about your direction," he said. "If there's chaos, things were getting really messy in your lockerroom, with the staff, something like that, you may have a very large concern. I'm very concerned, but I'm not concerned about the stability of the program or the direction of the program right now."

Injury update

Richt has his fingers crossed that a fourth-quarter knee injury to Clint Boling won't be serious.

"Clint did hurt his knee, but I don't think it's severe," Richt said of Boling, who left the game with approximately four minutes left to play.

Richt's also hopeful about receiver A.J. Green.

Green took a shot on his mid-section while trying to leap high for a catch.

"A.J. definitely got the wind knocked out of him, I don't know if there's any kind of rib injury beyond that," Richt said. "We'll have to wait and see."

Linebacker Nick Williams (back) and defensive end Justin Houston (hyper-extended elbow) both left the game and did not return.

Houston said after the game that his injury wasn't serious.

Offensive line shakeup

As expected, Georgia's offensive line featured a different look against the Gators.

Boling opened at left tackle, with Cordy Glenn sliding over to left guard.

Backup center Chris Davis moved over to right guard while Josh Davis got the start at right tackle.

"I thought it was pretty effective," Richt said. "Their defense is one of the best in America, and I thought we ran the ball well. We did protect well early on when we still had our run-pass mix in and keep them off balance, but it was obvious when we had to throw our protection broke down."

Georgia finished with 121 yards rushing, including a game-high 70 yards by Washaun Ealey.

New look for Dawgs

Georgia came out against the Gators in black helmets and black pants.

This is believed to be the first time in program history that Georgia has worn black helmets. The Bulldogs have worn black pants on occasion, but the first time in the Mark Richt era.

"We had those helmets from a year ago but didn't have a good time to use them. I think we had the pants a year ago, too, but after the Alabama blackout we thought we'd just shove those things for a while," Richt said. "We felt like this was a good time to pull them out. We didn't let the players know about it, we sprang it on them, for a lift. I think they would have been ready to play regardless."

The first time the Bulldogs wore black pants was during a 33-6 win over Wisconsin in the 1998 Outback Bowl. Georgia also wore red jerseys and black pants during the 1998 Florida game.

This and that

Williams started for the first time in his career after lining up at Sam linebacker. Freshman defensive back Branden Smith also got his first start after lining up in the Bulldogs' offensive backfield … Sophomore tight end Aron White had a 26-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. It was his fourth career touchdown catch and his second against the Gators. White had a 19-yard score against the Gators in 2008, which was the first TD of his career. … Georgia has its homecoming matchup with Tennessee Tech on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs have played the Golden Eagles only once, topping Tennessee Tech 67-0 between the hedges in 1943. This will be the first time Georgia will be back at Sanford Stadium since hosting LSU on Oct. 3. …. Temperature at game time was 84 degrees, which is the hottest it has been at kickoff for a Bulldogs' game this year. The previous high was the season opener at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The temperature was 81 degrees. … Sophomore Brandon Boykin now owns the school record for kickoff return yards in a season with 714 on 28 returns. He finished with 114 kickoff return yards on six returns against Florida. Boykin set the mark on his first KOR of the second half, which gave him 691 yards on 26 returns. The previous record holder was Asher Allen (690 yards on 28 ret. in 2007).

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