November 3, 2009

Richt explains why he's sticking with Cox

Georgia coach Mark Richt had earlier indicated that he would wait until Tuesday before making any kind of announcement regarding any personnel changes for Saturday's game against Tennessee Tech.

But after questions Sunday regarding the status of quarterback Joe Cox, he changed his mind.

That's why Richt said he went ahead and released a statement Monday, letting the Bulldog Nation know that Cox would remain his starter for the season's final four games.

"The reason I did it (Monday), we had our little press conference about 5:30 or whatever it was and the question was being asked," he said. "When I hung up the phone I figured that was going to be a debate and of course we hadn't even practiced yet, and I didn't want it to become a bigger deal than it needed to be."

On Saturday, both Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo indicated that they would likely have to take a look at the starting quarterback position to determine if Cox was still the man for the job.

The senior was coming off a sub-par game in Saturday's 41-17 loss to Florida which saw Cox throw for 165 yards but with three interceptions leading to 17 points by the Gators.

But after much deliberation, it was decided that no change needed to be made.

"Now we did think it through. It wasn't like we didn't have the conversation of what should we do," Richt said. "But in the end the premise was who gives Georgia the best chance to win this week and for the rest of the season. Quite frankly it was unanimous that Joe is the guy we believe can do that for us."

Cox said he had prepared himself for the worst.

"Of course you're going to be worried when you hear that but I wasn't going to get all depressed. I know there are things that I've done that I should be doing better and if there was a chance that needed to be made then I understood why," he said. "It was just one of those things that was out of my hands and it was up to them whether or not they wanted to make a change."

Cox spoke with Bobo Sunday before a staff meeting to determine his fate.

"We talked about it and I talked to Coach Bobo Sunday and he said that was something they were going to talk about in the staff meeting," Cox said. "I understand how all that works and yesterday I talked to Coach Richt and he told me that I was the guy they wanted to be under center."

It hasn't been an easy year for Cox, who despite his troubles actually ranks third in the conferencing passing with 218.2 yards per game.

His 15 touchdown passes are tied for third in the league with Ole Miss' Jevon Snead, but his 12 picks are next-to-last in the conference, a major reason Bulldog coaches decided to examine whether or not Cox was fit to continue his current role.

Cox said he understood.

"That's just part of football. If things aren't going well, sometimes you have to make changes to see if that's something that can cause a spark," Cox said. "It's just something they thought about for the night and ended up keeping it the same way."

Despite his status, Richt said that Gray can expect at least a series this weekend against Tennessee Tech.

Right now you can count on at least a series with Logan more than just a situation like red zone or something like that. We want to give him a chance to play at least one series," Richt said. "You hate to promise anymore than that because sometimes things will make you decide not to do that and you don't want to tell somebody something. We did want him to know that we do want him to play, that he will play, so prepare your mind and body for that."

Richt added that freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger will now likely be redshirted.

Cox said he's thankful for Richt's continued support.

"It meant a lot but at the same time had in the back of my mind that they were considering making a change. That's reality check," he said. "You've got to look at yourself, see how you've performed and see what you have to do to make it better the last four games of the season. I was glad he told me what he told me, now it's just a matter of working hard and finishing these last four weeks strong."

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