October 16, 2011

Post-game addressed



Georgia coach Mark Richt didn't provide a lot of details, but said during Sunday night's teleconference that he has addressed the post-game incident following Saturday night's 33-28 win over Vanderbilt.

As the teams were walking off the field, Bulldog defensive coordinator Todd Grantham could be seen arguing with Commodore head coach James Franklin before walking away.

"I just think that tempers were hot, it was a heated ball game, a very close ball game and a very emotional ball game for everybody. It was just a situation where I'm sure words were spoken, all that kind of stuff," Richt said. "When you look at the big picture, it sure wasn't a pretty scene, but it really could have been a lot worse than it was. I think coaches from both sides and the players did a good job of getting everybody off the field without anything horrible happening."
"For me, personally, I'd like it if everybody could walk across the field, shake hands and say good luck and go win the next one. That's what you'd hope to happen, but unfortunately it didn't happen in this ball game."

Richt said he spoke with the entire team and staff about what kind of post-game etiquette he expects to see moving forward

"I've addressed it with everybody involved and we all know that we want to do things a certain way, and we want to be able to keep our poise throughout the ball game. I think there were some times in the game where we need our players to not be chirping or anything, just go back to the sideline if you're on special teams, go back to the huddle if you're still on the field as an offensive and defensive player. Let's just play football," he said. "We know it's a very physical game, a very physical battle and emotions do get fired up. Sometimes things happen on accident and everybody gets riled up about them and sometimes it's hard to slow those emotions down."

Regarding Saturday's special team breakdowns, Richt said addressing those problems will be one of his top priorities as the Bulldogs start their preparation for their game in two weeks against Florida.

A kickoff return for a touchdown, two missed field goals and Drew Butler's blocked punt late in the game continued what's been some extremely questionable special teams play this season, something Richt knows has got to change - soon.

Richt was asked by UGASports how he might get more personally involved to correct the problems that are taking place.

"I've got to get involved as far as making sure we have answers, that we have a plan on this thing, that's my role," Richt said. "I'm not an expert on special teams and I'm not going to sit here and say that I have all the answers in that area, but I want to make sure that we've got a good plan moving forward and we're comfortable with what we're doing, whether it's personnel or scheme change, whatever it might be."

Georgia - like most schools - splits up its special team duties with Bryan McClendon handling punt returns, John Lilly punt coverage, Tony Ball kickoff returns and Rodney Garner punt block.

NCAA rules only allow each school to have 10 fulltime coaches, including the head coach and most programs eschew hiring an assistant whose sole duty is special teams.

Richt doesn't see ever doing it either.

"I don't know about what-ifs, but the way we've been doing it for the last 11 years is the way we've been doing it. When you have one special teams guy it tends to be, 'well, that's his issue, it's not my issue' and sometimes a coach may assist a guy he really doesn't have the responsibility of," he said. "So I think it's good to spread that responsibility throughout the staff. If a guy did special teams only fulltime I think that's a whale of a job and I think it's better to spread it out quite frankly, at least for us."

Richt said this week's bye week could not come at a better time.

The Bulldogs return to practice Tuesday afternoon.

"I think just having the open date right now is very healthy for us. Our players need it, our coaches need it, I need it. Personally, I'm relaxing today getting a little rest and we're going to try our best to begin our game-planning of Florida without wearing out guys out," he said. "I really want this week to be where we get a couple of really good lifts in but we don't get too much hitting. I just don't want to set anybody back, although when we put the pads back on Wednesday it may be good for a guy like (Alec) Ogletree to play a little ball again so I think there will be some value to it, but we want to minimize it as much as possible."

NOTES: From the sound of it, it appears Georgia could be as healthy as it's been all season when they tangle with the Gators in Jacksonville on Oct. 29. Right defensive end DeAngelo Tyson is expected to be fine after suffering a mild MCL sprain against Vandy, before returning to finish the game. The same holds true for safety Bacarri Rambo, who was at first feared to have a turf toe injury that has since been ruled out. The extra week will also give running backs Isaiah Crowell (wrist) and Carlton Thomas (bruised thigh) time to rest and heel. Also, Richt said that Ogletree will return to practice Tuesday and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is continuing to improve and is expected to play. "He may not be full speed this week, but he's making good progress," Richt said of Mitchell. There was also some news on wideout Rantavious Wooten, who Richt said is starting to show some progress since missing the last four games with a concussion. … Richt said he has not heard anything from the league office in Birmingham regarding any possible suspension regarding nose tackle Kwame Geathers, who appeared to take a punch at a Vanderbilt player during Saturday night's game.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.