October 30, 2007

Richt undergoes transformation

If there's been one criticism of Georgia coach Mark Richt in recent weeks, it's the idea that the head Bulldog doesn't display enough outward emotion and that's a reason his team sometimes plays flat.

Granted, not many people are suggesting that after Richt ordered his offense to celebrate following its first touchdown in Saturday's 42-30 win over Florida.

Still, Richt said he's heard the notion before. Not that he necessarily agrees.

"Here's the thing and I'll go back in time. In 2002, if you would just read what people say, they were saying 'That's the most amazing thing we've ever seen,'" Richt said. "Everybody wanted to know 'How can that guy stay so calm? He's the reason why they're winning. They won the SEC because Coach Richt stays calm.' Then, if you start to lose a game or two, we're losing because this guy won't get emotional."

In previous years, Richt said he might have agreed. But there was a reason.

"I'll say this, all the years up until this year, I have been calling plays. When I call plays, and I've said this many times, I need to be peaceful. In my mind I need to be calm so I can think straight. As I'm making a decision every 25 or 30 seconds, I need peace, that's just how I operate. Other people can be gregarious and be sharp mentally, but for me, I need to be a certain way," he said. "Now, I'm not calling plays any more. I've got more time to go off chain once in a while, I guess. I've got al little more time."

Richt joked that officials have asked about his transformation.

"I think they're wondering what's going on with me a little bit," Richt said. "They say I never really used to bother them as much before, now he's in our ear all the time. It's just that I see things that I didn't see before."

Richt said that new-found freedom might have been one of the reasons he agreed to let his offense celebrate the score, despite virtually the entire team decided to take him up on the offer.

"It's given me more freedom to be a little more emotional," Richt said. "The first few games I wasn't sure what to do. I'm kind of like, what do I do now? I'm learning how to act now. I don't know whether that's good or bad, but I'm trying to figure it out."

As for his decision to apologize to the SEC and Florida for his decision to allow the celebration, Richt said it was an easy decision. Especially, he said, after speaking with Commissioner Mike Slive.

"That was not in the spirit of the rules and that point was made clear to me by the commissioner," Richt said. "And I agree with him."

Henderson still working at punt return

Richt couldn't say when Mikey Henderson would regain his punt return duties after Thomas Flowers retained the position Saturday against Florida.

Henderson had been bothered by a sore hamstring, but made the trip to Jacksonville. However, when Georgia first forced Florida to punt, it was Flowers going back to receive the kick. Flowers returned punts in the Bulldogs' previous game against Vanderbilt.

"Coach (Jon) Fabris asked me if I minded if he went with Thomas and I said I had no problem with that," Richt said. "Mikey had been nursing some injuries, and at the time, the percentage of what he was feeling may have been less than 100 percent. If he wasn't 100 percent, we were going to let (Flowers) go."

Richt said he anticipate as soon as Henderson is totally healthy, he'll likely regain his former job.

Safety Johnson doubtful

Richt said that safety Kelin Johnson is doubtful for Saturday's game against Troy with a banged up knee.
"What is the word for just above out?" Richt asked. "That's what he is."

Johnson has been bothered by a myriad of injuries which have caused him to miss parts of several games, including the entire contest against Western Carolina.

Richt said that Reshad Jones would start in his place against Troy.

Wynn back to stay at DE

Junior college transfer Jarius Wynn was moved from defensive end to defensive tackle back in the preseason when depth was thought to be an issue.

Now that it's not, Wynn is back at defensive end and he loves every second of it.

"I really enjoy it," said Wynn, who had one of Georgia's six sacks of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Although he's not scheduled to start, the 6-5, 273-pounder will see considerable time rotating with starters Roderick Battle and Marcus Howard.

Wynn said he was moved back to defensive end the week of the Florida game.

Dawgs moves up in poll

Georgia moved up to No. 12 in the weekly Master Coaches top 25 poll.
Voted on by former college head coaches, the Bulldogs jumped up from No. 24.
Former coach Vince Dooley is one of the voters, along with former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, Auburn coach Pat Dye and Nebraska coach Tom Osborne.

Trojan has wrestling past

Junior offensive lineman Windham Rotunda's name may sound familiar to professional wrestling fans. His father is former WWE tag-team champion Mike Rotunda and his uncles are former WWE starts Barry and Kendall Windham.
Rotunda is also the grandson of wrestling Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan.

This and that

Saturday's Dawg Walk is scheduled for 11:20 a.m. "We challenge the Dawg Nation to help us out," Richt said. … Richt was honored Tuesday by representatives from the Red Ribbon Campaign, a nation drug awareness observance. … Senior running back Jason Johnson is a solid No. 2 at running back behind Knowshon Moreno, Richt said.

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