Here is almost all of what Mark Richt had to say on his Sunday evening teleconference:
On Carlton Thomas, running back situation and offensive line:
Carlton, don’t know on that yet, but I’ll let y’all know when I do know. As far as offensive line play, I don’t know if we played a whole lot different than we did in the Auburn game, we just had some inexperienced guys in there running the ball and they hit us sometimes well, didn’t hit it quite so well others, but I’m very thankful they were there to carry the mail. Harton proved to be a real tough, resilient guy that helped us win that football game and we appreciate everything he did. Of course Ken Malcome got an opportunity to help us also, and I’m sure they’ll grow from that experience, but it just takes a lot of work and reps to get everybody all together and those guys weren’t getting an awful lot of reps throughout the week and all of a sudden they were it. That’s just the way it went between Carlton’s situation and Isaiah getting nicked up real early in the game, all of a sudden those guys were No. 1 and No. 2 when going into the game they were going to be No. 3 and No. 4. That’s how the reps were dispersed throughout the week of practice.
On Isaiah Crowell’s status:
My guess is that he will be ready to go. He didn’t swell bad as an ankle, left ankle, and it didn’t swell too badly. I don’t know how much he’ll be able to do tomorrow, but I would think throughout the week he’ll be able to get enough work to be able to go. I think Ron is pretty confident that he’ll be healthy enough to go.
On delaying focus on SEC title game to first play Georgia Tech:
I think you just have to interrupt our Southeastern Conference season for a week. You’ve got to put everything on hold. You’ve got to put all hands on deck to get prepared for Georgia Tech. That’s going to be the focus, 100 percent Georgia Tech.
On whether he feels snakebit at running back position:
I guess you could call it that. It hasn’t been as steady as you’d like. There’s been a little bit of drama, a little too much drama. But we’re finding ways to win and guys are stepping up when they get opportunities and everybody’s rallying around the fact that we were maybe not as healthy there as we would like to be. But other guys are stepping up and making plays -- offense, defense, special teams, it’s a team game, so we’re just trying to make the best of every situation and once we know who can play, let’s go play with who we have. It’s a situation where I think everybody has handled it as well as it could be handled and we’re in good shape right now.
On postgame kiss with his wife, Katharyn, and how it rates to their kiss after 2007 Florida game:
The kiss itself? Well, I thought it was a good one. I kind of thought she was mauling me. I went there just for a nice, friendly kiss and she started to wear me out and I didn’t know what to do other than go with it. So that’s the way I saw it. She’s going to be so mad at me.
On chance to win 10 straight given the grind of the season:
It’s a grind either way whether you’re winning or losing, no doubt about it. But to find a way to win nine in a row was big. And I guess when I got quoted yesterday saying that eight was good, but nine was significant, really the significance of winning the Eastern Division was what was significant in my mind, not the fact that nine was that much better than eight. I don’t know if I really represented that well. But when I was saying that ninth win was significant, it was mainly because it gave us a title, even though it’s not the SEC title, but it’s an Eastern Division title, which is very coveted I know with everybody on our side of the league. But shoot I don’t know, I just think it’s tough whether you’re winning or losing, it’s a grind and it takes mental toughness either way. But I think starting 0-2 certainly tested us to our limits and I thought everybody came through pretty good.
On having nearly the entire family at Saturday’s game, including Jon, who is playing college football at Mars Hill:
It was a big deal. They actually made the playoffs for the first time in I don’t know how long, over 20 years I believe. And they are ranked high enough where they had a first-round bye, so I knew he had a bye and I even asked him early in the week whether he was going to scout the next opponent, was it legal and all that, and he was like, ‘Yeah, I think we’re going to do that or whatever.’ When the game was over, that’s the first time I saw him and his wife Anna. Then of course David and his girlfriend Candace were there and Zach was there with his buddy Tanner, and Katharyn being there was big. Anya was at a horse show. She was riding and competing, so it was almost everybody. It was great because it kind of brought back some memories of everybody 11 years ago when we first showed up to Athens -- how young I looked and Katharyn still looks young, but the other kids, they were so teeny, so little and now they’re growing up. It was nice to have them there. It was great.
On how he has talked about his family a lot this year as a safe haven of sorts:
I’ll say this, and this is a very truthful statement, I’ve never, ever once left the office and started driving towards the house and was not excited to get home. I was never like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to go over there.’ I love going home because of my wife first and foremost and then the children. It is I guess a safe haven. It’s awesome. In the coaching profession, if you’ve been doing it as long as I’ve been doing it, over 25 years, there’s always going to be some good times and there are going to be some really tough times. If I had some of the tough times I’ve been through professionally and then if there was any issues at the house on top of it, I just don’t know how I would have done. I would like to think I would have come through OK because of my faith, but it’s been a huge blessing to have a home that I’m really excited to get home to and a family that I’m really excited to get home to.
On big plays he thinks back on during winning streak:
The first one I thought of when you said that was when Butler was punting against Vanderbilt and got blocked and he got hit and he kind of pirouetted and got spun around, but he didn’t lose his feet and he was able to pursue enough I think to cause them not to score on that play. They could have scooped it and scored easily and I think his athletic effort and desire to win made all the difference in the world in that ballgame. We wouldn’t be talking about any kind of Eastern Division championship if it wasn’t for that. I guess you could go back to a couple of the fourth-down completions for touchdowns against Florida that were pretty big. And I think just from a not necessarily from any play in particular, but the play of our defense throughout has really, when you play defense like that every week, then you can become a consistent winner. If you’re relying strictly on offense and big plays and things of that nature, sooner or later you’re just going to have an off day and you just can’t get it done that day and you’re going to lose. But we’ve played so well defensively that when our offense is really going well, we’re putting people away and when our offense is not doing extremely well or isn’t hitting on all cylinders, the defense is kind of holding down the fort until the offense makes enough plays to win. Those are the things that kind of stick out to me.
On facing Georgia Tech offense in Year 2 under Todd Grantham:
It’s a whole different world. It’s a different type of running game. It’s something that you may be outstanding versus some of the more common things that we see on a week-to-week basis and then just get thrashed by this system we’re about to go against. I just don’t know if you can equate what’s happened to this point versus the run and what’s going to happen this week. I just think it’s too different.
On whether coaches could go scout Alabama, LSU or Arkansas:
We’re not able to do that and I wouldn’t want to do that at all. In a way, I’m kind of glad we’re not going to know, or at least we don’t know most of the week. I guess the fact that LSU plays on Friday could change that. But our entire week, even if we wanted to start moving ahead, it would be of no use to us because we really have no idea who we’re going to play. I think it’s good that way and we won’t even have to worry about it. We’ll be able to focus just on Georgia Tech.
On how SEC has 1-2-3 teams in rankings:
Well, it’s a great league. The Western Division is stout and they might be the three best teams in America. I’m not going to sit here and try to dispute that. I know they’re all great football teams, coached well, got great support and they’re believing, so they’re all tough.
On Kwame Geathers:
I think he could have gone in just an emergency. I think we just felt like you know what, if we can keep him off the field last week, it will really help him it will really help him for this week. So he could have gone, but he wasn’t really 100 percent. If we needed him to strap it up and help us win the East, I think he would have done it, but thankfully we didn’t have to do that.