- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
Coming off an enormous win against then-No. 2 Florida, Georgia coach Mark Richt and his Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) need a win Saturday against Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) to stay in the driver’s seat in the SEC East standings.
Richt used his time Wednesday during the SEC’s weekly teleconference to discuss the coaching staff’s effort to mesh emotion with smart football, as well as Ole Miss’ high-tempo offense and the difference between this year’s Rebels with first-year coach Hugh Freeze and Houston Nutt's club last season.
1. Playing with emotion
Asked how to avoid an emotional letdown this weekend following the Bulldogs’ super intense 17-9 win against Florida, Richt said it is just as important that the Bulldogs play intelligently -- which they arguably did not do against the Gators, with 132 penalty yards, the second most in school history trailing only 134 against Georgia Tech in 2001.
“I think you try to practice in such a way that you create good habits because really it’s your habits that take over in a game when the emotion kind of gives out,” Richt said. “Usually early in the game, there’s a lot of emotion involved in it. Sometimes it will sustain for the whole game, but usually it settles down into a ballgame and what you’re left with is your habits.”
2. Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense
Richt complimented the Rebels’ first-year quarterback for his run-pass ability and his decision-making of late. The Rebels are averaging 32.4 points and 430 yards per game in Freeze’s high-tempo offense, which reminds Richt of the early 1990s scheme he used as offensive coordinator at Florida State to help Charlie Ward win the Heisman Trophy.
“There’s a lot of tempo, there’s a lot of moving parts with their offense, he’s got the ability to throw it and he’s got the ability to run it and run the offense with enough tempo to give defenses trouble trying to do everything in their package,” Richt said of Wallace.
“I think what they’re doing is outstanding. I’m a fan of that kind of thing. I did that kind of thing in 1993 at Florida State as far as tempo and keeping defenses off guard, so that’s something I appreciate when I watch it.”
3. No comparison to 2011
Asked to compare this season’s Ole Miss team to the one that went 2-10 last season and 0-8 in SEC play -- a team that Georgia defeated 27-13 in Oxford, Miss. -- Richt said he and his coaching staff did not even review 2011 film. Because of the coaching turnover and the overhaul of the Rebels’ schemes -- and since the Rebels have already played eight games with the new staff -- Richt said there was no value in that.
“We didn’t watch last year’s film. There’s no reason for us to watch any games from them last year. They’ve got new coaches, so we really didn’t do that,” Richt said. “Like if we’d have played them first game of the year, we’d have watched some of last year’s film, but all we were really doing is watching what we’ve seen this year because there’s been enough ball being played that we have all the information that we need on personnel and information that we need on scheme.”