What Mark Richt said during Tuesday's press conference
Georgia head coach Mark Richt talked about the Bulldogs’ upcoming game with Georgia Tech during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Georgia (8-3) travels to Atlanta on Saturday to face the Yellow Jackets (3-8). The teams kick off at noon. The game will be shown on ESPN2.
The two programs have been playing each other since 1893.
Mark Richt on Georgia Tech rivalry game: “Everyone knows how important it is. We don’t run away from that fact.”
— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) November 24, 2015
Georgia Tech is only 3-8 this season, but Richt believes the Yellow Jackets are much better than their record indicates.
Mark Richt said Georgia Tech “could easily be 8-3 right now.” Five of GT’s losses are by a combined 26 points. — Seth Emerson (@SethEmersonAJC) November 24, 2015
The coach commented on how close Georgia’s games have been with Georgia Tech over the past 11 years. Since 2004, eight Georgia-Georgia Tech games have been decided by eight points or less.
“It’s a big rivalry game. Like I said, it’s been close. The players get up for the game on both sides,” Richt said.
Georgia Tech won last year’s game, 30-24 in overtime. The previous year, the Bulldogs prevailed 41-34 in double overtime.
Both Georgia Southern, last week’s opponent, and Georgia Tech run the option. Richt said the two teams run it differently (the Eagles run it out of the shotgun now, while the Yellow Jackets line up under center), but the fundamentals of defending it are still the same.
Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas was injured last week. If he can’t play on Saturday, Matthew Jordan will take the snaps for the Yellow Jackets. Richt said the two quarterbacks are similar, and the Bulldogs will be ready for either of them. But he’s pretty sure Thomas will be able to play.
Offensive lineman Greg Pyke has been practicing this week. If he keeps getting better, he’ll play Saturday. Richt also said running back Keith Marshall continues to improve. He said Isaiah McKenzie “has been feast or famine.” McKenzie didn’t practice Monday, and was questionable Tuesday.
Georgia has struggled on offense at times this year. Richt said the coaches have tried to slow things down and do things that will help them be more effective.
Twice Richt was asked if he felt he was coaching for his job on Saturday. Clearly annoyed after the second time, the coach said he was there to talk about football and Georgia Tech, and hinted that the press conference would be over if that question was asked again.
“My focus is beating Georgia Tech right now,” Richt said.
Mark Richt asked two questions about his future at Georgia. His answer both times: “My focus is beating Georgia Tech right now.”
— Seth Emerson (@SethEmersonAJC) November 24, 2015
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs will practice in the morning. Players who are able to go home for Thanksgiving will be allowed to leave after practice. Everyone will return to Athens on Friday, and Georgia will have a normal practice schedule that day.
On Saturday, the offense and the defense will take separate buses to the game. One group will stop at a children’s hospital in Atlanta, while the other one will go to the Shepherd Center. Richt said he’d probably go to the Shepherd Center, and if he does, he’s looking forward to seeing Devon Gales, the paralyzed Southern wide receiver.