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Blog: Richt feels like he’ll be coaching Bulldogs `as long as Georgia wants me’

ATLANTA–The day after University of¬† Georgia president Michael Adams said he would ‚Äúbe surprised if Mark Richt weren‚Äôt the football coach here next year,‚Äù Richt addressed just how long he might stick around beyond 2012.

At the SEC championship game news conference this afternoon at the Georgia Dome, the 11th-year head coach was asked how long he envisions himself coaching the Bulldogs.

“I don’t know if I’ll give the Bobby Bowden answer or not,” Richt said. “What coach Bowden used to say is as long as I’m healthy as long as Georgia wants me. That’s kind of how I feel today. I don’t know. Life can change things. When I came to Georgia my goal was for Georgia  to be the last stop for me.”

It doesn’t sound like that has changed even after a season in which Georgia started 0-2 and Richt’s job security was in question before the current 10-game winning streak and SEC East title.

‚Äú I left a place that was awesome, Florida State, under coach Bowden, who I think is one of the greatest coaches in college football and one of the most influential men in my life other than my father,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúTo leave there, it had to be a special place and it had to be a place where I wanted to spend the rest of my career. I didn‚Äôt want to go somewhere thinking it was a steppingstone to go somewhere else. It‚Äôs too hard emotionally for me to recruit guys and look them in the eye and say `I‚Äôm going to be your coach’ and knowing deep down if something better comes along I‚Äôm leaving. I just didn‚Äôt want to ever operate that way so Georgia‚Äôs my home and my family‚Äôs home.‚Äù

–Some other items from the news conference today that you might have seen on my Twitter feed:

–On who will start at tailback: ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not telling,‚Äù Richt said.¬† He said it would be a gametime decision. ‚ÄúHow about that one?‚Äù he asked reporters about the answer.

He did say that Richard Samuel, who underwent ankle surgery on Nov. 1, is on the trip. As is defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (ankle). “If they do play, they’ll be gutting it out,” Richt said.

–Richt said he‚Äôs enjoyed this season ‚Äúmaybe as much as any season that I‚Äôve coached.‚Äù He talked about going from 0-2 to winning his 100th game at Tennessee to coming back from down 14 against Florida.

–Any chance to talk about the Georgia Dome as a neutral site, Richt jumps at it. He called the dome ‚Äúa tremendous neutral site.‚Äù Hinted that he would like to see another neutral site game here. Hello Jacksonville.

Check back later for any updates after Georgia’s walk-through practice later this afternoon.

–Yes, tailback Isaiah Crowell was with the rest of the players for the walk through at the Georgia Dome. The team did not actually practice. They did not have a walk-through practice. They pretty much just walked around the field and sat on the benches.

They were obligated to be here for the media appearance on the field. They were here about 15 minutes and were gone. Ray Drew posed for a photo. Alec and Zander Ogletree hung out on the bench. Crowell sat on a bench with some teammates.

Athletic director Greg McGarirty was on hand. So were the CBS crew of Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson.

–Hard to tell what Tyson might be able to do based on him just walking around with the team in sweats today. Offensive guard Dallas Lee was limping after his foot surgery. He practiced some this week, but looked like he won‚Äôt be able to go. Think I saw Richard Samuel was eating a bag of chips. Aron White was dressed for the season wearing a Santa Hat. I would have pegged him to be the one to do it.

Until tomorrow back here at the dome.

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer