Richt: No staff changes in the works

Days after Georgia beat rival Georgia Tech last season, coach Mark Richt made the biggest staff overhaul since he’s been in Athens when he fired three defensive assistants.

This time around – following a 6-6 season – he is not considering staff changes, he said Sunday, a day after a 42-34 win over the Yellow Jackets.

“Am I considering changes on the staff?” Richt said. “No.”

Questions about Richt’s own job security swirled earlier this season, but for the second time this month his name was linked Sunday in reports for another head coaching opening – this at his alma mater, Miami, where he played quarterback.

Richt, who also was connected in a report to the Colorado job, said Miami had not approached him about the position.

“I’ve got the same answer for that as I had for the other one,” Richt said Sunday evening. “Georgia’s my home and it’s where I want to finish my career.”

Miami fired Randy Shannon on Saturday night following a 23-20 overtime loss to South Florida. He was 28-22 in four seasons with the Hurricanes.

The Miami Herald had Richt listed among “potential candidates” and The Palm Beach Post mentioned Richt among “possible replacements.”

Richt makes approximately $2.8 annually on a contract that has three years remaining. Shannon was making approximately $1.5 million a year, according to the Post.

Pressed again if he would entertain talking to Miami about the job, he said: “Just like I’ve been saying, men, Georgia’s my home and that’s where I want to be. I don’t think you’ve got to go any farther than that.”

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity has said that he expects Richt to return in 2011. Richt said he also fully expects to be Georgia’s coach next season.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Before next season, there’s still one more game to be played this year after Georgia gained bowl eligibility for the 14th straight year – tied for the fourth-longest streak in the nation.

The Bulldogs are likely headed to the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 in Memphis against the Conference USA champion – either Central Florida or SMU.

Former Georgia Tech coach George O’Leary coaches Central Florida and former Hawaii coach June Jones coaches SMU.

“We can’t make a decision or say anything because the SEC office is very specific about that,” Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart said Sunday, a day after he spoke with UGA president Michael Adams, McGarity and Richt while attending Saturday’s game. “The fact that I was there late last night and we were talking to the Georgia folks there at 12:30 in the morning, those facts speak strongly.”

Georgia’s bowl destination, however, isn’t expected to be locked down until after the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday and it is known that two SEC teams will go to BCS bowls.

“We probably won’t know anything officially until all the BCS stuff is done,” Richt said.

The Music City Bowl in Nashville selects before the Liberty but it is expected to take Tennessee, which has won four straight games. Kentucky is likely going to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

“A couple of guys in the locker room last night said they wanted to go to Graceland,” Ehrhart said.

When the Bulldogs get to their bowl, quarterback Aaron Murray will need just two touchdown passes to set the school’s single-season record.

Murray currently has 24, one behind Matthew Stafford’s record total from the 2008 season.

Murray, who completed 15 of 19 passes for 271 yards with three touchdowns Saturday, is now ninth in the nation in passing efficiency at 162.73. His 2,851 passing yards is the second most ever for an SEC freshman behind Kentucky’s Jared Lorenzen’s 3,827.

Georgia has scored 30 or more points in seven straight games, something that Richt referred to when asked about fans’ criticism of offensive coordinator and play-caller Mike Bobo.

“All I can say, if I’m not mistaken, we broke some kind of school record of consecutive games of over 30 points and a lot of really good things happened offensively,” Richt said. “The bottom line is whoever calls plays is going to get critiqued, they’re going to get criticized. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

► Notes: When Georgia Tech allowed Washaun Ealey’s 20-yard touchdown run with 1:29 remaining in Saturday’s game, the strategic move put him over the 100-yard mark and left the Yellow Jackets with a chance to tie the game. “Really we got outcoached right there,” Richt said of Tech’s decision to let Georgia score. “That was good strategy by coach (Paul) Johnson to allow us to score and give them a chance to have the ball back scoret. As soon as it happened, I said, ‘He got us, he got me.’ I was glad we ended up finishing it by playing good defense and not having to answer all those questions.” … Richt did not have an update on end Demarcus Dobbs’ elbow injury. He left Saturday’s game in the first half. … Richt said Saturday night that he did not think Georgia would begin bowl practices this week. There will be a team meeting today where players will vote on permanent captains.

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