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Blog: Richt on no kickoffs;`integrity’ of oversigning; off-field effect on program

MACON—Georgia’s Mark Richt was among football coaches on hand today at the annual Peach State Pigskin Preview.

Richt touched on several topics in answering questions from reporters.

–Count Richt as someone who would support Rutgers coach Greg Schiano’s effort to scrap kickoffs from the college game to curtails serious injuries.

Richt didn’t know all the details. Schiano proposed teams punt from the 30-yard line after scores and at the start of each half. A team could choose to try a fourth-and-15 that would serve as similiar to an onsides kick.

“The part about not kicking off I think if it went to a vote, I would vote for no kickoff also,” Richt said. “I would just place the ball at the 23-yard line or whatever the average has been. I’m sure the defensive coaches would want it on the 18. Offensive coaches would want it on the 30.”

Richt said as a head coach he’s seen from the sideline the violence of hits on kickoffs.

“It is violent,” Richt said. “It is very, very physical. You’ve got a bunch of guys that can run fast and are strong and are not afraid, it’s kind of a manhood thing. No one’s going to back down.”

Richt said he’s not expecting imminent change.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon,” he said. “I really don’t.”

–Two weeks ago, Richt met with his fellow SEC football coaches in Destin, Fla, where oversigning was the hot topic.

The SEC presidents voted to cap signing classes at 25, down from 28.

“Let me just say this,” Richt said. “ I don’t know if I should say this. …Just keep my mouth shut.”

Here’s what he said: “Oversigning. I’ll just say this. You guys can figure it out. 85 on scholarship, ok? If 15 guys leave, how many do you have room for?”

Richt said it wasn’t a trick question.

“Fifteen,” one reporter said.

“Thank you for being brave enough to answer that question,” Richt said. “How many are you allowed to sign?”

“Twenty-five,” he was told.

“Is 25 more than 15?,” Richt said. “I don’t know if you catch my drift of what I’m trying to say. …All I’m saying is you can still oversign with 25. If you only have 15 and you sign 25, you still sign more than you got. The question is everybody’s integrity. That’s the question. Are we all going to do things in the right way. I think everybody’s trying to do that. It’s not an easy thing to manage. It really is not.”

Richt said if you “sign right to the 85 number,” on signing day, by the time preseason practices start in August, attrition could bring that number down to 79.

“It’s not as simple as everybody wants to make it,” Richt said.

–It’s been an offseason without any Georgia players that have been arrested. At least those that have come to light.

“I think that they think they know that’s probably part of our issue as to why maybe we haven’t had the success that we believe that we should have,” Richt said.

Richt said players need to be accountable to each other, their families and the school.

“We know that we can wake up tomorrow and have a bad situation,” Richt said. “To this point, they’ve done a nice job.”

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