Some notes and quotes from a Liberty Bowl news conference this evening with Georgia coach Mark Richt and Central Florida coach George O’Leary at the Racquet Club of Memphis:
–Richt said Georgia assistant coaches have mentioned to him about how the bowl practice schedule, which begins in earnest on Wednesday, will take them off the road recruiting.
“I’ve got a bunch of coaches that are out there on the road recruiting,” Richt said. “They’re looking at the bowl practice schedule and they’re like `Coach, can you change this? Can you change that? Can you move it back here so we can get back in the homes more?’ I said `Look, the best recruiting we can do is win this football game. We’ve got to make sure we keep our priority where it needs to be.’ I still want to recruit.”
O’Leary told Richt not to worry about the bowl game.
“Go recruit,” he joked.
–Richt pointed out that Georgia’s 5-2 finish included an overtime loss to Florida and a loss to an Auburn team that’s pretty good.
“We have in the last seven ball games played Georgia football the way it’s supposed to be played,” said Richt, who again talked about the tougher practices as the key.
Added O’Leary: “What Mark said is right. They’re playing Georgia football now.”
Well, not quite.
“We’re still not playing championship level defense right now,” Richt said.
–Asked about the reason behind the way the team responded to the rough start, Richt first said: “Getting A.J. Green back helped a little bit.”
Later he was asked about Green’s decision on whether he will leave for the NFL after the season.
“He’s got a lot of things to think about,” Richt said. “I know he loves Georgia. He loves his experience at Georgia and he definitely wants to play in the NFL one day but he also knows there’s some collective bargaining agreement issues going on and there’s some uncertainty. I know he doesn’t feel like he’s accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish coming into Georgia. Will that be enough to keep him in town? I don’t know.”
–Speaking of Green, he was named a second-team Walter Camp All-American tonight. Outside linebacker Justin Houston also was selected for the second team. The picks are made by head coaches and sports information directors.
– Richt called UCF’s third-down conversion percentage of 54 percent “Auburn-like numbers.”
–Georgia’s plane from Athens was running behind. That delayed the news conference about 15 minutes.
“It’s colder in Athens,” Richt said. “When I got on the plane, I had a long trench coat on. When I got off the plane, I didn’t need it.”
It’s 41 degrees now in Memphis and 38 in Athens.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer