Mark Richt fielded questions this evening on his Sunday teleconference in the aftermath of Georgia’s first loss of the season, 35-7, at South Carolina Saturday night.
Here is some of what the Bulldogs coach had to say:
–On the suggestion that Georgia was flat against the Gamecocks, a game in which it fell behind 21-0 in the first 10 minutes.
“I wouldn’t say it was a flat performance. I would say that South Carolina physically whipped us.”
He added: “If we had more success early in the ballgame, it wouldn’t have seemed like a flat performance. Even the initial drive, if (Bacarri) Rambo hangs on to the pick and we turned it into points, then all of a sudden things look a little bit different. So there’s a lot of things that could have happened along the way if we could have protected better or run blocked better and been more accurate or tackled better. All of those things. I’m still going to say South Carolina did a heck of a job and we didn’t get it done.”
–The plan for the offensive line seems to be stick with the guys that are playing. Georgia doesn’t play again until Oct. 20 at Kentucky.
“I don’t think we’ll do anything that would change right now,” Richt said. “There’s a combination where (Mark) Beard would get to play some and we may look at that a little bit. I know Watts (Dantzler’s) ankle has been bothering him so he hasn’t really had much of a chance to truly compete. I still think we’ve got our best five in there, at least our best six as we move that combination around. The big thing is we definitely have to acknowledge what happened, we have to watch film of what happened and make any corrections that can be found. The main thing is to get back to work and continue to believe in each other and come back with a strong performance. That’s really the best medicine that we have right now.”
–On whether the game shook his confidence in the team: “Sometimes you have a bad game, period. You run into a situation of a team they’re at home, they have some outstanding ballplayers. They put together a good plan. They grab momentum early and fed off the energy of the fans. Sometimes that happens. It happened this weekend. You hate to be the victim of it, but that’s what happened.
“I’m definitely not losing confidence in this team at all or our coaching staff or anything like that. That’s the worst thing you can do. That’s what teams do. Teams panic and they tend to fall apart. Georgia’s not going to fall apart. We’re going to go ahead and get back to work and just get better at what we do and if we’ve got to make some changes, we’ll do that. A year ago we’re 0-2 and everybody wants to decide that the sky has fallen and it’s over for Georgia. What did we do? We stayed firm, we believed in each other, we kept banging away, we began to win and before you know it, we won the Eastern Division. It’s one day, it’s one game. It’s unfortunate that it came out the way that it did with so much at stake. There’s still a lot at stake as the season rolls on. The sun did come up and we’ve got to get back to work.”
–On the SEC East race and South Carolina: “There’s still some mighty big tests for them as there are for all of us in our league. …There’s a lot of games to be played. I think everybody’s got to keep believing and keep working and we’ll just see how this whole thing shakes out. If we keep winning, we want to be in position to get back toAtlantaand that’s our going to be our goal.”
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer