After assessing his team in many ways for local media this spring, Mark Richt appeared on his first ACC coaches’ teleconference Wednesday afternoon. A few notes and quotes (with editorial commentary in italics):
2016 SPRING FOOTBALL
He praised the former staff for recruiting, but he’s unhappy with depth. This became his chief concern after he got to know his roster a little better … there are good players, just not enough of them to compete at the highest level
“First of all, the former staff did a good job of recruiting these young men. There’s definitely a good bit of talent here. I don’t think we’re as deep as we need to be. I don’t know if there’s any position that I feel we have enough depth. There are guys with great skill sets, some guys that have played in big games.
“There are some midyear kids that came in, very talented, guys I like a lot that I think are going to play for us. They’re learning the system and maybe as fast as any veteran, because they’re all llearning from scratch. But these guys [haven’t] played in front of big crowds.”
He and his staff are redefining what ‘playing hard’ means.
Al Golden talked a lot about finishing, too, but clearly the in-game results weren’t there
“On the field, we’re asking them to play with a lot of energy. Every coach has a specific way he want drills to be run. Every drill has a finish line. We want them to finish full speed. Every play that we run in 11-on-11 type situations, there’s a way we want them to finish. There’s a certain time we say it’s time to stop, whether it’s a whistle being blown or whether it’s a back going 20 yards past the last defender or whatever it is. We’re expecting them to go full speed until they get to that point.
“We’re trying to define for them what it means to play hard, not just say ‘Play hard.’ We say, ‘Quarterback, you’re going to toss this sweep and hide your hands and break contain and go full speed until you get to the line of scrimmage. That’s the finish line on that play.’
“If guys are loafing, we are going to discipline it and ask them to rise to the level of play we’re asking them. Those are the types of things we’re trying to get done. If we stay consistent as coaches, they’ll know we’re serious and we’ll rise to the occasion.”
He’s pleased with the response. “Overall, I’m very pleased with what happened [this spring], mostly because of our players and how they responded to us. They’re trying their very best to do everything we’ve asked them to do… We’ve got a long way to go in a lot of areas. If we’ve got a good plan, which I think we do, these guys will try with all their heart to get it done.”
He continues to be impressed by Brad Kaaya.
Kaaya, who had an excellent spring, praised for his vision and intangibles
“I’m very systematic in how I teach quarterback play, timing, progressions of reads, when I want the ball out. He could have been a little resistant or slow to come around to it, but he was not that at all. He was super coachable, super teachable.
“When you cover something in a meeting, and then you take it to the field, a lot of times guys will lose it in that little transition. He is able to take stuff from the meeting to the field as good or better than anyone I’ve been around. He can come back and tell you after a rep what he saw, why he did what he did, as good as anyone I’ve been around. Just very aware of what’s going on around him. Can see things other guys really can’t see. His peripheral vision must be very good. He sees the big picture. … That’s a big part of quarterback play.”
Quick slants: As he commented several times during camp, Richt said he was struck by how “smokin’ hot” it was so early in the morning. At Georgia, he didn’t practice in the morning. That’s often necessary in Miami, where the heat rises quickly … Regarding the NFL Draft, which begins next Thursday, Richt said he probably won’t be “glued to the TV” but said he’ll keep tabs on where Georgia and Miami players are drafted and sign free agent contracts.