Mark Richt not a fan of skipping bowls: ‘Finish what you started’

Mark Richt gestures during Miami's 30-27 loss at Notre Dame. (Getty Images)

Mark Richt gestures during Miami’s Oct. 29, 2016 game at Notre Dame. (Getty Images)

[Three freshmen All-Americans a blessing for Miami]

[Could Florida’s mid-major schools challenge Big Three?]

[Richt isn’t begging potential transfers to stay]

 

[Coach speak: Chad Thomas, QBs, RBs, recruiting]

No Hurricanes have bowed out of participating in Miami’s bowl game. If someone does in the future, Mark Richt probably wouldn’t be pleased.

With Monday’s news that Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey was electing to skip to Sun Bowl against North Carolina to focus on training for the NFL, Richt was asked for his thoughts on players in general electing to not play in their team’s final game.

“I think you should finish what you started,” he said. “That’s my thought. I think people should do that.”

The issue became a national discussion point Monday. The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore has a good look at the issue, which is much more complicated than quitting on one’s team.

As Kilgore writes, last year, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, for example, was projected to be one of the first players taken in the upcoming NFL draft. The MCL and ACL tears he sustained in the Fiesta Bowl likely dropped him from the top 10 to the early second round. It could have cost him some $20 million in guaranteed money.

That’s why even Sun Bowl director Bernie Olivas told the Washington Post he couldn’t fault McCaffrey.

We’ve asked Richt in the last two months for his process on counseling players for the NFL draft, and he has mentioned that he wants players to make the best “business decision” possible. Sitting out a bowl game, in Richt’s view, is not part of that; and should not be on the table when it comes to those future professional aspirations.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Football is football. Something could happen Game 1. Are you going to quit the team Game 1?”

LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who battled an ankle injury all season, said last week he would not play in the Citrus Bowl against Louisville. It would not be surprising to see other players, especially at high-usage positions like running back, follow suit in years to come.

Senior cornerback Corn Elder, who flirted with turning pro last year and likely improved his NFL stock greatly by returning, said he couldn’t imagine not playing in a bowl game — even if he played a different position, or was in a different situation.

“No,” he said. “One more game with my brothers is always special. I love this team, the coaching staff and just the whole program. So any chance I get to play another game with them, I always will.

“I don’t know those [other] guys’ situations, might be injuries or something. For me always getting to play another game with my brothers, is definitely a goal.”

 

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