A couple of quotes for you to ponder from the head man during today’s presser… first, in response to a question about Georgia’s less than stellar punt return game:
“The main thing is that we’re looking for a guy who will field the ball and communicate well. So I think we’re still searching for that, but it’s a tough job. You’re back there and guys are flying down the field getting ready to pop you as soon as you touch it, and sometimes it’s hard to decide whether to catch it, to let it roll, to fair catch it or to return it. It’s a tough job, and we’re trying to get someone who will go back there and just take the bull by the horns and make good decisions and communicate well to everybody and wrap up the ball.”
What I don’t get about that is that if this is about searching for the guy who can field and communicate, why is the player who was second on the team in punt returns last year nowhere to be found on this year’s return list? Did Branden Smith forget how to talk in the offseason, or something? (As an aside, I will say that while I know who it was against, I was impressed with McGowan’s return last Saturday. There’s somebody who knows how to run north-south when it’s called for.)
And here’s something else Richt had to say about the process that led him to hire Todd Grantham:
“I knew he had a lot of fire. Sean Jones played for him in Cleveland and Sean said that about him. Brad Johnson, who is my brother-in-law, was on the team playing quarterback at the time, so he got to observe the type of coach he was in practice. I wanted that. That was one of the things I wanted in the guy who was going to lead the way for us on defense. Defenses play a lot on emotion. You certainly had to have good schemes, and Todd had a great reputation for that, understanding not only how to pressure people, but also how to play the back end in coverage and all that. I heard just great things about him in that regard. It’s an emotional game. It’s about playing hard and getting after it. When the guy in charge of that group is that type of personality, it tends to bleed over into the way his players play.”
Now that’s interesting, especially coming from a coach that’s taken his share of criticism about appearing too unemotional on the sidelines. And I’m just wondering… was emotion this guy’s problem at Georgia?