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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Richt speaks (and makes a funny), the blog listens

At least now Mark Richt can laugh about it. Sort of.

Caleb King returns this week from his two-game suspension. So at Richt’s weekly news conference on Tuesday, a question was prefaced by pointing out that Georgia hasn't had both King and Washaun Ealey available for the same game.

Richt started smiling.

“I was told we were 4-0 when we had our running back suspended,” he said, adding: “It’s early yet. It’s only …” he looked at his watch.

The room laughed, and Richt kept smiling, sheepishly, as if he felt guilty about going there.

“Anyway,” he said.

The Bulldogs are actually 3-0, since Ealey was suspended the opener. The exception was the Tennessee game, when Ealey was benched for his fumbling problems, but still got 12 carries. King did miss a couple games with a sprained ankle. (The Bulldogs lost both of those.)

More notes from the news conference:

- Richt didn’t name a tailback starter, saying they’ll wait to see how King and Ealey practice this week.

“I still feel like if you’ve got two guys that know what they’re doing, they’re going to be physical, then you play them,” Richt said. “So I’m sure we’ll split them up.”

Carlton Thomas will still be in the mix too, Richt added.

- Cornerback and punt returner Branden Smith will be in a non-contact situation practice today, and they hope to upgrade him later in the week.

- Richt on Chris Rainey, the Florida receiver who is eligible to play but hasn’t been officially ruled in: “We’ve gotta prepare as if Rainey will be there. A very fast guy, and very problematic when they put Rainey and Demps in the same backfield. Double trouble, so to speak.”

- Richt said they “missed out” on Chas Henry, a Georgia native, but lucked out by landing Drew Butler.

“There’s probably the two best punters in America going against each other in this game,” Richt said.

- Richt hasn’t studied a lot of defensive film of last year’s Florida film, since Charlie Strong is gone and the Gators have a new defensive coordinator. He does expect Janoris Jenkins to man coverage on A.J. Green, and will watch to see if a safety “sneaks over.”

- When asked about Florida’s offensive struggles. Richt took a deep breath.

“There are some good defenses out there and they’ve played some good defensive teams,” Richt said. “They have struggled some against those teams, but they have also done well.”

- Richt was asked to diagnose the team's struggling third down defense. He attributed it to “mostly our inability to squeeze the quarterback in the pocket. We’ve allowed him to get out of the pocket either on QB run situations or scrambling situations where he can buy a little time and get a little more pressure on our coverage.” … And the defenders in zone coverage haven’t been “disciplined enough.”

- How big a game is this? Georgia-Florida is always big , but Richt granted that a win would open the door for a shot at the division title.

“We pretty much dug out of a hole. Now we’re just trying to climb the mountain a little bit,” Richt said. “Hopefully we’ll just continue to play well and represent Georgia the way everybody would be proud of. … We’ve grabbed a lot of positive momentum, and we just want to keep it going. That’s where we’re at right now.”

- Less than 400 tickets left for the Idaho State game.

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