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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Richt and his coaches talk about the signing class

I have to transcribe and then hack out some stories. But here are a few highlights from Mark Richt's signing day news conference, and interviews with the coordinators.

Richt didn't hide from the importance of this signing class. At one point the Georgia head coach said the group of 25 (and possibly counting) “is going to represent about one-third of our football team.”

And Richt didn’t need to mention Isaiah Crowell when he said:

“There was drama today. And quite frankly it was good drama,” he said.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he watched Crowell’s announcement in his office, and was pretty sure it was going to be Georgia, but it wasn’t confirmed until Crowell said so.

Bobo said the best comparison for Crowell was former Bulldog running back Robert Edwards.

“He’s got great speed, great vision, and he has a relentless attitude when he runs the ball,” Bobo said. “I think he can be a difference-maker.”

But a couple weeks ago, when Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome announced for Georgia, Bobo called that probably the best he’s felt since the day Matt Stafford committed.
Ironically, Bobo had lunch that day with former teammate and old friend Kirby Smart.

“We didn’t talk,” Bobo said with a grin. “We just sort of sat in silence.”

Richt said the current class “has got a bit of swagger about it.” He also praised the players who made early commitments for sticking with them.

“Guys could’ve bailed … But they held their faith in Georgia and this coaching staff,” he said.

The class probably isn’t done. The coaches couldn’t mention nose tackle John Jenkins, who will announce his decision on Saturday. Recruiting coordinator (and defensive line coach) Rodney Garner would only say “there’s a possibility” they’ll sign another player or two. He said that with a grin.

Some other nuggets:

- Bruce Figgins has been moved full-time to fullback. That could open the possibility to Rome playing as a freshman, even though Orson Charles and Aron White are still around.

- Christian LeMay said he didn’t have any expectations about playing this fall, and just wanted to learn the system and see what happens. Bobo said he wanted to get LeMay ready to compete.

- Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham confirmed that Ray Drew is a weakside linebacker in the Justin Houston mold. The other linebacker signees, like Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson, can play both inside and outside but are more likely to play on the outside.

The big decision, Grantham added, is what to do with Jarvis Jones. The way Grantham spoke Jones will play somewhere, they’re just not sure whether it’ll be inside or outside.

- It doesn’t sound like a full-time move to offense is in the works for Branden Smith. Bobo was non-committal, and sounded more excited to use Malcolm Mitchell there.

Speaking of which, it certainly seems there will be a friendly fight between the offensive and defensive coaches on where to use Mitchell. Richt said he was “leaning” towards using Mitchell at receiver.

Bobo said the coaches used Branden Smith – and Champ Bailey – as an example to other guys like Nick Marshall and Damian Swann. Those guys will be defensive backs but would certainly get looks on offense.

I'll have more in stories to come, which I need to hack out now.


DawgFan said...

Thanks Seth for your updates all day. I'm so excited about this signing class. Let's hope and pray they make major contributions to the program, and thus get us back to winning 10-11 games a year.

JJBA said...

or 14 wins.

DawgFan said...

I didn't want to be too optimistic.

Matt said...

I'm glad we have some of the best players in the state. Now, we actually have to use them. We are too well known to do so little with so much. In TCU or Boise State's eyes, they have very little and do a lot more with it. Let's hope these players can make an impact.

One thing I do not like is their cockiness. Yeah, you might start early, but we really need to have major competition.

Seth, has Richt and crew mentioned about competing for starting roles? Based on his ESPN interview,he was likely going to start Crowell. I think letting them think that hurts them.

NRBQ said...

Yeah, Matt,

CMR should probably seek your advice before tutoring his new class. I hope for the Dawg's sake, you have his email address.

He's probably just planning to go on a skiing / youth mission trip, and let things work themselves out.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the cockiness.

That cockiness is usually taken care of during two-a-days, which we WILL have this year as the returning players will already know the defensive schemes.

For those who commit themselves, that cockiness will turn into confidence.