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SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: GEORGIA v ALABAMA

December 1, 2012
Richmond High School



Mark Richt


ATLANTA, GEORGIA

ALABAMA – 32
GEORGIA - 28


COACH RICHT:  All right, really proud of our players.  Thought it was a great football game.  Unfortunately, we ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard.  I think Alabama is a great football team, obviously.  I think we're pretty good, too.
The boys gave great effort and really proud of them; coaches, very proud of them, as well.  And somebody just asked me a second ago what I thought the difference was, and only thing I can think of is we just ran out of time.
But just one of those games.

Q.  Can you describe the last sequence, the pass that gets you down in the red zone and then what happened on the final play of the game?
COACH RICHT:  The one that Artie Lynch caught?  We were just running some four?vertical stuff.  What happened earlier on is when they were rushing three, we just were having probably too much time for them to be comfortable with?? and I would be wrong, but I thought they ended up going to more of a traditional four?man rush and once we crossed the 50 or got near midfield, they will probably want to try to put a little more pressure on the quarterback.
So we got a little bit more of a traditional defensive look.  Artie did a good job of hitting his landmark and Murray did a good job of stepping it up and putting it on him.

Q.  And the following play?
COACH RICHT:  The following play, we had first down, clock stopped while we were getting to the line of scrimmage and we called a play called stout, but it's a fade by the outside receiver.  It's a four?step speed?out by the inside receiver.
We were attempting to throw the ball to Malcolm Mitchell in the back of the end zone, I think it was Malcolm, but the outside receiver, whoever it was, and the ball got batted and then it just landed, unfortunately, right in the arms of our guy that was running the stout route, the inside receiver and that's not a good thing when you don't have time?outs.
But we run that route because a lot of times when you run the speed?out, it grabs the attention of the cornerback, so you have a receiver running a fade and you have an inside receiver running that little stout route and you try to get the corner think that the ball might hopefully be going to the inside receiver and then throw it over the top.  But we were taking a shot at the end zone right there.
Again, the ball got batted so what can you do.

Q.  Alabama's success on the ground throughout the game, was it just moving folks on the line of scrimmage or did they do anything new?
COACH RICHT:  Oh, they didn't do anything new.  They just lined up and played inside drill for a while.  We finally got a stop somewhere along the way, but a couple drives, they just?? I don't even know if they threw it.  It might have been one pass and two drives or something like that.  But they just lined up and knocked us off the ball.

Q.  Sorry, I just got here, but what were your thoughts going into the last play or next to last play, in terms of whether you were going to call?? spike the ball or not?
COACH RICHT:  Well, spiking the ball takes time.  We had plenty of time to call play, so we called the play and we were taking?? the goal was to take a shot at their back right end of the end zone and the ball got batted, the ball got tipped and it landed to a receiver that was running a speed out which I was just explaining.
But our outside receiver is running a fade to the back of the end zone and our inside receiver is running a speed?out and the goal on that is to get the corner who is out here trying to play that fade.  If he's in any kind of zone, a lot of times if you flash a receiver in front of his face, they will squat at times or they will hesitate and you'll throw the fade over the top, if it's just pure man, you're just throwing the fade, anyway.  And the ball got batted at the line of scrimmage and landed in the arms of our guy running the speed?out.

Q.  So going down the field, as the players are running down the field?? you're saying don't spike it?
COACH RICHT:  It's a called play, yeah.

Q.  And on the other side of the ball, as you're looking from the sideline, did it seem to you that Alabama's offensive line was taking over the game?  Did your defense look like it was tiring at all?
COACH RICHT:  Well, they are tired, running against, I'll tell you that.  They ran the ball good.  I can figure that one out.

Q.  Might have missed it but Aaron Murray's play, tremendous, 1:08 left, taking you to the four??yard line, you have to be proud of the way he played?
COACH RICHT:  The last drive we moved it, and you have a situation where we had a third or a fourth and, I don't know what it was, a lot.  If it had been fourth and shorter than that, we probably would have gone for it.  We chose to punt with fourth and long yardage and asked our defense to stop them and we lined up in goal line defense, basically and at that point, we just out?numbered the run but they were not about to throw it.
So we did get the stop, used the two time?outs we had left, got the ball back with enough time to move it, especially with the college rules, and moved it.  I mean, got in position to win.  That's really all you can ask.  I'll be interested to see the film, what was happening with that fade route in the back right end zone area, because I know that's where Murray was going with it.

Q.  You couldn't see where he was going?
COACH RICHT:  I couldn't see.  I don't know if y'all saw.  Could anybody see it?
If nothing else it could have been an incomplete pass and in that situation, you want a touchdown or incomplete pass.  The ball got batted and it ended up in our arms of the guy that was running the speed?out.  Just a tough thing.  You'd like a guy that has the presence of mind to bat the ball down knowing but I don't know if there's anybody in America that would have thought of that one.

Q.  What did you tell the team after this was over?
COACH RICHT:  I told them I was disappointed but I wasn't disappointed in them.  That was the main thing.  I told them they were warriors in there and I was proud of them, proud of all the coaches.
You know, it was a knock?down drag?out fight and everybody swung to the end.  We had a chance at the end.  We just didn't get it done.  But told them I was proud of them.

Q.  Do you think this team, Georgia, deserves a BCS Bowl bid over, say, a Florida, after this game today?
COACH RICHT:  Well, it's up to whoever is deciding.  I'm not in charge of that.
But do I think we are worthy of a BCS Bowl?  Yes, I do.  I do.

Q.  It looked like Alabama had some success running the ball.  Can you just talk about their running back T.J. Yeldon?
COACH RICHT:  Oh, they definitely had success running the ball.  When you run the ball every single down in a drive, they might have thrown it once.  They had two drives; they might have thrown it once, scored a touchdown, so that was impressive by their people up front.  We were just not able to stop it.
So the good news was, even after that, we put points on the board and took the lead again.  That happens sometimes.  And then we did get a stop, had an opportunity to win the game.  I had to punt; stopped them again.  Of course, everybody knew they were going to run it.
We basically played a goal?line defense at that point to try to get the ball back, use our two time?outs.  We tried to block the punt.  They protected extremely well on their punt team.  We fair caught it and had time to move the ball down the field and win the game.
So we came close.  We just didn't get it done.

Q.  Do you feel like your defense got worn out at all in the second half, fourth quarter as they were running the ball?  Can you talk a little about Alabama's offensive line?
COACH RICHT:  Well, they were tired, didn't really matter, I know they were getting blocked, I know that.

Q.  I want to make sure I'm clear on this.  Was there any discussion of spiking the ball once you got down inside the ten ??
COACH RICHT:  You don't need to spike the ball there.  You don't need to spike the ball??

Q.  Your thoughts there?
COACH RICHT:  We had the play we wanted.  We had a good play.  The ball got tipped at the line of scrimmage and it fell in the arms of a guy in play.  The ball was going to the back end of the end zone, either a catch or out of the end zone.
Because if you have, I don't know how many seconds there were, 15 or whatever it was, if you spike the ball, you might only have two plays after that.  If you throw the ball in the end zone, you probably get three plays out of it.  So once you spike it, it does take a little time to spike it, and you reduce the chance of having the third play, basically.
So the goal was to throw it in the end zone.  That's what Murray was attempting to do.  Once again, the ball got batted, and landed in the arms of our guy in play.

Q.  You guys were motioning that end??
COACH RICHT:  To signal in.  Like we have all season long, so it's nothing new.

Q.  It's got to be the most devastating loss of your career.
COACH RICHT:  Well, it hurts.  It's disappointing.  Hurts a lot.  I mean, we prepared hard all week, all season, all off?season, to get back to the Dome, and to win.  And so I mean, we came up short against an outstanding football team.  They played well.  We played well.  Clock ran out.  You know, what are you going to do?  You're just going to congratulate your players for a valiant effort and thank the Georgia Bulldog people for their support and wake up tomorrow and go back to work, go recruit, figure out where you go play a Bowl game and prepare for that.

Q.  How much do you love those guys in there?
COACH RICHT:  What guys?  Those players?  Sure I do.  I shook every man's hand and told him I was proud of him; or if his head was in his hands, I just rubbed his head and told him I loved him and was proud of him.

Q.  I know the first half seems like a long time ago, but the fake punt, what did you see?
COACH RICHT:  Well, we've been working on that fake punt for over a month.  It wasn't designed necessarily for Alabama's defense.  It was just designed against a punt safe situation.
Most fakes are very successful against the punt return and block team because they are usually selling out to hold up a guy or get a run or even get a block, and usually have smaller guys in there.  So most fake punts are versus the punt return and block team.  But this one, we thought was a good one versus anybody who left their defense on the field, because quite frankly, a lot of people tend to fall asleep a little bit and also there's some alignments that make you feel like you've got a chance.
I know when we are in punt safe?? punt safe means we are leaving our defense on the field.  And so that usually is a deterrent for anybody to fake.  So sometimes you just never expect a fake when you're in punt safe.  That was a situation where we had a way of calling it off, but there was an alignment we felt like we were going to be able to hit that seam right there and we got it, good execution.  We practiced that thing, I don't know how many times we practiced it.
John Lilly, our punt team coach has been working on that and believing in that for a month to six weeks.  They executed it really well.

Q.  There are some people whether it's fans, media or whomever else that will maybe want to make further conclusions about you or your quarterback, specifically, in big games.  Would you have any response to those people?
COACH RICHT:  I don't know what you're saying.  Why don't you just say it straight up what you're trying to say.

Q.  People will say that you and Aaron Murray specifically come up short on the biggest stage against the biggest opponents?
COACH RICHT:  Is that what you're saying or everybody else?? if that's what you're saying?? are you saying that.

Q.  No, I'm saying I hear that every day??
COACH RICHT:  Well, that's for you to worry about then.  If that's what you say, then I'll answer the question.  If you think other people are saying that, I'm not worried about that.
I want to say something else, if anybody thinks our guys didn't play their tail off and Aaron Murray didn't play his tail off, they are crazy.  That's unbelievable somebody would even bring that up.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you for your time.


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