November 18, 2012

Mum is the word on BCS

The Bulldog Nation was abuzz Saturday night after both Kansas State and Oregon lost, putting now third-ranked Georgia in position to control its own destiny in regards to a berth in the BCS Championship.

But head coach Mark Richt was having none of that talk during Sunday's weekly teleconference with reporters.

One by one, local media and two from the national scene peppered Richt with different questions, hoping to get him to bite with a response regarding the Bulldogs' enviable position in the college football world.

They were rebuffed each time. Instead, Richt led the conversation back to the only topic that presently concerns him - Saturday's nationally-televised game (noon, ESPN) against arch-rival Georgia Tech (6-5).

"Right this minute, all I can think about is Georgia Tech," Richt responded, when asked about his team controlling its own destiny.

He wouldn't even say if he watched the Oregon and Kansas State games.

"I was thinking we need to have a great week of preparation for Georgia Tech," he said.

Following an approximate 10 second pause, Richt asked the media on the line - "Does anybody want to talk about Georgia Tech?"

He wouldn't even respond to a writer from USA Today about the SEC being back in the national title chase or the fact his Bulldogs (10-1) are now ranked third in both the Coaches and Associated Press Top 25.

"Right now, the only thing I'm concerned about is playing Georgia Tech," Richt said. "I'm trying to have a good game plan throughout the week and trying to find a way to slow down that offense and put points on the board."

Richt finally threw reporters a bone when asked if it was going to be difficult to keep his players focused on Saturday's game against the Bulldogs' heated rival

"That's the whole key to football, to focus on the only one thing that really matters and that's this game, the preparation that our coaches are going through right now," Richt said. "The one good thing about this week is we don't have any classes all week and there's no 20-hour rule, so we'll have as much time as we think we'll need. You can over do it with the players, you can meet them too long, practice them too long. More isn't always better, but at least we won't have to worry about counting every minute. I think our players understand how important this game is regardless of what else is going on. I think we'll all be able to focus on the right thing, that's for sure."

State pride, he said, is all the motivation his players should need.

"We're playing for the Governor's Cup," Richt said. "We're playing for a lot of in-state pride, we're playing for the recruiting base in the state; there's just a lot of things we're playing for."

NOTES: Georgia received one first-place vote in the Coaches Poll, but Richt said it wasn't made by him. "I am not the person who voted for us. I don't know, I guess somebody thinks we're No. 1, but right now it's not all that important, really." … Richt was also asked about the firing of Derek Dooley from Tennessee. "We all know it's a very tough business, a tough league and there are a lot of very outstanding coaches who have that happen to them from time to time. I recall Tony Dungy getting released from Tampa Bay a few while back and going on to win the Super Bowl with the Colts. It's part of the business. I'm sorry for Derek and his family, Coach Dooley, Mrs. Dooley but he's a highly intelligent person, a tremendous coach and I know he's going to land on his feet. He's a young guy and has a bright future. … Richt said the Bulldogs escaped Saturday's 45-14 win over Georgia Southern relatively injury free. Offensive lineman Watts Dantzler, fullback Merritt Hall and safety Bacarri Rambo had to leave for different reasons, but each returned later in the contest and will play this weekend.