Barry Jackson

UM coach surprises his players with an unexpected gift

UM coach Mark Richt surprised his team with an unexpected gift in a meeting this week.
UM coach Mark Richt surprised his team with an unexpected gift in a meeting this week.

A six-pack of UM football notes:

• UM coach Mark Richt surprised his team with an unexpected gift in a meeting this week.

Richt gave every player a Bible, and the coach personalized it by putting the player’s name on the cover of the copy that player received.

Receiver Braxton Berrios said Richt told the players that reading it is “optional.”

“This speaks volumes to the type of coach we have,” Berrios said.

Faith is a big part of Richt’s life.

Asked in July how much he has used faith to create unity in the team, Richt said: “Yeah, well, everybody has a belief system. Everybody looks at life through a certain filter. I happen to be a Christian. That's just what I am. I'm not using it. I think we need to be true to who we are, what we believe.

“I'm not trying to make anybody believe anything I believe. I just want to do things in a way that I think God would be pleased with me. That's my goal on a daily basis.

“In doing that, I know if I do that, I'm blessing the players I'm in charge of. We'll be doing things right in recruiting. We'll be working our tails off.

“So I don't think much about it. I'm not trying to use anything. I'm just trying to be who I am.”

• One position that has exceeded Richt’s expectations: receiver.

He was worried about depth in the spring but indicated that’s no longer the case, even with Sam Bruce out for the year after a knee injury.

Berrios, now completely healthy, said he has shaved “a lot” off his 40-yard dash time, and “you wouldn’t believe me if I said” what his new time is. He believes that new speed “will” sneak up on people.

Freshman Ahmmon Richards, averaging 22.6 yards (14th in the country) on nine catches, “has completely grown into his role,” Berrios said. “He’s physical on the perimeter” and UM believes he can be a great one.

Dayall Harris has emerged, especially on bubble screens, and Stacy Coley is on a 13-touchdown pace.

• One player the staff is considerably happier about than in the spring: cornerback Corn Elder, who is helping himself as a pro prospect.

“He played so well against App State in ways people don’t understand,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “They only threw his way twice, but the way he tackled and set edges and just played great team defense as a corner.”

• As far as player availability is concerned, UM should be in good shape Saturday. Richt said starting cornerback Adrian Colbert will play against Georgia Tech after a recent knee procedure. Sheldrick Redwine played well in his absence and will continue to get playing time.

• ESPN2 assigned Allen Bestwick and former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti to Saturday’s UM-Georgia Tech game at noon.

• ABC and ESPN will wait until this weekend before determining a network and start time for UM-FSU on Oct. 8.

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