Highlights from Mark Richt’s Tuesday press conference:
• The Hurricanes are mulling how to prepare for their biggest game of the year if Hurricane Matthew proves disruptive this week.
UM coach Mark Richt said if class at the university is canceled, he might use the Dolphins’ practice facility that day.
The reason: Players wouldn’t have to rush back to class within the 20 maximum hours that student athletes are permitted to participate in their sport.
But if class at UM is not canceled and there is rain, Richt said he would move practice inside the Wellness Center and the volleyball gym. The team would be split up in that scenario.
“I never had to deal with a hurricane,” he said.
And he’s not sure how his team would respond if it rains Saturday night. (The hurricane is expected to be well past Florida by Saturday night.)
“I don’t even know how Brad throws a wet ball,” he said. “Some guys, it’s heart attack time when it rains. I think Brad can throw a wet ball pretty good.”
• One of the many things that’s refreshing about this staff is they aren’t happy even with wins.
UM’s offense is second in the nation in scoring, but Richt still was irked about a couple of things in the 35-21 win against Georgia Tech and pushing to correct them before the FSU game.
“At moments, everyone has done well,” he said. “At moments, there are not good images on film. I thought the tight ends were playing excellent [before Saturday]. Last game we [the tight ends] were making too many mistakes, didn’t block as well as they used to be. Wide receiver perimeter blocking was not the same last game. It kind of bummed me out to watch the tape. I said what happened to those guys who were really getting after it. Every one one time or another has looked really good or struggled. Consistently doing things right is where we’re not at yet.”
• Richt said he still feels rusty as a play-caller. “It’s new verbiage, new terminology. We all came together as offensive staff. The plays we’re running I am used to those, as far as how we call them. It’s a little different. Not as natural as it used to be. Just being able to spit it out. I’ve said it a hundred times, play calling is overrated to a certain degree.”
• UM so far has been very effective when it plays super-fast offensively. But does UM do that much this weekend, knowing FSU’s offense is very good, and UM doesn’t want its defense on the field excessively?
“We need to do what we think is best offensively to score,” Richt said. “If that’s using tempo, that’s what we need to do. There might come a time in any game where you have to slow things down. Use as much clock as possible. We have to do what’s best. I feel like the defense is allowed to get off the field if they go three and out. It’s up to them to get off the field. If the game gets going and you have to do something to help things out, I am willing to do that as head coach and play-caller.”
• Richt said he is not allowing freshmen to talk to the media for the foreseeable future “because they chirp too much.”
The performance of the freshmen on Saturday “better be high because that’s all we’ve got. They have not been through certain types of games they’re about to go through. Until you live through it, it’s a different animal. There have been moments in games they look like freshmen. Everyone wants to pat them on the back. There are a lot of other guys playing good. Awful lot of penetration by the d-line. Corn Elder, Jamal Carter, Adrian Colbert, Rayshawn Jenkins, Sheldrick Redwine, those guys have been physical.”
• On Brad Kaaya: Against Georgia Tech, “he graded extremely high, accuracy super high. Overall, he’s doing well. He has faith in confidence in how we’re going about our passing game in terms of reads and progressions. He is very instrumental in getting everybody not only in the right play but who to block.”
Couple other things: Kaaya said beating FSU is on the very top of the list of UM’s goals every season.. ABC assigned lead team Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit to Saturday’s game… Running backs coach/co-offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said Gus Edwards was used a bit Saturday because he has been practicing well.