Richt Tells Media How Georgia Will Bounce Back in 2011
July 24, 2011 3:20 pm, CST

By: Dayne Young       Follow on Twitter @dayneyoung

Richt is confident about the 2011 season in Athens.

After the 2010 season, Mark Richt and UGA had very few reasons to be confident. The Dawgs had just lost to UCF in the Liberty Bowl. That loss propelled them to the first losing season under Mark Richt with the Georgia Bulldogs. Since then, the Dawgs lost running backs Washaun Ealey and Caleb King from the program. And also, they lost their best playmaker in A.J. Green to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Why would Richt be so calm, confident, and poised in July after a rather detrimental offseason? One reason is the stellar recruiting class that is coming into Athens. But, Richt says he does not expect freshman to be a savior for the program or carry the team on their backs. It has to be something else. There has to an element, something not concrete, that has changed since that depressing Liberty Bowl night in Memphis.

The excitement that Richt emitted at Media Days stems from the day that it was announced that Georgia would battle Boise State in the Chick-Fil-A kickoff classic. The head coach said that the Dawgs needed a boost of energy in the program to remove them from their rut. He said that is the main reason they agreed to play the game.

That energy burst was displayed on the faces of Coach Richt, Aaron Murray, Ben Jones, and Brandon Boykin. They all talked about the great feeling they get from playing Boise, the team who has the most victories in college football over that last ten years. Another jolt came when UGA announced they would wear Nike Pro Combat jerseys in the opening game.

Richt told a story about his team having a meeting where Murray and Boykin could not be found. The coach got upset and was fuming about a lack of leadership and drive from two of the Dawgs utmost statesmen. Right about then, Murray and Boykin walked in to the room wearing the uniform that the Dawgs will wear against Boise State. The entire locker room went crazy with passion and excitement. Many Georgia players went to Twitter to exclaim their pleasure with the jerseys. The actual image of the jerseys will be unveiled on August 20th.

Energy and hard work is how Richt said Georgia will find redemption from last season. But, he was the only UGA representative that glowed with confidence and eagerness to begin the football season.

Murray was selected Pre-Season All-SEC by the coaches and media.

Aaron Murray comes in to 2011 as one of the more experienced quarterbacks in the conference. He has only played one season. There are very high expectations for Murray. It would seem like there would be much difficulty replacing the aforementioned A.J. Green. Murray insisted that Tavarres King has the talent, guidance, and ability to lead the Dawgs wide receiving core. Murray said that King will be his go to guy when he needs a big play or a first down.

Brandon Boykin said that he had plenty of unfinished business to handle and that is why he opted to not enter the NFL Draft. He said that he did not go to UGA to finish the way that they did last season. Boykin was one of the players very excited about playing Boise State. His face lit up with every question about the Chick-Fil-A kickoff classic.

And the always gregarious Ben Jones said his main goal was to beat Florida. The center said that would be done by working harder than they already have. Jones had a funny moment during Richt’s press conference when he took the microphone and asked the coach how much confidence he had in Georgia’s offensive line. Richt praised Jones and said that he is the best center in the country. All three of the players that Georgia brought to Media Days said Coach Richt is the reason they chose to attend Georgia and the reason they fight so hard for him.

It is very obvious that the University of Georgia has had a fire lit under it with the Boise State game and the influx of the great freshman class coming to Athens. The enthusiasm has been enough to outweigh the detriment to this point for the Dawgs. You would expect loads of questions about Richt’s job status after last season. And while there were a few, Richt dispelled many of those simply by his attitude alone. If a team takes the mindset of their coach, Georgia is in a really good place right now.

Follow me on Twitter @dayneyoung.

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