Mark Richt: Regardless of Background, College Players Must Meet University’s Expectations

August 15, 2012 – 9:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

Mark Richt wasn’t asked specifically about the Tyrann Mathieu situation at LSU in this interview, but the hosts found ways to ask the Georgia Bulldogs coach about discipline and recruiting players with tough backgrounds. Essentially, Richt says you must treat all players the same and they must all live up to the expectations set for them.

Richt says Georgia loses out on players “often” because they decide certain guys might struggle making the transition to college life and college football. And when it comes down to dismissing a player, all he can do is hope the player learns a lesson moving forward.

Mark Richt joined WCNN in Atlanta to discuss if it’s possible to win a title without a game-changing quarterback, players that have stood out in camp, dealing with at-risk players, recruiting players with a history of making questionable decisions and how to handle disciplinary issues.

Just a general question: Can you still win a championship without a difference-maker at quarterback, or has the game evolved?:

“I think sooner or later, you’re going to have to have your quarterback make plays when it counts the most. … You might have a great defense, statistically, you might have a great offense, maybe it’s a running game or whatever. You have a formula that helps you win games, but there’s going to come a time in a ballgame where you’ve got to make a stop on defense this drive and there’s times you’re going to have to score a touchdown or a field goal on this very drive or you’re not going to win the game.”

Are there players during fall camp so far that have stood out to you?:

“I think the offensive line, in general, really. There were some times in the beginning of spring where I was just shaking my head wondering if we had much hope, but little by little they got better in the spring and then, in the fall, our number one unit has done a really nice job.”

When you recruit players that a little more at-risk, how much time can be expected of you and others at the university to maybe give them a little extra help in realizing what life is about to become?:

“I think the bottom line is you’ve got to treat all your guys the same. You have certain standards that you expect them to live up to here at the University of Georgia and you indoctrinate them to that as soon as they get on campus. I think you’ve got to be careful talking about people’s backgrounds because you’ve got guys that have some upbringing that might be tougher than that that they’re some of the finer guys that have ever come through your program.”

What about maybe guys that just have a history of not making the best decisions?:

“I can’t tell you how many guys we don’t bring into Georgia because we were concerned about that. There are a lot of guys that it may look like in the newspaper that so-and-so beat out Georgia on a certain prospect, but we’re not going to come out and say that we decided not to bring him into our university because we were concerned about, ‘Can he make that transition?’ So that happens quite often and we’ve just got to make judgments on what’s best for the university.”

On sitting guys down that have made poor decisions during their college career and how to handle that:

“The bottom line is they’ve got to understand what the Georgia way is and they’ve got to be able to do it that way. We don’t expect perfection because none of these guys are perfect. … But if anybody gets to the point where we think they’re dangerous to the rest of the team, or, not so much dangerous as something really bad happening as much as dangerous to the chemistry of the team, we’ll make a move. … Then you hope they can find a new place to learn a lesson from there.”

Listen to Mark Richt on WCNN in Atlanta here

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