Richt focused on Kentucky, not SEC race

Georgia coach Mark Richt spoke with reporters on a Sunday evening teleconference about the upcoming contest with Kentucky and the Bulldog’s improved chances in the SEC race in light of South Carolina’s loss to LSU on Saturday.

Here is what Richt had to say:

On South Carolina’s loss to LSU and if that would boost team morale:

“Right now, I think the best thing for Georgia is to focus on getting better and focus on Kentucky. It’s kind of a boring answer, but that’s really what we have to do. We have some things we have to clean up. We have been giving up too many big plays. We’ve got to be sure we don’t do that. We’ve got to get back to running the ball like we did earlier in the year. We’ll break even in turnover ratio, which isn’t awful, but we need to get more turnovers, and we need to protect the ball a little bit better. We still have some things to clean up in some of our special teams areas. We had the break right at the midpoint, and we got six games to go; we want to finish strong. If we can keep improving as we go, we have a chance to have some fun in the end here. But we’ve got a ways to go.”

On whether it is hard to watch film and plan for Kentucky due to large number of injuries the Wildcats have suffered:

“Well you just get the best information you can get. We have a four-game breakdown but the breakdown a lot of times has to do with like teams. For example, our offensive staff wants to get video from the teams that play the offensive system as close to ours as possible using the same personnel groups and formations and things of that nature. So it could be Game 1, 3, 4 and 6 ... It is not necessarily the last four games, it is the games that you feel like, as you watch the film, has enough common formations and plays and personnel groupings that will give you the best gauge as to how they might play us.”

On clock changes and the extended length of football games:

“I don’t know if the fans are upset about it. They love to watch the game obviously. I don’t think many fans are saying, ‘Man, this game is too long.’ I think they enjoy it.

On whether running the ball the primary thing that needs to be fixed on offense:

“We did a couple things differently in the [South Carolina] game because of the edge pass rushers. Really they have three good pass rushers there at South Carolina. You want to help your tackles out, so we did things a little differently there in pass protection, too, whether it was having a back helping or a tight end helping. We may have spent too much time and scheme on that, where we should have just done what we have been doing all year long and realize they may win one once or twice, but we were also going to win our share too. And just running the ball between the tackles -- we probably should have stayed with that a little more than we did. But they made the plays early in the game and got the lead, and we probably just didn’t stick with that inside run game as much as we should.”

On if he thinks Jarvis Jones, who suffered a sprained ankle against South Carolina, will play against Kentucky:

“Oh yeah, sure do.”

On whether or not he watched the South Carolina-LSU game:

“No actually we were riding home from my son John’s game -- we went to watch his game -- and then afterwards we had dinner together. So we were riding home and kind of just checking the computer. As we were going down the road every so often we would get a score. When we got home we saw the last couple minutes of the ballgame. ... Then I stayed up and watched a little of Tennessee and Mississippi State as well. ... I guess I can be a dad and brag. John played well, they won 35-28. He set school records in attempts, completions, and passing yardage. It was fun. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, won the game and broke some records. It was the last time I’ll get to see him play college ball in person, so it was a treat for me and the family.”

On the players' reactions to the South Carolina loss:

“I have not talked to one of them yet. This weekend was designed for everyone to get away from football as much as they could and relax and to get their minds recharged a little bit, to get their bodies recharged and ready to go. ... I’m sure everybody’s excited, but we really got to spend our energy on Kentucky and Georgia getting better.”