ATLANTA -- Georgia coach Mark Richt apologized Monday for
his team's raucous celebration after its first touchdown against
Florida, a display that he encouraged in hopes of firing his team
The motivational tactic seemed to work -- the No. 10 Bulldogs went on to a 42-30 victory, only their third win against the
Gators (No. 20 BCS, No. 18 AP) in the last 18 years.
But Richt apologized to Southeastern Conference commissioner
Mike Slive by telephone and in a letter for his actions leading up
to Saturday's game.
Some 70 players stormed the field after Knowshon Moreno's
touchdown run, leading to numerous penalty flags. Richt didn't mind
a bit, admitting afterward he told his team he would give them
extra running if they didn't get called for excessive celebration.
"As a follow-up to our telephone discussion earlier today, I do
want to apologize in writing for what transpired after the first
score of the Georgia/Florida game this past Saturday when our
entire team left the bench area to celebrate the score." Richt
"I apologize that I put everyone in that situation and
specifically apologize to you, the Southeastern Conference, and the
University of Florida. You can be assured I will not ask our team
to do this type of thing again."
Richt, normally one of college football's most reserved coaches,
repeated earlier statements that he was trying to fire up a team
that he felt needed to play with more passion.
"Two weeks ago when our preparation began for the Florida game,
I told the team that we have got to have more energy and enthusiasm
in this ball game or we are going to get whipped pretty good,"
Richt wrote in his letter to Slive. "I said, as a matter of fact,
when we score our first touchdown, I expect you guys to celebrate
to the point where the official will throw a flag for excessive
celebration. I admit this was inappropriate."
Charles Bloom, associate commissioner of the SEC, said Slive
received the letter and "accepts his apology." The league plans
no disciplinary action against Richt, Bloom added.
Richt said he thought only those players already on the field
would celebrate. Instead, virtually the entire team charged into
the end zone.
"On the day of the game I re-emphasized to the team that this
was not going to be an individual celebration, but a team
celebration," Richt wrote. "Again, I was expecting the 11 players
on the field to be doing the celebrating, not for the bench to
clear as it did.
"I understand that the entire team running on the field created
the potential for an altercation and that excessive celebration is
not in compliance with the Southeastern Conference sportsmanship
policies and expected standards. My only intention was to create