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UGA’s Richt Doesn’t Show It If The Media Gets Under His Skin

This weekend, Mark Richt will take his #5 Georgia Bulldogs into Columbia (East) to face Steve Spurrier’s #6 South Carolina Gamecocks.  Like Spurrier — or any other coach — Richt has suffered his share of ridicule and second-guessing.  He’s even had to deal with columnists and radio hosts who Dawg fans are certain want to have the man’s job and destroy UGA’s football program.

The difference between Richt and Spurrier?  Richt doesn’t refuse to answer questions from all media members if he’s upset with just one of them and he rarely even let’s anyone know when he’s upset at all.  As we suggested last week with regards to the ongoing Spurrier-Ron Morris feud in the Palmetto State, it’d probably be best for Spurrier to have a behind-closed-doors talk with his nemesis rather than take things out on every reporter trying to cover his team.

Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution — ironically he’s one of the columnists who many Georgia fans believe wants Richt’s head on a plate — compares Richt’s personality with Spurrier’s in his latest column.  It’s an interesting piece and my colleague Mike Mitchell posted it in today’s headlines as well.

But I wanted to give a bit more emphasis here on the homepage to Richt’s own words:

 

“I don’t think I’m totally Teflon, but there’s not much anybody can say that can get me bent out of shape…

I know that most most criticism is pointed toward the coach, not necessarily the person.  If I’ve ever felt something became more of a personal attack, there have been times when I’ve talked to people privately.  Or if a guy beats up on a player more than I think he should, I’ll get sensitive about that once in a while.  But in the grand scheme of things, it’s still momentary light affliction, like Apostle Paul talks about.  It doesn’t last.

I know when my wife had cervical cancer, if that doesn’t put life in perspective, what does?  There are just thing bigger than whether I’m the head coach at Georgia, or whether anybody thinks I’m smart or not smart, or a good coach or a bad coach.  I know I’ve got a job to do, and I want to know that the process I go through in that job is one I can live with when I go to sleep at night…

When somebody critiques me, I try to filter the information, regardless of whether I think the person is mean-spirited or sweet-spirited, because the guy might be right.  I may not give him credit from a pride standpoint, but sometimes there’s validity to it.”

 

Schultz suggests Spurrier could learn a lot from Richt.  I think he could, too.

In fact, reading Richt’s words I just realized that I’m a heckuva lot more like Spurrier in my work life than I am Richt.  When insults or accusations of being a fan of this team, a fan of that team, or just plain stupid roll in via comment boxes and emails, I get ticked.  This is a free site after all.  If you want to present a different point of view in a calm, cool way… have at it.  But when the barbs and shots begin to fly, well, I tend to return fire in-kind.  I need to work on that (though it sure feels better just to give as I get).

South Carolina’s coach has lived his life one way for nearly 70 years and he’s had a lot of success.  I don’t expect him to be moved by anything another coach says… if he even hears about it.  Heck, he’ll probably just take another shot at Richt and Georgia over their number of suspended players.  That’s Spurrier’s way.

But I’m at least going to try to remember Richt’s comments and handle my own business a bit more coolly.

(At least until the next guy calls me a Bama/Auburn/Ole Miss/Mississippi State/Tennessee/Kentucky/Georgia etc, etc, etc fan.)

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Spurrier Says Carolina Could “Fall Back Into A Very, Very Average Team”

Steve Spurrier didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about his 10th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks during today’s SEC teleconference.  Take a gander at these quotes:


“We have a lot of coaching to do around here, or we’re going to fall back into a very, very average team.  This game (against Navy) this week is very important to see if we can play with some fire and energy and tackle.  We haven’t tackled well.  We need to see if we can just look like a good team. …

Obviously, we don’t look like we know what we’re doing, or we’ve got some bad players, or or the other.  We’re trying to coach better, trying to simplify our defenses better and probably need to make some changes occasionally and give more guys chances to play. …

We’re one of the worst passing teams in the nation right now.  I think we’re 107th in pass offense.  So we’ve been very fortunate to win a couple of games.  We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to see if we can get better.”


Considering their team just lost to Carolina, Georgia fans must love hearing all of Spurrier’s poormouthing.

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South Carolina Adds Another Receiver To 2012 Class

South Carolina has done a good job this week of addressing its need at wide receiver.

The Gamecocks have received a commitment from receiver Shaq Roland of Lexington (S.C.) High School. He announced the decision on his Facebook page on Saturday, writing “it’s finally done. I’ve committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Roland is the third receiver to commit to South Carolina this week, joining Kwinton Smith from Dillon, S.C., and Jody Fuller from Monroe, N.C. All three receivers are considered four-star prospects by ESPN.com.

Roland, who gives South Carolina 13 commitments for the class of 2012, chose the Gamecocks over Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Clemson.


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Marcus Lattimore Named SEC Freshman Of The Year, First Team All-SEC RB

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Marcus Lattimore has been unanimously voted the 2010 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year by the AP.  Lattimore was also named to the All-SEC First Team Offense. 

As a true freshman for the South Carolina Gamecocks, #21 has carried the football 248 times for 1,198 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns.  Lattimore eclipsed the 100 yard mark four times this season, running for a career high 212 yards against Florida in The Swamp, where he helped the Gamecocks to their SEC Eastern Division Championship clinching win.  In addition to his ground game (99.83 ypg), Lattimore has excellent skills as a receiver out of the backfield.  He’s caught 26 balls for 364 yards and 2 touchdowns in 12 games (Though, let’s not forget he missed a game and a half), displaying tremendous ability in the open field.  Marcus Lattimore has racked up 1,562 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns in what has been a very stellar start to his career in Columbia, and is deserving of the accolades and attention he’s getting.     

It’s a huge honor for Marcus to have received each of these recognitions.  Congratulations, Latti. 


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Chick-fil-A Bowl Florida St. Seminoles Information Pack

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FILE- In this Nov. 20, 2010 file photo, Florida State's head coach Jimbo Fisher cheers on his team against Maryland in College Park, Md. Florida State's Jimbo Fisher didn't wait long to put his mark on the Atlantic Coast Conference.  After replacing the iconic Bobby Bowden at Florida State earlier this year, Fisher has the 20th-ranked Seminoles playing No. 12 Virginia Tech for the ACC championship on Saturday. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)

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Gail Burton – AP

3 days ago:

FILE- In this Nov. 20, 2010 file photo, Florida State’s head coach Jimbo Fisher cheers on his team against Maryland in College Park, Md. Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher didn’t wait long to put his mark on the Atlantic Coast Conference. After replacing the iconic Bobby Bowden at Florida State earlier this year, Fisher has the 20th-ranked Seminoles playing No. 12 Virginia Tech for the ACC championship on Saturday. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)

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Chick-fil-A Bowl: Florida St. Seminoles vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

FSU Record: 9-4

The Seminoles lost games to Oklahoma, NC State, North Carolina, and to VA Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Their best wins were convincing victories over good-but-not-great Miami, Maryland, and Florida squads. Common opponents between FSU and USC are Clemson and Florida. The Noles beat Clemson 16-13 off a 50+ yard FG as time expired and blew out Florida 31-7.

FSU Key National Rankings

Rushing Offense: 42nd

Passing Offense: 61st

Total Offense: 55th

I know Christian Ponder is good, but these offensive numbers shouldn’t strike fear in our hearts.

Rushing Defense: 25th

Passing Defense: 67th

Total Defense: 41st

Scoring Defense: 25th

Sacks: 2nd

This number worries me a bit. The Auburn game reminded me of why I used to worry about Stephen Garcia when he’s facing a good rush. Our line will need to play better than it did against Auburn.

USC-FSU Series Record: 3-15

The Gamecocks and Seminoles used to square off fairly regularly from the late 1960s to early 1990s. The Noles, as the series record indicates, dominated the series, particularly in the 80s, when FSU rose to become a national powerhouse. The Gamecocks notched a notable victory over FSU in 1984 en route to a 10-2 season.


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Final Thoughts on the SEC Championship Game: Time to Give Fate a Chance

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South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia drops back to pass during football practice in Atlanta, Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. South Carolina will play Auburn in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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John Bazemore – AP

about 6 hours ago:

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia drops back to pass during football practice in Atlanta, Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. South Carolina will play Auburn in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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in 1999, the South Carolina Gamecocks wrapped up an utterly forgettable decade of football. Carolina won 45 games over the course of the 1990s, lost 69, and tied 3. That’s 45-69-3, if you needed me to repeat it. Much like they had hoped hiring hot young Bobby Bowden disciple Brad Scott would invigorate the stagnant program in 1994, Carolina fans had hoped that hiring legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz would help the program recover from the depths Scott’s failed tenure took the program to. Holtz’s first year, though, was more of the same. In fact, it was worse–Holtz would take the Gamecocks to an unenviable 0-11 record.

South Carolina football has always been an exercise in futility. Carolina has one conference championship to its credit. It didn’t win a bowl game until 1995. It lost to Navy when it had a chance to come to within a game of playing for the national title. What happened in Hotlz’s first season in Columbia didn’t really surprise anyone. Carolina Gamecocks fans, however, have always stood by their team, even during that forgettable 0-11 season. They’ve always, often to the ridicule of their rivals’ fans, believed that it was fated that God would smile on the Gamecocks one day.

The ancient Greeks believed that fate was something that man couldn’t control, but these days, most of us believe that we make our own good luck. This isn’t the place to answer that age-old question, but it is worth observing here than when it comes to Gamecocks football, we’ve made our own luck as of late. Holtz and, later, Steve Spurrier wouldn’t have come here if they didn’t believe that this school and state have the resources and support available to provide the foundation for a championship contender. And, ever since that 0-11 record the Gamecocks fell to in 1999, things have been getting a bit better for us. 2000 and 2001 would be banner years for Carolina; the Gamecocks would go 8-4 and 9-3, respectively, and would punctuate both seasons with Outback Bowl victories over the storied Ohio St. Buckeyes.

Those two years inaugurated the most successful decade in Carolina football history. It hasn’t all been perfect, of course. The Holtz era ended on a prolonged down note, while the early promise of the Spurrier era hit some significant roadblocks in 2007 and 2008. However, the program has remained competitive, never quite returning to the depths of mediocrity it plunged too back in 1999. This is a different program. It’s one that’s grown over the past 10 years into a significant player in the SEC.

Earlier this year, when South Carolina achieved what I think we’ll one day look back on as a milestone victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide, Steve Spurrier told us that before the game, he had told his team that if they gave fate a chance, good things might work out for them. To hear him talk, you’d think that he thought that football is nothing but a game of chance. And maybe there is some chance involved in the path we’ve followed to get to what’s going to go down tomorrow. However, we all know that Steve Spurrier is no mystic. This is a guy who believes in his ability to make a difference. And when he came to Carolina, he saw an opportunity. “Why not us?” was not idle speculation; it was a reasonable statement of fact. Why shouldn’t Carolina do something that it’s always had the potential to do? I hate to put words into the guy’s mouth, but I think that when Spurrier told his team to “give fate a chance,” he just meant to go ought and finally make good on the investment that’s been put into Carolina football since the beginning. It took Spurrier to put the finishing touches on the team that would finally put itself in a position to do that, and for that reason I think we’ll remember him as the program’s greatest coach. But the potential has always been here; Spurrier knows that as well as anyone. That’s why he’s here.

Tomorrow afternoon, we play the Auburn Tigers for the SEC Championship. No one is giving us a chance to win. The Tigers are a consensus pick to play for the BCS Title and field the unanimous favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Carolina, on the other hand, should just be happy to be here, right? The Gamecocks don’t really stand any chance of knocking off the mighty Tigers, do they?

Wrong. I not only think we stand a chance in this game; I think we’re going to win. Over the past few weeks, the light has come on for this team. The weight of history was lifted against the Florida Gators three weeks ago, and this team now realizes that it’s good enough to finish what it’s started over the course of the season. We’re confident and playing better than we ever have. Auburn won’t know what hit them.

How do I know this? Sometimes you just have to give fate a chance.


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Gamecocks Continue Championship Week Preparations

The SEC Eastern Division champion and 19th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (9-3, 5-3 SEC) practiced Thursday afternoon at the indoor facility as they continued preparations for Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against the undefeated and top-ranked Auburn Tigers (12-0, 8-0 SEC).
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Gamecocks Continue Championship Week

The SEC Eastern Division champion and 19th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (9-3, 5-3 SEC) practiced Wednesday afternoon at the Bluff Road Proving Grounds as they continued preparations for Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against the undefeated and top-ranked Auburn Tigers (12-0, 8-0 SEC).
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Gamecocks Begin Championship Week

The SEC Eastern Division champion South Carolina Gamecocks (9-3, 5-3 SEC) worked out Monday night in Williams-Brice Stadium as they began preparations for Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against the undefeated Auburn Tigers (12-0, 8-0 SEC).
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Gamecocks Continue Clemson Week

The SEC Eastern Division champion South Carolina Gamecocks (8-3, 5-3 SEC) worked out Wednesday afternoon at the Bluff Road practice fields as they continued preparations for Saturday’s regular season finale at Clemson (6-5).
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