December 12, 2012

Richt defends decision

To spike, or not to spike - that's been the biggest question Georgia fans have been asking themselves ever since the final 15 seconds of the recent SEC Championship game ticked agonizingly off the Georgia Dome clock.

In the words of the late Larry Munson, get the picture.

After instant replay overturned what looked to be a game-ending interception, Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs roared down the field, a break-neck drive that included completions of 23 yards to Tavarres King and 23 yards to Arthur Lynch to give Georgia a first down at the Alabama 8 with just 15 seconds to play.

With no timeouts, the Bulldogs hurried up to the line, but Murray's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage into the hands of Chris Conley at the 5 as the clock ran down to zero before Georgia could get off another play.

Wednesday, Richt once again defended the decision to not spike the ball after Lynch's catch to the 8.

"No. When you no-huddle you go with tempo. You want to go with pace. That's what we've been doing all year long. Part of going no-huddle is when you have the defense on the run you snap the ball again," Richt said. "If you clock the ball you probably only get two shots, and hopefully you only need one. If we had clocked the ball we would have called the same play. It was the play that we wanted to call. The problem was the ball got tipped and landed in play. It was not intended for Chris Conley, or at least to us it wasn't intended for him."

According to Murray, the tipped-pass that wound up going to Conley was supposed to be a back-shoulder fade to Malcolm Mitchell.

"It's a 50-50 ball, the guy is facing Malcolm and Malcolm would just need to go up and catch the ball," Murray said. "It was a back-shoulder throw, one-on-one, which we're great at. We've thrown multiple back-shoulder touchdowns and this would have been another one."

Murray admits as he was running down the field following the completion to Lynch he initially thought he would be asked to spike the ball.

But after reviewing the film, he realizes the correct decision was made.

"I thought we were going to call a spike, but I don't think it (the decision not to spike) was a bad call at all. It was open, it was there, we liked the matchup and I talked to Coach (Mike) Bobo," Murray said. "We wanted to get a quick play to the end zone and we got it - with them on their heels. It was both going to be a touchdown or the ball was going to be stripped and we would have had two, maybe three more plays."

Conley blamed himself for days after the play, knowing that if he would have knocked the football down, Georgia would have had at least one more chance.

But receivers aren't trained to drop footballs, a fact Conley said understanding Bulldog fans have been quick to remind him of.

"I was pretty down on myself, for sure," Conley said. "But the entire Bulldog Nation has been great, sending me messages on the Internet or finding ways to get in touch with me. Everybody has been very supportive. I'm ready to go."

Richt says other schools never called

Richt said he was never asked for permission by any school wishing to speak with current members of his coaching staff about other jobs.

"I think our coaches are worthy of that, and I think our coaches have obviously been courted," Richt said. "But no one has called me. Have I been contacted? No. I've not had one call."

Recently, Bubo's named was linked to the recently filled head coaching position at Southern Miss.

Jenkins offers advice

Linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree have yet to make it official whether or not they will leave Georgia a year early for the NFL Draft.

Most, however, assume that they will, including freshman Jordan Jenkins.

"If I was them, I'd be gone," Jenkins laughed. "All that money, I'd be gone. I don't know what they're doing but I think everybody knows. Everybody in their mind doesn't think they're going to stay another year."

This and that

Richt said he still hopes defensive end Abry Jones (ankle) will be able to play in the upcoming Capital One Bowl. "I know his intention is to rehab and get ready to play. He was making progress towards that goal. Do I know whether he'll be ready to or not? I don't know that. We've not counted him out by any means for this bowl." … Wide receiver Tavarres King said he has been selected to take part in the Senior Bowl next month in Mobile, Ala. He could be joined by nose tackle John Jenkins, who said he has invitations from both the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game but has not decided which one he will play in yet. … Georgia will be the visiting team for the Capital One Bowl.