Mark Richt: 'That was lesson No. 1 in coaching'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday April 04, 2017


As a young coach, Mark Richt tried to throw everything at his players, because they said they understood it. But he quickly figured out there’s a difference between them saying they know, and them actually executing.

Richt spoke to reporters Tuesday after 31-year-old tight ends coach / special teams coordinator Todd Hartley held a media session, and Richt recounted what he once learned as a young coach. And that’s that you can’t go too fast with your players.

“Part of having to coach fast is the 20-hour rule. You only have so many minutes in a meeting. If you had pro ball, you could take your time, teach, slow down, come back,” Richt said. “You have to teach fast, but you can’t teach so fast that you lose them.

“One of the first things I learned my year one, I would coach, coach, coach and say, ‘Got it?’ They’d say they got it. I’d coach, coach, coach and say, ‘Got it?’ They’d say they got it. Then you get on the field for practice or the game, and they don’t have anything. They don’t got it. I learned to say, ‘Tell me what you saw on this play. What’s your read? What’s your progression? Who are you keying? Make them talk to you, to find out if they’ve really got it or not. That was lesson No. 1 in coaching: Don’t ever assume they’ve got it.’

Richt is still working his quarterbacks to find out who’s got it, and he’s planning to make them live in Miami’s next scrimmage, meaning the defense can hit them.

There are several guys competing for the job, especially because no one stepped up as a backup behind Brad Kaaya last year. Richt doesn’t expect to name a starter after spring, but it’s time to start seeing them face somewhat-live bullets.

“My plan is to let the quarterbacks have a normal jersey and play ball,” he said. “Is it a sack or not a sack in a normal scrimmage? We don’t know. This scrimmage, if I don’t chicken out, we’ll know if it’s a sack or not. We’ll know if a guy makes a move and gets five yards, or if he gets tackled and fumbles the ball or secures the ball. It’ll look more like a true game on those snaps, because we’re going to let the quarterbacks play ball.”

Miami won’t have a spring game, so these scrimmages are even more valuable.

“How are you going to react when you get hit in the mouth and then you have to get up the next play?” Richt said. “Can you stand in there and throw a strike and somebody hits you? That’s part of being a pocket passer.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.