Mark Richt defends title game decision, 'It's what we do'
Posted by: Josh Kendall on December 13, 2012
Everyone from Steve Spurrier to Mel Kiper has said Mark Richt did the wrong thing at the end of the SEC Championship game.
On Wednesday, Richt defended his decision not to spike the ball in the final 15 seconds of the game. The result was a tipped pass that led to a short completion and time running out on the Bulldogs.
"When you no-huddle you go with tempo," Richt said during a news conference to discuss the upcoming bowl game. "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 believed his team might have time to run three plays by running a quick play instead of spiking the ball.
"If we had clocked the ball we would have called the same play," Richt said. "We throw the heck out of that back shoulder throw. If you run a system when you are used to going fast, it's no big deal to just call the next play. It's what we do. If we spike it, strategically you give them time to gather up and get their senses and get their calls in."
In his first season with the Bulldogs in 2001 Richt made a late-game, clock-management error that cost his team a chance to beat Auburn. That offseason he visited with Homer Smith, the former head coach at Army, Pacific and Davidson who offered consulting on clock management issues. Wednesday, Richt went back to the lessons he took from Smith.
"Homer is not going to clock the ball. He says clocking the ball is for people who don't have a plan," Richt said. "If you're prepared and you've moved the chains, the clock is stopped and you've got the play that you like, then call it. In this game it was a matter of two plays or trying to get three plays. Making that a part of what we've done that last 10 or 11 years as far as a two-minute drill. Then also once we went to no-huddle it's not a big deal for us to go to the line and snap the ball. It's what we do."
Here are the Bulldogs' final three plays of the game:
Josh Kendall is a staff writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered the SEC for more than 15 years for papers such as the Athens Banner-Herald, Macon Telegraph, and The State. He’s the father of two boys who he’s hoping don’t inherit his wide receiver frame and offensive guard feet. Follow @EyeOnCoaches on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com