October 11, 2009

Richt: 'We all must improve'

For one of the first times this year, Georgia coach Mark Richt acknowledged that no one associated with his program is without blame for the Bulldogs' 3-3 start following Saturday's 45-19 loss at Tennessee.

That apparently includes himself along with top assistants Mike Bobo and Willie Martinez, who along with Richt have been the targets of considerable ire from many of the angry fans who have been voicing their displeasure on UGASports.

Although Richt did not mention any of his coaches by name, he made it clear everyone - players and coaches alike - need to step up their respective games.

"We've got to get better at defense, we've got to get better on offense, we've got to get better at coaching," Right said. "I guess what I'm saying is that it's a culmination of everyone. I'm not pointing fingers at any one individual; I'm pointing fingers at all of us as a whole, we ALL must improve; that's what I'm trying to say."

The question now, is what's next for the Bulldogs?

Richt said he's not going into this week's practicing looking to make wholesale lineup changes, although he indicated that some changes could be in store.

"I think that guys are always fighting for positions, so it's always about proving who the best man for the job is," Richt said. "But week to week if a guy does not get the job done, there's always a chance he can lose it (starting spot) but we're not going to have open tryouts or anything like that. Right now my No. 1 goal is to put a team out there that I think will give us the very best shot to beat Vanderbilt on Saturday and any personnel decisions I may or may not make based on who I think gives us the best chance to win."

Richt said he should know by Tuesday what changes he might have in store.

As for Bobo and Martinez, quarterback Joe Cox had a message for those wanting to blame the coaches for Georgia's current malaise.

Blame the players instead.

"In 2007, everybody was worried that Coach (Willie) Martinez was going to get a head coaching job after the season and he was going to be gone. Our defense had a great year and then it's like when things start going bad he's still running the same exact thing," Cox said. "He still coaches the same way but we're not carrying it out like those teams have in the past. It's tough thinking about your coaches being on hot seats and things like that because you know they're not playing the game. They're calling the game but they can't call perfect games all the time, it's impossible."

Still, Cox understands why fans are getting restless.

But according to the fifth-year senior, what the fans are feeling pales in comparison to the agony players like himself are experiencing following Saturday's 45-19 embarrassment at the hands of Tennessee.

"People are upset and that's what you expect. But we work hard. We don't want to come out on a Saturday, get embarrassed and then say 'Oh, well.' It hurts us worse than anybody, worse than fans, the coaches… we're the ones who play the game," Cox said. "It's not like we go out there and play bad then say whatever. We've been working since January every day to pay 12 games. It's not a good feeling when you work that hard and it doesn't show but I think everybody is eager to work, everybody wants to correct mistakes and continue on with our season and finish up strong."

Senior receiver Mike Moore said he's already received considerable support from fans.

Following the game, Moore sent out a message on his Twitter account asking the Bulldog faithful to "stand but the team."

"I don't think I got one negative comment as far as the replies. Everyone says they're still behind us," Moore said. "We know they're beat up, torn up and we need to put on a better performance for them."

But Cox admits he hears the talk.

Not only has Martinez's name been bandied about by angry fans, but so has that of Bobo.

"That's probably one of the worst feelings, just listening to the people say how bad the coaches are doing when you know it's on you. They put you in position to win every week with the work they put in to install game plans and when you don't carry it out it makes them look bad," he said. "It's tough hearing people say stuff about coaches and them not knowing what they're doing. Obviously, they know what they're doing. They've won games before. All of them have won championships at some place before. It's a pretty unfair thing to say about coaches when players are playing bad."

NOTE: Richt said he would probably have an answer on Tuesday as to whether or not tight end Bruce Figgins will redshirt or try to play the final six games of the season. Figgins was suspended for six games late last spring for violating team rules.

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