published Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Mark Richt not anticipating staff changes

Georgia football coach Mark Richt expects defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to be back next season, adding that continuity of the staff is good.
Georgia football coach Mark Richt expects defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to be back next season, adding that continuity of the staff is good.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Everyone is welcome to stay.

Georgia football coach Mark Richt said Sunday that he is not expecting any changes among his assistants. The Bulldogs completed an 8-4 regular season Saturday with a 41-34 win at Georgia Tech in double overtime.

"Everybody should be back," Richt said. "Everybody's got to do what they've got to do as far as if they have opportunities to go and that kind of thing. We've got some things that we've certainly got to get better at, but the continuity is a good thing for Georgia."

Georgia needs just 122 yards in a bowl game to amass a staggering 6,000 yards in a season, a feat the Bulldogs first accomplished last year. This year's offense survived multiple injuries to tailbacks, receivers and even quarterback Aaron Murray, but the defense hasn't fared nearly as well.

The Bulldogs have surrendered a program-record 353 points under fourth-year coordinator Todd Grantham, and their average of 381.2 yards allowed per game is their worst since 1999.

"We had a young bunch and a lot of inexperience on that side of the ball," Richt said, referencing the losses of 12 defenders from last year's team. "The experiences everybody went through is positive, but everybody has to improve. There are a lot of areas that we all need to improve on.

"I think we've got the right group of guys, and we've got the right staff. We've got make sure we take care of business as far as improving and maturing and keeping that continuity."

Grantham was asked by reporters about his future after Saturday's game and said, "I'm not worried about any of that stuff. I look at the body of work I've done, and I'm fine."

The Bulldogs trailed the Yellow Jackets 20-0 midway through the second quarter, when they had amassed just 45 yards while allowing 249. It was the second 20-point deficit they had faced in the past month, having rallied from 37-17 down at Auburn to lead 38-37 only to lose 43-38.

"We've been down all season," tailback Todd Gurley told reporters. "Against Tennessee. Against Auburn. We knew what we were capable of, so there was no pressure."

The successful comeback in Atlanta was the largest of the Richt era, topping the 31-24 win over Virginia Tech in the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl, a game the Bulldogs trailed 21-3. It was the largest rally overall for Georgia since the Bulldogs spotted Purdue a 25-0 lead in the Outback Bowl after the 1999 season and came back for a 28-25 overtime triumph.

Georgia trailed Georgia Tech 20-0 in their 1978 game in Athens before the Bulldogs rallied for a 29-28 win.

"I knew early on offensively that we had some people open, but we couldn't stay in there long enough to throw the ball to those guys," Richt said. "I felt like it was going to be a matter of time before we made some things happen. They scored four times in the first half, but you never know how important it is to force a field goal.

"When it's at 20, it gives you a lot more hope than when it's at 28."

Richt said there were no serious injuries "on the joint front" in Saturday's game. The staff is expected to meet today to discuss recruiting, and the Bulldogs are not expected to practice again before Dec. 14.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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