There were two things I was confident Mark Richt would be asked about coming into SEC Media Days: The fall of former Georgia athletics director Damon Evans and Richt's alleged place on the "hot seat" after two disappointing seasons. Whether he should have confronted those questions was one thing, but he would. Added to that on Wednesday were the reports that someone on the Georgia football team -- perhaps star WR A.J. Green -- was apparently becoming ensnared in the NCAA's Agentgate investigation.
But the agent questions were cut off at the pass by a request / order / command from UGA not to ask Richt about an investigation in which Georgia's name had only surfaced (at least publicly) the day before. While the hot seat talk was hinted at ("Other than winning games, which is kind of obvious, what does a coach have to do in the SEC to survive 10 years at a school?"), it didn't come up by name until the 15th question. Damon Evans was the 16th. There was no 17th.
And so, for most of the session, Mark Richt got to talk largely about football.
On the 3-4 defense being installed by Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham and its implementation:
First of all, all of our players are, What position am I going to play. They were uncertain where they were going to fit into the scheme. Quite frankly, when Coach Grantham came in, he wasn't sure where everybody would fit. He had our graduate assistants break down film and try to get 30 clips of all of our players so he could study them and place them in the right spot. We started spring ball. We made a few more adjustments as we went. ... We think we've got them placed in the right spot.
Which is interesting, but not the most exciting thing in the world. It's like when Congress actually talks about policy instead of shouting at each other. Wonks -- or in this case, football fans like ourselves -- are interested. But it also makes for dull television and less-than-exciting copy.
The closest Richt came to saying something controversial was when he was asked about the ouster of mentor Bobby Bowden at Florida State.
I'll just say this. I love Coach Bowden. He gave me my first job. He allowed me to grow and mature as a coach, as a man, and he led me to the Lord in 1986. So anything that Coach Bowden didn't like, I don't like either, I can tell you that.
Translation: Florida State treated Bobby poorly.
Then came the hot-seat question, in the form of whether Richt was "insulted" to be seen as a candidate for the blazing cushion while holding a 90-27 record. He reacted far more calmly than some corners of the Internet.
Not really. I understand the business. I understand just how things go. So I don't worry about it. My goal is to focus on the important things and the things I can control. I can control my attitude. I can control my effort. I can control, you know, certain things. That's what I focus on. Then the things I can't control, I just trust the Lord with that. That's kind of how I've been operating since 1986.
He was saddened by Evan's situation and didn't expect to play a major role in hiring the new AD given the time of year. As for the rather bizarre notion that it might affect the Dawgs as they get ready for the season:
Has it affected our preparation? I don't believe it has. I really don't. I don't think it's affected our coaches' preparation or our players' preparation. It certainly was news, no doubt about that.
Overall, a very tame press conference. Which, given the last few weeks, is probably just how most Georgia fans would prefer it.