Mark Richt is not known for his SEC Media Days interviews. Actually, scratch that. Mark Richt is known for his SEC Media Days interviews -- to the extent that they are infamous for being some of the most boring of the weeklong confab. And with high-profile contenders like Gary Pinkel and Hugh Freeze, that's no small accomplishment.
But every once in a while, even the most coaching speaking-est member of the SEC's group of head honchos gives a good quote. And he did this week. It also shows why I can't hate Mark Richt, despite the fact that he coaches South Carolina's biggest SEC rival.
When guys leave our program, my goal for them is that they continue their career and they continue and realize all their dreams. Life's too short. They're young men that make mistakes. If somewhere along the way you learn from your mistake, you turn it around, finish your career strong, I'm happy for the guy.
Obviously whether we're playing Auburn or Tennessee or Florida or anybody else, we want to win that game. I'm not too concerned about who's over there, did he play for us, all that kind of thing. It doesn't come into my mind.
I have never hindered a transfer from going anywhere that he wants to go. Because, again, I think life's too short. If this kid can get a fresh start and do well, I'm happy for the guy. [Emphasis mine]
The race for my favorite coaching statement of the week is a crowded one, particularly with what Nick Saban said about the eight-game schedule. (More on that shortly.) But this one is at least near the top of the list. I have never understood coaches who try to force players to stay at their school, or barring those players from going where they want to go. (One or two restrictions aren't too bad, to keep them from rivals, but anything beyond that is just ridiculous.) If you're not going to give these guys a four-year scholarship, you shouldn't complain when they want to opt out for another program.
Yes, Mark Richt didn't say anything particularly interesting this week. But what he said was pretty significant. And with any luck, other coaches will follow suit.