ATHENS — The chippiness between Georgia and Auburn’s players at the end of Saturday’s game carried over a day later to their fans. The Internet reigned with chatter between fans of those schools about perceived dirty hits in Auburn’s 49-31 win.
One person not adding much to the talk was Mark Richt. As he did after Saturday’s game, the Georgia head coach refused to comment on the hits by Auburn’s Nick Fairley — either to protest or defend them.
Richt was also asked if he planned to send any film of Fairley’s hits to the SEC office.
“That’s another subject I’m not gonna make a comment on right now,” Richt said.
Earlier, Richt had said he would have no comment on injuries, since he had yet to speak to athletic trainer Ron Courson.
One of those injuries was to Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who left the game after taking a blow to the knee from Fairley. Several Bulldog players took umbrage at the hit, and it led to a near-brawl on the field in the game’s waning moments.
Two Auburn players, senior defensive linemen Michael Goggans and Mike Blanc, were ejected for throwing punches. That will put their eligibility for the Iron Bowl in jeopardy.
Fairley, a defensive tackle who ranks second in the league in sacks, was called for roughing-the-passer in the third quarter.
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was asked Sunday about the perception that some of Fairley’s hit were questionable.
“That’s not what we do here,” Chizik said. “Everything we do here is going to be great effort. Are we going to make a mistake here or there with intensive effort? Yes. But I can assure you nothing is ever done intentional to harm another player.”
Richt said he didn’t expect or need to hear from Chizik about any of the late-game issues.
“I know he’s a man of integrity. And he doesn’t need to do that on my account,” Richt said.
Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs visited Georgia’s locker room after the game. But Richt said the late-game problems didn’t come up.
“I’m not gonna sit here and try to say their guys were doing one thing and our guys were doing another,” Richt said. “I know that I had enough concern with what was going on that we took a knee to try to diffuse that situation.”
In the meantime, Georgia has bigger concerns than what happened in the final minute at Auburn.
Georgia (5-6) is one of just four SEC teams that is not bowl-eligible. Vanderbilt is the only team out of consideration. Georgia needs to beat Georgia Tech in 12 days to become bowl eligible. The kickoff time for the Georgia Tech game is expected to be announced Monday.
Strangely, there remains an outside chance Georgia could still go to a bowl at 5-7. There are 70 bowl slots, and 55 teams have reached the six-win mark, and one of them is Southern California, which is ineligible.
“It is very important, to us go play in a bowl game. I don’t want to minimize the importance of that,” Richt said. “But the most important thing to us is to beat our in-state rival, Georgia Tech. That’s more important I think to me and everyone else. That’s the main focus for us, really. I mean bowl eligibility comes with it.”
Richt is Monday night’s speaker at the Macon Touchdown Club.
The club meets at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth at 304 Pierce Ave. Cost for non-members is $30.
The program begins earlier than usual, at 6 p.m..
Tattnall Square is this week’s featured high school. Ex-Auburn head coach Pat Dye is next week’s speaker, closing out the regular season.
A native of Omaha, Neb., Richt grew up in Boca Raton, Fla., graduating from high school in 1978. He was a backup quarterback at Miami, playing behind NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.
Richt’s coaching career began in 1985 at Florida State’s volunteer quarterbacks coach. He then was a graduate assistant for a few more years before going to East Carolina for the 1989 season as offensive coordinator.
He returned to FSU as quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator when Brad Scott left to become South Carolina’s head coach.
He was part of national championships in 1993 and 1999, taking the Georgia job in December of 2000. The Bulldogs won the SEC title in 2002 and 2005, and have three Eastern Division titles.
Richt, in his 10th year, is 95-33 overall, giving Georgia the third best record among SEC teams since 2001.
For more information, contact King Kemper at 750-7507 or Les Jones at 808-1889 or go to www.macontouchdownclub.com.