GAINESVILLE- Georgia coaches have met with the strength and conditioning staff to plan for one of the biggest offseason endeavors: Getting smaller.
A big focus of Georgia’s offseason will be on getting players to drop weight, especially on defense, where new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt believes his players are too big. Pruitt has said he wants his defense to be ready to play against faster-paced offenses.
Richt said position coaches gave the strength staff guidelines on about how much weight they would like certain players to lose.
“Not that we’re a bunch of fat guys, but in some ways we’re strong and thick in the legs and rear and things like that,” Richt said before a UGA Day event in Gainesville. “Not that we don’t want to be strong. But we’re willing to give up a little bit of size for some quickness. For the ability to recover quicker.”
It’s a big change from the last time the Bulldogs underwent a change in strength and conditioning. After they went 6-7 during the 2010 season, the team turned over its strength staff and focused on getting bigger.
“A few years ago we played somebody and got thrashed physically. (So we said) we gotta get stronger. So we got stronger,” Richt said. “Again, we don’t want to give up being strong. But we’ve got to be able to move, change direction, cover quickly, and play in space. More than just wad up and just hammer.”
(Richt said he didn’t mean one game specifically.)
There are some players that the team does want to put on weight: Richt alluded to “a couple little skinny corners,” and a safety or two. But the majority of linebackers and linemen are on a slim-down plan.
It's not just players who are dropping weight. Several coaches have as well, most notably offensive line coach Will Friend, but Richt said he's also dropped 20 pounds.
"I went from gross to kind of fat," Richt said.
Richt on Mason, Gurley and freshmen tailbacks
Richt said he expects the battle to be the No. 2 quarterback to “gonna go into the fall, and just see what it looks like as we get closer to the first game. Faton Bauta and Brice Ramsey are the favorites to be the top backup.
Richt added that starter Hutson Mason “probably separated himself from the second-team guys.”
Asked by a fan about Todd Gurley’s health, Richt answered that the tailback is “about 99.5 percent healthy.” Gurley battled a sprained ankle and quad injury last season.
Later, a fan asked if Georgia would run a Heisman campaign for Gurley. Richt said no, citing other star player he’s coached, such as Charlie Ward and Warrick Dunn.
“I don’t think you have to have a campaign for the Heisman. I think the numbers will speak for themselves,” Richt said
Richt was also asked about the team’s two newest tailbacks, signees Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The head coach gushed: “I don’t know which one’s going to be more special. I think they’re both special guys.”