SEC: 030510 Richt

Bulldogs seek more leadership from players

March, 5, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. -- All of a sudden, Darryl Gamble is one of the veterans on Georgia's team.

[+] EnlargeDarryl Gamble
Derick Hingle/Icon SMIDarryl Gamble thinks there are more players on Georgia's defense willing to take leadership roles.
The 6-2, 250-pound senior linebacker thinks the leadership will be shared by several people in 2010 based on what he’s seen this offseason. He also thinks there are more guys on this defense willing to take accountability for what happens on the field.

“There was too much waiting for somebody else to make a play last year,” Gamble said. “Guys were being too relaxed. It’s time to turn things around and get back to the way things used to be.”

Gamble said his idea of leadership is making sure everybody is pulling in the same direction. He said there won’t be any excuses next season.

“I’m just going to try and take what I know and spread it throughout the team,” Gamble said. “The good thing is that we have a lot of seniors on defense now. A lot of us came in together, but there’s one thing missing.”

Gamble, who signed in 2006 and redshirted that first season, pointed out that there’s not a player on this team now who’s won an SEC championship.

“We don’t want to be the only class since coach Richt has been here that hasn’t won an SEC championship,” Gamble said. “This is our last shot, but we’ve got to make it happen, got to do extra stuff and make sure everybody’s doing extra stuff.

“The main thing is that we’re going to be more player-driven this year than coach-driven. We’re going to make sure as players that we’re more disciplined and doing the things it takes to win an SEC championship every day.”

Richt's genuineness is one of his strengths

March, 5, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. -- One of the criticisms you’re starting to hear more frequently about Georgia coach Mark Richt is that he’s just too nice a guy.

I’ve heard it from some staunch Georgia fans and don’t buy it. Richt’s heard it, too.

Needless to say, he's not buying it either.

“But you know what? If you’re going to be accused of something, that’s not a bad thing to be accused of,” Richt joked.

He also points out, and correctly so, that his demeanor wasn’t being scrutinized when he was winning SEC championships.

“People look at my demeanor, I guess, and decide I’m too nice a guy,” Richt said. “But I’m the same guy I was when I got here. In 2001, when we beat Tennessee and then won the SEC in 2002, they’re thinking, ‘Boy, that’s the best way to be.’ My demeanor was being applauded, and I don’t really care, but I know that’s what people say.

“Back then, everybody thought it was such a great thing. Now, they want to say it’s not a great thing.”

What’s important to Richt is that his players and coaches know where he’s coming from and that he’s not going to change whether the Bulldogs are winning 13 games or eight games.

“The bottom line is that you have to be who you are, and your players have to trust that you’re genuine with them,” Richt said. “They want you to be real with them and truthful with them, and they want to know who they’re dealing with.

“If you’re a fraud, they’re going to know it, and your coaches know it, too. And your family knows it, and you know it. There are different styles of leadership and different styles of coaching. I think Tony Dungy was a pretty nice guy. I think coach (Tom) Landry was a pretty good guy. Most people felt coach (Bobby) Bowden was a pretty good guy, and Don Shula was a pretty good guy.

“I just think you have to be who you are.”

Richt’s even keel is one of his strengths, according to his players.

“That doesn’t mean he won’t get on you, because he will,” junior cornerback Brandon Boykin said. “But you always know where you stand with coach Richt. He’s always the same guy, and it doesn’t matter what’s going on around you.”