A day after speaking with us at a park in Miami and five days after chatting with us in Charlotte, Mark Richt was off to Bristol, Connecticut for another round of media questions — this time at ESPN.
Richt spent Tuesday there as part of the network’s annual “car wash,” in which coaches from the major conferences run the friendly gauntlet of ESPN shows. His day began before 9 a.m. on the Mike & Mike radio show, included a stint on SportsCenter and was scheduled to end at 2:55 p.m., after six hours and more than 10 interviews for broadcast (not including one-on-ones with ESPN’s writers). Long day.
No kickoffs, rugby-style tackling. Asked about the possibility of eliminating that play, which is thought to produce a high amount of injuries compared to other plays, Richt surprised by saying he was fine without. “I’ll be honest with you,” he told Mike & Mike. “I’m OK without a kickoff.”
His reasoning: his time on the sidelines as a head coach, he saw its effects up-close. “It’s a violent play and guys are running full speed and you’ve got a bunch of guys that are young and strong and brave and no one is backing down,” he said. “So, yeah, I think that’s a play I could live without. A lot of people probably are going crazy right now about it, but when you see it up close it makes sense to me.”
He also mentioned UM has “bought into taking the helmet out of the tackle,” and that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has taught rugby-style tackling for several years. What that means is, Miami players will be taught to tackle with their shoulders. “We think that’s a smart way to play football and we think it’s an effective way to play football,” Richt said.