Mark Richt enjoys Miami debut, UGA a distant memory

Former Georgia Bulldogs head coach made a stop through Atlanta.

Mark Richt said he slept well before his head coaching debut at Miami.

Richt had only ever been a head coach at the University of Georgia, where he coached for 15 years before he was fired in November.

His debut with the Bulldogs in 2001 went well. The Bulldogs beat Arkansas State between the hedges, giving him his first of 145 eventual wins he would accumulate at Georgia.

But despite the experience, no one would have blamed Richt for being nervous before Saturday's game. There are lofty expectations for him to bring his alma mater back to where it once was, on top of the college football world. 

Richt, 56, knows the weight is on his shoulders, but he said he felt calmness take over him in the night, for whatever reason.

"I'll just say this: I really, really like it here," Richt said after Miami's 70-3 pounding over Florida A&M. He was answering a reporter's question on how the opener was any different than his time at Georgia. "I like these players, I like this University, I like the vibe of the city. I'm thankful to be here at The U."

Likely, that statement wasn't a jab at Georgia. It seems that Richt is just having a lot of fun, calling the offensive plays for the first time in nearly a decade. 

"I enjoyed it," Richt said, and why wouldn't he have?

He watched his offense execute his play calls for 523 total yards. Junior quarterback Brad Kaaya threw 12 passes for 135 yards and four touchdowns, but the ground game was what was impressive.

Backs were cutting left and right, spinning around exhausted Rattler defenders, and Miami scored five rushing touchdowns. The running back trio of Mark Walton, Gus Edwards and Joe Yearby all rushed for more than 100 yards, something Miami hasn't accomplished since 1987.

It's too soon to jump to any conclusions about Richt by only evaluating his team against an FCS opponent. And any judgment on his play calling abilities would be premature because we haven't seen the full extent of Miami's offense. Richt said he only called about half of the plays the 'Canes had ready for the game. 

Richt consumed himself with calling the plays, so much so that he wasn't entirely sure of just how well his defense did under new direction and a new system. But he said he is not taking over offensive coordinator Thomas Brown's job.

"I'm not the coordinator, but when you call plays, there's things that need to be done in between series as well. I didn't watch a whole bunch. I'll get in position where I'll watch more as the season goes on, but for Game 1, I wanted to make sure I was doing my job well."

Reaching 70 points for just the fourth time in school history seems like a good start.

PHOTOS | Mark Richt through the years


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