Mark Richt: Emotions got best of coach

Updated: November 2, 2010, 7:59 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday assistant Todd Grantham was caught up in the emotions of an overtime game when he gave a choke sign to Florida kicker Chas Henry.

A television snapshot from Sun Sports in Florida shows Grantham, Georgia's defensive coordinator, with one hand on his throat as Henry lined up for his winning field goal in the Gators' 34-31 win on Saturday. Replays show Grantham making the choke sign four times during a Georgia timeout before Henry's 37-yard kick.

"I'm aware of it and I'll just say that emotions run high and people do things that they probably wish they didn't do," Richt said at his weekly news conference. "I think that was what was being communicated. I don't think he's necessarily proud of it."

It's not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him.

-- Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray

Richt said Grantham will "learn from it and move on," but did not say he faces any disciplinary action.

Grantham said he has talked with Richt and athletic director Greg McGarity about the incident. He did not reveal details of the discussions but expressed regret about the incident.

"As a competitor sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment," Grantham said after Tuesday's practice. "I wish the situation hadn't happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it. I'm ready to move forward and finish out the year strong."

When asked if he felt he should apologize to Henry, Grantham said, "I've kind of basically said what I'm going to say and I think I'm ready to move forward."

Georgia players seemed surprised Grantham's sideline gesture has created a stir.

"I don't think it's anything too bad," said Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Grantham "probably, like the rest of us, was just hoping he'd miss the kick or something like that. I don't think it's anything too much to get worked up about.

"It's not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him. ... There was nothing dangerous or illegal or stupid like that, so I don't really see the big deal about it."

Georgia receiver Tavarres King said he didn't see the incident or watch the kick.

"I was too nervous to watch," King said. "I was laying down."

Florida senior guard Carl Johnson confirmed Florida players were told not to talk about Grantham on Tuesday. Johnson couldn't resist.

"I mean, hey, he did it and we kicked a field goal, so he needs to do it every time we play against them, I guess," Johnson said.

Murray said Grantham, the former Dallas Cowboys assistant, is a fiery and animated coach who motivates all the players.

"He's a great coach. I love coach Grantham," Murray said. "He has some fire to him. I think the guys love it. I love it, personally. When he's yelling and going crazy he gets the offense pumped up. He gets me pumped up to see him getting after the defense making sure they're ready to go. I think that's his mentality and he does a tremendous job of getting guys pumped up and ready to go."

Grantham, in his first season on Richt's staff, said he is "very passionate about the game" and about Georgia being successful.

"I want our defense to be relentless for 60 minutes," he said. "I want them to play physical, play tough, play with intensity and give everything they've got for 60 minutes until the last second is gone.

"I'm really proud for our players for the work they've done in that area and the way they've improved in that area this year and I think it has shown up on the field."

Henry, from Dallas, Ga., was not available for interviews on Tuesday.

After the game, Henry said some Georgia coaches "on the sideline were over there giving me a little grief, saying I was going to choke."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press