ATHENS - Mark Richt, in his first full season since handing off play-calling duties, is still coping with the new issues of free time - and free emotions - on the Georgia sideline.
'I can be more free to be a little bit more emotional, and I'll be honest, the first few games, I wasn't sure what to do with the new role,' Richt said Tuesday. 'So I'm learning. I don't know if it's good or bad. I'm still trying to figure it out.'
Emotions - Richt's and his players' - were the lead topics Tuesday as the coach discussed last week's 42-30 win over Florida and Saturday's game against Troy.
Richt, who turned over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo late last season, revealed he has struggled at times to find a new comfort zone on the sideline.
'All the years up until this year I have been calling plays,' he said. 'When I'm calling plays, I've said many times, I need peace in my mind. I need to be calm so I can think straight because I'm making a decision every 25 to 30 seconds.
'Now, I'm not calling plays anymore. I've got more time to go off the chain every once in a while. I think the officials are wondering what's going on with me. I didn't used to get in their ear all the time.'
Thanks to the win over Florida, No. 10 Georgia (6-2 overall, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) leads the SEC's Eastern Division.
But after the big win, Richt felt it necessary to send a public written apology to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Richt apologized for giving his players the go-ahead for an unusual on-field celebration in the win over Florida.
Richt emphasized Tuesday he never authorized his team to leave the sideline following the Bulldogs' first touchdown, but he said he can understand how players thought that was the case - and why Slive was concerned about the potential for the celebration to turn to confrontation.
'If one Florida player decided he didn't like it and he wanted to elbow somebody or whatever and it turned into a brawl, that would have been a bad or a sad situation,' Richt said.
'I apologized for putting people in that situation even though I didn't direct the whole team to come from the sideline. ... It could have turned into a melee the way it happened.'