Georgia vs. Louisville

Georgia head coach Mark Richt holds up the Belk Bowl trophy after winning the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. (Taylor Craig Sutton/Staff, Taylorcraigsutton.com)

Don’t believe Twitter. Mark Richt is Georgia’s head football coach and the end isn’t in sight.

In fact, Richt was not even aware of the rumors until he was asked about them in said press conference. When asked where he thought the rumors stemmed from, Richt pled ignorance.

“I have no idea,” Richt said. “I have no idea. [Returning] is the plan.”

Then Richt turned to freshman tailback Nick Chubb who was also in the room.

“You can ask the team,” Richt said. “Nick? Am I retiring?”

The entire room shifted its focus to the tailback sitting silently and idly on a stool near the room’s exit.

A man of few words, Chubb didn’t even open his mouth. He simply shook his head from side to side.

That was all Richt needed to prove his point.

Dominick Sanders learns from Damian Swann, earns defensive MVP

When Dominick Sanders arrived as a freshman at Georgia, senior defensive back Damian Swann took him under his wing.

“Damian’s like a big brother to me,” Sanders said. “When there’s things I don’t know, he put me in position to learn it and I learn very quick so having a chance to start and come out there and play with him is a big situation for me. I told myself when he leaves I’m going to have to study more and do what I have to do so I can be in his position.”

After 13 games, Swann’s teachings seem to have paid off.

In Tuesday’s victory in the Belk Bowl, Sanders recorded his second and third interceptions of the season. His two interceptions tied for a Georgia bowl record and he added a shifty return on the first one that gave the Bulldogs’ offense the ball on the 9-yard line.

“One thing I always told myself, when that ball’s in the air, I become I a receiver,” Sanders said. “I felt like when I was running, I was really tired and spinning around and all that.”

To be fair, the teacher showed he still had a few tricks up his sleeve when Swann recorded an interception of his own. His fourth of the season, giving him one more than his protégé.

The duo was responsible for all of Georgia’s forced turnovers on the evening and all came in big situations for Georgia.

“It was our job to get turnovers,” Sanders said. “When it came to a point where we knew what they was going to do or a big play they have or they was going to make a big play, we knew we had to make turnovers to impress coach so that’s what we did. We made turnovers.”

First-time play caller John Lilly runs Chubb, utilizes vertical attack

Tuesday night’s Belk Bowl was the first time tight ends John Lilly had ever called the plays in a non-scrimmage football game.

As a rookie play caller, the last thing one would want to happen is for one’s starting quarterback to fall with injury. But this is precisely the situation in which Lilly found himself. But, as Richt said, having Chubb made things a little bit easier.

“[Lilly] did a very good job of honing the game plan down, spending time with Hutson, making sure he knew what was going on and then once we lost Hutson we had to go to plan b,” Richt said. “And plan b was kind of, I guess it made it a little bit simpler: just give it to Nick.”

Pounding the ball with Chubb appeared to be Lilly’s entire second-half game plan, and the results cannot be argued with. But before Mason’s injury limited the playbook, Georgia’s offense was considerably more vertical than it had been previously in 2013, something Richt commended postgame.

“We wanted to make sure we took a couple of shots early on,” Richt said. “I think it’s important to let them know you’re there and you can throw over the top. That was big.”

Lilly said his confidence in calling those plays stems from what he knows about his players.

“I had a great peace and just really felt very calm and comfortable about everything especially because, again, we’ve got great players,” Lilly said. “I’ve been at every game this year. I’ve watched, and I know what our guys are capable of and I know what our coaches do, how they prepare and so we had a lot of confidence in our guys.”

As for whether or not Lilly will get promoted to offensive coordinator after the output his playcalls produced Tuesday, Lilly said that he didn’t believe it was the time or place to discuss this.

However, when Chubb was asked whether or not he would endorse Lilly as his next coordinator, he answered the question pragmatically.

“He has a good résumé́,” Chubb said.

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