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October 4, 2017

Mark Richt

Greensboro, North Carolina

MARK RICHT: We finished practice today. It was I thought pretty outstanding. Our scout teamers really did a good job of giving us a look, and certainly not going to be quite what we're going to see in the game obviously but it's so important for those guys to work hard. I want to give them a little bit of props. Today I was really proud of them.

Q. Trying to get the Miami program turned around, is beating a rival like FSU on the field and in recruiting really one of your first priorities?
MARK RICHT: Well, I mean, the first priority is just figure out what we need in so many areas, you just go crazy. As far as getting your recruiting together, getting your facilities right, getting your strength and conditioning program right; the first thing you do is just set everything in order and put everything in place to help you win. And then when you start winning, then, you know, good things happen.

So we obviously had not beaten Florida State in a long, long time. You know, I've been here a year of it, and our players have been here, one, two, or three years of it, so it's time to make this a true rivalry. But the bottom line is, you know, we're an outstanding team. I think we are, too. And we'll do battle and stay what happens.

Q. If you could only have one ACC win on your schedule, I know you want a lot of wins, but if you could only have one, would Florida be the one you would want?
MARK RICHT: I mean, it's a question that I really can't answer and won't answer because it doesn't make any sense to me.

But the bottom line is: We're trying to win this conference, and in order to do that, you need to win conference games and Florida State is one of them. It's certainly a game that's a rival game or we wouldn't play them every year and it's a game that means a lot to us and our fans.

Our fans have suffered through it more than anybody because they have been here the longest through it all. We owe it to them to make them feel better.

Q. The seven-year streak, how much do you think, if at all, this impacts the psyche of the players, especially if it's a tight game on Saturday?
MARK RICHT: Well, I hope it doesn't. We trained everybody to focus on their job in individual play and everybody hearing it, it sounds boring, but it's what can you do this play to help us succeed; and that's do your job the way you're coached to do it with great effort, technique and physicality. That's what you've got to focus on.

And if they can do that, whether you're winning or losing or whether you won seven in a row or lost seven in a row, that's when you really become a consistently great team.

Q. I was hoping you could describe the way you've seen the evolution of this rivalry that really started to gain momentum when you were a player to where it is right now.
MARK RICHT: Yeah, well, first of all, I was at Florida State, as we know, for 15 years, after I was a player at Miami for five years. So I was five years a player, 15 years a coach at Florida State and then I was gone 15 years.

Quite frankly, I lost track of what was going on with the rivalry. I couldn't have told you who won or didn't win the games. For the 15 years I was at Georgia, I was up to my ears in the Southeastern Conference.

I think that it's still a very, very important and passionate game for the players and the coaches and the fans. I think on a national basis, it's not quite as exciting as it used to be because, you know, first of all, Florida State's been dominating it lately, and Miami really has not been in position where people are talking much about it the Canes when it comes to a national community of people that love college football.

If we can keep winning and playing the kind of games of football that people respect, and then, you know, win our share of these, then it's going to be fun again, for everybody.

Q. It's been 30 years since the game where Bobby went for two to try to win that game. I just wanted to know, what were some things you were thinking or remembered from being on the sideline during that game?
MARK RICHT: Well, what year was that?

Q. '87.
MARK RICHT: '87, okay. I was there. Yeah -- what was the score, 30-31?

Q. No. Finished 26-25.
MARK RICHT: I don't really remember, other than every time you lose, it stinks. I think I do remember the play and we didn't get the coverage we thought we might get. I think Danny McManus was throwing -- now that my memory is starting to come back. We had a big tight end, Pat Carter might could have put up there high and let him jump-ball it.

They just defended it. They did a better job defending it than we did scoring and that's how it ended.

Q. If it's coming back a little bit more, do you remember if the players interjected --
MARK RICHT: As far as going for it? Well, players always want to go for it. Players and fans always want to go for it. That's just the way it is. But you know, the bottom line is when you go for two, and you don't get it, you lose. That's just the way it is.

You know, a lot of decisions after the fact people have a lot of opinions on and if you ask before the fact, which you should do, you might do it and if it works, you're smart and if it doesn't, you're not very smart.

You know, that's part of being a fan and enjoying the game.

Q. Would you do it? Would you go for two if it was down to win the game, if possible?
MARK RICHT: Well, I don't remember. I really don't remember if we were down by one. You made it sound like it was a two-point game. My guess is it was a one-point game.

Q. Yeah, it was a one-point game.
MARK RICHT: I think you said 27-25, which I didn't think -- you have to go for two if you're down by two. You know, if you are down by one, you know -- and I think back in that day, you know, it was a tie. The game ended as a tie. Now you kick an extra point, it goes into overtime.

I'm pretty sure that that was back in the day where if the game ended with a tie, it was done, and not many people want a tie.

Q. I know you guys are now monitoring another weather situation this week, but before all of that, how much did this game maybe represent a return to normalcy?
MARK RICHT: Well, to be honest with you, I think just playing the games that we played after the storm got us back to north, and now we're kind of just playing the schedule that's left. You almost -- you forget that this is the one that got postponed because you're so focused on trying to win the next game.

I think getting back home, practicing, playing a game at home, practicing at home again, going to school again, playing another game against Duke; that started to feel normal and now we're just in the routine of playing games on a weekly basis.

Q. Coming off that Duke game, now that you have three games under your belt, how is your assessment of your team evolved?
MARK RICHT: So far, Malik Rosier has played well. He's made good decisions and he's been mostly accurate, and he's really done a great job of studying the game plan and putting it into practice in the game.

Sometimes you can get a guy on the board, and you could ask him questions in the meeting room, and he could tell you this and tell you that and have all the answers. But to translate that into actually execution on the field, doesn't always happen that easily for guys, and he does a very good job of that. So that was big.

You know, I think we've given up more rushing yardage than we thought we would by this time. I felt like we would be stopping the run better on early downs. But the one thing we have done is done a really good job in the red zone defense and forcing field goals and things of that nature. We've got some turnovers. We have pressured the quarterback and got some sacks.

We've got to get a little bit run game like we think we can, and you know, up front, offensively, it's been mostly good. But we've got to get better, especially with the competition level changing here with Florida State.

Q. How does Florida State's young quarterback look to you?
MARK RICHT: He's very talented, he can throw the ball. I mean, you know, first thing you're looking for in recruiting is can the guy throw it. He's got deep ball accuracy. I think wherever he sets his sights, he can hit his target and that's awesome. He's very athletic, and he's getting coached by a guy that really knows what he's doing, Coach Fisher. He hasn't thrown a pick yet. He threw a game-winning touchdown just last week. So I'm sure he's learning and growing and gaining confidence as the season is going on.

Q. Have you had any conversations or briefings yet about the storm that could be coming to Tallahassee this week?
MARK RICHT: Right. When I got off the practice field, basically it was brought to my attention that there is a storm that could -- or I guess is moving in a direction of the pan handle or something. That's all I know. I've not really talked to our athletic director. I really don't know anything other than there is something brewing.

Once I get off this conference call, I'll find out more, I'm sure.

Q. Going back to Tallahassee, is it impossible to separate memories of what you learned there? I know Coach Bowden is heavy on your mind.
MARK RICHT: Coach Bowden took a chance on a 24-year-old kid that coached quarterbacks for him. I don't even know that I shouldn't be coaching QBs that early in my career.

I had a good background, and I played under Howard Howard Schnellenberger's system and I had a good knowledge of the game and I had a couple NFL stints. They were very short but I learned a lot of ball there.

So Coach Bowden gave me this chance to coach, and I mean, I loved working for him. He was a very religious man in that he truly loved God. He loved his family and he loved his team. His priorities were things that meant a lot to me, as well and I try to model a lot of things that I do after what Coach Bowden did.

He let me grow as a coach. I coached QBs as a graduate assistant; I coached them as a full-time coach. I became a play caller and then a offensive coordinator under the time I was with Coach Bowden. For him to have faith and confidence in me to do that was huge.

I just learned a lot of football from him but I learned probably a lot more about life and I also learned about -- I got my life in order with God under his guidance. I mean, I game a born-again believer in Jesus Christ back in '86.

Q. You mentioned being up to your ears in the SEC while you were away from this rivalry, but is that why maybe you're not as hung up about the seven-game streak because you were part of games like Florida and Tennessee and Georgia Tech where there were swings both ways?
MARK RICHT: Well, you just -- this job is so, I don't know, it's big. There's so many things you've got to do and think about and focus on. You just don't really have time to sit there, or I didn't at least take the time to find out what was going on every week or every weekend or every time Miami and Florida State played.

I'd have interest in the score but I wasn't there keeping track. And then getting here, realizing the deal; the deal is, FSU has been doing it and Miami hasn't. So we've got to change that. You know, we're working hard towards that, not only in this game but every game.

It's an exciting time to be at Miami. There's a lot of great things that are happening, brand new indoor facilities coming and we're playing in one of the most beautiful stadiums in America and we're in a tremendously fertile of recruiting area, is very near us. I've got great staff and great kids here. We're fired up and we're excited about what's going to happen here.

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