BILOXI -- Two SEC Eastern Division football coaches spoke Friday at the final day of the Nike Coy Gulf Coast Coaches Clinic at the Beau Rivage.
Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Mark Richt of Georgia both shared their views on how to build a successful passing offense before a packed house in the Magnolia room.
Pinkel declined an interview request by the Sun Herald. He's maintained a low media profile since former Missouri defensive tackle Michael Sam's announced he was gay earlier this week.
Richt spoke passionately as he addressed a diverse group of coaches from the Coast, other parts of the state, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and California.
"It's a pleasure to be here," Richt said. "I'm impressed with the number of coaches in this room. I've been to clinics in Alaska."
The Omaha native has a 126-24 record and won two SEC Championships at Georgia since he became coach in 2001. Two of his quarterbacks-- David Greene and Matt Stafford -- played in the NFL. Aaron Murray will play in the NFL next season.
But the turning point in Richt's coaching career came during his third year as Florida State's offensive coordinator. Florida State starting quarterback Charlie Ward threw eight interceptions in the Seminoles' first two games, leading to a meeting with Richt and then-Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.
"Coach Bowden talked to me and said 'We're on pace to set a record for interceptions in a season. He asked 'was it something he was doing wrong?" Richt recalls. "I told him, 'No, it's me.' I sat down with Charlie and told him if he comes within one interception of setting a record, he'd never play quarterback at Florida State again."
Ward eventually turned things around and went on to win a Heisman Trophy the next season, as the Seminoles captured their national title under Bowden.
"We finally figured it out and Charlie started playing better," Richt said. "Back in 1992 when we first started the fastbreak offense, we figured there'd be a lot of 3-man front and prevent defense."
Richt mentioned a new NCAA proposal passed Wednesday to allow defenses time to substitute between plays by prohibiting offenses from snapping the ball until 29 seconds are left on the 40-second play clock, but declined to comment further.