A housecleaning of sorts appears to be under way in Athens.
A week after we learned that new athletic director Greg McGarity was taking some of the head coach’s administrative duties off Mark Richt’s plate so he can concentrate fully on football, another couple of departures have been announced.
First, inside linebacker Marcus Dowtin was granted an unconditional release from his scholarship to transfer elsewhere. And now associate athletic director Arthur Johnson is leaving UGA to return to the University of Texas.
Dowtin’s departure will hurt the already depleted linebacking corps, but it’s not really a surprise. He had the reputation of having an attitude problem, which apparently resulted in a clash with a coach that led to him not playing in the Liberty Bowl despite making the trip to Memphis. And then there was the second-degree assault charge back home in Maryland last May that he managed to get resolved but didn’t bother to tell Richt about, with the head coach only getting clued in last week.
There’s been no word on whether Dowtin decided to leave on his own, it was a mutual decision or he was shoved out the door. But you get the feeling nobody was begging him to stay. If this is a sign of a new zero-tolerance policy for players who aren’t fully committed to what’s best for the program, then it should be viewed as a good thing.
As for Johnson, who was responsible for scheduling and oversight of facilities and event management among other things, what’s most notable about him leaving is that he’s returning to the exact same job he had at UT before joing UGA in 2005. So it’s not a move for career advancement.
While everyone is making nice and portraying his departure as amicable, the fact that he was former AD Damon Evans’ roommate at UGA and closely identified with the Evans regime and its now-abandoned let’s-go-way-out-west scheduling philosophy naturally raises suspicions that McGarity is beginning to move to assemble his own team at Butts-Mehre.
So what do you think of these departures? The Dogs were already thin at linebacker, so the loss of Dowtin won’t make things any easier for Todd Grantham, though they might help off the field. And you’ll recall that when Evans took over as AD at UGA, he cleaned house in a much more drastic fashion than McGarity has done so far.
Is all of this a sign of things getting back on course in Athens or just folks bailing out of a declining program?
Find me on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.