Some thoughts on UGA suspensions, funny brownies and connecting the dots

Bacarri Rambo seems to have the worst luck when it comes to snack choices. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Bacarri Rambo seems to have the worst luck when it comes to snack choices. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Mark Richt’s Bulldogs entered the spring appearing to have many things breaking their way for the coming season, what with a favorable schedule and a bunch of starters returning, especially on defense. And yet some of those veteran players seem determined to take hold of opportunity with both hands … and chuck it out the window.

While Richt declined Thursday to confirm what’s up with Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree, there’ve been widespread reports that the two players will be suspended several games for “violations of team rules,” which is pretty well understood now to be official code for having failed a drug test.

(If there are any other kinds of rules being violated by UGA players, perhaps Richt and company should come up with new terminology since everyone’s going to think “failed drug test” from now on when they hear that phrase.)

Rambo previously was suspended for a game last season for a similar violation, which as a second-timer puts him in line for an extended suspension this time under UGA’s rules, the toughest in the conference. Georgia holds players out for a tenth of a season (at least one game) for one failed drug test and suspends second-time offenders like Rambo for 30 percent of a season (four games). At most SEC schools, a first-time failed drug test draws no suspension at all.

Whether schools should even be testing the use of a substance that isn’t performance-enhancing is a debate for another day; suffice it to say, it’s against the rules and the players know they’re subject to random testing, so it’s difficult to work up much sympathy for them.

Rambo’s high school coach has tried his best to engender some, though, with a sad tale about how the player accidentally got high by unknowingly eating brownies that had been laced with pot while on spring break. Last time, it supposedly was a case of Rambo just being caught with a girl in his car who had a joint in her purse, according to the coach.

OK, maybe Rambo is that unlucky or naive about what sort of folks he chooses to hang out with. Or perhaps the coach and player are being just a bit disingenuous.

I know one thing: That high school coach attempting to shift the blame to UGA for “stupid timing” in testing kids right after they came back from spring break makes me wonder about the mentoring Rambo received before he got to Athens. UGA’s athletes were all gathered together before spring break and warned not to get in trouble; drug tests right after they returned from break shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone.

Alec Ogletree reportedly is facing multiple game suspensions, too. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Alec Ogletree reportedly is facing multiple game suspensions, too. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Anyway, Rambo’s coach says he’s down to miss four games, though he’s appealing that and if the appeal fails he might consider entering the NFL supplemental draft. And Ogletree reportedly will miss two to four games (we still don’t know for sure). All that on top of two starters in the defensive secondary already being suspended for the first game or two.

Predictably, some folks’ reaction has been to attack Richt for his lack of discipline, which boggles the mind when you consider that, as noted earlier, UGA has the toughest policy on such infractions.

I’m not sure what these folks think the head coach can do to keep his players from knowingly violating rules short of following them around 24 hours a day. Yeah, I know, if only Richt were meaner so the players were scared of him, like Nick Saban, or so the reasoning goes. Of course, Alabama players get suspended for rules violations, too, so the rule of the iron fist appears to have limits in how effective it is.

Then we’ve got the folks who are making lists of all the off-field problems that have cropped up in recent years. I saw one that even included the recent DUI for Orson Charles, who isn’t even in the program any more. Heck, why not throw in UGA alum Hines Ward’s DUI while you’re at it?

Others have gone so far as to count up how many players have left the program for various reasons over the past couple of years, connecting dots that aren’t even on the same page by noting all the Georgia signees who theoretically could have been eligible for the first couple of games this season if they were still at the school.

OK, I’ll concede that, in addition to players missing games because of suspensions, there’ve been several players kicked off the team for various reasons. Some of us consider that a sign that Richt is a good disciplinarian, but I suppose you can argue that one either way.

Still, I fail to see the point of including in the discussion players no longer at UGA because they transferred for lack of playing time or had to take a medical disqualification or failed to qualify academically.

Unless, that is, you’re just looking to pad the numbers so it makes it look worse for Richt.

Then there are the folks who cite the suspensions and departures from the program as an indication Richt just isn’t recruiting the right kind of players to begin with.

Maybe he should forget about all those 5-star and 4-star ratings and sign only Eagle Scouts and winners of DAR good citizen awards. Of course, then fans and sportswriters alike would be howling because he wasn’t drawing top talent to Athens!

As for the practical considerations of the latest development, at linebacker Todd Grantham no doubt will rely on the same players who filled in last year when Ogletree missed half the season with an injured foot, with Christian Robinson and Amarlo Herrera both having plenty of game experience. At free safety, next in line after Rambo is Corey Moore, who saw limited playing time last year as a freshman.

All are adequate replacements, though they’re certainly not the sort of impact players Ogletree and Rambo have been in the past and were expected to be again.

More than that, though, what’s disturbing about this trend is what it says about the UGA players’ dedication to their teammates. Blaming the coaches is bunk; it’s the players who are letting down the side. Sure, they’re just college kids, but they’re also scholarship athletes at a marquee program and they willingly signed up for this time in the spotlight. They all know what the rules are. They also know what’s within their grasp this season if they perform up to expectations.

And yet they’re acting as if championships can be won while still playing the fool. Rarely is that the case.

When he was preparing to return from his one-game suspension last year, Rambo declared, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win, and I know I’ve got it in me.”

It hasn’t quite turned out that way.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

230 comments Add your comment

Osei

March 30th, 2012
10:18 am

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 30th, 2012
10:20 am

If they were Hash Brownies would he have just stuffed them in his panties?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 30th, 2012
10:26 am

1/10 of a season is more than 1 game.
12 games X 1/10 = 1.2
60 minutes X 1.2 = 72 minutes
1 game and 12 minutes of the 1st quarter of the second game.

bulldog1962

March 30th, 2012
10:29 am

Bill, you are right on with this one. I read the other column and was thinking that those listed were there strictly to inflate the numbers. That is poor journalism period. After the four game suspension I do not see RB coming back. The NFL does mind the weed issue so he will get drafted in the SD.

Bill King

March 30th, 2012
10:29 am

Kool Aid:
As a minimum suspension, 10 percent of the season is rounded down to one game, though it’s at the coach’s discretion to round it up to two games. Either way, it’s more than anyone else is doing …

Texas Dawg

March 30th, 2012
10:29 am

Right on, Bill! You’re telling it like it is.

Andy

March 30th, 2012
10:29 am

This is disappointing. I’m officially lowering my expectations for the upcoming season. I know everyone will say “it will be all right, we’ve got other guys who can play” and the like, but the truth is, these suspensions may have just torpedoed the season before it began, just like A.J. Green’s suspension did a couple of years ago. I’m not saying its certain, but I think there’s a real chance that these foolish acts may have just ruined what was looking like a promising season. I’ll still watch, but I’ll believe that “everything is going to be all right” when I see it.

Eisendawg

March 30th, 2012
10:30 am

Good article

murfdawg

March 30th, 2012
10:31 am

I quit!!

I have had season tix since 1973 and this is the last season I will buy them. I am sick and tired of these selfish little babies. Good luck Bulldog nation, I’ll be at the beach.

Ssgt Dawg

March 30th, 2012
10:32 am

I hate to see people make this about CMR. Like he’s damned if he does damned if he doesn’t. When you recruit high talent players often is the case that they haven’t been disciplined much I’m their life. So factor in the fact that there are 90 or so people on the roster and you can’t expect him to be aprobation officer. All he does is set the example, what more can he do?

#1 DAWG FAN

March 30th, 2012
10:34 am

I know this is bad for the program but can someone with more CFB knowledge than myself tell me honestly and omitting the emotional data, is the season lost due to these suspensions? I know Defense is going to be hindered but arent the first four games soort of soft games anyway? Can we win with the Dream Team recruits from last year, teamed up with the Offensive powerhouse that does not seem to be as affected by the suspensions to carry us through the first four games, or is it just as bad as everything I have read and the season is pretty much scrapped with these high value starters missing a third of the season?

J Lowe

March 30th, 2012
10:34 am

Well said Bill

Herschel Talker

March 30th, 2012
10:35 am

Bill: 

Your commentary exonerating Richt is a disgrace.  It is disgraceful that the ajc has you representing our fan base.  Who exactly is it that is bringing in these bad players?  Oh yeah…Mark Richt.  These shenanigans have been going on for years under Richt, and you and all the other clowns in our fan base want to exonerate him.  If he were winning national titles, at least you could point to that (though his lack of leadership would still be disgraceful), but you’re glorifying a man who not only lets the inmates run the asylum, but the man can’t beat anyone of substance lately anyway.  Why do you clowns insist on keeping him around?  His Saint Richt way of running things isn’t getting the job done, and it’s time to get a disciplinarian in here who may actually also beat some good opponents along the way.

FIRE MARK RICHT!!!!

HT

Still@theKool-aidBAR

March 30th, 2012
10:35 am

Bill I know Richt is no joke on the rules. The thing I find hard to understand is the fan response.
Praise RICHT for his Christina Beliefs then be upset when the brings the Hammer of God down on the rule breakers. Some say kids wouldn’t be in trouble at other schools and that is possibly right but that is why Richt is the Christian man he is.

tl

March 30th, 2012
10:36 am

to all the players and coaches … LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!

Try Harder

March 30th, 2012
10:38 am

I enjoyed the Chip Towers article yesterday, he took the time to actually put numbers together and did not mislead readers in any manner.

Perhaps the two of you should work together and get similar numbers for other SEC schools. Does Alabama, LSU, SCar, Florida or Auburn have similar numbers for attrition? What about showing how many reported discipline problems never resulted in any suspension at another school?

Need a longer term project? Based on money, recruiting base and any other necessary resources to build a championship level college football program, is there any school in the country that does less with more than UGA?

#1 DAWG FAN

March 30th, 2012
10:38 am

BTW Hoorah Ssgt……Devil Dawgs are everywhere if you know what to look for Grrrrrrrr yut yut. Semper Fi.

George Stein

March 30th, 2012
10:40 am

Far be it for me to defend Georgia, but Hines Ward didn’t get a DUI. He got accused of it, but was never convicted. Let’s let that one go.

As to the weed stuff, kids everywhere use it. This should not be surprising information. I’m pretty sure the bigger upset would be if college kids went on spring break and didn’t smoke (or eat) up.

The only criticism I’d offer, Bill, is that it’s completely irrelevant what other programs do. It does no good to point elsewhere and say, “look at them!”

keith

March 30th, 2012
10:42 am

all the more reason to recruit the maximum number each year to help you thru situations such as this

#1 DAWG FAN

March 30th, 2012
10:47 am

Basically CMR is under a microscope, and we the people have the liverty to voice our opinions in the media. So like Ssgt said, he is damned if he does and damned if he does not. Half the people will love him if he locks these kids down in the offseason and only feeds them protein bars and shakes to survive on……but of course the other half will say this is not helping our team. I dont see how a coach can prevent this type of behavior if he is shooting for a National Championship. You recruit to fill needs with the best available resources out there. CMR is staying true to the wonderful state of GA by recruiting local and he gets great talent to fill our Dawg needs, but not every single recruit is going to have their head on straight. As a matter of fact the kids we want on this team have been the best at football their entire lives and more times than not they are already going to be a little “over confident” if you will. Of course CMR will try and tame them as much as possible but I would think a top program like UGA would get quite a few that will need some peer discipline if you know what I mean (I am referring to blanket party Ssgt…he he he). We need to let the team take care of those that get out of line as there is only so much a coach can do.

DIT

March 30th, 2012
10:47 am

I can’t believe I’m agreeing with some of what Kool-aidBAR is saying. Some posters jump on board that CMR is a Christian man. Then if he disciplines he is an awful coach.
Part of me wishes that CMR would just go ahead and kick Ogletree & Rmabo off the team. 2nd violation tells me that they could give a flip about the team.
And, if I’m reading thsi correctly, Rambo already plans on the Supplimentary draft. If his suspension is not lifted he said he will apply for it? With a 2nd offense against him, his suspension will not be lifted nor should it.
Saying that it’s bad timing for a drug test after spring break is stupid. Heck, if there is a time for a drug test it’s right after spring break. This shows you who is loyal to the team and who is not. These two are not.

DIT

March 30th, 2012
10:48 am

sorry about the typos

Chuck

March 30th, 2012
10:48 am

Let’s put the testing/penalties in the hands of the NCAA.

End the rivalry snark and let’s see which programs have been hiding their dirty laundry all along.

ColumbiaDawg

March 30th, 2012
10:49 am

If what Rambo says is true, then he needs to find new friends. If a person hangs around the wrong crowd long enough, he’ll get caught up in bad situations whether he wants to or not.

UGA Insider

March 30th, 2012
10:50 am

I have the best idea…

Email your governor and tell him to fire MIKE ADAMS immediately!

I’m tired of being embarrassed by our football, basketball and baseball program.

Please UGA fans lets start to put some pressure to get rid of Adams. He is our problem.

Win P.

March 30th, 2012
10:52 am

Bill, agree. I adhere to the belief that it is a privilege to play for UGA and the opportunity to earn an education that the majority of students have to pay for with money and/or academic effort.

Andy

March 30th, 2012
10:52 am

Stinky Pete’s comment needs to be removed.

DIT

March 30th, 2012
10:53 am

Did he really say that he was hungry when he got up and ate the “brownies” for breakfast and did not know pot was in them??? Where the heck was he during the 4 hour drive to the beach? That comment is so assinine that it’s embarrassing to read it.

Dawg_Mike

March 30th, 2012
10:54 am

After the Mizzou game I just hope we are’nt discussing how Rambo would not have let that receiver get by him for the game winner or likewise Ogletree.

Lindsey

March 30th, 2012
10:54 am

Right on Bill!!! Well said!!! I hate hearing the blame put on CMR, these are the direct results of personal choices made by young men at an accountable age to know the difference between right and wrong. I have no doubt it was made very clear to them before Spring Break not to get in trouble. I hate that this has happened, but they know the rules and are given an opportunity many men can only dream of. Rambo is one of my favorite Dawgs, I really thought he had the heart of a Bulldog. I hope there are some other Bulldogs ready to step up, GO DAWGS!

Chuck

March 30th, 2012
10:56 am

Other programs don’t have this happen because their self-testing and penalties for failure are not on par with UGA.

You want this to stop, you need to pressure UGA to water down our testing and penalties to the level of our rivals.

Bigdsel5556

March 30th, 2012
10:58 am

I agree with you Bill. I also think some schools cover a lot of problems up in house

Mike

March 30th, 2012
10:58 am

Who decides what players UGA recruits? Rodney Garner? It seems to be a systemic problem. Maybe its time to recruit higher character players. It is also interesting that almost all of these players are defensive backs. Does the secondary coach (Lakatos) have any hand in discipline for his position group, or the players that are recruited? All questions that need to be addressed by Richt.

SSIgator

March 30th, 2012
10:59 am

“they’re also scholarship athletes at a marquee program”

No matter how my day is going, I can always count on coming to this site for a good laugh. 1980 – so long ago.

Duncan Hines Ward

March 30th, 2012
11:00 am

And what about the additional (3?) drug test flunkies mentioned by Ramdo’s HS coach? Are they going to be suspended? If so, for which games?

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 30th, 2012
11:01 am

“More than what other programs do”….now that is pitiful…Michael Bowman and Ronald Carswell are suspended at Alabama and have been for months and they don’t get to practice with the football team period nor does Duron Carter. You UGA folks need to stick to your tradition and continue the denial about how your program is run instead of looking to drag other programs into your mess! Then again you wouldn’t be UGA! The good news is you have overtaken Auburn as the #1 wannabe program and excuse program. “more than other programs are doing”….LOL

Chuck

March 30th, 2012
11:01 am

Yes Mike, the assistant coaches promote marijuana use, then the head coach suspends them for it.

Also, no players smoke weed anywhere but UGA, because they are so much more disciplined.

Also, none of our disciplined rivals recruited these players.

If you believe all of this, I have several investment opportunities I’d like to share with you and your extended family.

Chuck

March 30th, 2012
11:02 am

Wet Willie – what is the penalty at the capstone for a first failed drug test??

Duncan Hines Ward

March 30th, 2012
11:03 am

And, in the history of the known universe, when has a plate of POT brownies EVER been left sitting on the counter in a house of spring breakers ALL NIGHT?!

Mike

March 30th, 2012
11:04 am

Ok thanks for clarifying that

DIT

March 30th, 2012
11:05 am

@Mike

Dude, these players are also being recruited by other top programs in the SEC and region. This is not just a UGA thing. Garner is not the problem here. It’s the choice of these individuals. They choose to not be a part of the team AFTER they were told that there will be a drug test after the break. They thought they are better than their team and would get away with it.
I personally don’t care what other teams do or don’t do. I’m concerned with UGA! We have a problem here.

Dawg Haus

March 30th, 2012
11:05 am

Good point, Bill. They let their teammates down and should be held accountable.

What a ya got

March 30th, 2012
11:06 am

They keep chucking it out the window.

DownDawg

March 30th, 2012
11:07 am

Is it just me, or does everyone log into the AJC in the morning, click the UGA link, and just wait with anticipation as the page loads to see who has been disciplined next. It has become a ritual of mine over the past several years during the spring. Unfortunately, it seems that it is always the same. can anyone remember a time when it wasn’t like that with the Dawgs? Perhaps before the internet when these things weren’t spilled across every sports web page in the world. Here’s hoping we can salvage the season.

DIT

March 30th, 2012
11:11 am

I hear ya DownDawg! I do look at the UGA every morning to get caught up on any newsworthy items about our Dawgs. Too bad lately I’ve been hesitant slowly open the site knowing that this crap is still going on.

Bulldog Ben

March 30th, 2012
11:12 am

Duncan Hines Ward – The other explanation is equally as plausible … that someone woke up on Spring Break at 7 am and made a plate full of brownies.

Yeah right. Where do we get these geniuses ???

evil empire

March 30th, 2012
11:12 am

@ andy…shouldn’t you be watching msnbc with the arrest zimmerman crowd…

rangerdawg

March 30th, 2012
11:13 am

David Pollack = 3 star athlete, Trent Richardson = 3 star athlete, enough said!!!

SSIgator

March 30th, 2012
11:16 am

“I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win, and I know I’ve got it in me.”

You know, Bacardi “Speedbump” Rumboy has a point. If he is high when he gets steamrolled by one of those big, bruising running backs that LSU has, it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it could have if he didn’t have “it” in him.

DownDawg

March 30th, 2012
11:16 am

I think the stars should be weighted rangerdawg. It should say 5 star talent, 2 star heart, 1 star off the field. Weighted average 2.6 stars. I think there is a website that should be created for that. :)