Richt: ‘You keep control of your team by disciplining your team’

Mark Richt makes a good case for how he disciplines his team. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Mark Richt makes a good case for how he disciplines his team. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Mark Richt has obviously heard the sniping out there that a rash of player suspensions on his team is somehow indicative of him not being in control of his program.

And he’s having none of it.

Richt did a good job Tuesday night at an Augusta Bulldog Club gathering of stating the case for his brand of discipline at UGA.

“A lot of people might think you may be losing control of your program because you have a lot of suspensions from the season, but the reality is that’s how you keep control of your team by disciplining your team,” the Athens Banner-Herald quoted Richt as telling the crowd of fans.

And perhaps in reference to how Urban Meyer is reported to have conducted business at Florida, Richt added: “If you notice, we’re not going to have any partiality between the kids that walk on or are starting.”

Richt noted past instances of players who had disciplinary trouble while in Athens but still managed to become successful, including Verron Haynes of “hobnail boot” fame. “He got suspended for the first game of that season along with Randy McMichael and a couple of other guys,” Richt said. “Those guys turned it around and they recovered, they learned and grew from it.”

Richt also made an oblique comparison between the up-front way he handles these situations and the way they were handled by his predecessor at UGA.

“When I first came to Georgia, there had been some issues,” the Macon Telegraph quoted him as saying. “You don’t get a job unless there had been some issues. And the thing that I said to our staff and to my administration is if something happens, we’re gonna clean it up, we’re not gonna cover it up. OK. When you have that philosophy, you’re gonna see some of your dirty laundry. And it’s embarrassing, quite frankly. You don’t like it. But if you face the problem head on, and you take care of it, and you discipline it and move forward in a positive direction, that’s all we can do. So that’s how we’re going about our business. And in the meantime, some other guys are gonna have to step up and play ball in those first couple of games, and get after it.”

Talking with reporters before the Augusta appearance, Richt said he’d told Malcolm Mitchell that he needs to be ready to play both defense and offense this fall, as well as possibly being the kickoff or punt returner, and that he’s met with the strength and nutrition staff to see what might be done to increase Mitchell’s stamina and avoid more hamstring problems. “He’s had a couple of hamstring pulls. He had one last season and he had one in the spring. You just don’t want to overload him is the big thing. If you do, you don’t get him on either side of the ball.”

As the season rolls on, the coach said, “I’ve got a feeling with the temperature change and with the guys coming back, I think he’ll be more freed up to make more plays offensively, but in the beginning, he’s got to be ready to play DB.”

TEAMMATES TALK UP CROWELL

Isaiah Crowell is approaching things differently this season, teammates say. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Isaiah Crowell is approaching things differently this season, teammates say. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Fans were encouraged to see Isaiah Crowell running strong Saturday in the G-Day game, and we can take more encouragement from the way some of his teammates were talking about him in an ESPN.com profile.

Discussing the change from Crowell’s freshman season, quarterback Aaron Murray said, “He definitely needed some growing up. He definitely needed to mature. He realized that, and I know he heard all the talk going around [about him]. He took it personally.”

Murray noted that Crowell is taking it more seriously this year, spending more time in the film room and even devoting more time to stretching before practice. More importantly, Crowell understands what he’s supposed to do, including in pass protection, and is working hard at it.

The competition from other backs in Georgia’s now crowded tailback corps is a factor, Mark Richt noted. “It’s not going to be like a whole program is resting on Isaiah’s shoulders,” Richt said.

But the bottom line, Murray said, is Crowell is “a special running back. When he puts his mind to it, I really don’t see anyone better than him. When he has the ball in hands, it can turn into a big play at any minute.”

I think Murray’s right. And there’s no doubt a more determined Crowell will definitely be a plus for the Dogs this fall.

LOSING A LEGEND

Athens' remarkable Fred Birchmore rode a bicycle around the world. (Vanishing Georgia)

Athens' remarkable Fred Birchmore rode a bicycle around the world. (Vanishing Georgia)

Athens and UGA lost a legend this past weekend with the death of Fred Birchmore at 100. Birchmore, a remarkable man who gained fame for riding a bicycle around the world when he was young and who built an impressive stone wall when he was in his 70s, was one of my Scoutmasters at Troop 4 in Athens and I spent many happy hours in his woods as a kid. He later donated those woods to become part of Athens’ Memorial Park, and the first time my daughter and I hiked the Birchmore Trail a few years ago, we encountered Fred and had a nice chat with him about the old days and his extensive arrowhead collection. Birchmore, who excelled in gymnastics and boxing while at UGA and was the school’s oldest surviving athlete, also raised a wonderful family of high-achievers, including son Danny, who was my patrol leader in Scouts and went on to become the tennis Dogs’ first All-American player. Men like Fred Birchmore don’t come along very often and I feel blessed to have come under his tutelage. My sincerest condolences to Danny and the entire Birchmore family.

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

160 comments Add your comment

Dylan

April 18th, 2012
10:38 am

Goldenrod

April 18th, 2012
10:41 am

That Helen Hunt look-a-like at the cesspool up north has no discipline whatsoever.

Now Coach Paul Johnson, the new sheriff in town, HE runs as tight a ship as you will find in the Southeast.

We WILL run this state!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 18th, 2012
10:43 am

But it seems the FEAR of consequences for players actions has not slowed down the rule breaking. Yes Children need rules and discipline because it shows them you care, but when they are 18+ they really don’t think they will get caught or that the rules apply to them based on past situations.

faithfuldawg86

April 18th, 2012
10:44 am

You tell ‘em, CMR. Students this age mess up, it’s just a fact, but by being open and aboveboard and punishing everyone fairly, you set the right example for all of these young men, helping them grow and improve in athletic, academic, and personal respects.

mike addington

April 18th, 2012
10:45 am

I find it troubling that Richt speaks of overworking MM on one hand and then says that he’s gonna play him on offense, defense, and special teams. all these great recruiting classes and we need MM to play CB. I like Richt but he frankly seems overall disorganized.

faithfuldawg86

April 18th, 2012
10:47 am

As a college professor, I can tell you that threats and concrete discipline do not always deter bad behaviour from students, but you must apply the rules fairly to all and hope that the right message is projected. That’s all anyone can expect because they are adults, so there should be repercussions to their actions, but at the same time, they are young (and have been pampered all their lives), and so they don’t always make the best decisions.

@Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 18th, 2012
10:55 am

Meds won’t cure what you have but they may help.

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
10:57 am

Richt also said last night that “some of these kids think they are bullet proof until it happens to them”

that’s called a life lesson

Doesn’t mean they didn’t hear him.

They thought they were bullet proof

Geez, some of you people are dumb

GeoffDawg

April 18th, 2012
10:58 am

Just like his namesake, Goldenrod inspires allergic reactions to his confused, guttural ramblings.

a man of honor

April 18th, 2012
10:58 am

you guys comfortable with Murray being the team mouthpiece? the master of panic? the intimate glasses wearer?

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 18th, 2012
10:59 am

DiLEX what do you think about the whole Kentucky Bball team going pro? Damn I didn’t think they ALL would go.

lanier

April 18th, 2012
10:59 am

read Fred’s obit. He was a hell of a guy

Blog Cop

April 18th, 2012
11:00 am

Already with the name calling Lex? Perhaps Coach Richt should have a sit down with you.

Shawn

April 18th, 2012
11:02 am

Its so funny hearing all these knuckleheads say UGA lacks discipline when they are the only school we hear about disciplining their athletes. Other schools have kids who step out of line. They just don’t discipline them and it gets swept under the rug! Just ask the ole ball coach how many of his players he has suspended in the last couple years. The NCAA stepped in and did it for him due to lack of discipline. Kids do stupid things wherever you go so I know kids are getting into mischief at other schools. They just choose to put their head in the sand or discipline them internally( cover it up)!

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:03 am

No surprise. Gilchrist really almost stayed. His mother really wanted him to stay but his family has huge financial need. He is a great kid.

Cal caught lightning in a bottle with that bunch. They played like a middle school team the way they shared the ball yet a year from now they will all be millionaires. Don’t forget about Darius Miller and eloy Vargas.

With Miller, 6 players in the top 35 of the draft and Vargas will probably play overseas.

The team GPA is over 3.0 also.

quirkysmirky

April 18th, 2012
11:04 am

Impartial, Mark Richt? Uh, no. Aaron Murray was photographed in possession of alcohol, which is illegal in Georgia, and Richt looked the other way.

The time to deal with issues is not AFTER that happen, it’s rooting out what’s at the heart of why it happened.

Richt’s whole approach is wrong.

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:05 am

so every college coach in america busts every single kid for drinking a beer?

There would be no one left to play

Shawn

April 18th, 2012
11:05 am

Stupid should be painful. With a name like “blog cop,” I’m quite certain it is!

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:07 am

Shawn

Ignore the troll.

GTBob

April 18th, 2012
11:08 am

You keep control of your team by disciplining your team

If you don’t have control of your team then you probably shouldn’t tell others how to control a team. Just having strict punishments isn’t going to fix UGA’s problems. Maybe Richt will learn that one day after the 500th player is arrested or suspended.

Blog Cop

April 18th, 2012
11:08 am

No tougher than living with a chick name like Shawn.

some sense

April 18th, 2012
11:09 am

Not one of your typical screeds about Coach Bobo.

Good.

Blog Cop

April 18th, 2012
11:09 am

Listen to Lex. He gives solid advice.

quirkysmirky

April 18th, 2012
11:09 am

If Richt if claiming to be impartial, even if it’s your starting QB, if he gets busted and photographed in possession of alcohol under the age of 21, yes, Murray has to be disciplined.

Mark Richt has never even MENTIONED that incident, much less IMPARTIALLY disciplining Murray.

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:09 am

I’m sure you can teach him GTBob since you are all knowing. Then you can explain to all of us how to get college kids to stop drinking beer and stop chasing girls.

I’ll be your book publisher!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 18th, 2012
11:10 am

DiLEX I will take the GPA with a grain of salt. Freshmen taking the easiest classes they could to make grades is not that big of a deal.
It is just amazing that they are that good and are ready to make a run for the CASH. I hope they don’t go broke fast like most LOTTO winners. People that were never good with money to start with now having a bunch of money doesn’t make them money smart now.

DDPO

April 18th, 2012
11:10 am

If he’s truly in control, then why are there issues? This has been going on for double digit years…

Shawn

April 18th, 2012
11:12 am

Funny! Most of the cops I know became one because they got beat up and plunked in school. I wonder how big of a wuss you have to be to become the BLOG COP! Lol. Go away punk kid!

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:14 am

The surrent system requires they attend class and make their grades and stay 1 year. It is an NBA rule. Calipari hates it.

Can you imagine if they had to stay 3 years?

This year’s team:

Wall
Cousins
Bledsoe
Knight
Davis
gilchrist
Lamb
Jones
Teague
miller

2 starting 5’s of NBA players??

They are an amazing group. I would not bet against any one of them that thye will turn out ok. also would not be surprised to see them all come back and finish their degrees like Wall and Knight are doing.

Blog Cop

April 18th, 2012
11:15 am

Standing by.

Shawn

April 18th, 2012
11:15 am

How many wedgies do you have to be the subject of to become the Blog Cop?

Dawg Haus

April 18th, 2012
11:17 am

I like what I’ve been reading about Crowell. Sounds like all those “fans” who booed him in the SECCG will be singing his praises again soon. Go IC!

Top Row Dawg

April 18th, 2012
11:18 am

We will be OK as long as we can avoid further problems. Keep out of the papers boys.

It’s hard to read about any incidents. Everything brought to light so far is very minor, except for the theft incidents, even there, no arrest, am hoping Marshall can come back with 2nd (or is this 3rd) chance.

Looking forward to great year boys. It’s our turn.

whatya got loren

April 18th, 2012
11:21 am

Bill another oustanding article. Thanks for the DAWG updates.

Richt is doing his best to corale these youngons and help them realize their potential. As the HS coach put it… you don’t drug test after spring break…. you don’t if you’re not playing favorites and want to clean things up.

Thanks Coach Richt for your integrity and realization that producing young men who are a benefit to their family and society is as important or more than the football ability.

Do we need to remember what just took place at Arkansas????

Go DAWGS!

Buckeye

April 18th, 2012
11:23 am

Isiah, “The Annointed One II” needs another year just like the “Annointed One” needs another term. I have higher hopes for II than the original.

Blog Cop

April 18th, 2012
11:24 am

Blogging under the influence possibly?

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:24 am

Arkiesaw also racking up more fulmer Cup points after yesterday’s felony breaking down a door by a linebacker

Best hit they have seen over there in years

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:26 am

blog cop

you just lost your badge dude.

Making fun of shawn’s name and accusing him of being drunk with no proof?

You’re fired

Blog Cop

April 18th, 2012
11:27 am

Things appear to be under control here. I’ll be moving on. Out.

ElvinBishopBand

April 18th, 2012
11:31 am

Irony…Richt speaking of discipline……You can’t be serious if so then you embarrass yourself.

quirkysmirky

April 18th, 2012
11:32 am

Mark Richt’s, change after incident approach doesn’t work:

a) try to repair roads AFTER you wreck?
b) exercise more AFTER heart attack?
c) get security system AFTER break in?

Newman

April 18th, 2012
11:32 am

Just keep lovin’ em.

a man of honor

April 18th, 2012
11:34 am

Richt: ‘You keep control of your team by disciplining your team’

April 1st was over 2 weeks ago…guess it’s never too late for an April’s fool joke!

abominable snowman dawg

April 18th, 2012
11:37 am

seems to be a surge in UGA TRUTHERS posts. not buying the homers unicorns and rainbows talk.

Ohio Dawg

April 18th, 2012
11:38 am

Ummm why does MM have to play every single snap? I’d put him back at receiver since he was about BEST deep threat. This is GEORGIA, we can’t find someone to play corner?

joory

April 18th, 2012
11:39 am

Crowell will be a big impact this season? Seriously, the guy had 3 good games, and scored 1 td in the last 8 games. Better have 2 or 3 more because Crowell is injury prone.

abominable snowman dawg

April 18th, 2012
11:40 am

all those top 10 recruiting classes and you have issues with depth? not good,

abominable snowman dawg

April 18th, 2012
11:41 am

the surge continues unabated.

rescue dog

April 18th, 2012
11:42 am

someone help me stop the bleeding!

DawginLex

April 18th, 2012
11:47 am

anyone else praying for 75 degrees and sun to melt the snowman?