Amid all the SEC Media Days distractions, a little bit of focus on football

Amid all the talk of disciplinary problems, Mark Richt did touch some on football. (Associated Press)

Amid all the talk of disciplinary problems, Mark Richt did touch some on football. (Associated Press)

Most of the coverage of Mark Richt’s appearance at SEC Media Days predictably focused on Georgia’s disciplinary problems and possible suspensions, even though the coach and the players he brought with him didn’t really have much new to say on that front.

Much more interesting to me were the comments from the press conference and Richt’s chat with UGA beat writers that give some indication of what we’re likely to see on the field this fall.

On the subject of projected two-way star Malcolm Mitchell, for instance, Richt indicated that early in the season, when heat and humidity are major factors, Mitchell is likely to play mostly as a defensive back.

“Early in the year you’ll see a whole lot more of Malcolm on defense percentage-wise,” Richt said. “As the season rolls along, you’ll see … closer to 50/50 offense and defense. I also think early in the year he’ll be able to play only so many plays because of the heat. But as the weather cools, if 60 is the amount of plays he can play effectively early in the year, maybe he can go to 80 or 90,” taking him into Champ Bailey territory.

Of course, the coach is well aware that opponents will be reading his quotes, too. So while we might not see Mitchell starting on offense against Missouri, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him suddenly inserted out of the blue for a long ball from Aaron Murray or the end-around.

Then there’s the backfield, where the loss of Isaiah Crowell means “it is wide open” for the remaining players, Richt said. He did indicate that Ken Malcome will at least start preseason camp atop the depth chart and that veteran Richard Samuel probably will be playing mostly tailback.

“It certainly will change Richard Samuel’s role, I would think,” Richt said. “He was transitioning to at least the hybrid tailback/fullback for us, but I don’t think he’ll be getting an awful lot of time at fullback now.”

But he also indicated that freshmen Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley will certainly get playing time, too. Probably more and more as the season progresses. I don’t believe anyone’s thinking redshirt for even one of them any more, if they ever were.

I also liked that both Gurley and fullback Quayvon Hicks were singled out by players as having been extremely impressive in summer workouts. Everyone seems very high on Hicks, which may be one reason Richt figures there’s not going to be a need for Samuel at fullback. That’s likely to be a position that should get stronger as the season progresses, which will be a big help for Mike Bobo.

Lastly, there’s the question of how Georgia will deal with being the division favorite as the media’s pick to win the SEC East. I liked the mind-set indicated by Tavarres King. “Expectations are expectations,” the senior receiver said. “I’m just worried about outcomes.”

Frankly, I wish the Media Days discussion had centered more on football and less on drug policies and players no longer in Athens, but I’m not surprised it worked out that way.

But at least we can keep the focus where it should be here in the Blawg.

So how are you feeling about the Dawgs being picked by the media to take the SEC East? Do you think these off-field distractions could be a factor early in the season? Got something else you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

85 comments Add your comment

Bama in Atlanta

July 20th, 2012
11:33 am

Looking forward to actually watching football than just talking about it!

AugustaDawg

July 20th, 2012
11:34 am

AugustaDawg

July 20th, 2012
11:35 am

I guess I shouldn’t have read the article. I should have just posted. I cannot wait for the season to start… GO DAWGS!

ATLNative

July 20th, 2012
11:35 am

We need to focus on fundamentals, ball control, special teams and innovative play calling! Not too much to ask. GATA Dawgs!

Bama in Atlanta

July 20th, 2012
11:36 am

…….and, yes, I know what order ranking I have for these comments but not going to say it.

cb

July 20th, 2012
11:43 am

Not a UGA Fan at all, but I love that quote from Tavarres King. Well put, young man.

Nimrod Dawg

July 20th, 2012
11:45 am

Are you kidding? This is priceless!! The table is all set for us to back into the SECCG again. Hey Stevie, we’ll be thinking about you while we’re playing Ole Miss and you’re dealing with LSU. Maybe if you were a godly man like our coach, you’d get patsy schedule yourself.

WDE

July 20th, 2012
12:05 pm

@Bama in Atlanta your restraint is admirable….well played. Loved Mr.Kings comment also.

Desert Fox

July 20th, 2012
12:11 pm

I think the dawgs will miss MM more on offense at receiver than benefit of his play at DB. He is more apt to put points on the score board or pick up 1st downs especially if the running game fails. If he’s inserted for plays on offense he’ll get more attention and make his presence less effective. Hopefully he’ll be switched back to receiver full time when all the suspended players return.

DIT

July 20th, 2012
12:17 pm

With you Bama in Atlanta…. Let’s just get to playing football.
I think the offense will suffer with Mitchell on D. I hop 1 or 2 DB’s can step up and take over for him. The more I look at it the more that Mizzou game could be a season changer, either way.

Duncan Hines has the best Brownie Mix

July 20th, 2012
12:19 pm

Beat Mizzou and the Chickens:we should be in the SECC game.Hicks may be our answer at fullback for the next 3 years.

bitter vince dooly

July 20th, 2012
12:33 pm

There used to be one or two good QB’s in the SEC—-now every team has great tallent

and —VANDY with aaron rogers brother, who by the way is way ahead of aaron at this point in his

carrer—————-This kid will be all SEC at the end of this year—-vandy wins 10 games

Top Row Dawg

July 20th, 2012
12:42 pm

We need some good nick names….like the Bootin Tueton, The Macon Mauler, The Eubillin Embalmer, Flatfoot, Catfish, Zippy, Polish Pitcher, Peerless Pilot, Golden Greek.

This could be a legendary team Dog fans!!!

Alex “Olgee” Ogltree
Aaron Murray “The Cop”
Bacarri “First Blood” Rambo
Keith “Penny” Marshall
Todd “Hurley” Gurley “Man”
Richard “The Lion Heart” Samuel
Malcome “In The Middle” Mitchell.
Tavarres “Christ Is” King
Kedrick “Hulk” Golston
John “Jam em” Jenkins
Jarvis “Jack Em” Jones
Quayvon “Hit em a lick” Hicks

outkasted

July 20th, 2012
12:49 pm

Wooten, Conley, King, Bennett, Brown, Scott-Wesley, Tibbs… DIT I think they will be alright at WR….

RHall55

July 20th, 2012
12:50 pm

Ok, looking over a few comments: ATL Native: Innovative play calling….who is UGA’s OC…that answers that comment; and now to one of my favorites…..Will Friend, who establishes no depth by under-recruiting or non-recruiting…..win a NC and I will shut my mouth!! C’mon MAN!!!

outkasted

July 20th, 2012
12:52 pm

when UGA played Alabama, Auburn, LSU in the same yr why didn’t anyone complain about the schedule or when they played Arkansas, LSU and Auburn in the same yr? y’all kill me talkin bout the schedule…. for the last 2yrs alabama hasn’t played the top teams in the east but b/c they play LSU they play a tough schedule GTFOH….lol… football is almost here

1999Dawg

July 20th, 2012
12:56 pm

I’m so tired of the chickens complaining about us backing into the SECCG…they beat us by 3 last year because their defense and special teams got them 28 points! We dominated the game except for turnovers. If their gameplan this year is to rely on a D end to run a 68 yd fake punt for a TD to beat us, I like our chances. And since SC couldn’t beat that crappy Auburn team who we drilled into the turf, they didn’t deserve to play in the championship game. I can’t wait to put those pretenders back in their place this year and get back to Atlanta!! Go. DAWGS!!!

SSIgator

July 20th, 2012
1:00 pm

“I wish the Media Days discussion had centered more on football and less on drug policies and players no longer in Athens”

Connect the dots:

Richt – Miami – FSU – UGA = fresh meat for the media every year.

David

July 20th, 2012
1:02 pm

I would feel better if they were picked to win the east because they are perceived to be the best team rather than because SC is expected to lose more games. It seems like everyone expects SC to be UGA head to head. If we beat SC I will feel a lot better about these predictions.

Half Century Dawg

July 20th, 2012
1:06 pm

time for the Dawgs to stop the talk, hunker down and walk the walk. Go Dawgs

Holy Guacamole

July 20th, 2012
1:18 pm

USCe has a new DC. Generally that means a learning curve. Hope so. Even SOS said that UGA beat them last year. I really think that the Dawgs win straight up this year. I am more worried about a motivated Mizzou.

ARdawg

July 20th, 2012
1:35 pm

Bill

What happened with Zander Ogletree at FB?

ARdawg

July 20th, 2012
1:40 pm

A motivated Mizzou is a concern but, can the motivation last the whole game? I’m confident in the Defense shutting them down. Other than the QB they don’t have much offensive fire power. Will we have offensive fire power is the question. I see a squeaked out UGA win in Mizzou

Nick

July 20th, 2012
1:42 pm

So tired of all the negative talk regarding non-football activities.

That said, is anyone scared to death that we’re going to see Samuel getting the ball every other play? The situation reminds me so much of when CMR constantly gave the ball to Tony Milton more out of loyalty than actual talent. I’ve never questioned his integrity or heart, but let’s face it, a stiff wind can blow the big kid down. Put the young studs in early and often, coach. PLEASE!!!

Nick

July 20th, 2012
1:47 pm

And I agree totally with outkasted on that whiney cry-baby scheduling crap. That dead horse Spurrier is kicking is now a skeleton.
Get over it!
Plus, is he going to be crying if LSU lays an egg and Ole Miss turns out to be the better team? I know odds on that are slim to none but stranger things have happened. Actually, Id love to see it to shut him up!

ARdawg

July 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

Nick
IMHO, this is no need to be concerned at this juncture with RS getting the ball every other play. If the playbook unfolds as many are perceiving it based on Richt’s comments in the off season, that would be reason for concern. Does it ever happen that way? The obvious answer is no. It’s more by design I would venture a guess

Tide Rising

July 20th, 2012
2:31 pm

“y’all kill me talkin bout the schedule…. for the last 2yrs alabama hasn’t played the top teams in the east but b/c they play LSU they play a tough schedule GTFOH….lol… football is almost here”

outkasted,

Not sure what planet you live on. Last year and the year before that we played Florida and the season before this past season we played South Carolina. So we played the best 2 teams in the east 3 times in the past 2 years contrary to the BS that you just posted.

Add that to playing LSU and Arkansas in the west and you have one helluva schedule. Plus we played at Penn State and handed them their only loss in their first 7 games. They fell apart late in the season as a result of the Sandusky scandal but through the first 8 games they were playing about as well as anyone in the big 10.

1953dawg

July 20th, 2012
2:42 pm

Dawg fans on these blogs are so funny. If UGA can’t go to Missouri and win, then UGA really has fallen to an all time low under Richt. Who the hell is Missouri? Missouri would and will be a middle of the pack team in the SEC. For UGA to fear or be so worried about this team shows how pathetic the expectations for this program have become even for loyal UGA fans. Says all there needs to be said about the current state of the program. Thanks to Richt and his pitiful staff, UGA is what it is. A team with talent at certain positions, a team with no depth at any position, a team with terrible special teams, and a team that is poorly prepared, poorly conditioned, and poorly coached. Bottomline, Richt has brought this program to a middle of the pack SEC team, and that’s where it will stay as long as he is head coach. So if UGA fans like worrying about Missouri of all teams, then keep this clown around. If UGA fans want to stop worrying about any team in the SEC, then get a new coach and staff in Athens. Because other teams in the SEC should be worried about UGA, unfortunately with Richt and Bobo, that is not the case.

Nick Fairley

July 20th, 2012
2:55 pm

Top Row Dawg how about Murray the Rag Doll.

Nick Fairley

July 20th, 2012
2:57 pm

ARdawg the motivation for Colorado lasted the whole game a couple of years ago.

Nick Fairley

July 20th, 2012
2:58 pm

Atl Native they also need to focus on staying out of jail.

WDE

July 20th, 2012
3:01 pm

@1953dawg how long since we won the SEC championship? How long was it before CMR? We came within a half of winning it last year. Vince got to say I beat UF,Auburn UT and Tech the same year how many times? Please…people are worried about Mizzou cause they are a pretty decent team and the will face a team that will be playing without and unknown number of players..and your a damn fool if you don’t think Auburn,UF,SC UT and Tech aren’t worried about us.

Spanky

July 20th, 2012
3:02 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, playing the part of 1953dawg, will be Oscar the mf’n Grouch! Lighten up, sunshine!

Swamp Thing

July 20th, 2012
3:13 pm

Suspensions? Is it true that MR doesn’t know who will be suspended and for what games – but the media has already announced it. Kinda’ reminds me of Crowell’s “suspensions” last year – after the Florida game. Just remember the fsu policy in the MR era “If you do the crime, you have to run the steps..”

Cuz

July 20th, 2012
3:17 pm

I love Tavares King’s quote.

Being picked to win and winning are two different things. Keep your focus on your goals and avoid the distractions.

UGA alumnus here

July 20th, 2012
3:22 pm

My issue with UGA players over the last few years, incl Donannan’s boys, is that they simply lack focus and character team wide. They talk and look good on paper and then we fold. Quncy Carter’s eyes were roling around in his head vs SC in that game many years ago ………. like 12 or 13? years ago? He threw 5 PICS !!!He and his ilk come in with high expectations like Tavarres King said, then, poof, it is up in smoke and we ehad off to the Chic Fil A or the Outback.

UGA kids to me lack true, SEC BIG BOY grit. They are simply there in Athens waiting on the League to come take them out of poverty and so it goes. They go through the motions. Marking time many appear to be doing. THAT IS HOW many end up in T.

Another year is soon to begin ……………I hope that it will be different but frankly, i am no longer a kool aid drinker.

Take em ONE GAME at a time, INLC Buffalo U.

Go Dogs

HandyMan

July 20th, 2012
3:23 pm

UGA will go 8-4, losing to UT, USCe, Fla, and Abuurn. They’ll win the Music City bowl over Virginia. 9-4 final record. Write it down.

Spanky

July 20th, 2012
3:34 pm

….and throw it away

GTBob

July 20th, 2012
3:39 pm

I liked the mind-set indicated by Tavarres King. “Expectations are expectations,” the senior receiver said. “I’m just worried about outcomes.”

King is smart. Expectations have never been a problem. Meeting them is the problem UGA usually has.

GTBob

July 20th, 2012
3:41 pm

There used to be one or two good QB’s in the SEC—-now every team has great tallent

There is one decent QB in the SEC. Overall the SEC has been the worst conference for QB’s for a while.

chazzo

July 20th, 2012
3:48 pm

Glad to read some gab about fullback. Fullback is an underrated and overlooked postion. A good fullback can be a real difference maker, especially one that can catch or come up with a good run now and again. UGA traditionally has had some excellent fullbacks, and that has been lacking the last couple of seasons.

Joey

July 20th, 2012
3:59 pm

“If UGA can’t go to Missouri and win, then UGA really has fallen to an all time low under Richt.”
********************************************
1953 dawg, actually, I’m hoping that all time low came when Richt took his Dawgs to Colorado, a team so pathetic, they fired their coach before the end of the season.

The truth is, UGA hasn’t been nearly as good on the road as his early teams, and the last 3 years, we’ve been about as lousy on neutral fields.

But this is a new season. And Richt has many incentives in that contract! Hope he earns every one!

Go Dawgs!

Glory between the Hedges

July 20th, 2012
4:01 pm

HandyMan ,
If that happens then that means you don’t believe Richt will last after this season. You fully have the right to that opinion… we shall see…

ARdawg

July 20th, 2012
4:04 pm

Fairley

And Colorado has what, to do with Mizzou exactly?

SSIgator

July 20th, 2012
4:06 pm

Joey -

“But this is a new season. And Richt has many incentives in that contract! Hope he earns every one!”

Uh oh. Don’t start sinffin’ around the Kool-Aid again.

Joey

July 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

“Overall the SEC has been the worst conference for QB’s for a while.”
*********************************************
Yeah, GTBobbie, other than Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Ryan Mallett, John Parker Wilson and the current half dozen future NFL QBs, you’re right, SEC QBs have sucked for a while.

bucket

July 20th, 2012
4:14 pm

@ GT Bob – “There is one decent QB in the SEC. Overall the SEC has been the worst conference for QB’s for a while.” Really? I guess when you watch GT play alot you don’t really know what a decent QB looks like so we will try and forgive your ignorance.

bucket

July 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

The top draft pick in the NFL in 2 of the last few drafts have been SEC qb’s and GT Bob thinks there haven’t been any good qb’s in the SEC! That’s right, GT Bob is better at evaluating talent than NFL gm’s. What a tool!

Joey

July 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

SSI, you did notice the word “hope,” right? Do you not hope for a good UF season.

Look, I think Richt is now a mid-tier SEC head coach, and I think McGarity thinks like I do, hence the no-raise, easy to get out of contract. McGarity got put in a tight spot by the 10-game winning streak, which any logical football fan would attribute to the freakishly, favorable SEC schedule. That streak saved his job, regardless of the results of the other 4 losses, 3 of which were embarrassing.

In my opinion, Richt cannot outcoach half of the coaches in this conference, on the sidelines, during a game.

But I am a lifelong UGA fan, and if I don’t have hope, I’ve got nothing this season.

Therefore, I hope . . .

bucket

July 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

@ Joey – you don’t have to apologize for or explain any of your comments to a Gator fan. This is the Junyard Blawg! Fans of other teams are free to chime in, but if they don’t like UGA or what we have to say then they are also free to spend their time on their own team’s blogs.