Georgia has a clock in its weight room counting down the hours and minutes until its football season opener at Oklahoma State on Sept. 5. It should have another one that started counting up from the end of spring practice.
Traditionally that is about the time when football players start getting into trouble. You may recall that the Bulldogs had a ton of trouble last year. By the end of football season there had been 11 arrests involving players (not all the charges stuck, by the way). The majority of those arrests took place between this point and the start of preseason camp in August, when players typically have more free time and a less structured schedule.
That’s why quarterback Joe Cox got up before the team after this past weekend’s G-Day Game to urge his teammates to be extremely diligent about staying out of the police blotter.
“We’ve had problems, as well as a lot of teams across the country have had problems starting at this point, with guys getting in trouble,” Cox told the Athens Banner-Herald. “We don’t want to make it where we tell guys, ‘Hey, stay in your room, lock your door, don’t have any fun.’ But at the same time, you need to be careful and need to know the difference between right and wrong. Find ways to have fun doing the right thing, staying out of trouble. I think we’ve done a great job of that so far. We haven’t had anybody do anything stupid.”
For those keeping count — and the guys that run the website everydayshouldbesaturday.com do with the annual “Fulmer Cup” bad behavior tally — Georgia has not had a player arrested in 2009 (fans advised to knock on wood here). At this point last year the Bulldogs had four arrests. That number rose sharply over the summer.
“Am I going to sit here and say that these guys are never going to make a mistake again?” Richt told reporters. “That’s very unrealistic. But I think at least we’ve had a very good start and guys, as a whole, want to do the right thing. But, shoot, who knows what tomorrow brings, right?”
Some pointed to all those arrests last year as a sign of the team’s lack of internal discipline, which was further exposed during a 10-3 season that was expected to be much more successful. Do you believe there is a direct correlation between player behavior and on-field success? Does the Bulldogs’ off-field performance thus far bode well for 2009?
In the meantime, here are some links that may interest you:
Here’s the story I referenced from Athens’ Mark Weiszer about Georgia’s focus on off-field behavior this offseason. . . .
There are some reports out there that quarterback Matthew Stafford was blabbing to teammates during the G-Day this past weekend that it was a “done deal” that he’d be the No. 1 draft pick of the Detroit Lions. Personally I don’t believe Matthew said that. He’s way too sharp for that. But I do believe a deal could actually be done. . . . And speaking of Stafford, apparently he’s going to be a guest of Jimmy Fallon on the show “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” Thursday night. . . .
Here’s a nice little diddy from Macon’s David Hale on the emergence of Georgia’s Justin Houston at defensive end. . . .
Not only is Alabama following Georgia’s lead by having its spring game broadcasted by ESPN, the Crimson Tide has also added an alumni flag-football game to the undercard.