Athens – Pretty entertaining exchange between Mark Richt and reporters at his post-practice press conference Thursday. Thought you might enjoy. . . .
Richt was talking about freshman receiver Marlon Brown’s grandmother, who strongly influenced his decision to come to Georgia (much, you’ll recall, to Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin’s chagrin).
Richt: “Well, she just is a wonderful lady. When grandmothers are raising their grandchildren as the main caretaker, that in itself is a wonderful thing, and you’ve got to give her a lot of credit. But she is a very tough woman, very intelligent. She is a disciplinarian. Marlon is the way he is because of her. And he has the utmost respect for her, and he should. And even in the very end of the recruiting process, when she didn’t like the way things were handled, she jumped right in and took care of business. She is a no-nonsense gal, I’d say.”
Reporter: She didn’t like the way what was handled?
Richt: “Just at the very end, the last day. Once he had made his decision, she felt like it should be a very happy day for him. And there were some people trying to confuse him; I guess ['confuse'] would be a good word.”
Reporter (sarcastically): People actually use confusion in recruiting occasionally?
Richt (smiling): “It’s like a, you know, people say, well, I won’t say it. I won’t say it. Nah, I’m not saying it. I’ve got to watch what I say. People make a bigger deal than it should be.”
OK, back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .
– The big pieces of news in Bulldogs camp Thursday were that incoming freshman defensive tackle Kwame Geathers has been cleared as academically eligible by the NCAA after a review of his high school courses, and that safety Reshad Jones will miss some practice time with a “tweaked” hamstring. Richt seemed confident, though, that Jones will be 100 percent by the season opener. Oh, and Chris Davis is back on the first-team O-line and Vince Vance down to second team.
– Here’s Richt’s latest take on the tailback situation: “I do like how our running backs all seem to be very focused and are competing really hard. I think they understand what’s at stake, and I think they truly believe it’s a wide-open competition, which it is.” If you missed it, here’s a story I wrote Thursday on Caleb King’s bid to win the job and play extensively for the first time since he broke his leg midway through his senior season of high school in 2006. Thirty-four months ago.
– I asked Carlton Thomas, another in the tailback mix, to describe what he brings to the table. He said: “I’m a playmaker. I know how to make a play, how to make something happen out of nothing.” And, you know, he showed that in spring ball.
– And Dontavius Jackson summed up the competition/camaraderie among the tailback contestants: “When we go out on the field, everybody is working hard and competing. But off the field, we all are a family, the running-back group.”
– I spent a lot of time after practice Thursday talking with freshmen players, who were made available to the media for the first time, and today will be writing a story about them for Sunday’s paper. Very interesting group. And very important at some key positions for this season.
– Dogs practice Friday and Saturday, are off Sunday, then have their first two-a-days of this camp on Monday.