(Updated 9:30 p.m.)
ATHENS -– Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday night that he is “pretty certain” recently arrested quarterback Zach Mettenberger will be suspended for only one game — the Bulldogs’ Sept. 4 season opener against Louisiana Lafayette.
Richt is withholding a final decision in case there are any further police reports on the case.
“What I’m looking for is if there is any other report I can get my hands on,” he said after Tuesday’s practice. “A lot of times there is an initial report and then another one.”
Mettenberger was arrested by police in Remerton, Ga., near Valdosta, on March 7 on five misdemeanor charges: underage possession/consumption of alcohol, disorderly conduct, obstruction and two counts of possession of false identification.
UGA Athletic Association policy mandates at least a one-game suspension for an alcohol-related arrest, although Richt could impose more.
“I’m pretty certain it’s going to be a one-game suspension and all the other internal things that we do that [Mettenberger] is in the process of doing right now,” Richt said. “It could change, but I’m doubtful it would change from that.”
Justin Anderson, who started five games on Georgia’s offensive line last season, will move to the defensive line, Richt said Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Anderson likely will play the nose position in Georgia’s new 3-4 defense, Richt said.
Although Anderson immediately will start attending the defensive-line meetings and learning the terminology of the new position, he’s not able to practice this spring because of a shoulder injury. He’s expected to be back on the field by preseason camp in August.
Richt said the move was based on the depth on the offensive line.
Anderson “knows that if we lose a tackle or two offensively, he’d have to come back,” Richt said. “But right now, if everybody who is projected to be healthy comes in healthy [in August] and makes it through camp healthy, we’ll probably keep him on defense.
“I think he’ll do well. He’s a real explosive athlete, a big strong kid, and we think it’ll fit him. . . . In this scheme, he’s the type of body that we think can help us at that nose position.”
Kwame Geathers has worked exclusively at the nose position in spring practice, while DeAngelo Tyson and Abry Jones, among others, are working at nose and defensive end.
Richt expects the numbers on the offensive line to grow this summer, when Trinton Sturdivant and Tanner Strickland are expected to be available. They are sidelined from spring practice while continuing to rehab from knee and shoulder surgeries, respectively.
Richt said the idea of moving Anderson to the defensive line surfaced soon after Todd Grantham was hired as defensive coordinator in January. Richt said he hesitated to make the move since Anderson is injured, “but the more I thought about it, the more I really believe it might be in his and our best interests.”
Georgia’s strength and conditioning staff spent two days late last week observing the program at Virginia Tech. Richt joined the group there for part of the time.
“Our strength coaches have really done a good job of going out there and seeing what other folks are doing and finding things they can implement to get better,” Richt said.
He said Georgia’s staff is “trying to find new ways to do position-specific drills that help [players] at their position, instead of saying ‘the whole team does this.’” Another area of emphasis, he said, will be in-season nutrition, particularly for players who live off campus.
On the visit to Blacksburg, Richt said he got a chance to spend some time with Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer. They talked about practice schedules and special teams.
– Safety Nick Williams was working with the first-team secondary at Tuesday’s practice, the fifth session of spring ball.
– Grantham said Cornelius Washington and Justin Houston are currently the first-team outside linebackers, backed up by walk-on Reuben Faloughi and Montez Robinson, respectively.
– Tailback Caleb King missed practice with an upset stomach. Richt expects him back for the next practice on Thursday.
– Wide receiver Marlon Brown missed practice after suffering a shoulder injury on Saturday. Brown called the injury “just a bad bruise.” Richt expects Brown to be back at practice, at least on a limited basis, later this week.
– Wide receiver Israel Troupe is slowed by a strained hamstring.