(Updated 7:15 p.m.)
ATHENS – Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, caught on camera making a choking gesture toward Florida’s kicker near the end of last Saturday’s game, expressed regret about the incident Tuesday.
“As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment,” Grantham said. “I wish the situation hadn’t happened.
“It was a tough, hard-fought game. They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.”
Grantham said he has talked with Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and coach Mark Richt about the incident, “and we’re ready to move forward.”
Asked if he feels that he owes an apology to the Florida kicker, Chas Henry, Grantham said: “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”
Earlier Tuesday, at his weekly news conference, Richt also addressed the Grantham controversy.
“I’m aware of it, and I would just say that emotions run high,” Richt said. “People do things they probably wish they didn’t do. I think that was what was being communicated. I don’t think he’s necessarily proud of it. We’re just going to learn from it and move on.”
A screen shot and video from Florida sports cable network Sun Sports showed Grantham making a choke sign – grabbing his neck with his right hand several times — before Henry attempted a 37-yard field goal in overtime.
Henry, a Dallas, Ga., native, made the kick to give Florida a 34-31 victory.
In an interview on CBS after the game, Henry said: “Some of [Georgia's] coaches on the sideline were over there giving me a little grief, saying I was going to choke.”
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, asked about the controversy Tuesday, said he hadn’t seen the video but had heard about the matter.
Grantham “was probably just like the rest of us, just hoping [Henry] missed the kick,” Murray said. “I don’t think it’s anything too much to get worked up about. It’s not like he charged the field at the kicker and tried to do something to him. . . . I think people are trying to make too big a deal about it.”
McGarity discussed the matter with SEC commissioner Mike Slive, according to UGA spokesman Claude Felton. “To the best of our knowledge,” Felton said, “the SEC is not pursuing anything on that.”
Durham likely out
Georgia wide receiver Kris Durham likely will be sidelined for Saturday’s game against Idaho State but should be available for the Nov. 13 game at Auburn, Richt said.
Durham suffered a bruised lung as a result of a fierce hit on a second-quarter catch against Florida. He returned to the game in the third quarter.
“I was a little upset because at first [doctors and trainers] told me I wasn’t going to be able to go back in,” Durham said Tuesday. “I mean, I wasn’t hurting. Well, yeah, I was a little sore, but that’s nothing.
“The only thing that really scared them was when I started kind of coughing up a little blood. But I felt fine. I could take deep breaths. They listened to my lungs and to my heart and took some vitals. I felt like I could play, so they allowed me back in. … I was very, very grateful for that because it was my last go-round against the Gators.”
Among the Georgia players second-guessing themselves for misplays against Florida: cornerback Sanders Commings, who attempted to scoop and run with a first-quarter Florida fumble inside the Gators’ 10-yard line.
“I wish I would have just fallen on the ball now,” Commings said Tuesday. “It would have given the offense great field position to score, but I guess all I can do now is learn from it.”
Richt said the rule of thumb is to simply jump on the fumble “if there are bodies around” or to scoop and run with it “if you’re out in space.” He said Georgia twice Saturday tried to scoop-and-run with fumbles that should have been jumped on.
The Gators recovered the fumble that eluded Commings. It proved to be the first play of a 91-yard drive to the game’s first touchdown.