I had a really good time Wednesday night down at the Augusta Bulldog Club meeting. I want to say a special thank you to club president Scott Edwards and the group’s board members for their tremendous hospitality. Good eats, good drink and the Julian Smith Casino is a very impressive space.
And, no, it’s not that kind of casino. The word “casino,” as I learned, can also mean, “a building or large room used for meetings, entertainment, dancing, etc.,” and that’s what this was. As a result, I came home with the same amount of money I left with. So thanks again.
Anyway, I found the actual program to be moderately enlightening. I say moderate because, the truth is, in the digitally-wired age we live in, there is very little imparted at such events that anyone paying attention doesn’t already know. But there were a few things we all learned.
Probably the most notable was the present status of running back Washaun Ealey. Ealey, we learned, is still fully in coach Mark Richt’s doghouse.
“Washaun has a ways to go still to show me that he deserves to start or even play right now,” said Richt, who was asked about Ealey during the question-and-answer session at the end of the program. “He has a ways to go in my book. We’ll see. I love him, though.”
Ealey was suspended indefinitely from the team in February for missing an early-morning disciplinary run. He was reinstated in time for spring practice in March but was sidelined with a hamstring injury after only four practices and did not practice again.
A rising junior from Stillmore, Ealey was a seven-game starter for the Bulldogs’ last season and led them in rushing with 811 yards and 11 touchdowns. But at this point he looks to be trailing Caleb King, Ken Malcome, Carlton Thomas and maybe even incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell in the battle for the starting tailback job.
“That position is wide open,” Richt said.
Other revelations from the meeting:
- Richt pointed out that donations to the Hartman Fund actually exceeded the previous year even after last year’s losing season.
- I asked Richt about senior offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who still has not decided whether he’ll try to continue his football career after undergoing a third knee reconstruction recently. “You know, I talked to Trinton the other day,” he said. “I don’t know if he’s made his final decision on whether or not if he wants to play football again. But he mentioned something to me the other day about having a long-term goal of wanting to be an athletic director in college. I thought that was pretty cool. He wants to spend some time with [football operations director] Josh Brooks and see if maybe see that’s a path he may want to follow.”
- Of course, with the NFL draft was fresh on everyone’s mind Wednesday evening. At that time Richt was still thinking wide receiver A.J. Green had a chance to become the No. 1 pick. Most believe now that the Carolina Panthers will take quarterback Cameron Newton with the top spot. “I don’t think anybody knows,” Richt said. “I don’t know. A.J. doesn’t know. If he was going to be the first pick he’d probably know by now. Usually by now it’s done but we haven’t heard anything yet so, so anything could happen I guess.”
- Richt thought several other players could get drafted, including defensive end Justin Houston, offensive linemen Clint Boling, linebacker Akeem Dent and wide receiver Kris Durham. “We’re excited for all our guys to get drafted,” Richt said. “If they get drafted, we want them to get drafted high. The higher they get drafted the greater chance they get to make a club. In the case of A.J., there’s a financial windfall that could probably last him his whole life if he invests it properly. So we’re really happy for those guys.”
- Richt declined comment on Houston’s reported failed drug test other than to say he has not talked him. “I wish Justin the best; that’s what I wish,” he said.
- If the season started today Richt said the starting offensive line would be: Cordy Glenn at left tackle, Kenarious Gates at left guard, Ben Jones at center, Chris Burnette at right guard and A.J. Harmon at right tackle. This was interesting to me as I would have thought Justin Anderson at right tackle.
- He said UGA maintains a “tremendous relationship” with Carver High in Columbus.