Q&A: Richard Samuel says UGA career ‘full of opportunities’ (UPDATED)

Q&A WITH TAILBACK RICHARD SAMUEL

Richard Samuel walked into an interview with reporters Friday morning wearing dark blue slacks, a light blue dress shirt and tie. No, he wasn’t looking to impress a bunch of sportwriters as a resurrected tailback. He’s actually working this summer as an intern in UGA’s compliance office. And, no, he said he has “no idea” what’s going happen regarding Jarvis Jones’ eligibility. As for his recent move to tailback from linebacker, Samuel seemed very positive and upbeat about the situation. While he knows the position isn’t going to be handed to him, he did seem confident about his chances of becoming the starter before the Bulldogs’ season opener against Boise State on Sept. 3. Following is the exchange of questions and answers between Samuel and reporters covering the UGA beat:

Samuel

Samuel

Q: So what’s this week been like for you?

A: “It’s been a little confusing. I had some tough decisions to make.”

Q: Ultimately was the decision left up to you or were you told ‘this is what we need you to do?’

A: “It was more like the option or the opportunity was brought up. It was like, ‘Richard, think about this.’ We went through the scenarios of the offense and the defense and the possibility of playing. So it was like, ‘think about this and let us know what you want to do. Nobody is going to make you make a decision. It’s all up to what you want to do.’ It was totally left up to me.”

Q: Were you called up to Mark Richt’s office?

A: “Yes, it was Coach Richt. I had a feeling something was coming. You know, you hear little rumors and talk about it. It came up only after Caleb’s situation.”

Q: So you knew what was coming?

A: “I had a feeling after hearing that [Caleb King] was completely done. If you look at the history, there’s no other backs besides Carlton [Thomas] that had playing time. So something was going to have to be done.”

Q: Do you think it will be difficult to make the transition back to tailback after working so diligently to learn defense the last year or so?

A: “I still remember most of it. Yesterday was my first day in pass skel and I still remembered most of the plays and most of the blocking schemes. Everything is mostly the same.”

Q: Were you guaranteed playing time?

A: “It’s a complete competition. Like Coach said, I can’t come over and they just hand me to position. It’s straight competition. The best man’s going to play.”

Q: What tipped the scale on your decision to move back to offense?

A: “What tipped the scale was thinking I have two years left and also looking at where I am on the depth chart, my abilities and the guys that are ahead of me at linebacker on defense. And then considering the whole running back situation and the fact that there are no veteran besides Carlton playing running back. I was thinking about how can I be on the field with the most quickness, or how can I get playing time. I was thinking about that and weighing through the options. I was thinking about staying on defense and possibly rotating depending on what kind of rotation they’re going to do or go to offense where I’ve been and I’ve played and have a history playing.”

Q: How much do you weigh right now?

A: “About 238.”

Q: Do you need to lose weight?

A: “I’m OK with the weight. I just have to get back into the running back scheme, cuts and the stuff a running back should be able to do.”

Q: Did you feel like you were progressing as a linebacker?

A: “I was starting to get comfortable with it and learning the defense. I was getting used to the pass coverage. I was getting comfort with the reps I was getting. I was getting more used to it.”

Q: This is your third position change after having to decide to play running back or linebacker coming out of high school. How would you describe your UGA career to this point?

A: “I would describe my career as a career full of opportunities. I didn’t redshirt my freshman year, started my sophomore year, things weren’t going so well, decided to follow another avenue at linebacker and then redshirted last year. And then here’s another opportunity to go back to play running back and be able to do something and make changes and learn from the time I was playing running back. So it’s just another opportunity.”

Q: Has it been a frustrating process?

A: “The knee thing was the most frustrating part. The transition wasn’t that frustrating. I was able to get used to it and play some on the scout team. But the whole knee thing kept me from being on the field period.”

Q: How’s the knee now?

A: “It feels 100 percent now.”

Q: So any chance you go back to linebacker after one season?

A: “This is a two-year commitment. I’m going to end my career playing running back.”

Q: What makes you feel you’ll perform better at tailback this time?

A: “I feel like I’m more mature. I know how to look at a situation and analyze things abetter and make better decisions. Back when I was 17, I was just doing what the coaches said instead of looking outside the box to make sure I get the job done.”

Q: What do you need to improve on?

A: “I have to say play with more instincts and stop thinking so much. Not thinking so much about whether I’m on the right track or hitting the right hole or doing things so much by the book.”

Q: So now that the position change is a done deal, how do you feel?

A: “I’m more excited about it. Like I said, I’m back to something I have a history with and I kind of know. I have a good feeling about it. I’m not as stressed to learn a whole new playbook. So I’m more excited about it. I’m just excited, I don’t know how to explain it.”

Q: What did you weigh when you last played tailback?

A: “I was like 225.”

Q: Are you going to have to lose weight to play running back?

A: “No, as long as my speed and ability hasn’t decreased, Coach doesn’t care what my weight is.”

Q: What was the most you weighed after you moved to defense?

A: “The most I was was like 241 or 242. I feel like I could play at that weight. The only thing I I’m going to have to transition is getting my feet back to doing things a certain way and getting back to a running back mentality.”

Q: So what’s with the dress shirt and tie?

A: “I’m working in the compliance office.”

Q: What has that experience been like?

A: “It’s a big learning experience. There’s a lot that we take for granted. We don’t know how much planning and preparation goes into the whole traveling and making sure everybody follows the rules of preparation. There’s a lot behind the scenes that I’m learning about it.”

Q: You’re now the senior-most tailback on the roster. Do you feel like you need take on a leadership role with all the young guys back there?

A: “I feel like being the one there with the most experience is really going to help them and show them how things are done. I’ll show them that you may have the opportunity to slack but you have to take it serious. You can’t slack off on the field or in the classroom. So being there hopefully I can be some kind of role model. Hopefully, they’ll see, ‘OK, Richard does it this way. He works hard; he studies hard and it shows on the field and in his academics.’ Hopefully, I’ll be like a guide or someone they can look to instead of doing it on their own and making wrong decisions sometimes.”

Q: Is it still hard to believe you’re in this situation considering Washaun Ealey and Caleb King were here in the spring?

A: “Yeah, I feel like the whole thing, how it happened, is crazy. They were there; they were the main ones playing. So I said, ‘OK, running backs seem solidified.’ Now that they’re gone I feel like I can help the team and this will help benefit the team. It was the best decision for the team.”

Q: Has it been frustrating to always seem to be in catch-up mode at a position?

A: “Yes, I feel like it has. Some guys come in and play one position the whole time while they’re here. I’m transitioning and having to learn some things from scratch and having to pick up on some things that some others are already two or three years used to doing. It’s tough to feel like I have to put in extra work to learn what to do and also put more work in on the field to show I’m the person to get the job done.”

Q: How many position coaches have you played for now?

A: Let’s see: Ball, McClendon, Coach Grantham, Coach Olivadotti, Coach Belin. Five I think.”

241 comments Add your comment

Tim Riggins

July 15th, 2011
11:17 am

Chip, what’s the latest on Jarvis Jones and the AAU story?

sonny

July 15th, 2011
11:25 am

sonny

July 15th, 2011
11:27 am

oh well, i like this kid and i believe he can be a running back that can carry players over the goal line from 5 yards out. we need that king of strength and he is also fast.

11Dawg

July 15th, 2011
11:27 am

Why can’t he just do both?

BullDawg Rick

July 15th, 2011
11:27 am

RS is a DGD IMO – Looking out for the good of the TEAM! Something the preceding 2 RB’s did not/would not do! Hate that he’s having to change positions once again due to the depth – or lack thereof..

Best to you Richard!! Go Dawgs!

RxDawg

July 15th, 2011
11:27 am

Well, I gota say I kinda feel better after reading this. I understand where the coaches are coming from. I guess they couldn’t predict losing both Ealy and Caleb.

Chip, I know you said it was a rough draft but I’m not sure if you intended to leave out your Q’s from your Q&A. It’s kind of confusing to read lol. But thanks for the quick post.

athdawg

July 15th, 2011
11:30 am

Wow, Chip you type like I do when you’re in a hurry.
I’m sure there will be many Dawg fans arguing both sides of this decision. The main part is this…..The Coaches let him make the decision. Good luck Richard. Play hard, run fast, Sic ‘em!

RxDawg

July 15th, 2011
11:31 am

“Why can’t he just do both?”

Jack of all trades, master of none

athdawg

July 15th, 2011
11:31 am

Enter your comments here

Hammer time

July 15th, 2011
11:37 am

Can wait to see him run over people. Kinda like Michael Turner…

SNUDawg2008

July 15th, 2011
11:39 am

The offensive line will be the issue now. But with 6′5 260 FB Figgins & 6′2 238 Samuel, there’s got to be a hole somewhere or they’ll make one! Very powerful guys. I’m only worried about fumbles and Samuel staying healthy… Go Dawgs! Samuel is a player to emulated.

just a little sense

July 15th, 2011
11:42 am

i had mixed feelings about this situation at first. I just hated that R. Sammuel was even presented with that proposal. I genuinely want to see all these guys have fine carears and move on to the nfl so they can finally be rewarded for all the hard work we all demand of them. I just think to myself–was R. Sammuel not in a better situation to maximize his abilities at the LB position. And i just ask are we putting this young man’s professional career in jeopardy because CMR can’t keep his ship in order? If R. Sammuel doesn’t capitalize–financially–from this move in the future, then CMR himself owes him a great debt of gratitude–to the tune of 250K.

For some reason i just cant help but think about the K.Tripp situation and how they handled a supremely gifted athlete’s talents. He should have playing OT from day one and been drafted–Point Blank. Instead, well, he was relegated to a backup DT role. seems like de’javu to me?

sogadog

July 15th, 2011
11:42 am

It will be interesting to see what kind of tailback Samuel makes after having spent a year with Coach Tereshinski as his strength and conditioning coach.

Congratulations to CMR, he is undefeated against Ga. Tech!

Cam Newton’s father offers his son’s services for $180,000.00 and nothing happens. A Tech player receives $300 worth of t shirts and they lose their ACC Championship. Something is very wrong with this system.

Troll Power Ratings

July 15th, 2011
11:46 am

Look at the bright side of things at the moment. Georgia has a bell-weather year dead ahead. It can go either way. BUT, one can certainly make as much a case for the immediately positive outcome as for a negative outcome. Beyond this year things will be better, one way or the other. If this is Georgia’s experience with “turmoil” I’ll take it. We have neighbors in several directions in much worse shape.

Joey

July 15th, 2011
11:49 am

Even if Samuel is no better at running the ball than he was before, surely the LB (hitting) mentality and size (238) he should be a hell of a blocker. And, I’d rather see him toting the ball on 3rd and 1 than that little feller (Thomas).

Maybe Samuel will keep his head up this time around, so he will know when to bounce it outside, or cut back. Before, if the hole wasn’t there, he just ran into the back of his OLs.

But, to be fair, he was only 17 back then.

CATlanta

July 15th, 2011
11:50 am

Not a Dawg fan, but I do admire this kid’s team first mentality. I hope his transition back to RB goes well and he can get back in the mix and contribute.

Natureboy809

July 15th, 2011
11:52 am

@ sogadog- GT vacated the 2009 wins; not the 2008 ones.

ATL Sports Fan

July 15th, 2011
11:53 am

Just a little sense, your post MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL! Mark Richt owes Richard Samuel money because he owes him a debt of gratitude. How about the tune of a free 80K education. Heck from your thought, I should go after Steve Weber and Robert Sapp for moving me from the infield to the outfield and hurting my draft stock. NONSENSE!

ATL Sports Fan

July 15th, 2011
11:55 am

just a little sense how are you so sure Richard Samuel and Kiante Tripp will ever make it to the NFL? Here’s a little something for you. What do you do for a living? I’m sure its not coaching at the highest level of college football. Like I tell my wife. If I need a haircut, I go to a barber or stylist. If I need my teeth straitened, I’ll come to her.

ATL Sports Fan

July 15th, 2011
11:57 am

Enough with trying to compare the Tech situation with every other issue going on with the NCAA. The reason why Tech was punished as they were was because of them trying to MANIPULATE the system. If they were straight forward with the NCAA I don’t think it would have been so severe.

coachx

July 15th, 2011
11:59 am

Richard Samuels is one fine mature young man. The team needs leaders like you.

This guy is a Dawg for life. It would not be suprising to see him working in the athletic dept. one day.

John Galt

July 15th, 2011
12:00 pm

Coach Sapp brought me in when he didn’t have to- do I owe HIM money?

John Galt

July 15th, 2011
12:00 pm

PS- Richard is a big-time DGD. Seems like an amazing young man.

nobody

July 15th, 2011
12:04 pm

I think Joey and CATlanta have hit the nail squarely on the head…age, maturity, size, and knowing he can hit as hard as those trying to hit him will make a ton of difference….

truedawg

July 15th, 2011
12:07 pm

I love this kids attitude! DGD!!! He always was fast, and hard worker, maybe now he can learn to make cuts and wait for the playto form. If he does watch out. Richard is a winner. Short yardage with the size of that back field will be in the bank! Bulldog nation is proud of you. GATA GO DAWGS!!!

Dawg89

July 15th, 2011
12:14 pm

Richard Samuel is one tough mofo. Cheers to him! I look forward to watching him slice and dice through the Broncos.

Samuel = True Team Player. Other guys can look to him as a role model.

Douglas

July 15th, 2011
12:15 pm

To ATL Sports Fan: I have a BBA from UGA in MIS, was part of the Honor’s Program, graduated with honors, and now have two Master’s degrees: I agree with “just a little sense”: they are using Richard Samuel. The coaches have all the power: if he doesn’t do what they want, they will not let him ever play a down. I also agree with the idea about Tripp: they did keep moving him around and wasted his talent. The only reason they are moving Samuel back to RB is to fit their need — not Samuel’s need. The coaches look out for themselves not the player. Why don’t you go back and look at his tape from High School — maybe you will become enlightened — and less ignorant — and see that he was also a great LB in high school.

Mr. Dawg

July 15th, 2011
12:15 pm

It’s anybody’s guess how well Samuel would have done playing LB. What is certain is that he was second on the depth chart on defense and with the move to RB he is the only “every down” player at that postiion with any experience on the team. Based on what Samuel is saying he made the determination that he had a better opportunity to contribute to the team for the remainder of his career by making the switch back. I agreee with his decision. The Dawgs are in good shape at LB with or without him playing a back up role.

BMDPD

July 15th, 2011
12:17 pm

RS is a true athlete with heart. He will do fine.

dawgfan75

July 15th, 2011
12:24 pm

R.S.
Great to have you back on the O. Healthy, bigger, just as fast. Some DC’s are going to have some sleepless nights this season.

anotherdawg

July 15th, 2011
12:29 pm

Any time you have a player willing to do what’s best for the team, it’s a feel-good situation. I like the way it was handled also. It was not forced on him, and who knows? It may turn out to be a great move for him, as well as the team.

Tobias Funke

July 15th, 2011
12:29 pm

Holy Typo, Batman!

Dbalcer

July 15th, 2011
12:31 pm

He is the epitome of a team player and with his attitude I see success on the field for him.

Golden Dawg

July 15th, 2011
12:33 pm

The last DAWG that switched from Defense (DB) to Tailback: my homeboy #47 ROBERT EDWARDS from my hometown -Tennille GA ended up being a FIRST-ROUND NFL Pick. Right now I’m having flashbacks of Edwards running away from every VOL for almost 300 yards “on a fractured foot” in Knoxville AND running over every GATOR in sight for 4 TDs in Jacksonville. Whoa – Somebody fine those tapes for me. And Samuel is even bigger. He will do fine. Go Dawgs !!! I Can Not Wait. How many days ’til we crush BSU in THE DOME?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 15th, 2011
12:35 pm

@ Douglas

If he didnt agree the coaches would never let him play a down? Yeah this does seem to be the historical M.O. of this coaching staff. Benedict had free reign to transfer where ever he pleased, pretty hard ass coaching staff isnt it. Two Masters degree sure didnt give you much common sense did it.

Tobias Funke

July 15th, 2011
12:37 pm

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Right Douglas? Support your team for the entire season. Otherwise, you and your masters degrees can go root for another team. I love that a computer geek is criticizing the coaches. Have you ever laced up? I didn’t think so. Quit talking like you know ANYTHING about football.

Like it or not Richt is the coach this year. Like it or not, this is the team that will play this year. Either support the Dawgs or go somewhere else QUICKLY.

lazlodawg

July 15th, 2011
12:37 pm

Douglas – Everybody uses everybody. It’s how the world works. Also, no one cares about your education (MIS hahaha). You should spend less time insulting people who you disagree with and perhaps people would take you and your opinions more seriously.

K Conley

July 15th, 2011
12:43 pm

Richard obviously has alot of talent, but if he is only a borderline Pro on draft day, this is the exact attitude that will make certain NFL GMs spend their late pick on you. Richard epitomizes what it means to be a team guy. Thank you Richard and I’ll be cheering you on this fall.

Tobias Funke

July 15th, 2011
12:44 pm

Does anybody know of a blog where UGA fans can talk about football without all the trolls? There are soooooo many fake UGA fans on these blogs. I can’t take it anymore. Maybe the AJC should do something about it?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 15th, 2011
12:46 pm

ATL Sports Fan

Your classic Mark and Kathryn Richt kool-aid drinker

If Samuel was such a sure thing at running back then tell me why was he moved to LB you moron

Did you watch any of his runs no because your the fair weather DREAM TEAM KOOL AID DRINKER

What has been good to talk about in the last 4 yrs, please tell me

Go pull for Vandy they need more mediocrity loving fans like you, you red pants wearing whiskey breath old fart.

Tobias Funke

July 15th, 2011
12:47 pm

I have seen many people talking about RS draft status. Who cares?!!!! He has 2 full years to make an impression. Are we trying to get these guys drafted or are we trying to win games. Make up your mind fair weather fans.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 15th, 2011
12:53 pm

Ive made up my mind,

and I know what Samuel has done at running back nothing, so why should we be delaying carries from Crowell and Malcolme, it doesnt make no sense

tide roll

July 15th, 2011
12:54 pm

Get that STUD on the edge and look out. ,Physical combination of size, speed and like Richt said, POWER. Lethal mismatch for cornerbacks.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 15th, 2011
12:56 pm

Flat Tire is a idiot.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 15th, 2011
12:59 pm

Stevan Ridley would be a nice guy for RS to immulate. Big brusing back with breakway speed.

frannie mae

July 15th, 2011
1:03 pm

UGA is in BIG BIG trouble…….

Hotdawg

July 15th, 2011
1:03 pm

This guy is big enough to play fullback also! If Crowell turns out to be the player we hope then have both of them in the backfield!

Bawbie

July 15th, 2011
1:07 pm

Fire Dave Perno!

munson

July 15th, 2011
1:07 pm

This could be the best thing for RS. He has always had the ability an now he has spent a full year on the defense side. So he understands what other defenses are doing such as blitzes. This may make him a first round running back only time will tell but you got to love the heart.

P T Barnum

July 15th, 2011
1:08 pm

nothin but a bunch clowns in Athens!