UGA’s ‘bus’ less crowded as Bulldogs report for preseason camp

Linebacker/defensive back Nick Williams would have been a significant contributor for Georgia had he remained with the Bulldogs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Linebacker/defensive back Nick Williams would have been a significant contributor for Georgia had he remained with the Bulldogs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Athens — Georgia coaches and players have spent a lot of time this summer talking about mass transportation. Specifically, buses.

As in, “You’re either on the bus or you’re not,” as coach Mark Richt has said more than once this offseason.

As the Bulldogs get set to open preseason camp this week, one thing is evident: Their bus is less crowded now.

The Bulldogs will open the 2011 season well below the NCAA maximum of 85 scholarship players. Seventy-eight scholarship players are expected to check in when players report for tonight’s mandatory team meeting. That includes 54 returnees and 24 newcomers. Another 27 walkons will join them.

Not included in that number are 10 former players that are no longer with the team but had eligibility remaining (see chart below). Some of those are not in Athens by choice, others were shown the door. There’s a lot of gray area in between.

“Some guys have chosen to move on and a couple got a little help,” Richt said.

You’ll never get a straight answer from the head coach on this subject. In almost every case he announces a departure as a “mutually agreed” upon decision to leave. It’s his way of saving the players from embarrassment.

But comments from the Bulldogs that are still around indicate in only a few cases did the departures have an actual say in the matter.

“The guys on this team, the guys that stayed, are the guys that really want to be a part of this team,” junior linebacker Christian Robinson said last week. “Some guys didn’t always fit in or didn’t always do what they were supposed to do or didn’t behave. Nothing against them, but they just didn’t fit into what we need right now.”

It was a well known fact that some of the players that have left were having trouble doing things “the Georgia way.” For instance, tailback Washaun Ealey had been the subject of multiple disciplinary suspensions and offensive tackle A.J. Harmon had been sidelined because of academic struggles.

And in the case of guard Brent Benedict, there was a well-publicized weightroom confrontation with new strength and conditioning coordinator Joe Tereshinski that resulted in a “mutual” decision for him to leave.

“Since we got back from after the bowl game, Coach Richt has made it very clear that we’re going to work and we’re going to make everybody understand that you got to pay a price and it’s something special to wear the ‘G’ and be part of the University of Georgia,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said last week. “It’s not going to be easy. We’ve made it extremely tough around here. When you turn up the heat, sometimes you’re going to have guys that don’t want to be a part of it. That’s their choice.”

In total, 13 players that would otherwise have eligibility to play football for Georgia in 2011 aren’t going to be with the team this fall. Add the one-game suspension of junior running back Carlton Thomas and the eligibility issues facing linebacker Jarvis Jones, that number jumps to 15.

The Bulldogs didn’t always want the players gone. A.J. Green, who was selected fourth in the NFL draft, really had no choice. Starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant suffered a third ACL tear. And rising senior Caleb King desperately wanted to lead the team in 2011 but simply could not make the grades to maintain his eligibility.

“I hate it for Caleb because nobody wanted to be here more than him,” said Robinson, who attended Greater Atlanta Christian with King. “If he hadn’t been recruited, nobody would have seen me.”

Georgia will suffer some adverse effects. Depth on the offensive line, at running back and within the linebacking corps is perilously low. But sometimes, as they say, it’s addition by subtraction.

“We have enough guys here at Georgia to get it done,” Robinson said.

LOST DOGS
  1. OL Brent Benedict, RFr. — Transferred to Virginia Tech
  2. LB Brandon Burrows RFr. — Shoulder injury, out for season
  3. LB Marcus Dowtin, Jr. — Transferred to North Alabama
  4. TB Washaun Ealey, Jr. –  Transferred to Jacksonville State
  5. TB Caleb King, Jr. — Academically ineligible, will enter NFL supplemental draft
  6. WR Logan Gray, Jr. — Graduated with eligibility, transferred to Colorado
  7. WR A.J. Green, Jr. — Early entry into NFL draft
  8. OL A.J. Harmon, Jr. — Transferred to Alabama State
  9. LB Justin Houston, Jr. — Early entry into NFL draft
  10. DE Jeremy Longo, Jr. — Medically disqualified
  11. OL Tanner Strickland, Sr. — graduated with eligibility remaining
  12. OL Trinton Sturdivant, Sr. — knee injury, career over
  13. DB Nick Williams, Jr. — Transferred to North Alabama

*Carlton Thomas, junior tailback and third-leading rusher, is suspended for first game.

**Jarvis Jones, sophomore linebacker, has an NCAA eligibility issue under review.

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155 comments Add your comment

Tech Lies Tech Cheats

August 2nd, 2011
3:10 pm

LOL

August 2nd, 2011
3:10 pm

WTF

August 2nd, 2011
3:10 pm

Dawg_Mike

August 2nd, 2011
3:10 pm

Get on the bus or the bus will roll over you. Enough said….

WTF

August 2nd, 2011
3:12 pm

Good. These are all addition subtraction. This team will be better off.

Sopwith Camel

August 2nd, 2011
3:12 pm

First?? We’ll go after them this fall with who we have on board!

D A DoubleU G

August 2nd, 2011
3:15 pm

I absolutely love the chemistry that is coming out of Athens right now.

UGA has not had peer leaders like Aaron Murray and Christian Robinson since the Pollack days.

“addition by attrition” will prove true this year.

GOOD LUCK Dawgs!! I am VERY excited for the ride! GATA!!

ZZ-Gator

August 2nd, 2011
3:16 pm

First! Richt runs a cesspool. I assume pups are first again in Foolmer Cup Standings.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
3:16 pm

This should be viewed as a positive, not a negative. Notice how bobo said “right after we got back from the bowl game.”

The richt haters are still going to complain but good lord, it is august. You have to let the man try and rebuild things. His 2 SEC titles warrant that.

If he doesn’t win at least 8 or 9, he may be gone. I’m hoping he pulls it off.

Jamaica Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:17 pm

Tragic re: Caleb but if REALLY wanted it that badly as Robinson suggests, he would’ve passed his class. Kudos to Richt and the coaches for instilling greater accountability and discipline which I am sure will pay off.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
3:17 pm

You assume wrong ZZ gator moron

That would be Auburn by a landslide

http://www.edsbs.com

Also notice florida is in the top 10. Georgia? Nowhere to be found.

Remarkable

August 2nd, 2011
3:20 pm

There are several walk-ons that deserve a good look and they should get it now. But we will miss King and Trinton Sturdivant.

Palmetto State Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:28 pm

ZZ-Gator, if I recall your top DB from last year was kicked off the team for like his 3rd pot arrest. I also recently read a stat that said at least 60% of the players on Florida’s team in the past 5-6 years have had run ins with the law. Sounds like the Fulmer Cup should be firmly planted in Gainesville. Don’t throw rocks from your glass house, bub.

maconbulldog

August 2nd, 2011
3:29 pm

@Lex. Yeah thanks for that . I was going to the same thing. Just worry about your own team . I do think u have your own blog somewhere. Stupid trolls

UGA Lies UGA Cheats

August 2nd, 2011
3:30 pm

The athletic history of UGA is full of so many sordid, sleazy incidents – dating back to Vince Dooley and continuing through Mark Richt – that it’s impossible to overlook. The school has come to stand for drunkenness and lawlessness, coddling of illiterate athletes who should never have been admitted to college, and rampant cheating by coaches.

And so the soggy red panties saga continues…

Frank Lane

August 2nd, 2011
3:31 pm

I hope that Connor Norman gets a legitimate shot and earns a scholarship.

GeoffDawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:32 pm

As usual, it looks like teams from Alabama are the recipients of a lot of talented Georgia players.

Tobias Funke

August 2nd, 2011
3:34 pm

Sturdivant was a cancer too. He had limp wrists.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
3:35 pm

UGA Lies UGA Cheats

***************************

All you know about red panties is what you read. You definitely have never been allowed to enjoy a set of moist ones.

Douche boy virgin who posts the same thing every day.

Walk-ons are part of the fraud, you know

August 2nd, 2011
3:36 pm

Richt welcomes the walk-ons with open arms. It’s no secret that walk-ons in Athens typically have far better academic credentials than the dummies that are recruited by Richt and get scholarships. So the walk-ons greatly raise the team’s average grades and graduation rate.

But you knew that already, didn’t you.

Cmon man

August 2nd, 2011
3:38 pm

Cmon ajc do you guys just copy and paste your stories from the pay sites or what? I read this same article a few days ago on another site! Catch up guys

St. Richt

August 2nd, 2011
3:39 pm

How many more shots can St. Richt take at Caleb and Washaun on their way out the door? Pretty classless if you ask me. Looks to me like he’s using them as the scapegoats for what happened the past few years..

Mtn Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:39 pm

The DAWGS will be fine. GATA!!

When the food stamps run out, what's a guy to do?

August 2nd, 2011
3:40 pm

We all hope DawginLex gets a job soon, so he’ll have something more productive to do during working hours. ;-)

bitter dawgs fan

August 2nd, 2011
3:41 pm

come on HATTER’S ——————————–what say you—————–pay for play

————————————-ole school dog house now—————-hahahahahah

honest_abe

August 2nd, 2011
3:42 pm

north alabama should have a nice d! heh

Joe

August 2nd, 2011
3:43 pm

So Caleb despertly wanted to be the leader….hmmmmmm….why did it take him 5 years to decide that?????? Glad he is gone….he was a cancer for 4 years….

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
3:44 pm

I feel like we’re cleaner now that some of the players that didn’t want to be here are gone. If you don’t want to be here, don’t ruin it for the ones that do. I feel that we are a better team today than we were last season. Players report today and they’ve stayed out of trouble. Kudos to them and CMR.

Everyone seems focused and raring to go. I know they can’t wait to get to the GA Dome to face Boise State and hit someone else.

UGAgrad71

August 2nd, 2011
3:44 pm

I don’t see how you can blame a guy for leaving early if he has completed his degree and also had some chronic shoulder problems like Tanner Strickland. At least he graduated. I feel for Caleb King who may not even catch on in the NFL, may have to try Canada.

mgdawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:45 pm

I agree with everything but the caleb king comments. I still can’t get over that he tweeted, “there’s some things in life you can’t control” when talking about his grades. After missing the bowl game because he had skipped tutoring sessions. Not to mention until the spring I think he actually had more issues then ealey did.

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
3:46 pm

I hate it when people say we have no depth at RB and we have issues at RB. What issues? We have 3 capable tailbacks, which is more than most SEC schools have. Samuel, Crowell, and Malcome CAN and WILL get the job done. No doubt in my mind. I agree that our O-line MUST stay healthy all season long and we can ill-afford to lose anyone on the O-line but as long as they stay healthy then there’s no issue.

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

And at receiver, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times…we will be FINE. We have the best TE in the country with Charles, Tavarres King showed flashes of brilliance last season, Marlon Brown will catch on with Green gone, etc. Michael Bennett, Malcom Mitchell, etc. We have talent at the WR position, we just have to make sure these guys are put in position to make plays. Maybe it’s better than Green is gone because Murray can now spread the ball around to other players. Look for Orson Charles to be our go-to guy until a receiver proves to be dominant.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:51 pm

So am I supposed to be encouraged by this? I honestly am worried it took him this long to realize the situation had got to this point? All these blogs are starting to get to me. I think I need to take a blog sabbatical. I am giving my liver a sabbatical till Labor day, perhaps my blog fingers need it. These AJC blogs are bringing me down.

Woof Woof

August 2nd, 2011
3:53 pm

Does anyone else get the feeling that this should have been done a long long time ago and maybe we would not be in this situation now? Desperate times call for desperate measures, but it sounds like CMR may have been let the prisoners take over the yard a little while ago.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
3:54 pm

food stamps moron

My business is doing just fine. It allows me to blog

just STFU douche boy

Woof Woof

August 2nd, 2011
3:54 pm

Out of all the players we signed, Malcolm Mitchell will have the biggest impact this season on Offense, and Jenkins on defense.

GeoffDawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:56 pm

Come on Hatters?

JYD

August 2nd, 2011
3:56 pm

The real Nate Taylor of the 70s

August 2nd, 2011
3:56 pm

I’ve followed GA since about 1959. Over the years, UGA always had one or two guys that walked on to become stars. This is why college football is fun. Some guys just want to wear his school’s colors and play ball. I think that is great !!!

Back in the late 70s, or 80s, UGA saw Nate Taylor of Athens come in as a walk on and on every play that he was in on, Munson would ask “who is that guy? and of course, we learned forever the name of Nate Taylor. His son also played for UGA and was a real good un too.

One man’s loss in life, is another’s gain. Let us look for one or two or three emerging Bulldogs out of the 27 so called walk ons. Three would be fabulous if they can really contribute and make an impact on game day or even at practice.

gooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

Go Dogs.

bucket

August 2nd, 2011
3:57 pm

@ St. Richt – I see you are back on a UGA Sports blog to spew more of your crap. You told DawgInLex to stay off the Tech blog this morning even though it was a College Recruiting blog and he was trying to congratulate Tech. Richt is not quoted as taking shots at anyone. Actually in the article Mr. Towers says that Richt always answers his questions in a way that saves the individual players embarrassment. Don’t read articles with your haters lense on and they may become clearer to you.

Woof Woof

August 2nd, 2011
3:57 pm

You heard it here first, Coach Friend is a heck of a coach, but he is working with very few players past the top 4 who are ready for the grind of playing in the SEC. We need help on both OL and DL. We cannot afford to lose anyone or young Murray will have to create plays on his feet.

GA Yech

August 2nd, 2011
3:58 pm

Is this why Yech can’t fill up their stadium? I mean we’re talking about a chicken sandwich here!

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28721743/detail.html

Mightydawg

August 2nd, 2011
3:58 pm

Hey Chip, Is Sturdivant’s career officially over? He has missed 2 seasons with injury and would likely be eligible for a 6th year of eligibility.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
4:01 pm

mightydawg

I hope trinton isn’t plaaning on playing anymore football

Woof Woof

August 2nd, 2011
4:01 pm

Mightydawg, I think he may have a hard time getting clearance from the medical staff to play.

superDawg

August 2nd, 2011
4:02 pm

32 more days.

Mightydawg

August 2nd, 2011
4:03 pm

I thought that he injured his other, non-surgically repaired, knee this spring.

Paul N Destin

August 2nd, 2011
4:03 pm

The new AD at UGA has taken charge of the program and he’s making some progress. Richt is a wimp and he’s on his last token at the UGA football machine. The UGA coaching job will bring a lot of outstanding coaches when it is open this year. Sometime you have to go backward to go forward and this is that time at UGA.

Woof Woof

August 2nd, 2011
4:03 pm

Just read the article again, it sounds like Mrs. Richt gave back Mark his nads and he is on a tear.

@ GA Yech

August 2nd, 2011
4:04 pm

LMAO…That certainly explains why the Nats’ stadium is less crowded!