ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt laughed Tuesday when he heard some media members were referring to Saturday’s game against Ole Miss as the “Hot Seat Bowl.”
“I knew that would happen,” Richt said, chuckling as he shook his head. “That was pretty easy to predict. You’d think they could have thought of something better than that. I think a couple of kindergartners could have figured out that one.”
But Richt wasn’t laughing when the subject turned to his colleague, Houston Nutt. What Richt has endured is nothing compared to the slings and arrows being aimed at the Rebels’ head coach this week.
In the wake of last Saturday’s 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt, Nutt was subjected to a Sunday morning meeting with Athletic Director Pete Boone. Boone followed that up by appearing before Nutt at his weekly press conference to discuss the state of the football program. Advertisements calling for his ouster were placed in five Mississippi newspapers as well as the Memphis Commercial Appeal. And nearly every question Nutt has fielded since Saturday has to do with his job security.
“I hate that for anybody,” Richt said. “. . . I don’t think anybody enjoys another guy going through something like that. We all know that we are pretty darn good coaches, and there’s 12 of us in the league and somebody is going to have a good year and somebody is going to have a bad year.”
Nutt, 53, left Arkansas to take over at Ole Miss four years ago. He won nine games each of his first two seasons but is 5-10 since. But it was the meek manner in which the Rebels went down at Vanderbilt that so incensed the Ole Miss masses.
“Anyone who was disappointed on Saturday, you can multiply it 99 times for me,” Nutt said. “It all starts with me. I appreciate Pete Boone meeting with the staff and myself and I appreciate what he did the last 24 hours. But now the bottom line is it’s up to us as coaches and players to do our job.”
Aron White gets national award
Tight end Aron White knew he was coming to Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall to have lunch with a bunch of children who were being rewarded for doing the right things. But he didn’t know the kids were there to honor him for his good deeds.
“I was really shocked,” said White, who was named one of 11 FBS players nationwide named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team on Tuesday. “They tricked me into coming over here to eat lunch with some kids who were doing really well and being kind. They had made a banner for me and knew the whole time. Then Coach Richt came in and announced it. Nobody told me. I was definitely caught off-guard.”
The fifth-year senior from Columbia, Mo., already received on undergraduate degree and has a lengthy resume of community service contributions, including volunteering at Camp Sunshine, Kudzu, the Boys and Girls Club and Habit for Humanity; visiting patients at Egleston Children’s and St. Mary’s hospitals and classes at local elementary schools; and leading an MLK Day Service.
“It’s something I’m very, very proud of,” he said of the Good Works award. “It’s probably the most prestigious award I’ve ever received.”
More opps for Mason?
Richt stopped short of saying it had reached a point of critical mass where the Bulldogs had to find a way to play both Hutson Mason and Aaron Murray a la David Greene-D.J. Shockley. But the coaches clearly like what the sophomore quarterback is doing and have no reservations about putting him in games.
“Right this second that’s not something I would want to comment on,” Richt said. “We haven’t really gone further with that discussion, . . . talking about Mike Bobo and myself. But Hutson is practicing well and he’s playing well and he really runs the system well and he’s earned playing time in my mind. How we’ll manage that, I’m not ready to make any promises I can’t keep.”
Mason, a sophomore from Marietta, had created a buzz well before making his first appearance of the season against Coastal Carolina last week. Coaches and players raved about his play in preseason camp. Mason was 6-of-9 for 68 yards and a touchdown in less than a quarter of play.
But Aaron Murray is the unquestioned leader of the team. He has completed 63 percent of his passes for 672 yards and 9 TDs and 2 interceptions in three games.
Tyson back from ‘non-injury’
Why DeAngelo Tyson missed last Saturday’s game is unclear but, whatever it was, it wasn’t for an injury. At least that’s what Tyson said on Tuesday.
“I didn’t have an injury,” said Tyson, who Richt said missed the game with a back injury. “I was just told I wasn’t able to play because of what was going. Buit I’m doing whatever I need to get back on the field.”
Asked if it was a disciplinary situation, Tyson said: “Unh-uh, ” as in the negative.
Asked if he’d be good to go this week, he said: “Um-hmm,” as in the affirmative.
In any case, Tyson said he will play Saturday versus Ole Miss. The senior from Statesboro started the first two games of the season at the defensive end opposite Abry Jones and is second among defensive linemen with 7 tackles.
Injury report: Rambo hurt
Starting free safety Bacarri Rambo had to leave practice with an injury Tuesday and came back wearing a green, non-contact jersey. Rambo, who knocked himself unconscious with a game-saving hit against Auburn in 2009, was having his head area examined by a trainer. Defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos didn’t know what the nature or extent of the injury was but expects Rambo to play Saturday. Also, three-way threat Brandon Boykin left the practice briefly to have his right ankle wrapped but returned.
Meanwhile, junior split end Marlon Brown is “questionable to doubtful” to play Saturday due to a sprained right ankle that sidelined his last weekend. As a result, true freshman Malcolm Mitchell is slated to get his third start of the season. Richt was hopeful that offensive lineman Kenarious Gates (ankle) will be back to face the Rebels. He was able to practice with the second-string line on Tuesday.
They said it
“They’re going to be wounded and mad. But we’re wounded and mad, too.”
Etc. . . .
Center David Andrews played the best of the three true freshmen offensive linemen on Saturday, Richt said. Tackle Watts Dantzler and guard Hunter Long were the others. . . . Coaching great Jack Harbaugh attended Georgia’s practices and spoke to the Touchdown Club of Athens on Tuesday night.