Archive for March, 2012

Team leaders preach accountability as Georgia loses another player to transfer

ATHENS – The hits just keep coming for the Georgia Bulldogs.

For the second time in as many days, a player informed coach Mark Richt he was unhappy with his role on the team and is seeking a transfer.

Deas

Deas

Marc Deas, a redshirt sophomore safety from Kissimmee, Fla., has decided to quit the team due to lack of playing time and is seeking a transfer, Richt said Saturday. Deas joins junior defensive lineman Derrick Lott, who made a similar decision less than 24 hours earlier.

“It was really an almost identical situation,” Richt said. “[Deas] felt like he wasn’t going to get the opportunity to get the kind of playing time he was hoping for at Georgia. I think both kids love Georgia, and we love them. They just didn’t feel it was going to happen for them during the time frame that they were here. So they decided to move on and go where they feel like they’re going to have a better chance of playing. That’s their choice to make.”

Their choices came on the heels of news …

Continue reading Team leaders preach accountability as Georgia loses another player to transfer »

Sophomore safety Marc Deas latest Bulldog to quit, seek transfer

ATHENS — Georgia’s roster took another hit on Saturday.

Marc Deas, a redshirt sophomore safety from Kississimee, Fla., has decided to quit the team due to lack of playing time and is seeking a transfer, coach Mark Richt said after Saturday’s scrimmage.

“I talked to him yesterday and he said he just wasn’t getting the opportunity for playing time he’d hoped for,” Richt said.

Deas joins defensive lineman Derrick Lott, who made a similar decision on Friday.

That makes 11 players who have quit, been dismissed or are facing suspension since Georgia’s Jan. 1 bowl game.

More to come later. . . .

Continue reading Sophomore safety Marc Deas latest Bulldog to quit, seek transfer »

DL Derrick Lott becomes latest roster casualty for Bulldogs

ATHENS — Defensive lineman Derrick Lott has become the latest roster casualty for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Lott, a 6-foot4, 303-pound junior from Kennesaw, decided to transfer “in order to obtain more playing time,” according to an announcement Friday night by head coach Mark Richt. No word on where Lott is headed but, if it is on the FBS level (formerly Division 1) he will have to sit out a year.

Lott

Lott

“Derrick and I met and he believes he will have opportunities for more playing time elsewhere,” Richt said in a statement. “We support him and will assist in any way possible during this process.”

Lott could not be reached for comment. He was probably attending a show.

Lott played in just five career games. He concludes his UGA career with 10 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner spoke glowingly of Lott’s progress and abilities earlier this week. Though a career backup, Lott had tripped over some bad fortune — he ripped open his leg in a …

Continue reading DL Derrick Lott becomes latest roster casualty for Bulldogs »

Bobby Bowden on coaching: ‘Try raising 100 kids; it ain’t easy’

ATHENS – Bobby Bowden is a whole lot older, but he hasn’t changed a bit.

Bowden, 82, was at Georgia’s football complex Friday morning as the featured speaker for coach Mark Richt’s annual coaches’ clinic. The longtime Florida State coach, who had Richt as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator, for more than a decade, took a few minutes before that appointment to answer questions from the reporters who cover the Bulldogs.

His famous sense of humor was apparent as soon as he entered the interview room, at which time he said, “what are all you idiots doing here?”

AJC columnist Jeff Schultz shared a lot of what Bowden said about drug-testing and the behavior of modern student-athletes in his Friday column. But following is some of the other good stuff Bowden shared as he addressed the group for about 15 minutes:

  • On what he’s doing these days . . .

“That’s all I’m doing now, speaking all the time and playing golf. Gotta get back this afternoon. Got a golf game. Sleep …

Continue reading Bobby Bowden on coaching: ‘Try raising 100 kids; it ain’t easy’ »

Football update: Malcolm Mitchell works at receiver, Corey Moore impresses at safety

ATHENS — After absorbing the first volley of questions from reporters about suspensions and drug policies and the like, Georgia coach Mark Richt on Thursday asked the rhetorical question, “anybody want to talk some football?”

There wasn’t a lot of new stuff, but here’s what Richt had to say on the following subjects:

  • Malcolm Mitchell got his first work of spring at wide receiver and is starting to truly play both ways at cornerback and receiver. . . .

“We allowed Malcolm to play a little offense as well. Any time he wasn’t losing a rep on defense, we tried to get him to jump over there and get a little work on offense, which was good. He enjoyed it. You could tell he was a little tired but, if he’s going to play both ways he’s got to get into condition for something like that. I thought he did a good job.”

Richt said Mitchell is getting opportunities as a return man as well.

  • Who’s standing out at the moment? . . .

“A lot of good things happening out there, but one guy in …

Continue reading Football update: Malcolm Mitchell works at receiver, Corey Moore impresses at safety »

Georgia coach Mark Richt sidesteps questions on player suspensions

ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt didn’t shed much light on the Bulldogs’ suspension situation when he addressed an unusually large media contingent at the end of Thursday’s practice. In fact, he didn’t as much as flick on a flashlight.

Richt would not even confirm that there are new suspensions despite numerous report Thursday that at least two of Georgia’s defensive stars have run afoul of the athletic association’s drug policy.

“I can’t confirm anything,” Richt told more than a dozen reporters and two Atlanta television news crews. “I’m just going to be waiting for us to go through our process. When there’s something to report, I’ll report it to everybody.”

Earlier Thursday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was able to confirm that All-America safety Bacarri Rambo is facing a four-game suspension for failing a UGA-administered drug test this week. Rambo’s high school coach, Alan Ingram of Seminole County, said it was Rambo’s second violation of Georgia’s drug policy …

Continue reading Georgia coach Mark Richt sidesteps questions on player suspensions »

Baccari Rambo will be suspended 4 games after positive test for marijuana

ATHENS — Bacarri Rambo will miss the first four games of the coming football season after testing positive for marijuana use, his high school coach confirmed Thursday.

Rambo

Rambo

Seminole County coach Alan Ingram told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Rambo accidentally consumed some brownies containing pot during a spring break trip to Panama City Beach two weeks ago. Because Rambo had violated Georgia’s alcohol and drug policy last year — that resulted in a one-game suspension to open last season — he is subjected to random tests by UGA. He was tested recently and that sample came back positive.

According to UGA’s 2011-12 student-athlete handbook, a second offense of the athletic association’s drug policy calls for a suspension from 30 percent of competition dates. That means Rambo, an All-American safety, will be out for games against Buffalo, Missouri, Florida Atlantic and Vanderbilt.

“He’s just tore up about it,” said Alan Ingram, Rambo’s coach at Seminole County High in …

Continue reading Baccari Rambo will be suspended 4 games after positive test for marijuana »

Roster attrition occurring at alarming rate for Georgia football

ATHENS – Georgia has agreed on a new five-year contract for football coach Mark Richt, so clearly the UGA administration is happy with the job he’s doing. But one thing the Bulldogs’ 12-year coach appears to struggle with is simply keeping his players around.

If reports are true that defensive stars Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo are suspended for multiple games to start this season — UGA has yet to confirm or deny them — then it continues a trend of roster attrition that has occurred at an alarming rate the past few years.

Reviewing AJC archives over the past four years, these latest suspensions would bring to 28 the number of players who will not be playing for the Bulldogs at the beginning of the 2012 season who otherwise would be eligible.

Since January, the Bulldogs have lost 13 players to transfer, disciplinary punishment or inability to achieve academic eligibility. That number balloons to 19 including losses off of last year’s roster.

Here’s what I’ve been able to …

Continue reading Roster attrition occurring at alarming rate for Georgia football »

Report: Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo suspended for multiple games

ATHENS — The Georgia Bulldogs may have lost two more front-line defensive players to suspensions.

The website Dawgpost.com, citing “multiple sources inside the Bulldogs’ football program,” is reporting that All-American safety Bacarri Rambo and starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree have been suspended “two to four games” for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity refused to confirm or deny the report. “No comment at this time,” he said Thursday morning.

If true, that will make four defensive starters who are suspended for early-season games for the Bulldogs. Starting cornerback Sanders Commings already has been suspended for first two games after his conviction for simple battery and disorderly conduct. The other starting corner, senior Branden Smith, is facing a suspension of at least one game for his recent arrest for marijuana possession.

Three other players — including two more defensive backs — were dismissed from the team in …

Continue reading Report: Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo suspended for multiple games »

More miscues from Diamond Dogs lead to 10-5 loss to Clemson

ATHENS — First there was left-fielder Hunter Cole’s throwing error that led to a run in the first inning. Then there was third baseman Curt Powell air-mailing a throw to first in the fourth inning. Shortly thereafter Cole let a ground ball get under his glove and roll all the way to the wall.

After the weekend Georgia just had up at Vanderbilt, this was the last thing that coach David Perno wanted — or expected — to see.

Instead it was more of the same. The Bulldogs committed three errors and threw in six walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball on the way to losing to Clemson 10-5 Tuesday night at Foley Field.

It was the third loss in a row for Georgia (17-9, 3-3 SEC), which plays host to No. 10 Kentucky (25-1, 5-1 SEC) for a three-game set this weekend. Clemson improves to 12-11.

“That kind of stuff we did this [past] weekend has a hangover effect,” Perno said. “It really does. We’re down, the guys are tired, [Clemson] played great and we didn’t play well. It’s that simple. If …

Continue reading More miscues from Diamond Dogs lead to 10-5 loss to Clemson »

UPDATED: Hines Ward says he wants to help Bulldogs win a national championship

Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Hines Ward (R) talks to Georgia coach Mark Richt during Tuesday's spring practice in Athens. A recent NFL retiree, Ward is trying to decide if college coaching is a career he wants to pursue. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Hines Ward (R) talks to Georgia coach Mark Richt during Tuesday's spring practice in Athens. A recent NFL retiree, Ward is trying to decide if college coaching is a career he wants to pursue. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Hines Ward was a visitor at Georgia’s spring football practice on Tuesday, but you had to look hard to find him.

Dressed head-to-toe in Bulldogs’ coaching garb, unless you looked very closely it was impossible to distinguish him from any number of assistant coaches, grad assistants, managers or trainers. But Ward wasn’t trying to be incognito. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ star and recent NFL retiree came to his alma mater to try to get an idea whether college coaching would be a vocation he cared to pursuit.

“He just wanted to come over and spend the day with me and kind of see what coaching was like,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who played all four years at Georgia with Ward (1994-97). “He’s …

Continue reading UPDATED: Hines Ward says he wants to help Bulldogs win a national championship »

UGA’s Branden Smith hires attorney, could fight charges

ATHENS – Georgia has yet to announce a punishment for Branden Smith, who was arrested on March 11 in South Alabama for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and there may be a good reason.

There are indications Smith may fight the charge.

Smith, a senior cornerback from Atlanta, recently retained an attorney and an April 24 court date has been set for a bench trial. A “bench trial” is when a judge hears a case and rules on it without a jury. Smith was originally scheduled to face the charges on April 10.

Smith’s lawyer, Hamp Baxley of Dothan, Ala., said they have not yet decided how to proceed with the case.

“We haven’t made any decision about whether he’s going to plead or find some alternative dispute resolution or what,” Baxley said Tuesday. “We’re at the very beginning of the process right now.”

Baxley declined to comment on the details surrounding Smith’s arrest because “my client hasn’t given me authorization to make any comments about it. All I can …

Continue reading UGA’s Branden Smith hires attorney, could fight charges »

Ten@10: CB Damian Swann wants to join UGA’s other dual-sport athletes

Sophomore cornerback Damian Swann is also a fleet-footed center fielder in baseball and says he would like to go out for Georgia's baseball team next year. (UGA photo)

Sophomore cornerback Damian Swann is also a fleet-footed center fielder in baseball and says he would like to go out for Georgia's baseball team next year. (UGA photo)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia defensive back Damian Swann says he wants to play baseball. The rising sophomore cornerback was an all-star center fielder at Grady High School and played travel ball under his father all his life.

“I talked to Coach Eller about it,” said Swann, referring to baseball assistant coach Jason Eller. “Coach Eller recruited me in baseball the summer before I came [to UGA]. He liked what he saw. He told me if I wanted to play it’d be up to Coach Richt and I could come out and try.”

Swann has yet to have that conversation with the Bulldogs’ coach, and right now football is a high priority for him. The former AJC Super 11 selection played in 10 games as a true freshman and is being counted on to fill the void left by suspended starters Sanders Commings and Branden Smith. Swann said he …

Continue reading Ten@10: CB Damian Swann wants to join UGA’s other dual-sport athletes »

Bulldogs counting on Kenarious Gates to come through once again

Right now it looks like it will be junior Kenarious Gates who will be protecting quarterback Aaron Murray's blind side in 2012. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Right now it looks like it will be junior Kenarious Gates who will be protecting quarterback Aaron Murray's blind side in 2012. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

ATHENS — There are a lot of question marks along Georgia’s offensive line. But there is at least one thing we know for certain: Kenarious Gates is going to be an integral part of it.

That has pretty much been that case with Gates ever since he showed up. Though he was a late addition to the 2010 recruiting class — he snapped up UGA’s last-minute offer on the eve of national signing day — Gates started three games as a true freshman and has played in every game ever since for which he was physically able.

Now a 6-foot-5, 328-pound junior, Gates’ role becomes even more significant this season. He opened spring camp as the Bulldogs’ first option at the all-important left tackle position. He is heir apparent to Cordy Glenn, who has graduated and moved on to the NFL after protecting quarterback Aaron Murray’s blind side last …

Continue reading Bulldogs counting on Kenarious Gates to come through once again »

Jarvis Jones: ‘We’re gonna … try to be the best defense in the nation’

Ryan Black covered spring football practice in Athens for the AJC on Saturday and filed this report:

ATHENS — Jarvis Jones accomplished a lot last season. He was named to nearly every All-American team. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award. And he led the SEC in sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (19.5) for a Georgia team that won the Eastern Division.

But if Jones doesn’t replicate those stats and accolades in 2012, he said he will have failed to live up to his own lofty expectations.

“I can do better than I did last year,” Jones said after Georgia’s first full-pads session of spring practice Saturday. “I’ve definitely got to improve myself. . . . Anything less than what I did last year is a failure.”

Coming off such a dominant first season as a Bulldog after redshirting in 2010, Jones was asked if he feels he is now “the face” of Georgia’s defense. Always quick to deflect attention from himself, he dismissed that notion in favor of a team-oriented …

Continue reading Jarvis Jones: ‘We’re gonna … try to be the best defense in the nation’ »

UGA expects OG Kolton Houston to have his eligibility restored

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt remains vague about the “NCAA issue” that kept Kolton Houston sidelined all last season. But as evidenced by Houston’s regular presence with the No. 1 offense at left guard during spring camp, the Bulldogs obviously expect to have him for the coming season.

“We anticipate him to be able to play, but it’s not set in stone yet on him,” Richt said.

Houston

Houston

Houston is listed as a redshirt sophomore in Georgia’s spring media guide, even though he has not played since he has been with the Bulldogs. The Buford native was redshirted in 2010, his initial year of eligibility, then appeared to be a rising star in 2011. He was listed as backup to Kenarious Gates at left guard heading into preseason camp.

But by the time the season began, Houston had dropped off the depth chart. Richt has never referred to Houston as “suspended,” only that he was ineligible due to “an NCAA issue.” Requests to interview Houston have been denied since last fall.

The NCAA can …

Continue reading UGA expects OG Kolton Houston to have his eligibility restored »

Fast-growing Ray Drew believes versatility is his ticket to football future

Sophomore Ray Drew is now playing with 270 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame and hopes to be between 285 and 290 by the time he leaves Georgia. (UGA photo)

Sophomore Ray Drew is now playing with 270 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame and hopes to be between 285 and 290 by the time he leaves Georgia. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt was raving the other day about how much Ray Drew has grown since he has been with the Bulldogs. If Drew’s progress on the field matches his physical maturity, NFL scouts soon may be raving about Drew as well.

Thanks in large part to his metamorphosis from the athletic, 6-foot-5, 245-pounder he was when he showed up to the hulking 270-pounder he is in spring football practice this week, the Bulldogs have moved Drew down onto the defensive line. He played last season as a will outside linebacker, a stand-up position that occasionally plays on the line of scrimmage.

Now he’s lining up at defensive end, which in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s scheme is played with a hand on the ground and sometimes well inside toward the interior of the opposing offensive line. Senior Cornelius Washington, …

Continue reading Fast-growing Ray Drew believes versatility is his ticket to football future »

Mitchell finds meeting room more challenging than field in DB transition

ATHENS – This is not the first time Malcolm Mitchell made a dramatic preseason switch of positions. When Rance Gillespie showed up as the new coach at Valdosta High, one of his first moves was to move Mitchell from cornerback and make him a full-time wide receiver.

Two years later, Mitchell is making a similar move, only this time it’s with the Georgia Bulldogs and it’s from offense to defense.

“We went backwards with it,” said Gillespie, who wanted to feature Mitchell in his new spread offensive attack at Valdosta. “I felt like he was probably an offensive player. Having to learn an entire new offense, we concentrated with him on the offensive side of the ball. Once he got that down, we did move him back over to defense later in the year. Maybe the sixth or seventh game, we started spot-playing him on defense and as we got deeper into the season he played more and more both ways.”

Gillespie’s move proved genius. Mitchell nearly matched the state record for …

Continue reading Mitchell finds meeting room more challenging than field in DB transition »

No new surprises for Georgia as second spring practice underway

ATHENS – Back at “The Butts” today covering Georgia’s second spring football practice. There’s not a lot of new info but I’ll supply some quick updates. In the meantime, I’ll clean out my notebook from yesterday’s first practice:

  • Yesterday I reported that Georgia’s No. 1 offensive line starting out is LT Kenarious Gates, LG Kolton Houston, C David Andrews, RG Chris Burnette and RT Watts Dantzler. For what it’s worth, the second line looks like this: LT Mark Beard, LG Dallas Lee, C Hugh Williams, RG Hunter Long and RT Austin Long. So you’ve got a walkon at center and brothers playing side-by-side on the right.
  • Same players wearing green: WR Rhett McGowan, WR Chris Conley, OT Xzavier Ward, OT Zach DeBell, OLB Sterling Bailey.
  • Linebacker Ramik Wilson was not at practice for the second straight day due to a “a personal, private issue,” according to Richt. He was not ready to divulge the reason for Wilson’s absence but did say it was not a disciplinary situation. We’re supposed to …

Continue reading No new surprises for Georgia as second spring practice underway »

UGA’s Sanders Commings sentenced to probation and counseling

ATHENS – Sanders Commings’ legal troubles are officially behind him.

Georgia’s senior cornerback, who was arrested on domestic violence charges in January, had his court case resolved before Athens-Clarke County Judge Charles Auslander in Magistrate Court on Tuesday afternoon. Commings pleaded guilty to simple battery and disorderly conduct, was sentenced to 12 months probation and fined $200 plus surcharges, Athens-Clarke County General Solicitor C.R. Chisholm confirmed.

Commings was also ordered to do 40 hours of community service, undergo anger management counseling and a substance abuse evaluation and will be subject to random drug and alcohol screenings. He was also ordered to have no contact with his victim. Commings was granted first-offender treatment so his probation will be waived once he satisfies the orders of the court.

“Commings was not treated any differently than anybody else in his situation,” Chisholm said Wednesday morning. “His sentence was …

Continue reading UGA’s Sanders Commings sentenced to probation and counseling »

Georgia draws first blood in Tech series, beats Jackets 7-1

ATHENS — They play a lot of games in baseball, hence all the cliches about “it’s just another game” and “we just want to win the next one.”

But the Georgia Bulldogs kept their mundane catch phrases in their bat bags Tuesday night at Foley Field. After defeating rival Georgia Tech 7-1 — their first victory in the last four games in the series on their home turf — they didn’t mind letting loose with a little exhortation.

“It’s by far the best experience I’ve ever had on the mound,” said freshman pitcher David Sosebee, who started and pitched three scoreless innings to get the win. “I didn’t really understand the rivalry. It’s hard to understand when you’re up in the stands. But being down here in the dugout and being out there on the field is a totally different story. It’s such an adrenalin rush.”

Said center fielder Connor Welton, a sophomore out of Atlanta’s Wesleyan School: “I played with about 10 of their guys growing up. A couple of them went to my high school. We know all …

Continue reading Georgia draws first blood in Tech series, beats Jackets 7-1 »

Isaiah Crowell proud to be No. 1, wants to make ‘run for Heisman’

Here’s the story on tailbacks and Isaiah Crowell in particular that I filed for print Tuesday night. . . .

ATHENS — Isaiah Crowell’s Georgia teammates bragged on his effort and attitude during the offseason. Apparently his coaches like what they’ve seen and heard as well.

The Bulldogs opened spring practice Tuesday, and Crowell, an enigmatic tailback from Columbus, was the first to line up with the No. 1 offense. “That’s where he’s starting out,” Georgia coach Mark Richt confirmed without elaboration.

That’s a significant development as Crowell ended the 2011 season not only on the sideline, but also in the doghouse. So unsure was the Bulldogs’ situation at tailback that they recruited two prospects to the position, which for a time raised the number on scholarship to seven.

That number dropped to six Tuesday. Rising senior Carlton Thomas informed Richt Tuesday morning of his intention to transfer.

“Carlton has decided to move on,” Richt said. “He came …

Continue reading Isaiah Crowell proud to be No. 1, wants to make ‘run for Heisman’ »

TB Isaiah Crowell working with No. 1 offense at outset of spring practice

ATHENS – Quick observations from my first (short) glimpse of Georgia’s spring football practice. We only got about 20 minutes, but here goes:

  • When they initially broke out into teamwork, the tailback rotation went as follows: sophomore Isaiah Crowell first, then senior Richard Samuel, then sophomore Ken Malcome, then true freshman Keith Marshall. Not sure if it means anything or not but that’s the way they went in and out as they worked fast through two-minute drill. . . . In case you missed it earlier, rising senior Carlton Thomas has decided to leave the team while seeking a transfer.
  • Samuel, who had two ankle surgeries following the Florida game last fall, was limping noticeably but working throughout.
  • Malcolm Mitchell, as expected, was working exclusively with the defensive backs and looking good doing it. His 6-foot-1 frame looks taller working with among the DBs. He made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder, one-handed grab during one drill. Had on white jersey and didn’t …

Continue reading TB Isaiah Crowell working with No. 1 offense at outset of spring practice »

Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas decides to transfer

ATHENS – Georgia’s tailback competition thinned out before it ever got started.

Carlton Thomas, a rising senior from Frostproof, Fla., has decided to transfer. He would have been one of seven tailbacks on scholarship for the Bulldogs this coming fall.

“This decision was based solely on the fact that this is my last year to play and my parents and I felt it was the right move to make,” said Thomas, who was suspended for three games for team rules violations last season. “I want to make more of an impact on the field. I didn’t want to disrupt Georgia’s team and preparation for next season, so I made the final decision to leave earlier rather than later in the year.”

Thomas played in 27 games with two starts. He leaves Georgia with 725 yards on 159 carries and four touchdowns.

No word yet on where Thomas might transfer.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt said Thomas informed running backs coach Bryan McClendon of his intentions Monday night, then met with Richt in his office at …

Continue reading Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas decides to transfer »

Ten@10: UGA’s Richard Samuel advises not to forget about him at tailback

Georgia's Richard Samuel was a force to be reckoned with at tailback in the fourth quarter against Florida last October. (AJC photo by Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com)

Georgia's Richard Samuel was a force to be reckoned with at tailback in the fourth quarter against Florida last October. (AJC photo by Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. There will be white-hot focus on tailbacks Isaiah Crowell and Keith Marshall when Georgia opens its spring football camp later this afternoon. But senior Richard Samuel made it clear he doesn’t plan on shrinking away in the background.

Asked if he felt like those other two are commanding all the attention heading into spring ball, Samuel said: “I feel like they do, but it doesn’t bother me. I feel like my work ethic and what I do on the practice field will carry over to the game field and show that I’m still there.”

Samuel (6-foot-2, 235 pounds) said he considers himself a leader among the running backs and plans on conducting himself that way.

“I feel like I’ll be able to show them what kind of practice and what kind of effort needs to go into preparation every day in order to get better,” …

Continue reading Ten@10: UGA’s Richard Samuel advises not to forget about him at tailback »

UGA’s Aaron Murray: ‘Nobody’s on hotseat or worrying about that’

Quarterback Aaron Murray says stronger internal leadership and a lot of returning talent has Georgia confident about its prospects next season. (AP photo)

Quarterback Aaron Murray says stronger internal leadership and a lot of returning talent has Georgia confident about its prospects next season. (AP photo)

Q&A WITH GEORGIA QUARTERBACK AARON MURRAY

Today is the first day of Georgia’s spring football practice. So what better way to kick it off than a question-and-answer session with quarterback Aaron Murray?

I actually sat down and talked to the rising junior from Tampa earlier this month, along with several other reporters, shortly before the Bulldogs concluded mat drills and adjourned for spring break. Murray and some buddies were heading down to Key West for a few days, then returning to re-focus and get prepared for 15 practices over the next three and a half weeks.

Following are some highlights from our conversation. I’ll have a football-heavy “Ten at 10″ blog posting later and, of course, will be at practice late Tuesday afternoon. So be sure to check back often today. For now, here’s Aaron . . .

Q: Have y’all come up …

Continue reading UGA’s Aaron Murray: ‘Nobody’s on hotseat or worrying about that’ »

Herschel Walker statue ‘not a priority right now’ for UGA

Rob Saye (L) started the 'Herschel Walker Statue Project' on Facebook and created quite a stir. (Photo by Rob Saye)

Rob Saye (L) started the 'Herschel Walker Statue Project' on Facebook and created quite a stir. (Photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS — What about Frank Sinkwich? What about Charley Trippi? What about outstanding individual athletes in Georgia’s 14 sports other than football.

That’s the problem Greg McGarity has with the “Herschel Walker Statue Project.”

Is the Heisman Trophy winner and star player on the Bulldogs’ 1980 national championship team deserving of a statue? Absolutely, McGarity says.

But are not those aforementioned individuals also?

“You have to look at the program as a whole, with all sports,” McGarity said Friday. “Once you make a decision to single out certain individuals for accomplishments, then what is the domino effect? We have 14 other sports here that have had some tremendous accomplishments from certain individuals. There are just so many moving pieces that it just has to be an institutional decision. Right now there has been no discussion about that.”

Rob Saye, …

Continue reading Herschel Walker statue ‘not a priority right now’ for UGA »

Ten@10: Buyout, compensation are sticky issues for Mark Richt’s contract

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity made a point to mention that football coach Mark Richt is not receiving merely a contract extension, but a whole new deal.

To say “extension” is to imply that additional years are simply being added to the the existing contract. That’s not at all the case. And the simple fact that UGA and Richt’s representation — Lonnie Cooper and Mark Carmony of Career Sports & Entertainment, Inc. — have been dickering over the details since the first week of December underscores that.

“It is a different contract,” McGarity said of the five-year deal that will pay Richt through the 2016 season. “In other words, we’re blowing up the old contract. I shouldn’t say blowing up, but we’re basically starting over with new terminology and things like that that will probably make it easier to read, easier to understand.”

The most important “terminology” in the new contract will be the buyout clause. In other words, what will Georgia owe Richt …

Continue reading Ten@10: Buyout, compensation are sticky issues for Mark Richt’s contract »

Despite latest arrest, Georgia insists it doesn’t have discipline problem

Note: There will be a “Ten at 10″ this week but it has been moved to Wednesday . . .

ATHENS — After having one of their better years in a while in regard to off-field problems for players, trouble is starting to stack up a little for Georgia.

Branden Smith’s arrest for marijuana possession in South Alabama Sunday night represented the second arrest of UGA football player this year — cornerback Sanders Commings was arrested for a domestic violence incident in January — and third if one counts tight end Orson Charles’ arrest for DUI last week (Charles declared for the NFL draft and not an official member of the team).

And that’s just players who have run into trouble from the law. Head coach Mark Richt dismissed three players from the team in January for stealing from a teammate.

But Richt doesn’t believe there is a lack of discipline in the program and contends that the Bulldogs are stricter than most programs when it comes to keeping players in line.

“When guys do make …

Continue reading Despite latest arrest, Georgia insists it doesn’t have discipline problem »

New contracts, Malcolm Mitchell to defense highlight UGA spring football

UGA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – As expected, the University of Georgia on Monday announced contract extensions for head football coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

Richt, who has been the Bulldogs’ coach for 11 years, received a three-year extension that will pay him through the end of the 2016 season. Grantham, who just completed his second season at Georgia, had two years added to make his a three-year deal through the 2014 season.

“I’ve never really changed my stance on how I feel about Georgia from the first day I got the opportunity to be here,” Richt said during a news conference Monday at UGA’s Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. “My goal and my wife Katharyn’s goal was to build our life in Athens and raise our children here and finish my coaching career here. That thought has never changed for me.”

The deals – which essentially are new contracts – are expected to include modest salary increases, though UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity said …

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