Mark Richt gets new 5-year contract, Grantham extended 2 years

ATHENS — So much for a nice, slow Monday.

Last week, Georgia scheduled a press conference for football coach Mark Richt for today to discuss the relatively mundane details surrounding next week’s start to spring football practice. As it turned out, news came pouring in from multiple directions.

  • The day started with news breaking of starting cornerback Branden Smith’s arrest in South Alabama for marijuana possession. Richt confirmed that was the case and that he had spoken briefly with Smith. Later, AD Greg McGarity confirmed that the arrest would mean a mandatory suspension of up to two games at the discretion of the head coach.
  • UGA also released the news that it had reached agreements on new contracts for Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Richt received a new five-year deal that will extend him through the 2016 season. Financial details are “still being tweaked,” according to McGarity, but Richt is expected to receive a slight raise from the $2.81 million salary he currently receives. That does not include annual longevity bonuses that boost his earnings to more than $3 million annually. Grantham received a two-year contract extension that will guarantee his salary of at least $750,000 through the 2014 season.
  • As for on-the-field football business, Richt confirmed his decision to move wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell to cornerback for spring practice. Mitchell had said he was going to try to play both positions next fall. But because of position meeting conflicts and the challenge of learning the Bulldogs’ defensive system, Richt said he made the decision to have Mitchell work with the secondary full time when spring practice begins March 20. A decision for where Mitchell will line up in the fall has not been made.
  • Richt also confirmed the completion of the Bulldogs’ strength and conditioning staff. UGA hired Penn State’s head strength coach John Thomas as senior associate director under Joe Tereshinski and “speed specialist” Sherman Armstrong of Tampa as associate director.

303 comments Add your comment

bucket

March 12th, 2012
12:15 pm

I love UGA and I also have a ton of respect for the man that CMR is, but the off the field crap has got to stop.

jaxdawg

March 12th, 2012
12:20 pm

I’m confused…we’re moving our #1 receiver full time to CB?

GATA

March 12th, 2012
12:20 pm

The best WR to Corner? Im not sure that justifies a 5 year extension.

GATA

March 12th, 2012
12:23 pm

Moving Malcolm Mitchell to Defense is a mistake, that kid is special and showed it multiple times as a freshman while playing WR, why move him to defense?? Man, I hope CMR is doping the right thing

sammiamm

March 12th, 2012
12:25 pm

Enter your comments here

GATA#2

March 12th, 2012
12:25 pm

Let’s move Crowell to strong safety, how about Jarvis Jones to WR?? This makes no SENSE

sammiamm

March 12th, 2012
12:25 pm

@bucket.

Agreed.

Totally.

‘Nuff said.

Look

March 12th, 2012
12:26 pm

He was moved because of the lack of depth at corner…and lack is an understatement

Chalk

March 12th, 2012
12:27 pm

We have many capable recievers, especially Conley. The CB situation is dire however. Im glad he is moving MM to CB. At least on paper it looks good

UGASlobberknocker

March 12th, 2012
12:28 pm

Chip, Please tell us more abot the two strength coach hires Richt was talkng about today. Thanks

P_The_Ricker

March 12th, 2012
12:29 pm

tough call, but consider the how many experienced wrs UGA has returning in comparison to dbs…..especially for the 1st 2 games.

wrs: king, brown, bennett, conley, wooten
dbs: swann

that’s 5:1…..it’s unfortunately a no-brainer. if you kept mitchell at wr, it’d be 6:1

dbalcer

March 12th, 2012
12:30 pm

Mitchell played both ways in high school so this is a great move. We are deep at WR so that shouldn’t be an issue. With Smith’s bonehead move this is a smart idea.

sammiamm

March 12th, 2012
12:31 pm

@chalk

Agreed.

Speed and hands and can cover–even if he can’t tackle (yet).

Naysayers won’t be when MM starts hauling in INT’s and racking up the pick 6’s.

Agreed that he’s a heckuva WR, but with depth problems at CB, good move.

tape worm

March 12th, 2012
12:32 pm

Offense wins games, defense wins championships. I hope a five year contract extention is a wise choice. I have no problems with Grantham’s extention, he is what has made UGA somewhat relevant again.

Dawson Dave

March 12th, 2012
12:34 pm

With the kind of people Richt recruits, there will ALWAYS be character issues.

GTBob

March 12th, 2012
12:35 pm

So Richt went from the hot seat to a new 5 year contract after going 10-4, and losing to every good team he played? I guess that makes sense. With those expectations it is pretty much impossible for him to lose his job.

GADawg91

March 12th, 2012
12:36 pm

Is this a permanent move with Mitchell? He was very highly regarded as a CB coming out of HS but losing 2 SR CBs hurts a lot. Young guys get a great chance to step up and get some real playing time for 2013. Think WR will be ok though and Mitchell can still get some time there since he knows the offense.

bkbroila

March 12th, 2012
12:36 pm

Makes total sense….he is a weapon on offense, certainly…but he will make a Huge impact on defense as well…we have very capable receivers and he was the top ranked CB in the country out of high school…it will be nice to have a corner with some ball skills who does not let balls go through their hands 2 times/game….bacarri rambo had 8 ints…he has dropped 20 in his career…same with Sanders Commings….He is going to play offense, folks…but Richt having him focus totally on defense in the spring is a must! We have some damn fine receivers who picked up the slack nicely when he was out 3 games, including Florida….Cornerback…completely differ.ent storty…

CAPTIAN CRUNCH..............

March 12th, 2012
12:38 pm

Ya’ll really are looking good in the race for the Fulmer Cup….But the arrest of another Jailyard Dwag really isn’t worthy of being the lead story…..Actually, it should be on the back page along with all the other common stuff………….

blazerpunter

March 12th, 2012
12:38 pm

As someone from Valdosta who watched Malcom Mitchell play, he was naturally a DB who was moved to WR in high school to leverage his athleticism. He was a natural in the secondary with great insticts and I believe he was a nationally ranked DB before his senior year at WR.

Malcom is athletic enough to play both ways and if the playbook doesn’t change much (same OC as last few years in Bobo) then I don’t see why Malcom couldn’t still play quite a few snaps at WR too. He needs a full spring to pick up defensive schemes, etc. You also have to believe he will still probably go out with Aaron Murray during the summer and catch passes as well as probably line up against Murray to sharpen DB skills.

I think it is a smart play on Richt’s part to give him to defense full-time, at least for spring. I think this is a Win-Win for the Dawgs!!

UGASlobberknocker

March 12th, 2012
12:40 pm

@ bucket. you either are 75 yrs old, have never had any kids, or not been around anyone under the age of 35 in a long time How naive can you be?.. This is neither a shock, an outrage, or a prob beyond the suspension.

By “off the field crap “, are you suggesting that UGA is somehow recruiting the wrong people because some of them may secretly smoke weed? How would you determine who does and who doesnt?
,
Maybe we could just recruit only those players who not only promise that they dont smoke weed now, but absolutely positively promise on a stack of bibles never to smoke weed once they get to Athens. Maybe we even make them pinkie swear.

If wed o that, how would you enforce that? do you chaperone a 21 yr old man going to the beach on spring break?

lets talk about something important

If you are suggesting “a”, you need a reality check
If you are suggesting “b”, howis that possible and how do you minotor it..do you chaperone a 21 yr old man onhis trip to Fla?

I se

bgness

March 12th, 2012
12:41 pm

I’m guessing you guys don’t remember that Mitchell was recruited to play corner back when he was in high school… I mean our starting 2 corners just got suspended, what did you expect richt to do? Guys this wasn’t just the right move, this was the only move.

The Rest of the SEC

March 12th, 2012
12:42 pm

Same ole song and dance, Branden Smith writes another chapter in the UGA Player Arrests novel.

Never a dull moment in Athens :)

Eisendawg

March 12th, 2012
12:43 pm

Great move on Mitchell, considering his speed. At the rate we’re losing db’s, we may have to ask Richard Samuel to change positions one more time. lol

gt4ever

March 12th, 2012
12:43 pm

Wow, where else but UGA can a POS no class, no talent football coach make 750K… Priceless… The hits never quit in Athens….

Rainbow Tide Pride

March 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

MM will not play a down at the next level as a WR. His future is CB and he knows it along with everyone else that knows anything about FB. Not a big deal, he will still have plenty of catches for long yardage at UGA. Swann and MM will be great at the CB position and once SC and BS are back we should be good to go. UGA will make UM wish they had never entered the SEC.

NYCDAWGFAN

March 12th, 2012
12:46 pm

Fellow Dawgs,
Relax please. The move of Malcolm to the Secondary is no suprise… Please remember that the young man was recruited to play in the secondary… He was just gifted enough and the need for a play maker at Receiver pulled him to the offensive side of the ball… I’m pretty sure that he will play both ways and be dominate at both. During summer camp last year everyone was saying that he is the second coming of Champ Bailey and a lot of fans (myself included) called this heresy… Well after his freshman campaign I’m a believer. He is smart and has a drive that I think is probably the strongest on the team… I can’t find it now but, I remember Murray saying that Malcolm came into camp (last year) with 90% of the offensive playbook already in his memory bank…. That is simply amazing and when you look at the way he performed I don’t think it was an exageration or a lie. He will be fine.. Our team will be better for it in my honest opinion.. Sucks about Branden.. Damn bro what were you thinking..:O(

Red and Black til Death

Rainbow Tide Pride

March 12th, 2012
12:47 pm

gt4never: You got all wrong dude! Your whole program needs to go away with the product that your school puts on the field. BTW, top 5 D will get you paid.

bgness

March 12th, 2012
12:47 pm

That no talent coach shut down your high school offense.

Tim

March 12th, 2012
12:52 pm

I don’t blame the tekies for coming on here spouting their mindless dribble. I guess if I were a tek backer I would be upset as well being that you only beat Richt 1 time out of 10.
You might as well bet the farm on a big fat doughnut hole (zero, zilch, nada, o)teks chance the next 5 years of beating Richt.
As once stated in a very famous movie, “Looks like you’ll have to keep beating yoursel.” Go tek raw, raw!

gt4ever

March 12th, 2012
12:52 pm

you beat Nobody, and your defense stopped NOBODY….But you clowns keep drinking the grape kool aide…

K.Conway

March 12th, 2012
12:52 pm

UGA needs to recruit character instead of who runs the fastest! Cut this clown off the team!!!

@gt4ever

March 12th, 2012
12:52 pm

Well your coach PJ made 2,300,000. last year, and Richt has owned him, so that makes your no class, no talent, comment pretty silly. PS, you guys ever gonna win another bowl game?

Tuck Feck

March 12th, 2012
12:52 pm

Tech fans are funny people. YOU JOHNSON LOVERS need focus on your on program and its problems. I love that fact that NCAA turned your appeal down last week and the fact that high schools can recruit better that your coaching staff.

bgness

March 12th, 2012
12:53 pm

It sucks that B smith got arrested, but at least he didn’t do something awful, like rob someone, or assault someone. Smoking weed is bad, but I don’t think that reveals the true character of Smith. He’s probably just another player with too much time on his hands

Newnandawg

March 12th, 2012
12:53 pm

I’m booking my Outback Bowl revs for next year and looking forward to seeing Shreveport, LA in 2013.

bgness

March 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

Ummm pretty sure having a top ten D means we stopped somebody. stop being a DA

Rainbow Tide Pride

March 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

Have you ever noticed that Tech fans smell weird?

GTBob

March 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

I guess if I were a tek backer I would be upset as well being that you only beat Richt 1 time out of 10.

If Richt had stayed home then it still would have been 1 out of 10 or possibly 0 out of 10. Richt is the only reason GT has any chance at all.

Moobs Johnson

March 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

Nothing like rewarding mediocrity. UGA loves mediocre coaches like Andy Landers and Mark Richt. When rival schools support a coaching extension what does that tell you? Another cupcake schedule will mean another hollow 10 win season.

Matthews Dawg

March 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

Glad to see it finally happen! Great Job and now let’s go win it all!! Go Dawgs!!

but but but....I'm didn't do nothin

March 12th, 2012
12:56 pm

UGA sports blog
Report: Georgia cornerback Branden Smith arrested in Alabama

8:52 am March 12, 2012, by Chip Towers

Paul Midler

March 12th, 2012
12:56 pm

yada yada yada. UGA recruits the best players as does all other sec schools. Some of the players have questionable backgrounds. Unless CMR is with them 24/7 you will have these players get in trouble. Are the problems hurtful to the team….yes. It is what you get to have the best players. If CMR had perfect kids with no problems and we were a losing team, some of you would scream “why don’t we go after the best players.” Do we just throw anyone in at corner or try to put the best player there we can. Some of you would complain if you were hung with a new rope.

DawgNole

March 12th, 2012
12:56 pm

gt4ever: “you beat Nobody, and your defense stopped NOBODY . . . .”
_____________________

I think that’s what we’re saying–Tech is NOBODY. Glad you agree with us.

Gary

March 12th, 2012
12:56 pm

Moving Mitchell seems like the smart move to me seeing how we wont have our 2 starting corners for the first 2 games. we have a lot more depth at wr than we do cb. He can always go back to the other side of the ball when we get everybody back. Who better to cover than our fastest receiver who knows all the tricks of the trade?

Tim

March 12th, 2012
12:57 pm

Hey tekies, remind me of how many BCS Bowl games y’all have won again………. Poor tekies, it has to totally stink being a tekie with no back bone in this fight.

beanster

March 12th, 2012
12:57 pm

I happened to follow Branden Smith on Twitter for a few days before NSD. I didn’t learn much but what I could comprehend from his tweets was that he is fairly egocentric (almost to the point of speaking in the 3rd person) and that he likes to sleep, given that half his tweets were about taking a nap.

Not that those things necessarily equate to pot use but I had to wonder about someone who felt it necessary (and thought it important enough) to update the world every time he took a nap, how long he slept, whether or not it was good sleep, etc.

CMR — how many more chances will Branden Smith get to embarrass UGA?

docdawg

March 12th, 2012
12:58 pm

Mitchell is a great athlete as we saw last year, playing his second best position. He was a as you know the highest rated CB last year, and having watched him he`s a lock down with enough speed to make a play on the ball even when beaten on a route. Even the best, including Champ get beat once in awhile. This is a very intelligent move strategically, and by no means closes the door on his opportunity to play WR situationally. That`s what he did last year as well productively. There are more offensive weapons this year available, including both frosh backs who can catch and run in space well. Once the suspended CBs get back things may change, but a lock corner is important against Missouri, believe me.

dawginduluth

March 12th, 2012
12:58 pm

We have been sentenced to 5 more years of hell!

@bgness – ” Smoking weed is bad, but I don’t think that reveals the true character of Smith. He’s probably just another player with too much time on his hands.” Another Richt supporter. With fans like this, no wonder we’re in the crapper.

Tarlie Chrippi

March 12th, 2012
12:58 pm

The decision to have Mitchell practice with the defense full time during the spring is based solely on the complexity of the secondary schemes. By no means does this exclude him from offense. He plans to play both ways full-time. He’s only playing D in the spring b/c he is already familiar with the offense and can pick up adjustments more easily on that side of the ball.