Sanders Commings: ‘Missing games probably easiest part’

Having defensive back Sanders Commings to play either cornerback or safety is a big deal for Georgia's defense. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

Having defensive back Sanders Commings to play either cornerback or safety is a big deal for Georgia's defense. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS — Georgia senior cornerback Sanders Commings, his two-game suspension served, has been cleared to play in Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic. A two-year starter at boundary corner, Commings was listed Tuesday as the the backup to Malcolm Mitchell at that position. He could play some at safety.

But Commings’ assignments in his first game back was the not primary topic of conversation as the Augusta native spoke to media for the first time since his late January arrest for domestic battery. Commings spoke candidly about how much it hurt having his previously spotless reputation sullied and being unable to compete with his teammates.

“That was the biggest punishment,” Commings said, “what I had to go through off the field, what I had to put my family through, the university through, all of that. Missing the games, that was probably the easiest part of the punishment.”

Commings said he actually appealed his two-game suspension but had “waited too late.” The athletic department, he said, didn’t want it to look as though he was being reinstated “to ensure a win against Missouri.”

Junior outside linebacker Chase Vasser also returns this week from a two-game suspension for a May DUI arrest. UGA said he’ll be available for interviews after practice Tuesday evening.

Commings was accused of striking a woman with whom he’d had a long-term relationship during a late-night argument in downtown Athens on Jan. 21. Commings eventually plead guilty to simple battery and disorderly conduct and was sentenced to a year of probation and counseling.

Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked to about the decision to suspend Commings two games.

“Well, I’ll just say that I think Sanders, after listening to everything and hearing everything, I felt like he did deserve to stay on the team,” Richt said. “He needed to be disciplined for what he did. The amount of time that was spent was appropriate. It’s one thing to miss a game. That hurts them and they don’t like that. But part of the punishment is also what you have to live with as a person because of all the attention that it gets. You’ve got to look your parents in the eye, you’ve got to look your teammates and coaches in the eye, you’ve got to go to class. I mean, there’s a lot of embarrassment to what happens when everything comes to light and is talked about over and over and over.

“He certainly didn’t behave as he should and he’s paid his debt to society, he’s paid his debt to the program, in my opinion, and I’m glad he’s handled everything the way he’s handled it. I think he’ll move on and be a real positive person and a positive teammate.”

Following are some of Commings’ other comments from his first interview opportunity since his arrest:

Q: How have the last few months been?

“They’ve been tough. At the same time I’ve been patiently waiting, practicing, making sure I’m ready when I finally got to come back.

Q: What was worst thing about it?

“The toughest part was probably watching the Missouri game. Our guys were so pumped up. It was an environment you want to play in, a hostile environment. But I was glad we got the win.”

Q: Were you relieved that Georgia won?

“I was. I’d have pretty down if we would’ve lost. I could’ve contributed and helped us win.”

Q: Where did you watch game and with whom?

“I was here, watching at home. I watched it Jeremy Longo. He came into town and watched it with me.”

Q: What do you take away from this situation?

“It was pretty tough. But it’s been a learning experience. . . . I’ve learned that I need to put myself around people who bring the best out of me. That’s about it.

Q: How will you be incorporated back into the defense?

“I’ll be bouncing around from safety to boundary to everywhere really. Wherever I can help the team.”

Q: Have you ever looked more forward to a Tuesday practice?

“I was looking forward to yesterday’s practice and it was basically a walk-through.”

Q: Were you concerned that you may be dismissed from the team?

“No, I wasn’t worried [about being able to return] because I’ve stayed out of trouble since I’ve been here and, you know, the coaches know the story behind what happened. So I wasn’t really worried about that.”

Q: What was your initial reaction to hearing a two-game suspension?

“I was surprised because, like I said, of what really happened. But anytime a player is arrested for anything there has to be a suspension.”

Q: Did you appeal your suspension?

“I did. But I waited too late to appeal it.”

Q: When did you appeal it?

“A couple of weeks ago.”

Q: Could it have been reduced?

“It was a possibility. There was a chance. But we didn’t want it to seem like I was coming back just so we could win.”

Q: What do you mean “too late?”

“If they had flipped it at the last second it would have been like I was just coming back to ensure the win against Missouri, rather than if I had done it months ago, back in the summer. That would’ve been different.”

Q: When did you find out exactly you wouldn’t be traveling to Missouri?

“Wednesday or a Thursday, I can’t remember exactly.”

Q: Has this affected your relationship with Coach Richt?

“He definitely forgave me way back. We’ve been close ever since the situation. So the situation is over and done with and I’m just looking forward.”

Q: How do you believe it will affect the team going forward?

“Really I just think we have more depth now because the other guys stepped in and played and they played well. Even if all of us were playing, maybe we would have done a little better because we were more experienced than some of the guys that got to play, but those guys played lights out.”

Q: Do you feel like you have to be exceptionally impressive since you lost playing time?

“No. I’m just anxious more than anything. I’m not really trying to go out there and show off. I’m just trying to do what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here and that’s work hard and practice and execute on Saturdays.

Q: Will you play corner or safety?

“I’m working both right now in practice. I’m not sure how it will work.”

Q: Could you have refused interviews today?

“I could have but you can’t run forever. Might as well get over with.”

Q: Do you think you’re game ready?

“I feel pretty prepared. Our coaches do a great job of making sure everybody’s prepared. So I don’t feel any less prepared than if I had played the last two games.”

Q: How did your parents react?

“They backed me. They told me just learn from this and move forward. When you get back on the field, make sure everybody knows it.”

MORE ON GEORGIA FOOTBALL

153 comments Add your comment

Al

September 11th, 2012
3:22 pm

Chip
How come there has been no report on AJC about the gun found in Crowell’s car? It’s being reported that it was stolen

North Georgia Dawg

September 11th, 2012
3:37 pm

We could use him at both positions, that’s for sure. At the moment, though, I would say he is more needed at safety because of the struggles Norman has had. He almost gave up a hail mary at the half against Missouri.

RxDawg

September 11th, 2012
3:51 pm

Very good, very candid interview. I actually like Commings more now.

FRANK LANE

September 11th, 2012
3:53 pm

I am a big Norman fan, but must admit that he has scared me in the first two games.

Was the long pass against Bowman Saturday bad coverage by the corner or did the safety miss an assignment to pick him the receiver up?

Dawg Haus

September 11th, 2012
3:56 pm

I think Commings should stick to safety till Rambo gets back. Mitchell did a great job at corner on Saturday. Welcome back, Sanders! GATA!

ARdawg

September 11th, 2012
4:16 pm

Welcome back Sanders! Look forward to seeing your contribution to the Dawgs. GATA

Blue Ridge Dawg

September 11th, 2012
4:29 pm

@FRANK LANE- Bowman got flat beat. Norman had double coverage on the far wide. Bowman had man coverage and did the cardinal sin and looked up at the qb and took his eye off the reciever. However, Norman’s speed hurt us on the other td. He couldve had a stop at the 7 yard line but couldnt close. All in all, these guys have done extremely well!! GO DAWGS!!

outkasted

September 11th, 2012
4:31 pm

@ Frank Lane
bad coverage by the corner he missed on the bump in the bump and un and actually williams was on that side and took the outside receiver yes Norman as not been up to par but that wasn’t his fault

outkasted

September 11th, 2012
4:32 pm

yeah blue ridge is right

Blue Ridge Dawg

September 11th, 2012
4:35 pm

@Al- The hand gun’s serial number was scratched.. Hmmm… Im not a detective, but pretty sure that means its stolen…. I think it’s time we just let Mr. Crowell go on his way and hope he does well…. But just to add to that, do anyone happen to see his attitude on tv during the game?? Well, he was still acting like a punk… Pretty sure TODD GURLEY is replacing him just fine… GO DAWGS!!!

Chip Towers

September 11th, 2012
4:48 pm

Al: Because I’m not a cops reporter. I saw the ABH report. I think we all pretty much knew since the serial number was scratched off the gun was stolen. I’m keeping up with the Crowell case only on a bottom-line basis. The DA hasn’t even decided if he’ll prosecute. Covering football right now. But thanks.

ARdawg

September 11th, 2012
4:52 pm

Crowell doesn’t play football in Georgia. Best of luck to the kid but really, what does it matter? Who other than Ms Crowell really cares?

OkieDawg

September 11th, 2012
5:17 pm

I’m glad Commngs is back…that should make us even better. But there is a bright spot in Georgia’s secondary that has been largely overlooked. And that is the excellent tackling. Georgia misses far fewer tackles than in the Willie Martinez Daze.

I was reminded of how far we have come as a good tackling team when I watched the poor tackling in the Texas A&M vs Florida game. The poor tackling brought back many bad memories…Martinez, the 2008 GT game, Martinez, most of the Florida games in the Martinez days, Martinez…

I think Willie has taken his talents to Auburn…does it show? Last year, the Oklahoma secondary cost them dearly.

We’ve got some excellent coaching on the defensive side of the ball.

croomy

September 11th, 2012
5:34 pm

it was good that the other kids got to play they got experience,but know we need our starters back for the stretch n the SEC go dawgs(old man football)

Truthiness

September 11th, 2012
5:37 pm

This incident has been handled about as well as it could be. Commings paid the penalty, admitted his mistake, and is ready to move on for the right reasons. I can’t condone his behavior that led to the suspension. But all we can judge now is what he does with this new start. He’s a senior and should be a team leader. I hope he steps up for himself and the team.

Rick James

September 11th, 2012
6:31 pm

@Al

Chip
How come there has been no report on AJC about the gun found in Crowell’s car? It’s being reported that it was stolen
—————————————————————————————————————————–
What difference does it make? If thats what being reported and you want confirmation why dont you go the Athens police department? Crowell has been punished by the school and most Georgia fans are past it.Tech fans wont go over it until they beat Georgia again.

Rick James

September 11th, 2012
6:32 pm

cattledawg

September 11th, 2012
6:54 pm

To answer my earlier question from an earlier blog about the dawgs vs fau on direct tv.. I found the game listed on channel 642 CSNHD

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:03 pm

Missing games probably easiest part

Doesn’t sound like he missed playing that much. Not really the attitude I would want out of a teammate.

BigDawg

September 11th, 2012
7:11 pm

GTBob, have you ever been through what he has been through? He is a DGD, who knows what really happened? She said, he said. He is a man who is ready to go forward.
And yes, the tackling is so much better, it is amazing!
And I don’t care about IC ME, he showed a bad attitude on the sideline when he took himself out. Love the attitudes of the players who have remained on the bus.
Finally, we are finishing games unlike prior years, love the new additions to the S&C staff.
Go Dawgs, we should be able to sweep the table from here on out, especially with CTG and the new play calling from CMB!!

OkieDawg

September 11th, 2012
7:11 pm

GTBob…Please, go back and read that statement in context. Really, are you as totally miserable, stupid and unlikeable as it seems? Hopefully, it brings you some kind of pleasure to spew your poison and you are not as dislikeable as you appear.

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:13 pm

Got to admit, Commings seems like a really classy guy. Everyone has made mistakes…especially at that age. Sometimes we forget that these are still just young men learning how to live life. This was an excellent show of character. I agree with Blue Ridge Dawg about Crowell’s character though. He is too etitled and really needs to grow up before he ends up getting himself into some real trouble. Talent won’t carry you through life kid. I hope you wake up before its too late!

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:14 pm

Guys, just ignore gtbob. He will eventually go back to playing warcraft in his moms basement. Go away bob. Grown men are talking here.

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:14 pm

GTBob, have you ever been through what he has been through?

Nah, I tend to obey the law.

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:16 pm

GTBob…Please, go back and read that statement in context.

I did read it. He basically said football wasn’t all that important to him during his legal troubles. I guess that makes sense but it still isn’t really what you would want to hear out of one of your players.

norris

September 11th, 2012
7:18 pm

Uh, actually he was speaking in bigger terms than a game dude! He was in a situation that could have been very costly, ie, kicked out of UGA all together! I’m sure his teammates are smart enough to know exactly what he meant by that statement. You are confusing the attitudes of those bees with our dawgs! Bees don’t live long do they?

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:18 pm

Oh, and obviously he is illiterate as well. It’s ok bob, thats me upstairs with your mom. I’ll come down and read you a bedtime story later about UGA beating tech again……and again…..and again…..

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:18 pm

Got to admit, Commings seems like a really classy guy.

Getting arrested and serving a suspension = classy. Talk about low standards.

OkieDawg

September 11th, 2012
7:20 pm

GTBob…It’s exactly what you would want to hear if you expected him to show some remorse.

Why don’t you just go take a walk around the GT campus. That way, I doubt we will ever hear from you again.

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:21 pm

You are confusing the attitudes of those bees with our dawgs! Bees don’t live long do they?

Most bees live longer than UGA VII and UGA VIII did.

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:22 pm

bob, you are a tech fan, those are about as low of standards as one can set.

Just Saying

September 11th, 2012
7:22 pm

@GT Boob
I totally disagree. Chip’s interview was great and the article made me respect Sanders a whole lot more. He screwed-up and was punished appropriately. I’m also constantly amazed by how CMR doesn’t give in on a punishment….even if it could cost the team a big game. CMR is a class act and we are incredibly lucky he is our coach.

masivatack

September 11th, 2012
7:23 pm

So GTBooB, You don’t think that the personal difficulties caused by his actions should be more important than the football aspect? That’s kind of a bizarre way to look at it.

Missing 2 football games, or having to go look your family in the eye after being arrested.

Gee I wonder what is more difficult????

NCdawg

September 11th, 2012
7:25 pm

Crowell is gone, and the Dawgs are far better without his distractions. Gurley and Marshall in their short time in Athens have both showed the dedication and leadership that is required to be the UGA tailback. I am excited to see them carry the ball whenever it is put in their hands.

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:26 pm

Gee I wonder what is more difficult????

He could have easily said that everything was difficult, including missing games. He went out of his way to say that missing games was no big deal.

masivatack

September 11th, 2012
7:27 pm

“I’ve learned that I need to put myself around people who bring the best out of me. That’s about it.”

THIS! This is one of the most important things a young adult can learn. Hopefully the young man will be strong enough to put what he has learned into practice.

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:27 pm

NCdawg, I am telling you now, Marshall and Malcome both have been one step from breaking several long runs! Just wait, they will be producing just as much as Gurley! All of these guys are explosive! Exciting time at UGA!

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:28 pm

I’m also constantly amazed by how CMR doesn’t give in on a punishment….even if it could cost the team a big game.

Is that why he delayed Crowell’s suspension last year until after the Florida game?

Just Saying

September 11th, 2012
7:29 pm

CMR has won 2 championhips in the toughest conference in America and CPJ has won in the weakest conference in America, but lost his trophy for cheating!!!!

OkieDawg

September 11th, 2012
7:30 pm

He had to wait on the test results…really, you are a disgrace to GT..no humanity.

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:30 pm

really bob, why don’t you go take your playgirl to the bathroom for a few minutes. go away. you are a typical gt gnat. annoying at best and good for nothing.

Just Saying

September 11th, 2012
7:31 pm

Crowell would still be playing at GT

Neutra

September 11th, 2012
7:32 pm

Enter your comments here

masivatack

September 11th, 2012
7:33 pm

“He could have easily said that everything was difficult, including missing games. He went out of his way to say that missing games was no big deal.”

I know I am gonna get nowhere with you, because you obviously don’t appreciate when people are honest. He wasn’t just saying what people wanted to hear. It sounds like he was actually expressing his true feelings, and that doesn’t happen very much nowadays.

Now go back into whatever hole you flew out of and get fed whatever bs you want to hear, and I will appreciate honesty. I’m not saying he wont make another mistake, but reading this gave me a much better impression of Sanders. You probably don’t want to believe it, but he’s most likely a decent person who made a mistake, like most young people. There are a few real psychos out there, but pretty much all of the players I have met are real people from humble, hard-working backgrounds.

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:34 pm

lol @ just saying! So true. I don’t think boob wants to play with me anymore…awe….did I hut your wittle feewings?

Neutral

September 11th, 2012
7:34 pm

@Just Saying
Good points. Do you have any idea where the ACC keeps trophies of teams who cheat and lose their championships? Just asking

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:34 pm

He had to wait on the test results…really, you are a disgrace to GT..no humanity.

Meanwhile everyone else knew he failed the drug test before the Florida game and thought he would be suspended for it. Maybe Richt was the last to know. Doesn’t seem likely though.

GoDawgs1980

September 11th, 2012
7:35 pm

Slow clap for masivatack! Well Said!

GTBob

September 11th, 2012
7:37 pm

CMR has won 2 championhips in the toughest conference in America

Good for him. Football fans don’t care about ancient history though.

ATLien

September 11th, 2012
7:37 pm

GTBob, have you ever been through what he has been through?

Nah, I tend to obey the law.
———————————————————————————————————————————————–
Don’t you mean “Nah, I’ve never had a girlfriend.”