The toughest part, Sanders Commings said, was last Saturday when the player who started 23 games the past two seasons watched back at home in Athens as Georgia’s defense went up against Missouri’s spread offense.
“Our guys were so pumped up, it was the environment that you want to play, a hostile environment on the road,” Comings said. “I was glad we got the win. Both sides of the ball played well.”
The senior cornerback/safety returns this week from a two-game suspension. He was suspended in February following a Jan. 21 domestic violence arrest after police said he hit a woman in downtown Athens who had lived with Commings. He pleaded guilty on March 21 in State Court in Athens on misdemeanor charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct. He received 40 hours of community service and had to undergo substance abuse and anger management counseling.
“It’s been a learning experience,” said Commings, in his first interview since his arrest. “I’ve learned a lot from it and now I’ve just got to move forward. I’ve learned that I just need to put myself around people that bring the best out of me.”
With safety Bacarri Rambo expected to still be suspended this week, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Commings expects to “bounce around” between safety and boundary corner. He has five career interceptions and tied for fourth on the team in tackles last season with 55.
“I think he’s ready,” coach Mark Richt said. “He’s in good condition, and he stayed focused. He worked hard, but you only get so much work once you get into the game planning of the opponents. You have to rep the guys who are going to play, so he hasn’t had a whole lot of reps.”
Commings, from Augusta, said he was even looking forward to Monday’s light walk-through practice because he knows he’ll play this week against Florida Atlantic.
There was speculation last week that Commings’ suspension might be reduced.
He said that “was a possibility, it was a chance. We didn’t want it to seem like I was coming back just so we would win. …If they would have just flipped it at the last second, it would have been like I was coming back just to ensure the win against Missouri.”
Commings said he got final word Wednesday or Thursday last week that the two-game suspension was sticking.
He said was “surprised,” to get a suspension that long to begin with because “what really happened (the coaches) know what happened. Any time a player gets suspended for anything there has to be some suspension.”
Said Richt: “The amount of time he was suspended was appropriate. He certainly didn’t behave the way he should, and he’s paying his debt to society, he’s paying his debt to the program in my opinion. I’m glad he’s handled everything the way he’s handed it and I think he’ll move forward and be a positive person and a positive teammate.”
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