HOOVER,Ala.–Georgiacoach Mark Richt met with beat reporters earlier this morning prior to his appearance at the podium today at SEC Media Days.
It was the first time he addressed publicly the dismissal of Isaiah Crowell, Georgia’s leading rusher last season. Crowell was arrested on June 29 on felony weapons charges.
“No decision to dismiss a guy from the team is an easy decision,” Richt said. “It’s always tough because I care very much about all of these guys. Having to make those kinds of decisions are tough. In the end, I think we did what was in the best interest of the program. I wish Isaiah the very best in his future and hopefully things will work out for him.”
Here’s some more from what Richt had to say:
On tailbacks now: “We’ve got some really good backs on this football team. It certainly will change Richard Samuel’s role I would think. He was transitioning to at least the hybrid tailback/fullback for us, but I don’t think he’ll be getting an awful lot of time at fullback now. He may still be ready to go if needed over there. He’ll still most of his time at tailback. Of course, Ken Malcome was actually the No. 1 tailback at the end of spring ball. And our two young backs (Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley) will get an opportunity to show what they can do and that’s why they came here to play and play early. Historically freshmen backs can come in and do well. Plus we’ve got (Brandon) Harton and (Kyle) Karempelis, a couple of walk-ons that have played for us and know the system and function well and will only get better as well. So we’ve got some guys that can come in and play.”
On a perception that Georgia might be recruiting “bad kids” since Crowell was dismissed and other off-field incidents this year: “We’re not. We’re not recruiting bad kids. We’re recruiting a lot of great kids. We’re competing on the same guys with just about everybody else in the conference. …I don’t think that statement is true. We certainly are going to have an expectation on how we want our guys to behave. If they don’t behave, we’re going to discipline them. If the discipline involves running up and down the stadium (stairs) or whatever it might be. It might be at that level. It could be the level of losing playing time. It could be the level of losing your ability to stay atGeorgia. The thing we’re going to do is make sure that we are taking care of any issues that do come up in the proper way. If a guy does end up having to leave it’s for the best interest of the group as well. From time to time that has to happen. It’s sad that it does, but we’re going to keep taking care of business that way.”
On paying more attention to red flags with recruits: “We do find out as much as we possibly can about everybody. Threre’s rules on how many times we can call a kid, how many times we can see a kid in person and all that type of thing. We maximize those things and we do care very much about asking those types of questions and we’ll continue to do that.”
On compromised depth due to attrition: “There’s been more attrition in the last couple of years then there’s been since I’ve been atGeorgia. Sometimes that happens. We’ll still have plenty of guys to field a team. One good thing is we are a very healthy team right now. We’ve got a couple of guys that are coming into camp not at full speed. Xzavier Ward is still coming off an injury and Sterling Bailey. Just about everybody else is healthy and ready to go. …We’ve got to be wise when we go through camp. Have the right combination of what it takes to be prepared to play but not to the point where we lose more depth as we go through it.”
On whether he knows if other players will be suspended for the Missouri game besides Sanders Commings? “Do I know? I do know. Yeah. We’ll share it some time but not today.”
On if Branden Smith or Alec Ogletree will be playing in that game? “I’ll announce that if there needs to be an announcement.”
On if it will be prior to kickoff? “I don’t know to be honest with you.”
On if Malcolm Mitchell will catch passes from Aaron Murray this season: “I think so. By the time the season’s over we will have seen a lot of Malcolm playing offense. Early on I don’t know how much of that we’ll see. Two reasons for that I see. One is just the heat and the weather. It’s tough to play a lot of plays when it’s that hot and humid. Guys might be susceptible to cramping and things of that nature. And just the need for him early on at defense. Then as the season moves on the weather is going to cool and Sanders (Commings) will be back after a couple of games. I don’t know if that’s going to help the situation.
On if Samuel could go back to fullback: “Well yeah. If everybody plays well and stays healthy that’s possible. You know Richard, just I remember the spring game, I think it was No. 31 rolled into the game and everybody tried to figure out who the heck was that. It was Richard. I think that was what number it was. He was just pounding that ball, man. He was impressive, so I think that we need to make sure that he gets his reps at tailback. He may be the starting tailback when the season rolls around. I have no idea what camp is going to look like. It is wide open for those guys.”
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