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Blog: Richt on plans for Mason, nose guard and much more

The NFL decisions have been made by Georgia’s underclassmen.

New defensive line coach Chris Wilson is in the fold as coaches hit the road again for recruiting.

Mark Richt has returned from the national coaches’ convention in Nashville.

The Georgia coach held a wrap-up/lookahead teleconference this afternoon with the media.

Here are the highlights:
–With Aaron Murray returning for his senior season and backup Hutson Mason coming off a redshirt season, Richt didn’t bite when asked if he sees a plan this year like Georgia had with David Greene and D.J. Shockley.

“I’m not sitting here saying we’re going to do anything like that,” Richt said.

Richt said Mason “would have played a lot this year,” if he didn’t redshirt to create class separation from Murray.

“He might have even played more than what our second-teamers did based on the faith that we have in his ability to function well,” Richt said. “He might have even got in a series earlier here or there towards the end. Hopefully we’ll have opportunities to do the same next year.”

In case there was any doubt, Richt said Murray is the “starting quarterback. He’s the guy right now. Everybody knows that. There’s no question about that part. If something happened to Aaron, would Hutson be ready to play? Yes, he would. Given whatever game circumstance comes up, would Hutson be able to play and play well? I think absolutely.”

Georgia now has five scholarship quarterbacks.

The others are redshirt sophomore Chistian LeMay, redshirt freshman Faton Bauta and freshman early enrollee Brice Ramsey.

“I’m expecting everybody to learn what to do and keep getting better,” Richt said. “Hutson’s to the point where he certainly knows what to do. He’s ready for the next step, which is playing time. What that looks like, I don’t know. The other guys, they’ve still got things to learn and perfect and get to the point where they’re ready to go.”

–The 13 early enrollees started classes this week.

“They’re almost a class unto themselves,” Richt said. “It’s a really large number of midyear guys.”

They all had a chance to introduce themselves to the entire team Wednesday night in a team meeting.

They will begin “mandatory” weightlifting sessions on Monday.

“I’m sure some of the guys have been in there,” Richt said. “They’ve been anxious to get their gear. That’s the first things guys want to do is get their gear and start working out.”

Mat drills workouts start on Feb. 4.

–Nose guard Kwame Geathers revealed publicly Wednesday that he’s declaring for the NFL draft.

“I’ve known that for a good little bit,” Richt said. “It’s more opportunity for the next guy. That’s why we’re recruiting D-linemen like we are. We knew there was a possibility of having this type of attrition. We knew there were seniors leaving and also we knew there was a chance that Kwame would decided to go, which he did.”

He added: “The ones that are coming in new have a chance to find some playing time that Kwame would have had.”

Junior college transfer Chris Mayes and Mike Thornton are definitely nose guards, but Richt said that redshirt freshman Jonathan Taylor could also play end.

“I think we’re going to have enough beef in there to get it done and enough ability,” Richt said.

–On new defensive line coach Chris Wilson from Mississippi State: “We’re very fortunate to get Chris. With his experience of being a coordinator, co-coordinator, those types of things …he’s a very well-rounded coach, very experienced, a very mature man, a great family man. Just a great role model for our guys. I’m thrilled. I know coach (Todd) Grantham is excited, I think the whole staff is excited about Chris being with us.”

Richt said he did not know if Wilson would get any additional titles.

“I don’t know if there’s anything coming down the road or not.”

Richt again said nobody may end up with the recruiting coordinator title that former assistant Rodney Garner had.

Wilson’s first impact will be on the recruiting trail.

“We know we got a really, really good one,” Richt said. “Very fortunate.”

–Richt said that receiver Tramel Terry, an early enrollee, may redshirt, but that’s not certain.

“History has shown that guys have been able to play as early as six months sometimes, but we just want to make sure he gets very healthy,” Richt said. “We don’t want him to have any setback. We know if we needed to redshirt, we could. It might make sense. We’re not going to say that’s what we’re going to do. We want to see how well he rehabs, how fast he rehabs, what he’s capable of when the time comes.”

Richt called Terry a “multi-talented guy,” who has running and receiver skills.

Richt said that receiver Michael Bennett, coming off a torn ACL, “won’t be doing anything live” during spring practices, Richt said. He said his recovery is going “very well.”

–Sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons’ position on defense? Richt wasn’t ready to say.

“That’s one thing that I want to make sure that our coaches are all in agreement and Josh knows exactly what we’re going to do before I would say anything,” Richt said. “That’s something that we’ve all got to get on the same page on and make sure that all parties involved know what we’re going to do before we say anything public.”

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#UGA is 7th in the nation in scoring offense (43.3 pts. per game), passing defense (167.0 yds per game) and passing efficiency (161.04).

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