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Blog: Richt on running back situation; Malcolm Mitchell buzz; early offers

HOOVER, Ala.–Some quick hitters from a get together with Mark Richt and Georgia players before they made the rounds this morning at SEC Media Days:

Richt said that tailback Carlton Thomas’ suspension is for one game for breaking “team rules.”

Richard Samuel, just moved to the position from linebacker, will start preseason camp as No. 1 on the depth chart.

Asked if anyone else is suspended for the first game, Richt said “I’ll say this. If there’s anybody else we need to announce we’ll announce it at the appropriate time, which is not today. We’ll see. …We’ll be ready to play on Sept. 3, I can promise you that.”

–Richt isn‚Äôt sure that quarterback Aaron Murray is in a tougher spot after the loss of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King.

“The running back situation, I’m just going to reserve my decision on whether he’s losing anything or not,” Richt said. “He may be gaining, ok? A year ago I can’t sit here and say that I was ever at a point where I said our running backs are being highly productive and kicking butt and guys I can count on. That wasn’t happening. By the end of this year, I might say these guys were kicking butt and guys I can count on. I wouldn’t sit here and say our running back is situation worse this year than it was a year ago. We’ll see on that. There are going to be some talented guys that are going to get an opportunity to play and make plays.”

“I’ve seen so many young backs play well over the years that I’m not fretting right now,” Richt said. “I don’t lie awake at night going `Oh my goodness, what are we going to do now? I just don’t. We’ve got some guys on this team that can be highly productive offensively. Will we find a back that will carry it 20 times a game? I don’t know. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.”

–Receiver Malcolm Mitchell from Valdosta is generating more buzz at this point than any freshman. ‚ÄúHe ran a post pattern and split our starting safety and one of our starting corners,‚Äù Murray said. ‚ÄúShawn Williams came up to me afterwards and said `I‚Äôve never seen someone with that kind of speed before.‚Äù

Murray said that Mitchell is working harder than anyone and already knows about 70 to 80 percent of the playbook. Murray said that Mitchell “could start for anyone in the country right now. That kid is special.”

Murray said the “Dream Team” recruiting class is for real.

“There’s a good seven or eight of them that can start right now,” Murray said. Said Richt: “From what I hear from Murray there’s a couple of young guys that got a chance to add a little firepowe. I think we have enough ingredients to move the football and score points.”

–Richt on getting commitments from a rising sophomore and rising juniors: ‚ÄúThe rising sophomore is a little bit unusual.‚Äù Richt said Georgia typically doesn‚Äôt offer scholarships to players that young.

Apalachee running back Stanley Williams is a rising sophomore. Current outside linebacker Cornelius Washington is the last player that Richt can remember offering that early. At Florida State, linebacker Ernie Sims also drew an early offer.

“I think I offered him in eighth grade,” Richt said. Georgia also picked up three 2013 commitments last week. “I think it’s a positive sign for our program that guys that are one year away, two years away, three years away are excited about being part of our program,” Richt said.

–Murray is one of the leaders of the offseason program. Even if that means he needs to go work with a teammate away from the football facility.

He was part of a group of players that sought out top tailback recruit Isaiah Crowell, working on offensive drills outside his dorm room in an effort to help him better learn the playbook.

“We’ve sat him down,” Murray said. “One of the first weeks here, me Ben (Jones), Christian (Robinson) and a couple of other guys went to his dorm, talked to him, ran him through some plays and said `Hey, we’re here for you no matter what. We’re going to push you and at the end we’re going to make sure you’re ready to go.’ He’s definitely taken that well and has been working hard.”

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