After sitting out Golston returns

ATHENS - Four years ago, Mark Richt thought long and hard about what to do with several suspended players in his first year as a head coach.

He eventually let Charles Grant, Verron Haynes, Randy McMichael and Tim Wansley watch from the sidelines against Arkansas State. After the Bulldogs beat the Indians 45-17, "the first guy there to congratulate me with a big grin was Charles Grant," Richt said. "That showed me a lot."

Those suspended players' attitudes that day convinced Richt he had made the right decision and a policy was set. It worked out again for the Bulldogs in this year's season-opener with senior defensive tackle Kedric Golston.

"He was like another assistant coach out there," defensive end Quentin Moses said. "Every time we came off the field, he was telling us thing he had seen."

Golston also fetched water for his teammates and did his best to keep them focused even as the game got out of hand in the Bulldogs' favor.

"He was awesome," Richt said. "He was probably more fired up during the game than anyone."

He should be even more excited today when he gets to play for the No. 9 Bulldogs (1-0) against South Carolina (1-0) at 5:30 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

"I hope I bring a lot of energy and make a lot of big plays," he said. "Hopefully, I've improved from last year and done the things I need to do to have a big game. I want and need a big game."

Golston was given a one-game suspension this offseason after a fight in a downtown bar led to his arrest on charges of misdemeanor battery on a police officer.

"It wasn't that tough (on Saturday)," Golston said. "I had already dealt with the facts. It's not like Coach Richt came up two days before the game and said, ‘Oh, yeah, you're suspended.'"

It wasn't easy, either.

"A few times I would forget I was suspended, and I would be waiting for (defensive line coach Rodney Garner) to say, ‘OK, Kedric you and Gerald (Anderson) get out there.'"

Golston could have stepped right in had he been eligible to play, Garner said.

"I admired the way he approached last week," Garner said. "He approached it just like he was playing. He was into the game plan. That's what you want out of your leaders. That's what we need from him."

If Georgia's coaches get their wish today, they'll be unleashing a very motivated senior on their first SEC opponent.

"I hope so," Garner said. "I don't control that, but I would hope he would come out there with renewed passion, just to make a statement. It really hurt him what happened this spring, and I think he wants to re-establish himself."

As much help as Golston was on the sideline, he'll be more on the field.

"We would much rather have him out on the field with us instead of as another coach," Moses said.

"That," Garner added, "is a no-brainer."

Kedric Golston's Career Numbers
Year G/GS Tackles Sacks
2002 14/3 34 .5
2003 8/6 17 0
2004 12/12 23 1.5

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