Richt: "No discipline problem at Georgia"

ATHENS – Georgia head coach Mark Richt started the 2007 season the way he seems to start many in Athens, addressing his team's offseason issues.

At least seven Bulldogs were arrested between the bowl game and the end of August. All were charged with misdemeanors, but the incidents still made headlines around the state.

"There's not a discipline problem on our team at all, not even close to that," Richt said. "I'm not alarmed or shocked that these guys are making foolish mistakes here and there. Some of them are fairly innocent. Nonetheless, there were laws that were broken."

Most recently, two players were arrested for traffic violations on their scooters. Incoming freshman Caleb King was arrested for driving with a suspended license and going the wrong waydown a one-way street on campus. King wasn't aware he needed a license to drive his scooter, Richt said. Redshirt freshman Na Derris Ward was arrested for passing on the right side and driving without his license in his possession. Ward was driving around a vehicle waiting to make a left hand turn -- something "I think most everybody in America would probably do," Richt said.

Those incidents led Richt to hold a scooter safety meeting with his team. More and more of the Bulldogs are using the lightweight motorized bikes as a way to get around campus.

Richt also downplayed the growing notion that Athens-Clarke County and University of Georgia police target Bulldog football players.

"I'll bet there were some things some guys got a break on," he said.

Two Bulldogs will start the season on suspension. Starting tight end Tripp Chandler and third-string quarterback Blake Barnes will miss the first game after being arrested for alcohol-related offenses.

The UGA Athletic Association has a policy requiring athletes arrested for alcohol-related offenses to be suspended for 10 percent of their season, which is 1.2 games for football players, but Richt is allowed to round that number down as long as the fraction is not greater than one-half, he said.

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