Dawgs Open Fall Camp: Richt Transcript

ATHENS - Mark Richt addressed members of the media Monday prior to the Bulldogs first fall practice.

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement… "I know some of the events of the weekend have been a big buzz for good reason. As far as what happened at The Library club downtown, everything that I have been gathering, unless there is something that comes up different from what I have, I plan on handling anything in regard to that in-house. Again, unless some information gets to me that I'm not aware of, then I'll handle anything in-house. I don't see anybody losing any playing time other than Donavon Baldwin, who is losing playing and practice time. I've already announced that he is suspended indefinitely.

"Jeffrey Henson was also suspended indefinitely for his actions. I'm going to let the dust settle just a little bit to make sure I know just exactly what the truth is before I make a final judgment on him.

"As far as the situation with the hospital, we know former player Michael Lemon was arrested for underage possession, and we also know there was some damage done to the hospital. After investigating that, I know the gentleman who did the damage is Darius Dewberry. He freely admitted to me that he did it. I do know he is very remorseful for what he did, and he is going to pay a price. First of all just the public humiliation, I'm sure he will have to deal with for making that mistake. He won't play the first two ballgames. We have some early morning runs we try to wear these guys out with to let them feel it just a little but; there will be at least 10 of those. He will have some counseling to help him understand why what he did was wrong. It's pretty obvious, but we also want him to get some counseling. There will be at least 20 hours of community service.

"The other thing he has to do is, once the damage is totally assessed and there is a price tag on it, he will have to repay that. He's going to repay it probably through some pell grant money and if we are lucky enough to be in a bowl, they usually get some spending money or travel money. He will also begin working off his debt by getting a job and earning as much as he can until school starts. More than likely he will start tomorrow working a job that will hopefully help him pay the price of the damage.

"The first two Saturdays that we are playing football, he will be working a job those days too to help earn money to pay for the damage. Whether or not he will practice today, I'm not certain. He has some other things that he has to do. He wants to apologize to the people at St. Mary's, I know that for sure, so that will probably be done some time today. I will say this, he actually is he one who asked if he could just start working immediately. We were going to try to work it around our practice schedule, but he said he would prefer to just start working now and pay it off.

"We are very excited about this season. I guess it is the first time Georgia has been preseason No. 1. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. It is an exciting thing, no doubt. It does create a stir and a buzz. To have Knowshon Moreno on the cover of USA Today and the publicity that our university got in the sports page was outstanding.

"We also know that it doesn't matter where you start as much as where you finish, but the coaches' poll is a poll that is part of the decision making process to see who plays in the big game down the road, and there is a long road before we get to that point.

"It's nice to have a third of that group think highly of your program as you begin because as we all know, people usually get knocked around throughout the season and a lot of times where you start helps you finish a little bit closer to the top if in fact we do fall somewhere along the way. I do think it is significant in that way. Other than that I think it's just a big bulls eye and everybody is really excited about beating No. 1. It seemed like last year everybody was excited about beating No. 2. Whoever was ranked No. 2 could hardly win a game.

"Today is our very first day. This afternoon we will have our first practice. I think everyone understands the format. We go five days of acclimation period where the first two days we are allowed to practice in shorts and helmets. The second two days we are allowed to put shoulder pads on, and day five we can put full pads on but we can't tackle anyone to the ground. We have it structured where every morning we have a walkthrough on assignments. We are basically walking through assignments of things we are going to do later on in the day during practice.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there this afternoon and watching these young freshmen. We're looking forward to seeing what they can do. The overall chemistry is being built right now.

On being embarrassed by the off-the-field incidents…

"It's embarrassing. I actually could have started practice a couple of days earlier than I did. We would have had to practice and take Sunday off then start again with the second day of acclimation on Monday. I said we can have one less practice opportunity and that would be fine. It would give our coaches another day or another weekend with their families. It was a little bit more of a break and it turned out to be a bad situation as far as giving them another weekend of freedom. It's embarrassing. It's said. I'm going to get over it pretty quick because I have to. I told the assistants this morning I am counting on them to coach and teach football, because that is the phase we are in now and that is what we have to concentrate on. I'll continue to sort out all these other things as we need to, but I think we are just about finished dealing with that kind of thing right now."

On the longsnapper position…

"We are going to bring in another longsnapper – Ty Frix. Bo Fowler is our longsnapper right now. He actually snapped in the bowl game, because Jeff (Henson) was not able to participate in the bowl game because of his first incident. Bo did a very nice job. He has worked hard and we have a lot of confidence in Bo. Before Jeffrey got into his issues, Bo was beginning to snap our extra points and field goals, and Jeff was doing just the punting. In the spring we didn't name a starter as snapper. We were competing between those two guys. It wasn't like Jeff was guaranteed to be the snapper anyway. Although he was certainly in the running."

On the team's focus with the off-the field incidents…

"It has certainly been a distraction. There is no way you can say it hasn't been a distraction because it has been. Again we have to realize that it's not every guy on that team. The ones who have misbehaved are paying a price for it. It's not like it didn't happen. There has been some discipline for it. Everyone who has reached my threshold for their behavior have been dismissed or suspended and possibly will be dismissed. If a guy has a first time offense I don't believe in throwing that guy under the bus in order to stave off the wolves. I don't think it's fair to that guy. For example, I don't think I should throw Dewberry off the football team. I've never had a problem with Darius Dewberry. Dewberry has never been a problem. I know he was very distraught about a teammate getting hurt badly, and he was very angry and he made a bad mistake. He walked home from the hospital and did some things he shouldn't have done. That was very stupid and he knows it. We are not trying to hide the fact that he did it. He is admitting that he did it. He is going to pay a price for it, and hopefully he will learn a life lesson from it. That's what it is all about.

"Say what you want but we are still in the business of educating young people to learn how to live life and get their degree and move forward. That is my focus and that is my job. That's what I'm doing in a very organized and meticulous way. We've had more issues that what I would like to deal with in any give off-season. I'm not so stubborn that I'm not going to be open to other ideas. We will be open to ways of making sure we do a better job. We have multiple sessions on the things that need to be done and the things that don't need to be done. We bring in all kind of folks to talk about the things that we need to do. When a guy steps out of line he does get disciplined. If a guy gets where he will not comply, then he goes, because it's not a right, it's a privilege to be at Georgia."

On making changes on the depth chart…

"Usually we wait until after the first scrimmage to start moving the depth chart. There are times you can move it, and I allow each coach to have his own style of how he wants to handle it. Some coaches, right after the first practice, might say I'm moving him ahead of you. Some coaches wait until the first scrimmage, grade it, then reset the depth chart at that point. Every once in a while a guy deserves to be promoted before a scrimmage and sometimes a guy deserves to be demoted before a scrimmage."

On Georgia's depth at wide receiver …

"Since I've been here at Georgia this is probably the most amount of guys who are game ready. Hopefully a couple of more guys will add to that – a couple of young guys."

On Georgia's most immediate conern entering camp…

"I'm very interested to see our kickers kick and to watch Blair (Walsh), (Andrew) Jensen and everyone who is going to be taking a swing at it. I'm very interested to see our young players. I think every coach loves that first day of practice when the freshmen come in who you worked so hard to recruit and convince to come to your school. They have these high hopes and dreams and we have the same thing for them. It's one thing to see them move around in shorts and helmets, but it will be interesting to see how they handle the contact and the grind of camp."

On Georgia's defense playing at a high level…

"I thought the defense played well last year. I can't say every single game they played great. I don't know if anyone's defense every plays their A-game every single game, but for the most part they played outstanding. We know in the Tennessee game, we didn't play that great defensively, or offensively for that matter. Even in our loss to South Carolina, the defense played well that day. We played Oklahoma State, who is a very talented team with an explosive offense, the same as Hawaii and some other teams, and we've done a pretty good job of containing those people. Coach Martinez has them playing hard and smart and getting after it. I thought the biggest key to our team last year was playing a lot of guys. We have a lot of guys coming back who have played a good bit, and hopefully we can continue that trend."

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