Posted: 2:49 pm Thursday, February 20th, 2014
By Chip Towers
ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt did not issue any sort of statement or even a comment when the Bulldogs’ issued a two-sentence release earlier this week announcing that starting safety Josh Harvey-Clemons had been dismissed from the team. UGA’s football boss had little of substance to add when he talked to reporters on a teleconference call on Thursday. What he did say came only after some prodding.
“The only thing I’ll say about that is I want to wish him well,” Richt said at first.
“Is that all?” he was asked again.
“Yeah. I hope he finds a good home and finishes his career in a real positive way,” Richt replied.
Neither UGA nor Richt have confirmed the suspicion that Harvey-Clemons’ dismissal was the result of a third violation of the school’s drug-use policy. Sources confirmed to The AJC last month that the four-game suspension he was in the midst of serving was due to failing a drug test for marijuana.
Richt was asked if Thursday if he had addressed Harvey-Clemons’ dismissal with the team.
“Not really,” Richt said. “I think the guys understand. Word travels fast. Guys understand that there are certain rules everybody needs to abide by and if they don’t they could possibly lose their privilege to play at Georgia. You know, there’s a consequence for any action that we have that’s not within the Georgia way, so to speak. So whether it’s getting up early and pulling the sleds or whether it’s missing some playing time or whether it’s being dismissed from the team, it’s a consequence for anything that’s contrary to anything we think will help us win.”
The teleconference was initially set up because numerous beat reporters had contacted Richt about getting his reaction to the proposed 10-second substitution rule to slow down up-tempo offenses in college football. He eventually got around to addressing that.
“We started going fast at Florida State in 1992 and in 1993 we were going at break-neck speed,” Richt said. “We were going as fast as I could until we got to Georgia. ACC officials when I was there were getting the ball on the ground and getting out of the way. It wasn’t quite happening that way in the SEC. Who knows what the reasons were. But I will say before I got in the league, there wasn’t a rule where if we sub the defense has the right to sub. There were no rules on that, so we were really wearing some people out with that.
“The way it sits now, I don’t know how many teams snap the ball short of 10 seconds. When I saw that my immediate reaction was to I was curious to see how many teams snap it before that and looking at our situation, would it really affect us in a negative way? … The other thing I thought of was, like everybody else, was there truly (a safety issue). I mean, I think if you can train offensive players to play five or six plays in a row, you can train defensive players to play that many plays in a row, too. So I don’t really know if it’s a health-issue deal. I personally don’t think so. But if there’s evidence otherwise it will be interesting to see.”