Posted: 8:20 pm Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Richt: ‘We’re going to address everything head on, handle it appropriately and move on’ 

By Chip Towers

ATHENS — Technically it was a nondescript first day of spring football practice. But because four of his players were arrested and jailed on theft charges 18 hours before it started, Georgia coach Mark Richt was greeted by a couple of dozen media members and cameras from all four of Atlanta’s network television stations after the 90-minute practice concluded.

None of them got the answer they were seeking: How does he plan on punishing the four offending players?

“Well, we definitely wanted to focus on the excitement of the first day of spring ball,” Richt said when the subject was gently was broached nearly eight minutes into his post-practice comments. “Obviously we had some guys do some things that were foolish and they’ll be consequences for that. I’m not ready to talk about that at this moment, but we’ve got a lot of guys that have been doing extremely well and we didn’t want to take away from the excitement of Day One. It’s football again.”

Photos: Arrested players take part in spring practice

Because the crimes were misdemeanors, UGA’s student-athlete conduct codes leaves the discipline to the discretion of the head coach. Sophomore Tray Matthews, who projected as Georgia’s starting free safety this coming season, receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive linemen James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor were all present, dressed out and participating in Tuesday’s practice.

Richt was asked if that meant that the players were NOT going to be dismissed for their actions. Again, he was indefinite with his answer.

“I would just say there’s always a process that I go through before I make a decision,” he said. “Sometimes it happens rapidly and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not going to say anything other than if there’s something I need to report to everybody, I will.”

In the past Richt has often withheld his disciplinary decisions until the actual season begins. Georgia opens the season at home against Clemson on Aug. 31. He may wait until that game before revealing his plans.

But he was clear about how dealing with such situations makes him feel.

“You’re disappointed,” Richt said. “You have to decide, start deciding what you’re going to do about it. At Georgia, we’ve never tried to hide things. If somebody makes a mistake, we clean it up. We don’t hide it. In due time, everyone’s going to know what’s going to happen because of it. Some things when it comes to discipline are very public and some things aren’t. I’m not sure exactly where this is going to fall. If there’s something that we need to let everybody know, we’ll let y’all know.

Here’s the rest of his comments on the disciplinary situation. I’ll be filing a notebook later with details about the actual first football practice, which featured the debut of four new defensive coaches:

On opponents and opponent fan bases proclaiming Georgia has disciplinary problems …

“Everybody wants to do that. I think that if you took 125 students at Georgia or anywhere else in the country and you just said, ‘I’m going to follow these 125 people and I’m going to see what they do. You’d probably find a little bit of this and a little bit of that along the way. But because our guys are so and our sport is so high profile, the SEC is high profile, Georgia is high profile, every time something happens everybody knows about it. So we deal with it. These guys are not going to be perfect. I know that. If they do something that needs discipline, we’re going to give it. We’re going to do that. If it causes a guy not to be at Georgia, then it will happen. If it causes a guy to lose playing time, we’ll do it. If there’s some other form of discipline internally, then we’ll do that. We’re always trying to … There’s going to be a form of punishment, some form of education and then … we’re going to love them. We’re going to love them even if they leave Georgia. I’m not saying that’s going to happen in this case. But when it comes to discipline in general is what I’m talking about. So we’re going to do what is the most appropriate thing to do and go from there.”

On whether he’s a tough disciplinarian …

“No, it’s just like anybody who’s a parent, if one of your children does something they’re not supposed to do. You know you told them not to do it but they do it anyway. Some of them learn by watching; some of them learn by doing. But if one of your children makes a mistake, it hurts. It hurts. But you’ve got to be a responsible parent and you’ve got to discipline them. You’ve got to punish them in some way. You punish, you educate and you love them. That’s what we do.”

On the problem of negative publicity …

“A lot of times what happens is a lot of our policies are stiffer than most people’s. If you’re going aggressively go after certain things, sometimes your business becomes a little more public than you want it to. But in the meantime you don’t want to act like it didn’t happen. We’re going to address everything head on and handle it appropriately and move on from there.”

On how the arrests affects the team’s preparations …

“You know, it’s a distraction. There’s probably more people here today because of that. I don’t know. Maybe y’all wanted to hear about football. But that’s about all I’m going to say about that. But if we want to talk about football some more, I’ll keep talking.”

So here’s some video of Richt talking about some football …

328 comments
DawginLex
DawginLex

ohio state basketball


BAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

Coach Richt has failed the ethics test.  He has also failed the leadership test  For UGA to allow misdemeaners to be "at the discretion of the head coach," is absolutely ridiculous.  I have published a story on this and it will be featured on "Get Schooled" on Monday.  http://www.reinventedsolutions.com

Aztec
Aztec

These people conspired to commit theft.  They should be dismissed from the team and lose their scholarships.

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

It's not so much about what this latest bunch of punks have done. The issue is really why Richt recruits these lowlifes year after year. Almost all of them are what UGA euphemistically calls special admits, which simply means they can barely write their own name. So they're illiterate, most have no moral compass, and too many of them are already drug addicts, so why does Richt expect responsible behavior from them?

dawg40
dawg40

To Auburn fan crowing so loud, yall have a good few years and over all have a good history.  But UGA has same NCs, more bowl appearances, more bowl wins, more total wins....... Don't let a few years distort your thinking.   Yall are going to let chasing big brother and your short term memory get you in huge trouble like when I was in school.  I have plenty of Auburn friends, good school, good fans, but they even think yalls actions are going to get you slammed  by NCAA again. Plus, it took a prayer to beat a limping UGA this year with a guy we kicked off our team(at home).     I'm not saying, I'm just saying....  

doktrt
doktrt

Clemson has four players misbehave. Georgia counters with four. Balls in your court(no pun intended) Clemson.

The_Real_KJ
The_Real_KJ

So glad when the mouth-breathers try to come on here and claim that Richt is soft on discipline.  Makes it so much easier to identify those whose opinions will never matter.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Dumb kids doing dumb things......don't be confused though, they are NOT victims. IMO, they should run stadium steps till they drop, make restitution, and not dress for Clemson game. IF they stole from teammates, it would be different and they would be gone. Imma Jacket fan so u cant holler favoritism. Go Jackets!

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

Is this article being posted by the University of Georgia Tech beat writer as well as chip towers lol

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

Theft/stealing and fraud aren't foolish.  It's against the law.  In the real world, these young men would be fired and prosecuted.  This is embarrassing for UGa.

Independent2
Independent2

This is the same CMR that played at Miami and coached at FSU (Free shoe University), why is a lack of discpline so shocking!?

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

Filtering out the lawyer and PR agent words, in plain English Richt said, "We are going to ignore it and do as we always do. I will continue to act holier than thou and will continue to let the players do whatever they wish."

kerryb
kerryb

We know AU's players will never get caught stealing money.  They get paid enough to where they don't need to do that.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

On a different note, I was looking at some of the spring practice photos and noticed Theus looks like one of the Ugliest women ive ever seen playing OL.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Let me preface my comment by saying that I commend Mark Richt for taking some strong stands in the past, and removing some players from the roster whom he felt were considered detriments to the well-being of his team.

With that being said, I wanted to add, however, that, however, it seems UGS has more than its fair share of "problematic" players on the roster than other teams (what's the count over the past four years who have been in legal trouble as compared to to a vast majority of other programs?).

This begs the question; if Georgia has a MUCH higher average number of players who have brushes with the law than other programs (an average of 6 players a season if I'm not mistaken), then the question is whether the players being recruited are of poor morals and should be passed on (because you know that won't be around anyway), or there IS a problem with the coaching staff (either they aren't monitoring the players close enough, or they aren't finding enough things for them to do to keep them out of trouble, or the players just don't respect them).

This doesn't mean Mark Richt isn't a nice man, or even a good coach, it means that there is some sort of a disconnect somewhere between identifying players, signing players, monitoring players, keeping players out of trouble, and keeping players in school.

I know some fans say the kids need to be responsible for themselves once they sign and become college football players, HOWEVER, many of them have never had a male role model in their lives, have never lived away from home, etc., and they need "structure," guidence, and that monitoring/push to stay on track; they just aren't mature enough to do it on their own because they hadn't been given the opportunity to prepare for life away from home.

Granted, some teams seem to just take anybody, and other teams will have to compete with them for "Championships" so it doesn't seem "fair," however, it becomes obvious who they are when these players have their public issues and they have to be addressed. It turns out UGA is one of those Institutions. Just because Mark Richt is one of the Head Coaches who takes actions against his players where some coaches seem to have a blind eye, the bigger issue remains; why place himself in that position in the first place? Why take so many of these types of players when other competitive programs don't?

POAD2013
POAD2013

@DawginLex  UGa basketball.......WHAAAAAAAAH

If it don't wear PANtIES at UGa then It will NEVER be a Champion.

GYM Dwags are the REAL UGa national Champs the other teams are jus Nutt Lickers and aZZ Sniffers.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Princess_Leia there was nothing to indicate these kids were thugs or punks


They all come from great families


Stop making generalizations about something that you don't have any knowledge of.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

You can be a fan of your team and still disagree with how your school handles tuff situations. Bama had 4 booted for beating a student( not all were apart but in the car) yet Nick has allowed one of those to return to the U of A and that was a mistake from my seat. Then we sign a Juco TE that was booted from UGA and again I have a problem with that. Let these trouble makers get their 2nd chance at some other school.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Independent2 If there is no discipline then why do the players get punished?


If there was no punishment or consequences for messing up, THEN there is no discipline


Why doesn't anyone discuss the 4 Mizzou players busted for pot yesterday?

Or the 2 Texas players dismissed for violation of team rules? (ie WEED)


Because you don't hate them like you hate UGA

DawginLex
DawginLex

@BurroughstonBroch Makes perfect sense to an idiot like you, huh?


That's why starters get suspended and players get booted off the team


You are a full blown moron

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

Yeah, like Nick Marshall, Metteenberger, Crowell, Ealey, Caleb King, Josh Harvey Clemons, all those guys were barely punished, unless you think being thrown off the team is harsh discipline.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Never under estimate the barn mafia! They have a complex full of associates working 24/7/365 trying to stay relevant! Every mintue of their day is dedicated to Alabama. They will spend as much money as needed and cheat like it's a gd job but they can't and will not allow Bama to get so far out front they can't catch up. Risk/Reward is their plan and probation is really no problem for them if that were to happen. Everything they do is geared to stop Alabama.

WDE
WDE

@gtcaryd  

he is a better looking "girl" than 99% of the women at Bug U and 100% better lineman than any Bug lineman in the last 10 years...sad really. He's a better lineman in heels that any Bug in cleats. 

DawginLex
DawginLex

@JacketMan the 4 kids all come from great families


There was nothing to indicate a problem


Crowell and Ealey? Yes, I would have never recruited them. But again, if he doesn't, a competitor will. They mess up elsewhere, end up no getting punished and beat us on the field and Richt ends up getting fired. I truly think he believes he can make a difference in their lives. Most cases, he does.

WDE
WDE

@JacketMan got to wonder how UGA has such a high graduation rate if the players aren't getting "that monitoring/push to stay on track" ...and all of these players had multiple choices on which college they wanted to attend...you really think they choose UGA so they can act like lunatics ?? If so they must not read the blogs,papers etc as CMR has a proven track record of getting rid of the bad apples....its a puzzlement.

kerryb
kerryb

@JacketMan  Speaking of these particular players I don't believe there has been any indication that these four where trouble makers.  None have been in any time of trouble before and all come from good families so it's kind of hard to predict what a young man is going to do when he is tempted to do something he shouldn't do.  Uriah LeMay's Dad is a preacher.  Would you think he was going to get into trouble for stealing?

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

You should tell stephon marbury, because when he signed he announced he was happy to sign with "The University of Georgia Tech" his words not mine lol.

someonesdad
someonesdad

@DawginLex @Independent2 There you go.  Instead of instilling discipline, just point to another team that has problems.  It's the new American way.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@DawginLex



Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules.


Punishment is what you suffer when there is no discipline.


You are confusing punishment with discipline.


We have tough punishment and lax discipline.

Independent2
Independent2

At least 3 of those guys went on to make something of them selves. I guess all they need was a little structure and discpline in life....something CMR and UGA could not provide

DawginLex
DawginLex

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie give it a rest sport


You won't have to worry about Auburn at all in a couple of years with all the cheating they are gonna be doing in football and basketball


NCAA will shut both programs down


DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie  How long is Nick Saban gonna keep crying about going too fast? Funny how the teams Alabama seems to lose to run up tempo fast paced offenses. The teams like Auburn, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, etc give Alabama fits and Nicky knows it. That's why he wants to slow it down so it'll be in their favor.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@WDE @gtcarydRelax Francis, I had no intention of making light of Theus. Just think he looked like he needed a haircut. Try not to take things so personal. Heck you might be one of those guys that couldnt get a some in a womens prison with a pocket full of pardons.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@kerryb @JacketMan Remember, those Preachers are just human beings like the rest of us. Ask Jimmy Swaggert.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@ThomasBrown @DawginLex So 121 of 125 do what they are supposed to do, 4 mess up and according to you we have no discipline?


Not buying it at all.


Also not buying that stuff at other schools just like this doesn't get swept under the rug and handled internally.


Our policies set us up for this because we are so forthcoming


To say Mark Richt doesn't discipline his players and doesn't teach them real life lessons is a crock of crap.


Mark Richt is the reason our players do as well as they do after UGA

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

Ealey got caught with weed at Jax st, King beat the crap out of a guy and was charged with assault, the jury is still out on JHC. The only guys that haven't had any problems are at LSU(see the honey badger) Auburn(see Cam Newton) and Crowell. LSU and auburn have a history of looking the other way. Independent u are an idiot.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Independent2 they went on and did right because of the lesson learned from Coach Richt


I know you hate UGA but are you really that dam stupid??

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

You folks keep slamming Nick for trying to get the Defense a fair shot! The 40 second rule has given the offense the advantage. The HUNH intends to prevent subs 1st and then they will run as fast or slow as they wish. Call me when a HUNH team wins a NC. Richt wants the officials to control the pace which is the samething Nick wants. The 10 second rule doesn't have a dayum thing to do with Nick Saban but you hate him so much you don't really care.

@Falcon....FAU.

WDE
WDE

@gtcaryd @WDE  that would make me a graduate of the North Ave trade school....and I have dated the two good looking girls to attended that school in the early 80's. That's right both of them..

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@RamboDawg Are you saying that Nick Saban is the Chief of Police in Tuscaloosa?

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

A week after leaving Tuscaloosa dee hart and Alvin Kamara were arrested, coincidence? I think not. It's obvious a lot of SEC football players are being protected by their head coach because they have an "agreement" with local law enforcement.

WDE
WDE

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie   so just to be clear the players on scholarship and the walks ons at Bama are all a bunch of dummies ?then?