Posted: 7:37 pm Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
By Chip Towers
ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt came a little closer Tuesday to revealing some of his disciplinary plans for the players who have run afoul of team and school policies since last season. But he stopped shortly of making a definitive ruling on the four players accused of theft.
Tray Matthews, Uriah LeMay, Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach have continued to practice with the team since they were arrested on theft by deception charges on March 17. The Bulldogs completed their fourth practice of 15 this spring — and first in full pads — on Tuesday afternoon amid blustery conditions. All four were present and accounted for, as they have been since the first day on March 18.
Since the Bulldogs are clearly investing time and effort into continuing to train the foursome, Richt was asked if that was a sign that dismissal was off the table for the offending players.
“Ah, I wouldn’t put anything out of the realm of possibility right now,” Richt said after Tuesday’s two-hour-plus workout. “Right now we’re just allowing them to continue to work. When the discipline is laid out — there’s some happening right now, just early-morning running and things of that nature — but there’s more to come. Just thinking it through real good.”
Because of the players are charged with misdemeanor crimes, their punishment is a decision of “the head coach’s discretion,” according to UGA’s student-athlete handbook.
Richt did intimate that he’ll follow UGA’s conduct-code guidelines when it comes to the discipline of receiver Justin Scott-Wesley. Scott-Wesley was arrested last November on misdemeanor marijuana possession and paraphernalia charges while he was sidelined with a knee injury. UGA’s marijuana-use policy calls for a suspension for 10 percent of competition dates, or one game in the case of football.
“We’ll stay with our policies on that,” Richt said.
Richt did say that Shaq Wiggins won’t be subjected to any team discipline. The sophomore cornerback was arrested an jailed in January for driving on a suspended license and speeding. Richt had never commented publicly on Wiggins’ arrest.
“Nah, there’s not going to be anything on Shaq’s deal,” Richt said Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Bulldogs were all business on the practice field on Tuesday. It was their first day in full pads and the coaches took full advantage of it. The highlight of the day was a three-on-three, offense-versus-defense competition simply to get a first down on three downs and points were awarded accordingly.
“We had a very good day,” Richt said. “Very, very spirited. … That usually cranks off the hitting pretty good and gets everybody’s blood pumping. And it did.”
NOTES: Receiver Michaal Erdman, a senior walkon who caught three passes last season, has a fractured right foot and is out for the spring, according to the Bulldogs’ injury-illness report circulated after Tuesday’s practice. It’s not known when he’ll be cleared to practice again. … redshirt freshman inside linebacker Paris Bostick hyperextended his right knee and was limited to running on Tuesday. Richt described the injury as minor.