November 2, 2011

Richt defends timing

For those who have suggested that Georgia should have suspended Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome for last week's game against Florida, head coach Mark Richt said Wednesday during the weekly SEC teleconference that notion couldn't be further from the truth.

Georgia announced the suspension of the three Tuesday afternoon, for what was termed a violation of team rules, although sources told UGASports that the three were suspended for a failed drug test.

Richt didn't go into specifics, but bristled at the notion the school postponed their suspensions until Saturday's game against New Mexico State.

"My response is that we've always been, we've always had the utmost integrity in everything we do. We have policies in place in our Athletic Association that we follow to the T. That's the case here and it's been the case since I've been at Georgia. We all know that we do our business the way it should be done and we do it with integrity," Richt said. "People who make comments who don't know probably shouldn't, quite frankly. Because they don't know and I'd be able to prove 100 percent they're wrong. But I'm not going to spend the time doing that. The bottom line is we have rules and we follow them to the T and we have the utmost integrity in how we go about our business. That's how we've built this program since the day I got here and we're not going to change for any reason."

Richt conceded he was caught off guard that three players from the same position would be the ones getting in trouble.

"Yeah, but I'm not surprised that young men make mistakes. We all know no one is perfect," he said. "We know that young guys tend to use bad judgment sometimes. When they do, that's when we come in and help them out."

Richt also maintained his complete and total support for Crowell.

"Isaiah is going to do great, I really do," Richt said. "Because I saw how he has handled this mistake to this point and I really feel confident he's going to be stronger for it. I really do."

Richt said he has no problem with the way the UGA Athletic Association doles out punishment to offending players.

"I've always felt like was you have to have an element of punishment, something that will sting, something that will make somebody think twice about doing something or other guys who are watching, make them think twice. But you have to educate them, then you have to love them still," Richt said. "They're still part of this family and we want them to understand we're supporting them through it. But, you know, if the attitude is right and they're ready to learn from it and become better for it, discipline can be a very positive thing in that way. Everything I've seen to this point has been pointing to that very thing. So I'm pleased with how they're handling it."

Richt said Brandon Harton will likely start Saturday against the Aggies, but added freshman walk-on Kyle Karempelis will also see time.

"I like him. He's a tough kid. He's got some good run skills. In camp he did a nice job. Harton did a nice job last spring," Richt said. "We'll have to use (Brandon] Boykin and little more and (Branden) Smith a little more and maybe go some no-back sets. We've got enough tight ends. We have some ways we can still move the football."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]