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Monday, August 4, 2008

Richt Talks Discipline

Mark Richt didn't waste time pretending he expected football-related questions at this afternoon's news conference. He addressed the off-field issues, in particular the fight outside an Athens bar last weekend, and didn't mince words. I'll have a full story on this for tomorrow's Telegraph and Ledger-Enquirer, but here's what Richt had to say:

It s certainly been a distraction. There s no way you can say it hasn t been a distraction because it has been. But we have to realize, No. 1, it s not every guy on that team. No. 2, the ones that have misbehaved are paying the price for it. It s not like nothing s going to happen. There has been discipline for it. Anybody who has reached my threshold for behavior have been dismissed or have been suspended and possibly will be dismissed.

"But if a guy has a first-time offense, I don t believe in throwing that guy under the bus to try to stave off the wolves, so to speak. I don t think that s fair to that guy. Dewberry s an example. I don t think I should throw Dewberry off the football team. I ve never had a problem with Darius Dewberry. Dewberry s never been a problem. I know he was very distraught about a teammate being hurt badly, and he was very angry, and he made a bad mistake as he walked home from the hospital. That was very stupid, and that was it. We re not trying to hide the fact that he did it. He s admitting that he did it. He s going to pay a price for it. And hopefully he ll learn a life lesson from it.

"That s what it s all about. Say what you want, we are still in the business of educating young people to learn how to live life and to get their degrees and move forward, and that s my focus, that s my job, that s what I m doing in a very organized and honest way.

"We ve had more issues than I d like to deal with in any given offseason, no doubt, but I do believe and I m not so stubborn that I m not going to be open to other ideas, we will look into other ways of making sure we do a better job but we have multiple sessions on things that need to be done and don t need to be done. And when a guy does step out of line, he does get disciplined. But the first time a young man has a situation, and you throw him out of the house, it s hard to help a guy once he s gone. If a guy gets to a point where he doesn t belong anymore, then he is gone. Once a guy gets to Georgia, they re mine, they re ours. We re gonna love them, we re gonna teach them, we re gonna train him and we re gonna discipline him, just like we would our own children, until they are ready to go off and make it. If a guy gets to a point where he will not comply whatsoever, then he goes. It s not a right. It s a privilege to be at Georgia.

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