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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Practice Notes: Players-Only Meeting Called to Boost Morale

Georgia’s players received text messages Tuesday night following practice informing them of a players-only meeting, where a number of the team’s veterans spoke.

The message was simple, senior Jeff Owens said. The team needed to look toward the future rather than last week’s embarrassing loss to Tennessee.

“We told them we have to turn around this season,” Owens said. “We all know what we’re looking at right now. We’re 3-3, but we can just go up and progress. The main purpose was to get everybody on one accord and get this thing turned around.”

Senior wide receiver Kris Durham, who also spoke at the meeting, said the team needed to change its perspective on the season in the wake of Georgia’s 3-3 start. Rather than look at the big picture, he said, he urged his teammates to simply work on improving each day and winning their next game.

“What’s happened has happened, and it’s in the past,” Durham said. “We can’t sit there and dread it or think that’s our season, because it’s not. There’s still (six) more games left. We need to push on from here and start like it’s Game 1.”

Owens said the team was reminded of Georgia’s turnaround following a stretch of four losses in five games in 2006 that resulted in an unexpected three-game winning streak against three ranked opponents to close out the year.

The message was meant to revitalize some sluggish morale, Durham said, and remind the players that unity is crucial to overcoming the team’s recent slide.

“It was like we didn’t have the fire in us, and we needed to get together and let them know we have their back,” Durham said. “We have to stay strong together.”


Fullback Shaun Chapas is doubtful for this week’s game against Vanderbilt, Richt said, after suffering multiple stingers in his neck and shoulder.

Chapas has started every game since the start of the 2008 season, but is likely to give way to junior Fred Munzenmaier this week. Senior Justin Fields could also see action.

“I think (Munzenmaier) will do a good job, and Fields is a guy I think can do a good job, also,” Richt said. “Both of them will hit you. I would think it’ll end up being a good opportunity for Fred.”

Munzenmaier has seen limited playing time this season, but he did have four carries against Arizona State, including one for a touchdown.


Tailback Caleb King worked in a second day of practice and is on pace to be ready for action Saturday against Vanderbilt after missing last week’s game with a concussion and broken jaw.

King worked in non-contact drills Tuesday and Richt said they’ll simulate contact work Thursday before making a final decision, but the expectation is that the sophomore will be ready. The same is true for receiver Tavarres King, who also missed last week with a concussion.

“You phase them in to a non-contact situation in a practice like (Tuesday),” Richt said. “Then if they do well with that exerting and doing all the things minus the contact, then you give them some contact and move them forward from there. But (trainer) Ron (Courson) is pretty confident they’ll both be fine.”


Georgia has struggled sustaining drives this season, suffering through three-and-outs on nearly 20 percent of all offensive possessions and failing to move the ball inside Tennessee’s 35-yard line last week.

The task won’t get any easier this week, Richt said, as Vanderbilt’s defense has a propensity for making offenses work for yardage.

“You’d like to say we are going to line up and methodically move it down the field, but I haven’t seen anybody do it yet,” Richt said of the Commodores’ defense. “Guys are going to have to make plays, guys are going to have to get in situations and do something to kind of break the dam.”

Vanderbilt ranks fifth in the SEC in total defense and has allowed just nine touchdowns in six games.


Following a deflating loss to Tennessee last week, the criticism of Georgia’s sluggish offense and woeful defense has reached a crescendo. While a number of players already try to avoid the headlines, Richt said he was careful to remind his players to keep focus in spite of rampant criticism.

“There are certain things you can control in life and certain things you can’t control,” Richt said. “What people say about you or your team or your coaches, you can’t control that. All you can control is how you focus, how you prepare and how you keep your mental frame of mind.”


-- Linebacker Rennie Curran also faced some legal trouble as a bench warrant was issued last week after he failed to appear in court for a speeding ticket. Richt said Curran planned to pay the fine on Thursday and he did not anticipate Curran would receive a suspension.

-- Durham said his shoulder, which required offseason surgery and forced him to redshirt this year, is feeling much better and he expects to resume full practice work within the next month.

-- Take this for what it's worth: Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo made freshmen Aaron Murray, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten unavailable to the media this week. No explanation was given.

Regarding Murray, however, Bobo did offer praise of the quarterback's work ethic: “He’s got the right frame of mind. He comes in like he’s a starting quarterback. He came in on our day off to watch film and graded himself like he was starting.”


Anonymous said...

david do the players think the fans have turned on them? i assure you we havent! many of us feel like the coaches are lacking

Anonymous said...

I hate the fact that they did this, or it has come to this.
I have to wonder if this is the last gasps of air before drowning, or coming up from that depths for air after a long time under water.
I thought I would never see something like this as long as Coach Richt was at the helm, but here it is.

MikeInValdosta said...

Does this mean the Vandy score is now 7 - 0 Dawgs?

If not, why the hell publicize this meeting?

Sorry, Dave, but Richt needs to institute the Searels policy program wide. Yes, that includes him.

Just run tape of "Rambo has earned more playing time" or "The plan is to get Gray some snaps" or "Marlon is coming on" or "If you look at it, the deepest keep was returned the longest". Please, let the "arena" comment gather some dust.

Wake me up when it is Saturday

DevildawgNC said...

Possible that Bobo considers the possibility of playing Murray this weekend? I'd thought having gotten halfway through the season they'd keep his redshirt, but maybe not. Wooten and Brown, I figure with them he'd rather just protect them a little bit and encourage them to focus on becoming effective, consistent contributors. But I wouldn't mind seeing Murray.

Players-Only meetings don't bother me, and like Members-Only jackets they can effect changes in attitude.

PS - a suspension for Rennie would suuuuuuck

Blue Gill said...

Was Rennie on a scooter when he was caught speeding?

Uganewt said...

If the comments yesterday from Curran and a few others questioning work ethic and desire are legit, then a players-only meeting is in order. While the coaching is lacking, I have no doubt they are working as hard as they can to turn things around. If the staffs' message, especially defensively, has gotten stale, the only way to breathe some fresh air into it is to hear from the players that everybody on the team respects and knows are working hard. Hey, it worked in "Remember the Titans."