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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Practice Notes: Richt Cracks Down After Latest Arrest

A second player in three weeks was arrested for misdemeanor traffic violations Wednesday when offensive lineman Vince Vance was taken into custody by the Athens-Clarke County police for driving without a license.

Head coach Mark Richt said Vance, 22, had a learner’s permit, which would allow him to operate the vehicle if another adult was present, but that was not the case at the time of the arrest. The violation is the second in the past year for Vance, who was arrested on a similar charge last November.

“He doesn’t have a car, and he claims that he never drives unless he has someone 21 (years old) with (him) which is legal to do," Richt said. "So here’s a kid who doesn’t have a suspended license. It’s a legal license. Now, why he has a learner’s permit at this age, everybody’s asking the same question. But he drove by himself and had a traffic violation and when they ran it, he broke the law."

Richt said the arrest will not affect Vance’s playing time in this week’s game against Florida.

“It’s not affecting his playing status at all,” Richt said. “If he starts, he was going to start, if he doesn’t start, he wasn’t going to start.”

Richt said further punishment is being handled in-house, but said that the team’s focus on these minor traffic offenses has increased in recent weeks.

Three weeks ago, cornerback Vance Cuff was arrested for driving a scooter with a suspended license, and linebacker Rennie Curran also had a bench warrant issued for him after he failed to appear in court following a speeding violation.

“I can’t even tell you what we’ve been trying to get done in regard to making sure these things don’t happen,” Richt said. “I’m highly frustrated. I’ve taken things a little bit more into my own hands to make sure these things get resolved.”

The problem, Richt said, is that rules are often nearly impossible to enforce. While the school tries to ensure each player has a valid license, situations like the one faced by Vance result from players not having the proper class of license, which is forcing Richt to take a firm stand on the issue.

“My feeling is, every single Georgia football player must have not only a valid license, but a Class C license,” Richt said.

Still, Richt said, it remains difficult to keep tabs on any potential moving violations, parking tickets and other minor issues that can, if ignored, become more serious. Finding a foolproof plan to combat the issues will take some time, he said.

“I can’t snap my finger and get it done overnight,” Richt said. “If a kid gets a ticket and he can’t take care of it quickly enough, he could find himself with an issue there. So it’s a real pain in the rear, quite frankly.”

While neither Vance nor Cuff were charged with anything more serious than a misdemeanor, Richt said the problem is more about image than substance.

"It’s one thing to get stopped and get a citation," Richt said. "I don’t think anybody gets too bent out of shape. But if a guy gets stopped and he’s arrested, that’s a more serious matter. These are misdemeanor issues, but it’s an arrest nonetheless, and it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to the program and to them. So we’ve got to do a better job, and I’m taking the blame for not making certain these things were taken care of, but we’re going to get it straight.”

Richt said he would personally take account of players' driving status and make an effort to constantly remind players that moving violations and other traffic citations must be reported to the coaching staff.

In Curran's case, a traffic ticket went unpaid, and a bench warrant was issued. That's not uncommon, Richt said, as the busy schedule of classes and football can often cause a player to forget to follow up on such issues.

While Richt is understanding of why the problems can arise, however, he's unwilling to tolerate further excuses.

“I don’t think anybody’s purposely trying to do those things, but if they don’t follow through, that’s another problem," he said. "So all these things can happen and they seem little … but those little things if you don’t handle your responsibilities, then you get bigger problems. That’s part of growing up, that’s part of college, that’s part of what we’re trying to help these guys understand. They’ve got to grow up, be a man, handle your responsibilities so we don’t have to deal with this. But we have got to make sure we’re monitoring these things so we don’t have these things blow up on us.”


As far as the record books go, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is currently tied with former Georgia great Herschel Walker for the SEC’s record for career rushing touchdowns, meaning the much-reviled Gators star could set the mark against Walker’s old team this week. That doesn’t exactly sit well with some of Georgia’s players.

“It seems like everybody is trying to make history on us,” defensive tackle Jeff Owens said, referencing Eric Berry’s attempt to set a record for interceptions against Georgia three weeks ago. “We want to keep him out of the end zone. He’s a tough player, always trying to get that extra yard, so we’ve just got to scratch and claw and try to stop him.”

Tebow has 49 career rushing touchdowns, five of which have come against Georgia. While that officially ties the record, Walker has five additional touchdowns that came in bowl games, which were not counted toward official totals at the time.

Regardless of the caveats, Georgia isn’t interested in seeing Tebow break Walker’s record – officially or unofficially – this week.

“Just knowing the type of player that Herschel was and the type of guy that he is now, we just want to represent for the guys who played before us,” linebacker Rennie Curran said. “That would be huge for us to hold their offense and Tebow and not let them score. We know they like to put the ball in his hands on the goal line so that is going to be our main goal. Not just because it is going to be a record but because as a defense we just want to play our best game.”

Of course, that’s as much a compliment to Tebow as anything. For as much as Georgia’s players hope they can maintain Walker’s record, quarterback Joe Cox admits he has a great deal of respect for Tebow, too.

“He’s unique being such a big, powerful runner,” Cox said. “You see a lot of quarterbacks nowadays that can run, but it’s not like a guy that runs like a fullback. You don’t have a lot of guys that play quarterback that are your goal line back. I think he’s different in that sense. I don’t know how many guys can take that many carries in a conference like this. I don’t know how many you’ll see that are like him. You’ll see a lot of guys that are dual-threat, but guys that can take that many carries and be the goal-line back? I don’t know.”


Cox is making his first start in a Georgia-Florida game this season, and he’s happy to be doing it in Jacksonville, Fla.

There was a great deal of debate over the future of the game in recent months, but a deal to keep the game in Jacksonville appears imminent, and that’s just the way it should be, Cox said.

“I know there are people that think this game needs to come to Atlanta, but it doesn’t matter because wherever you are, it’s going to be a 50-50 crowd, and it’s always really cool to see it like that,” he said. “Two teams that are big rivals, they get to share the stadium, and it’s one of the best games in college football and it’s always fun to be a part of.”


Early in the season, Christian Robinson was buried on the depth chart at linebacker. But with injuries to Akeem Dent and Marcus Dowtin, the redshirt freshman has seen significant playing time the past two weeks, and he’s made the most of it.

In the past two games, Robinson has made six tackles – including one for a loss – in reserve duty, and linebackers coach John Jancek said his progress has been impressive.

“Christian has a very bright future here,” Jancek said. “He’s only a freshman, but he’s really caught on to things very well. He’s a dedicated player, he plays very hard. I look for him to continue getting better and better and better. His biggest thing will be his physical development once we end this season.”


-- Georgia practice in full pads today, a change from its normal schedule following a bye week. The Bulldogs were making up for yesterday’s indoor workout, which was necessitated due to bad weather. The team will practice in shorts Thursday and have a brief walk-through Friday in preparation for Saturday’s game against Florida.

-- Richt said he was not sure who would start at tailback this week but indicated several of Georgia’s five scholarship tailbacks could play. He said, to this point, no one back has emerged that can handle all of Georgia’s playbook to the standards necessary, so different backs will be used for different play calls. Of the backs on the roster, however, Richt said sophomore Caleb King is closest to being a full-time player.

-- Richt still would not comment on a starting lineup for the offensive line, but Clint Boling (LT), Cordy Glenn (LG), Ben Jones (C), Chris Davis (RG) and Josh Davis (RT) handled the first-team reps during the early periods of Wednesday’s practice.

-- Richt said linebacker Akeem Dent went through a full practice today and will be able to play Saturday. Defensive end Kiante Tripp has also been cleared to play after missing most of the season with a neck stinger.

1 comment:

jferg said...

Two things: an erascible richt during fu week can never be a bad thing.
Also, why don't they count the TDs the same? If we now count post-season numbers then everyones number should be measured using the same measuring stick.