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Monday, December 21, 2009

Practice Notes: All Is Calm on Recruiting Trail

With shakeups on the coaching staff and rumors about possible replacements cropping up at a frenzied pace, it might be understandable if Mark Richt was spending a lot of time putting out fires with recruits the past few weeks. As it turns out, however, he said things have been pretty calm on that front.

“Initially that was the majority of the conversation, but now we’re just continuing that relationship of them just being excited about being at Georgia and talking about the end of their seasons and school and finals and the holidays,” Richt said.

The most recent contact period with players ended last weekend, but Richt and his staff spent the previous few weeks getting in touch with their current commitments and letting them know as many details as possible on the changes to the defensive staff and the timetable for finding replacements. Once those initial conversations occurred, it has pretty much been smooth sailing, Richt said.

At last weekend’s end-of-season gala, Georgia hosted many of its top recruits and commitments, and for those on the defensive side of the ball, Richt spent some extra time with them talking about the future, but he said there has been virtually no concern on the players’ parts about what’s in store.

Coaches get another opportunity to contact recruits again in January, and Richt said he plans on making a round of home visits then – ideally with the new defensive coaches in tow.

“I’ve strategically tried to save most of my home contacts until after the bowl season,” Richt said. “And hopefully we’re going to get a chance to get out with our new coaches after that point.”


Reserve safety Quintin Banks suffered a neck sprain during Sunday’s practice that could cost him a chance to play in the Independence Bowl next week.

Banks, who has battled myriad injuries in his career, had seen increased playing time down the stretch with freshman Bacarri Rambo out, but he suffered a sprained neck while making a hit during Sunday’s practice. He was taken to the hospital for observation, but Richt said the results were all positive.

“All his extremities are moving just fine,” Richt said. “He got discharged from the hospital last night. They evaluated him but everything looks real positive.”

Banks was also scheduled to start on several special teams units, and Richt said that could still happen if things improve throughout this week.

“I wouldn’t count him out right now,” Richt said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”


Georgia will have plenty of new input on specials teams in its bowl game, with two graduate assistants handling kickoffs and tight ends coach John Lilly taking over punt returns, but Richt said there won’t be any drastic changes on either unit in terms of philosophy.

“It’s kind of like defense,” Richt said. “You don’t want to re-invent everything. It’s hard to do in such a short amount of time. There’s not a big difference.”


Former defensive coordinator Willie Martinez may be gone, but he’s hardly forgotten.
Several of Georgia’s players said they have spoken with Martinez since he and two other assistants were dismissed earlier this month, and cornerback Brandon Boykin said Martinez had a specific message for him.

“He told me he’ll call me if I’m doing bad on the field and critique me,” Boykin said. “We’ll continue to talk.”

Several players, including Boykin and linebacker Rennie Curran, said it was difficult to talk to their former coach after the changes occurred, but all said they hoped to stay in touch in the future. Boykin said he even planned to see Martinez in person.

“I’m not sure what he’s going to do, but I’ll probably go by his house and just see him,” Boykin said. “We have a good relationship and I want that to continue.”


Rodney Garner confirmed that two of Georgia's incoming commitments would enroll early in January. He said official paperwork has yet to be filed but he did not expect any complications.

One of the two early enrollees will be junior-college transfer Jakar Hamilton, a safety from Georgia Military College, according to his head coach Burt Williams. The other, according to, will be Buford offensive lineman Kolton Houston.

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