A few tidbits from Mark Richt's meeting with fans in Macon last night…
-- First off, credit Richt for having a bit of a sense of humor. The highlight film they played at the meeting before Richt spoke to the crowd was of the 2008 season, to which Richt quipped: "We must not have had a very good season because we didn't show last year's highlights."
-- As I wrote yesterday, Logan Gray will practice primarily -- and possibly practice completely -- at receiver going forward. But that doesn't mean Richt has ruled out keeping Gray as his No. 2 QB, even if he's playing receiver. That will all depend on the progress of incoming freshman Hutson Mason.
"I don't know what (Mason) can do," Richt said. "If heís ready, heíll still play. If we don't think he's ready, I would be more than happy to have Logan continue to be our No. 2 and then just go from there."
-- As for Gray's decision to stay, Richt said he made it for all the right reasons.
"I asked him -- he called me this morning and told me, and I said, 'Tell me why you decided you want to stay.' He said, 'Because I love Georgia, I love my teammates, I think we can win, and I want to win. I want to be there.' That was all the right reasons to stay."
-- Of course, all of this is making it awfully hard for Richt to continue saying that Aaron Murray has yet to earn the starting job. While he still stopped short of outright naming Murray his starter, he admitted there's really very little chance of anything else happening.
"Aaron Murray is certainly in the driver's seat and more than likely will be the starter," Richt said. "There's always something that could happen between then and now that might change that, but he's really in good position to do that."
-- As for how much responsibility Murray will have at the line of scrimmage this season, Richt said that was to be determined, but it would probably be a gradual process of throwing a little more at Murray each week.
"We don't want to start too high and then he struggles and gets set back," Richt said. "You never want a QB to get set back. You always want him to feel comfortable and confident and maybe even bored with the material to where he's ready for the next level of information."
-- Of course, while Murray won't be given carte blanche from Day 1, Richt said he won't be toning down the offense too much to protect his young QB.
"If we don't throw the ball to A.J., we're not very smart," Richt said. "We better get the ball to A.J. Green, and I don't think it's a news flash to any defense that we're going to get the ball to A.J."
-- And Green won't be the only receiving threat. While Richt praised the progress of Tavarres King and Kris Durham, he also said the tight ends will play a much more significant role in the offense this season than they had in the recent past.
"For a while there, whether through injuries or recruiting, we didn't quite have the guys who could become a mismatch for a linebacker or safety, but we have that now," Richt said. "So we'll definitely use the tight ends, and I'd imagine we'll have more two tight-end sets than we have since the days of having Watson and McMichael at the same time."
-- Back to Murray for a second: Richt told wary fans to "do a little research on Aaron Murray, watch his high school tape" and said they'll be excited about having him at QB.
-- Describing Murray's skill set, Richt said: "You would take Aaron Murray every single year that you are recruiting a quarterback."
-- And as for what Murray needs to do to get ready for the season, Richt said there isn't a whole lot he needs to improve upon. "He's to the point, in my opinion, where he just needs to play," Richt said.
-- I asked Richt about identifying some leaders on this year's team. Last year, Richt took the stage and touted the huge number of votes for Jeff Owens, Rennie Curran and Joe Cox as the team's leaders during exit interviews. This year, things were much different.
"A lot of Chapas, a lot of Gamble, a lot of Dent," Richt said. "It was actually spread out quite a bit. Boling, Dobbs, a lot of people mentioned A.J. Green. Durham, a lot of people mentioned Durham. Ben Jones. It was a lot more spread out."
That's not necessarily a bad thing, Richt said. In fact, on a number of ballots, Richt said players simply wrote, "The Seniors" -- something he said had never happened before.
More exciting, he said, was the number of players who identified offensive linemen as leaders. That's a good sign, Richt argued, because the linemen have to be the least selfish players on the team, and they're the ones setting the tone for the offense.
-- On the defensive side of the ball, Richt confirmed that no additional position changes are scheduled for anyone.
"It was a good start for our coaches to learn our personnel and to try to get the pieces to the puzzle in the right spot," Richt said. "I think we've got the players to the positions they need to be at. And I've talked to the seniors a little bit, and they said it's not that confusing now that the dust has settled a little bit. But they know they've got a lot to learn still, but they've been exposed to a lot."
-- Richt said it was still very much up in the air whether Richard Samuel would redshirt in 2010, but he finally admitted the coaching staff outsmarted themselves in how to use Samuel during his early career.
"Even his high school coach said, 'Coach, I think he's on defense.' He said it the day we got (Samuel). But we were smarter than that, and we thought, no, once he gets to do it more, he's going to be something else. And he did have some special abilities at running back, but as it turned out, we had some other guys that just had more feel for the position and took his playing time."
-- On the academic front, Richt said the team is all good for the fall after finals wrapped up last week.
"Everything's good," he said. "I don't know if all of our final grades are in, but talking to our academic people, we don't have any fear of anybody having an academic issue right now."
-- And back to Richt's opening comments about playing 2008 highlights since last year was so bad: True, Richt said, that last year was tough. But he said most fans appear to be in the same boat as he is -- looking ahead to the future. And on that front, Richt offered some glowing endorsements for what could lie ahead in 2010.
"I don't do jumping jacks like some people do when they're excited, but I can promise you, I'm as excited about this season as I have been for any one since I've been at Georgia," Richt said. "I think we've got the right stuff."
A few quick basketball notes, too:
-- Mark Fox said he expects the backcourt to be much deeper this year with the addition of Gerald Robinson, who he said will play both guard positions and will ideally help give Dustin Ware some time off. Fox said Ware admitted he wore down in the latter stages of games last year somewhat consistently.
-- In regards to attitude this year, things are much better, Fox said.
"They don't have to accept the team rebuilding anymore, but that doesn't mean they're rebuilt. We have a positive culture in our locker room, and it's healthy right now. It's easier with that established for them to show up and do what we ask them to do."
-- Fox, too, said that his team is in good academic shape after grades came back.
-- Fox said he has not yet made a hire to replace Mark Pope, who left for a job at Wake Forest, but said he has already talked to several candidates.
-- On the scheduling front, Fox said he's finding it far more difficult to convince teams to come to Athens this year, where Georgia is no longer seen as an easy win.
-- And Fox also said he is in negotiations with Georgia Tech to move their annual game to late November or early December when students are still on campus. Although nothing has been finalized, Fox said he expects a deal to get done.