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Friday, December 17, 2010

Stafford wanted to return? And other notes from Richt

Mark Richt never mentioned any names. Still, as he spoke Friday about the decisions facing underclassmen, it was clear he was doing a bit of politicking for guys to stay in school.

“If a guy has the ability to improve his draft status from one year to the next, then that’s something he needs to consider,” Richt said. “Because the NFL’s pretty simple in the draft.

"You’re slotted in the second round, if you’re the 10th pick in the second round, you’re gonna get about this much (money) plus about three percent. … So if you have a potential to move yourself up to the mid-first, and you look at the difference between (those two rounds), that’s a tremendous difference in guaranteed money.”

Those comments sounded very similar to what Richt said after the Georgia Tech game when asked about linebacker Justin Houston - who is projected anywhere from mid-first to second round.

The general assumption is that receiver A.J. Green would be one of the top picks in the next draft. That leads many to think Green won’t think twice before turning pro, just like Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno did in 2009.

But from Richt’s standpoing, it’s not an easy decision.

“People might’ve thought, Stafford and Moreno (were like) ‘Hey I’m outta here,’” Richt said, snapping his fingers. “I know that they know when they leave early they’re missing something. They’re missing part of what they signed up for, so to speak. …

“I don’t think Stafford wanted to go. But I think Stafford knew he couldn’t improve where he was.”

Stafford ended up being the top overall pick in the draft, and Moreno also went in the first round.

But Georgia has had other players pass on the pros and stay for their senior years, most notably David Pollack.

“I think there’s value in being a senior and a leader,” Richt said.

A few other notes:

- James Kennedy, the man otherwise known as “Radio,” was a special guest at Friday’s practice. He was there with former T.L. Hanna (S.C.) High School football coach Harold Jones; the pair were the subject of the 2003 movie “Radio,” starring Cuba Gooding and Ed Harris.

- Tight end Orson Charles said he was pumped about new strength coach Joe Tereshinski II.

“I’m kind of excited. Because personally, he told me he’s gonna make me 250 (pounds),” Charles said. “And he also said he’s gonna make me faster. So I wanna see if he can really do that.”

- Richt said he was happy for former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who signed on Wednesday with LSU after spending a year in junior college. Mettenberger was dismissed from Georgia after spring practice following repeated off-field issues.

“I love Zach, I love his family,” Richt said. “We’ve been knowing him since he was a peanut, and I’m really glad that he had the season that he had. … He’s got a great opportunity at a great school.”

Richt said LSU head coach Les Miles never solicited his opinion about Mettenberger.

- While Richt was quite familiar with new Florida head coach Will Muschamp, he wasn’t sure he’d ever met the other new coach in the SEC East: James Franklin, who was hired by Vanderbilt on Friday.

“I know the name,” Richt said of the former Maryland offensive coordinator. “I’m trying to think if we’ve met. I’m not sure. He likes to spread it out, right?”

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