Advertisement

 ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -High expectations for Georgia were overshadowed by off-field troubles as the Bulldogs held their first practice Monday.
Coach Mark Richt fielded questions from reporters for about 45 minutes, most of them about players being arrested, dismissed or suspended since Georgia finished last season with a dominant victory over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.
``The reputation of this team has been damaged, no question,'' Richt said. ``I don't think it's beyond repair and I don't think the reputation has been ruined, but certainly it has taken some hits.''
On Monday, Richt announced backup linebacker Darius Dewberry was suspended for the first two games of the season, making him the sixth player to be suspended or dismissed from the team in the offseason.
On Saturday night, Richt announced the indefinite suspensions of two players - snapper Jeff Henson, following his second alcohol-related arrest, and safety Donavon Baldwin, who needed stitches after he was injured in a fight in Athens early Saturday.
The 236-pound Dewberry went to St. Mary's Hospital to check on Baldwin, and broke a barrier on a control arm at the parking lot - with his hands, not his car - and also broke four plant pots.
Richt said Dewberry ``was very distraught about a teammate getting hurt badly.'' Dewberry has agreed to pay for the damages and the hospital is not pressing charges.
Richt said Dewberry must perform 20 hours of community service, undergo counseling and work a part-time job - including on the Saturdays while he misses the first two games - to pay for damages.
Even with all the misdeeds and discipline handed out by Richt, Georgia is headed into one of the program's most anticipated seasons.
The Bulldogs have 19 returning starters from an 11-2 team which finished No. 2 in the final AP poll, has already been picked as preseason No. 1 in the USA Today/Coaches' poll and will no doubt be among the top teams in the AP poll when it's released on Aug. 16.
Richt acknowledged that ``all too often, actually'' he's been left with ``a sickening feeling'' after learning of another arrest, fight or other incident.
Bulldog. I feel sick about that.''
Richt said former Georgia defensive end Michael Lemon, dismissed from the team last month following an arrest for misdemeanor battery and felony aggravated battery, also was charged with underage drinking at the hospital this weekend.
Baldwin was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in January and already had been suspended for one game.
Henson, Georgia's snapper on punts the last two seasons, missed last season's Sugar Bowl following a DUI arrest.
``It's certainly been a distraction,'' Richt said. ``I mean there's no way you can say it hasn't been a distraction, because it has been.''
Richt said he talked to his players about the problems on Sunday.
``I've already read them the riot act,'' Richt said before adding he doesn't want to kick players off the team just to satisfy those tired of seeing names of Georgia players included on the Athens-Clarke County police blotter.
``If a guy has a first-time offense, I don't believe in throwing that guy under the bus to try to stave off the wolves, so to speak,'' Richt said. ``I don't think it's fair to the guy. Dewberry, for example, I don't think I should throw Dewberry off the football team. I've never had a problem with Darius Dewberry.''
Added Richt: ``We will look into other ways of making sure we do a better job.''
Players are banned from downtown Athens during preseason camp, and Richt said he has considered extending that ban.
``That's a decision he has to make,'' senior tight end Tripp Chandler said. ``I don't know if I would blame him for it with what's gone on this offseason.''
The problems have not been limited to this year.
Chandler was suspended for one game last year after he was arrested downtown and charged with underage possession of alcohol.
``Downtown, that can be fun for a lot of guys, but the team and what we're able to do this season is a lot more important than going out and having fun with college students,'' Chandler said.
Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi said players are aware they all may be judged by the actions of teammates.
``We don't want to be looked at as bad guys or thugs,'' Massaquoi said. ``We just have to move forward. We understand what was done and we understand we can't afford to have those mistakes in the future.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

1/2 plays pro for sun. sun sept. 25th on Sun, Sep 2016 by Michael Cash
2nd set pro plays on Sun, Sep 2016 by Timmy1961
1st set of nfl plays for sunday the 25th on Sun, Sep 2016 by sharkey11
3rd set coll. plays now on Sun, Sep 2016 by Michael Cash
Advertisement
Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

More inNCAAF News  
Advertisement

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail College Football Week 5 Odds Week 5 of the College Football Season features some very big matchups between top-10 teams. Here is a look at...
Thumbnail Arizona tries to contain explosive Washington No. 9 Washington utterly obliterated its first three opponents of the season. Will the good times continue in the desert?
Thumbnail Sun Devils, Bears primed for fireworks show With California and Arizona State set to do battle, should fans on the West Coast expect an offensive blitzkrieg tonight?
Thumbnail Arkansas vs. Texas A&M Prediction Will Arkansas pull off the upset or at least cover the spread when it takes on Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium at 9:00PM ET tonight?
Thumbnail Louisville vs. Marshall Prediction Will Louisville avoid a letdown tonight when the Cardinals visit Marshall at 8:00PM ET?
More inNCAAF Articles  

NCAAF Team Pages