November 3, 2009

Murray, Mettenberger to redshirt?

After weeks of speculation, Georgia coach Mark Richt made it official during Tuesday's press conference at Stegeman Coliseum.

Barring injury to Joe Cox and or Logan Gray, freshmen quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray will both redshirt this year.

"That's pretty safe to say, but it was a discussion. It wasn't like 'No, they're freshmen, it's Game 9, don't do it," Richt said. "We talked about it."

But in the end, the reasons to go ahead and plug Murray into the starting lineup did not add up to the answer Richt was looking for.

"We just didn't feel this late in the season it was time to do it and that they had earned the right to be the starter," Richt said. "My feeling was, if you're going to put a freshman in there, then start him and you start him the rest of the way but did really anybody earn that?"

Following Cox's sub-par effort against Florida (11 of 20 for 165 yards and three interceptions) both Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said the starting quarterback job could be up for grabs.

But following Richts' announcement Monday that Cox will remain the starter, the decision to go ahead and redshirt Murray and Mettenberger was apparently an easy one to make.

"Do I think one day they will be great players? I think yes; I think both those guys have tremendous potential, tremendous," Richt said. "We've got extremely high hopes for both of their careers but to say one guy earned it over the other, that didn't happen."

Richt defends work to date

Richt was asked to respond to the notion that he's "too nice" to make any necessary changes within his staff or program once the season is complete.

"I'm not reading that because I'm not reading anything, but I guess you're asking because that is what's out there," Richt said. "Coach (Bobby) Bowden made that comment way back when I got the job. Let's face it; we've had the best winning percentage in the history of Georgia football. We've done pretty well. This year we have not, OK? We're averaging 10 wins a year, won the SEC twice after having not won one in 20 years. It's not like we've been floundering around. This year we have been, let's face it, and I don't like it."

Richt added if the public could peer behind the scenes, they might not come to that opinion.

"People that know me well, the team or the coaches, they know that I've got another edge to me that I don't show publically all the time," he said. "Maybe that's what the public wants to see. But if you're going to be accused of something, accused of being a nice guy is not one of the worse things to be accused of. I'll leave it at that."

Looking for advice?

Richt chuckled when asked if he had ever considered asking of his peers or former peers over how to handle some of the issues surrounding the team.
"Especially in season, everybody's got their own problems, you know what I mean?" Richt said. "They don't need our problems."

When asked if a former or ex-coach might be a different story, Richt again.

Turns out one former coach just happens to be in town for the weekly Athens Bulldog Club Meeting.

"You could," Richt said. "Coach (Tommy) Tuberville's in town, maybe I'll grab him and see what he's got to say."

This and that

Richt confirmed that the decision to start Caleb King at tailback Saturday because of breakdowns by freshman Washaun Ealey last Saturday in pass protection. …. Tennis stars Serena Williams, Melanie Oudin and Sam Querrey will join former Bulldog tennis star John Isner in Athens on Dec. 12 for an exhibition. For more information, go to …. Saturday's will be available live online via ESPN360 and on pay-per-view.

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