October 2, 2011

Punishment doled out

Georgia coach Mark Richt said junior linebacker Cornelius Washington will serve "at least" a two-game suspension, following his arrest for speeding and DUI near Commerce following Saturday's 24-10 win over Mississippi State.

UGA athletic association rules stipulate that any athlete arrested for DUI must miss 20 percent of his team's season, which in the case of Washington means Saturday night's game at Tennessee and next week's contest at Vanderbilt.

Richt made the announcement during his weekly Sunday teleconference with reporters.

"He's sick, he feels awful," said Richt, who met with Washington Sunday morning. "He knows he let the team down, he let his coaches down, he let his family down and he let the Bulldog Nation in general down. He understands there's a price to pay and he's going to take his punishment like a man, come back, and finish strong for us. That's his state of mind right now."

A police spokesman told UGASports that Washington posted a $3,500 bond and was released from jail overnight.

Washington had four tackles, including two sacks in Saturday's victory over MSU.

According to Richt, the UGAA mandate for missing 20 percent of the season is specific to arrests for DUI. Other alcohol-related arrests results in missing 10 percent of the season's games.

Last year, freshman Demetre Baker was dismissed from the team following his arrest for DUI. Richt explained why the same rules did not apply to Washington.

"The team rules have not changed, but it was a different climate last year for sure," Richt said, who last year had issued a no-tolerance policy after a series of alcohol-related arrests. "There's no doubt about that."

Richt was asked how much of a setback Washington's absence will mean for the team.

"It's a setback, but I don't know if it will deter us from playing hard and playing well," Richt said. "It will just give somebody else an opportunity to play well. With Christian Robinson and Alec Ogletree out, Mike Gilliard came in and played well; Amarlo Herrera has come in and played well."

So who will replace Washington? As of Sunday, Richt was not completely sure.

"We're not quite sure who it's going to be yet," he said. "By the end of the day (Sunday), I'll have a good idea as to how we'll line up in practice. We just haven't had that discussion yet."

The top two candidates figure to be redshirt sophomores Chase Vasser and Reuben Faloughi.

Freshman Ray Drew, who has only appeared in one game (Coastal Carolina), could get an extended look, as well.

"It will be an opportunity for him, certainly," Richt said. "He'll be part of the mix as far as our discussion and anytime a guy goes out of the game, a starter is out of the game, whether it's by suspension or injury, it always tends to create more opportunity for guys. Will Ray be the sole beneficiary of that playing time, or a part beneficiary, I don't know. That's what we've got to decide here this evening and maybe even as far as performance goes in practice."

NOTE: Richt did not have any update on sophomore linebacker Alec Oglegree, who was scheduled to get X-rays Saturday evening following the removal of his protective boot.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]