Dewberry Goes To Work

Georgia Linebacker Darius Dewberry

Georgia Linebacker Darius Dewberry

Junior linebacker Darius Dewberry is working two jobs to pay for the damage he inflicted to St. Mary’s Hospital property this past weekend. According to Richt, Dewberry started a job with UGA that he works 8 a.m.-noon each day and another one at St. Mary’s that he works from 8 p.m. to midnight.

In between “he’s with us,” Richt said.

Dewberry’s angry outburst after learning of a teammate’s injuries from a fight resulted in more than $2,000 worth of damage to a parking-lot control arm and four plant-container pots. Richt suspended Dewberry for the first two games and ordered him to get a job to pay for the damages, and Dewberry must do 20 hours of community service. Richt said Dewberry also will work the first two Saturdays of the season while he’s suspended, then he can return to the team full time.

“He’s anxious to pay off his debt,” Richt said. “He was very sincere about that from the start.”

– Courtesy of AJC.com

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Arrests A Concern For Georgia?

Far be it from me to usually challenge the wisdom of Tim Cowlishaw and Jean-Jacques Taylor. Our two columnists were of one mind Tuesday on ESPN’s Around the Horn, saying they didn’t see any major cause for concern with the recent arrests and suspensions at No. 1 Georgia.

This time, I have to disagree. For a team with huge expectations and scrutiny to match in the Southeastern Conference, the off-the-field problems are worrisome.

1. The kucklehead factor. You can only have so many of those players on a team to be successful and the Bulldogs may have reached their limit.

2. Focus. The arrests show that players might be listening and believing everything said about them. They could be celebrating prematurely. Eyes on the prize, guys.

3. Leadership. If you read message boards long enough (not advised), you’ll come across the argument that college kids will be college kids, so why make a big deal out of it. True, at least partially. Plenty of kids party in college. Not all get arrested. That’s the point. You can have a really good time and be smart about it, minus the police and Internet pictures. The upperclassmen at Georgia and the assistant coaches need to start some pre-emptive policing.

Below are videos of Mr. Cowlishaw and Mr. Taylor, as well as an interview with Georgia coach Mark Richt about the problems.

– Courtesy of Dallas News

Dewberry Apologizes

 

ATHENS, Ga. — His decision-making wasn’t the best this past weekend when he destroyed hospital property in an angry rage, but suspended Georgia linebacker Darius Dewberry did his best to set the record straight Monday.

Dewberry, who will miss the first two games after being suspended by coach Mark Richt, met with the media and apologized for his actions. He said the hardest part was taking what had already been a rough offseason for the Bulldogs and making it worse.

Georgia has had eight players arrested in 2008, and six have either been suspended or dismissed from the team.

“I want to apologize to St. Mary’s Hospital. I want to apologize to my teammates and all the Bulldogs’ fans,” said Dewberry, who caused an estimated $2,100 in damages at the hospital after finding out that a couple of his teammates were being treated there for injuries they suffered in a barroom brawl. “I overreacted and made a bad decision.”

Dewberry, a strong-side linebacker for the Bulldogs, said he doesn’t have a final tally of what he’ll have to pay. He plans to get a job to help pay for the damages.

“Whatever I have to [pay], I will. I did it, and I’ll deal with it,” he said.

Dewberry wasn’t at the bar when the brawl started. He said he received a call that his teammates had been hit over the head with a bottle and met them at the hospital.

“My actions didn’t make it any better,” Dewberry said. “It was bad.”

With Dewberry out for the first two games, true freshman Christian Robinson will move into the backup role behind starter Akeem Dent on the strong side, Georgia linebackers coach John Jancek said Monday.

Check back a little later tonight, and I’ll have several more notes, quotes and leftovers from the Bulldogs’ media day and first preseason practice.

Richt Ready To Just Talk Football

 

 

Richt Attends Press Conference

Richt Attends Press Conference

 

 

The coach of the first Georgia team ever to be voted preseason No. 1 sat before the assembled media on the first day of practice, and of the first 20 questions directed toward Mark Richt, four had to do with football. The others concerned misbehavior, at which Richt’s Bulldogs might also rank No. 1.

Eight Georgia players have been arrested this calendar year. (One charge was dismissed.) Six have been suspended. On the same weekend the USA Today coaches’ poll anointed the Bulldogs the nation’s top team, one player was arrested, two more were taken to the hospital after being injured in a barroom brawl and a fourth is said by police to have caused $2,100 in property damage at that hospital.

“I know there’s been a big buzz,” Richt said in his opening statement, and he wasn’t speaking of the upcoming season. And then: “I guess we can talk about football if anybody wants — I’d be all for that.”

You’d have thought nothing could overshadow the first on-field appearance of what should be Richt’s team of teams, but a summer’s worth of unsavory headlines have taken the focus off Knowshon and Stafford and redirected it toward police reports and court filings.

“It’s embarrassing,” Richt said. “It’s sad … It certainly has been a distraction. There’s no way you can say it hasn’t been a distraction.”

This hasn’t been the first ugly offseason under Richt. The summer of 2003 brought eight suspensions and the selling of SEC championship rings on eBay. The spring of 2005 saw tackle Darrius Swain jailed and linebacker Josh Johnson booted off the team. Each time Richt vowed to teach his players better, but here it is 2008 and we’re again reminded that teaching can go only so far.

And now Georgia arrives at an unseemly disconnect: Its football team is admired coast-to-coast, but 6.7 percent of Georgia’s star-spangled 105-man squad has been arrested in 2008. Said Richt: “The reputation of this team has been damaged, no question.”

The easy course is to suggest that Georgia, in its zeal to play for the BCS title, has come to value talent over all else and has taken too many risky recruits. Richt: “I don’t think so. I can’t tell you how many guys [of whom] we say, ‘We’re not recruiting that guy; we’re not bringing that guy in.’ … We’ve dropped many young guys off the list based on their character.”

There’s no doubt Richt is sincere in his desire to nurture and, where possible, to rehabilitate. (He gave the infamous Odell Thurman every chance.) “If a guy does step out of line, he does get disciplined,” Richt said. “But if the first time a young man has a situation and you throw him out of the house — it’s hard to help a guy when he’s gone.”

Still, Richt needs to grasp that current events have swung public perception against his brand of gentle prodding. It would be a shame if Georgia’s first national championship since 1980 gets lumped with Florida State’s 1993 triumph (remember the Foot Locker raid?) and Nebraska’s 1995 crown (remember Lawrence Phillips?) as tarnished titles. This is too sound a program, and Richt too good a man, for that to happen.

Richt said he has “already read [his players] the riot act” and is considering rendering downtown Athens off-limits. But will that be enough to halt the run of late-night distress calls to this increasingly frustrated coach?

When such a call comes, Richt said, “You feel sick that one of the guys … you love and you care for has gotten himself in trouble. You hate the fact that these guys represent this program, and this program represents this university, and this university represents this state and anybody who claims to be a Bulldog.”

Someone asked Richt if, deep down, he’s simply too nice a guy. “I don’t think you can be too nice a guy,” he said. On this point, alas, the nice guy might be wrong.

– Courtesy of AJC.com

Another Dawg Suspended

Georgia Linebacker Darius Dewberry

Georgia Linebacker Darius Dewberry

Linebacker Darius Dewberry became the sixth Georgia player to be suspended by coach Mark Richt on Monday.

Dewberry, a junior from Peach County High in Fort Valley, admitted to being the person responsible for damaging a parking lot control device and four plant container pots in the wee hours of Saturday morning at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens. Dewberry will be suspended for the Georgia Southern and Central Michigan games and will be responsible for paying for the damages.

Dewberry, who made five starts for the Bulldogs last season, will also undergo counseling and faces 20 hours of community service and ‘in-house’ punishment.

– Courtesy of AJC.com

No further disciplinary action taken on Georgia players

Athens — Police and Georgia coach Mark Richt were left Sunday to clean up the collateral damage of a wild weekend of partying that left one current and one former football player arrested, two other players hospitalized and yet another one suspected of criminal damage to property.

No other suspensions were announced Sunday afternoon as the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs officially reported to campus for preseason practice. Practices start Monday afternoon.

The maximum of 105 players checked into Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on Sunday as expected. Snapper Jeff Henson and safety Donavon Baldwin were not among them. Richt suspended both indefinitely late Saturday night for their involvement in weekend incidents that attracted police attention.

Henson, who was arrested for DUI last November and missed the Sugar Bowl as punishment, was arrested by Athens-Clarke County for public intoxication and urinating in public sometime after 1 a.m. Saturday. According to police reports, another charge against Henson could be forthcoming.

While Henson was being taken into custody, an individual approached and told police Henson had punched him in the face a short time earlier at the bar On The Rocks. Police said Joshua Hamilton Boatwright’s left eye appeared red and slightly swollen. An ambulance was called to the scene and Boatwright was advised of procedures for filing warrants. None had been filed as of Sunday evening.

At about the same time, Baldwin was smashed in the head with a beer bottle at The Library, a popular downtown bar on East Clayton Street. Teammate Marcus Dowtin, a freshman linebacker from Maryland, was also hit with a bottle during an altercation at the bar and both players were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital. Baldwin was already suspended for one game after being charged with DUI in January. As of Sunday afternoon, no disciplinary measures had been announced for Dowtin.

While Baldwin and Dowtin were being treated at the hospital, their former teammate Michael Lemon was arrested for underage consumption of alcohol. Lemon, 20, who was dismissed from the team last month after being charged with aggravated battery, was identified by hospital security as the person seen kicking over trash cans.

Baldwin and Dowtin’s condition is unknown.

According to police, three other Georgia players were interviewed as witnesses, including freshman tailback Caleb King, sophomore linebacker Akeem Dent and former player Antavious Coates. King was described as being agitated and uncooperative and accused Officer Gene Davis of “just wanting to get players in trouble.”

Coates and Dent, the officer reported, “were the most respectful and helpful.”

Originally, a person whom police believed might be a player was seen on security cameras damaging a parking control device and four large pots and was being sought for criminal damage to property. Described only as “a black male wearing khaki pants,” that person left the scene.

However, Athens-Clarke County police Capt. Clarence Holeman said Sunday that the hospital — which contracts with the Georgia Athletic Association to provide medical care — will not pursue charges because “arrangements have been made to take care of the damage.”

Meanwhile, Holeman said A-CC detectives would be seeking a warrant for aggravated assault against the person or persons who injured Baldwin and Dowtin.

– Courtesy of AJC.com