Georgia Fans, Give Thanks to Mark Richt for Resurrecting UGA Football

Richt Attends Press Conference

Richt Attends Press Conference

The following article is courtesy of Justin Carter at the Bleacher Report (www.bleacherreport.com):

The University of Georgia Bulldogs, along with the Bulldog Nation, should be excited to be ranked at the top of the preseason polls for the first time in school history—but we all know it is not the preseason poll that matters.

One request to those who bleed red and black: Please wait until after the BCS National Championship game before you start running down the street with your pants around your ankles singing “glory glory to ol’ Georgia.”

Trust me—the thought has crossed the minds of many within the Bulldog Nation.

Instead of celebrating something that guarantees little to nothing (the preseason poll), take this time to celebrate the resurrection of Georgia football and give thanks to the man behind the resurrection: Coach Mark Richt.

Times were different before Coach Richt.  UGA fans remember the feeling of being nationally irrelevant.  The feeling of irrelevance was an all too familiar feeling in Athens during the Goff and Donnan eras, but thankfully times have changed.

Yes, Donnan beat the University of Florida once, and Goff headed the attack of “Air Georgia” which was lead by the right arm of Eric Zeier, but neither coach was able to do what Coach Richt has done.

Coach Richt has made Georgia football relevant outside of the South once again.

Expecting to end the season ranked within the top 10, expecting to compete for an SEC Championship, and expecting to play in a BCS bowl game are all expectations that Georgia fans did not have before Coach Richt came to the University of Georgia.

Some may be reluctant to give all of the credit to Coach Richt.  To those people, I ask you to notice the decline of the Florida State football program since the departure of Coach Richt.

Coincidence?  I think not!

Coach Richt is not without flaw, but no coach is flawless.  Mark Richt’s track record as a person and as a coach speaks for itself.  He leads his program based on the same high moral values with which he leads his life.

Georgia fans, be thankful—and do not forget how it felt to be irrelevant.

Richt Draws On Experience To Prepare Bulldogs

Coach Richt Talking To QB Stafford

Coach Richt Talking To QB Stafford

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia heard the expectations on the field at the Louisiana Superdome in the moments after its 41-10 rout of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs have lived with them ever since, every single day. Coach Mark Richt has listened to them at summer meetings of Bulldog Clubs across the state. The players have heard them on campus all spring and summer.

When you’re 20 years old and everyone within a 60-mile radius of Sanford Stadium is telling you how great you’re going to be, it would be tempting to assume that the actual playing of the games is a formality. It would be tempting to believe your coronation awaits.

Richt has not had to deal with these expectations in his previous seven seasons at Georgia. In fact, the Bulldogs have not been ranked No. 1 in any Associated Press poll since 1982. But Richt spent his formative years as a coach at Florida State. He worked for Bobby Bowden for 13 of the 14 consecutive seasons (1987 to 2000) in which the Seminoles finished in the top five.

Richt grew up in coaching dealing with these expectations. That’s how he came to tell his Bulldogs a story about the 1988 Florida State Seminoles. The previous season, Florida State had finished second in the nation to Miami, which had beaten the Seminoles 26-25. Florida State had nearly its entire team return for the 1988 season. The Seminoles spent eight months as the consensus No. 1. The players ate it up. They decided to create a dance video, which would save their greatness for posterity.

The Chicago Bears had done just such a thing during the 1985 regular season en route to the Super Bowl. It didn’t dawn on the Seminoles that the Bears had danced after their 12-1 start. Florida State hadn’t played a game yet.

Richt, sitting in his office the other day, relished the story the same way he did when he told it to his Georgia team this past spring.

“Florida State studied the Chicago Bears’ rap, ‘The Super Bowl Shuffle,'” Richt said. “While we were doing that, Miami was studying the 46 defense, Buddy Ryan’s scheme that helped them win the Super Bowl. They had never run it before. They sprang it on us. We had no answer. We had very few answers.”

The Seminoles played their archrival Hurricanes in the season opener as if they didn’t know even the questions. Miami won 31-0. Richt called it “the hardest lesson that Florida State ever learned.” After Richt told the Bulldogs the story, he showed them “The Seminole Rap.”

“I was just trying to send the message that if you get too full of yourself, it could come tumbling down in a hurry,” Richt said. “… I just told them that the preseason blessing could be a blessing or a curse. It will be a curse if you choose to use it as a sense of entitlement, like, ‘I don’t have to work anymore.’ It will be a blessing if it excites you to begin to work like you never worked.”

As the leaders of the team prepared for August practice, they said all the right things. They understand the lesson of “The Seminole Rap.” They understand the 2007 season is the past tense. They know this is a different team.

“I’m going on my fourth season here,” defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. “I have seen the ups and downs. I have experience at both winning and losing.

In 2006, the Bulldogs lost four of five games, then rallied to win their last three and finish 9-4. In 2007, after being routed at Tennessee 35-14, Georgia stood at only 2-2 in the SEC East. The Dawgs then won their final seven games, tied for the division championship and finished second in the AP rankings. Imaginations, at least those outside the locker room, took off from there.

“I’m just ready for it to get here,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said, “so people will have something to talk about other than, ‘What if?’ When I go to campus, it’s, ‘Are y’all going to do it?'”

Stafford does sardonic well.

“They realize it’s set in stone,” he said. “Fans think, ‘You’re preseason No. 1, so you should win it.'”

Stafford begins his junior year with outsized expectations on himself in addition to the expectations on his team. NFL scouts go all dreamy when they talk about him. He is 20 years old and maturing before our eyes, as his numbers indicate: two seasons of starting behind him, and career numbers of 4,272 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also is 17-4 as a starter.

Most important, after two years as a young starting quarterback, Stafford can be a team leader without drawing stares from the upperclassmen. At last, he is one.

“I just want to see an attitude that nobody is going to beat us,” Stafford said. “We understand it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard on everybody. I want to see that same kind of attack mentality we had last season. Not a willingness but a desire to work hard. You’ve got a reason for doing this. I don’t want, ‘OK, I’ll do it today.’ It’s, ‘OK, I want to do it today.'”

Stafford is saying all the right things. But his words, like those the Georgia fans have been saying for months, are just words. The time for action is upon the Bulldogs.

“We have our own expectations. We have our own goals,” wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi said. “We are a family. We are a close-knit group of guys. We’re in it for Georgia, for family. We have so many good things we want to accomplish.”

None of them include making a rap video.

– Courtesy of ESPN.com

Richt’s Son At Clemson

Georgia coach Mark Richt sent his oldest child off to college earlier this summer, and didn’t hear from him for a while.

Not until the middle of last month when Jon Richt, who is a freshman quarterback at Clemson, needed a favor from his dad.

Was it football advice? Or to see how everyone was doing back home? No, not this time. Jon was flat broke after blitzing through his bank account in “record speed.”

“I didn’t hear from him until … he ran out of money for the first time,” Mark said with a laugh. “He said he needed money to buy food. I told him there was a dining hall where he could eat for free. He said it was too far of a walk, and I told him it wasn’t.”

The last two months have provided better understanding for the Richts on how parents feel when they send their child away to college.

“It has helped remind me the emotions that parents go through in this situation, because that [freshman] is their ‘baby,'” Mark said. “I had an idea about it, remembering how it was for me going off to college. But it’s different living through it as a parent.”

Jon, 18, is the oldest of the Richt’s four kids, and considers his dad “his best friend.”

But, best friend or not, fast food was not included in the monthly budget that Mark had set up for his son, who is on scholarship at Clemson. Mark agreed to help out with the cell-phone bill and gas for the car.

Knowing his father wasn’t going to overlook his spending habits, Jon mentioned one way he could quickly cut some costs was to get a less expensive plan for his phone.

But he still needed a few bucks to get back to Athens.

“[Jon] said he couldn’t come home for the weekend, that he didn’t have any gas money. I said ‘Well, I guess we’ll see you in a couple of weeks,'” Mark said with a smile.

Jon said his pleading over the phone didn’t seem to be fattening his bank account. He knew his father was trying to teach him an important lesson about spending money wisely.

“I didn’t get any money for a good 10 days, then my parents had some heart and helped me out,” he said. “But I know they were just helping me to learn to be my own man. It’s all for my own good.”

The Richts are a close-knit family, their jokes aside. Earlier this summer, the family had a “Blessing” ceremony for Jon in late May.

Around 10 family members wrote letters and read them aloud to Jon. The coach got teary-eyed when going last. Recalled his wife, Katharyn, “Mark just said was so proud of the young man Jon had become. He was excited about his future, and said that Jon was going to do a lot of great things in life for the Lord and bless a lot of people.”

Shortly before Jon left, Mark cried after realizing a previous work commitment would prevent his participation in a parent/child rite of passage: Helping Jon move into the college dormitory.

Said Katharyn, “He was disappointed he couldn’t go. I wasn’t in the room when they talked, but Mark’s eyes were red. And Jon teared up pretty good, too, but not as much, because he was so excited about going off to college.”

Jon’s college days got off to a rough start. A few days after settling in, he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and spent around three weeks in bed resting. Richt said Clemson’s coaches checked on his progress daily, and that his mother made the 180-mile roundtrip journey to take care of him in Athens for a few days. This time, Mark was able to arrange his work schedule to be able to take his son back to school.

During Clemson’s summer school sessions, Jon left campus every weekend to meet his family at home or a few times at Lake Hartwell. Katharyn said his visits were likely inspired to see his Athens-based girlfriend as much as family members.

Georgia’s coach had a pep talk for his son before Clemson’s practices began on Aug. 1, borrowing a popular phrase from Rutgers. Said Mark: “I told him no matter what happens, to ‘keep chopping wood’ …

“College football is a grind, lots ups and downs. Don’t ever get discouraged to the point where you want to quit because I know all freshmen go through rough times, tying to fit in.”

While Mark has a jam-packed schedule overseeing Georgia practices and team meetings, the rest of the family has made some trips to support Jon. Katharyn and three siblings were scheduled to attend Clemson “Fan Day” on Sunday.

However, don’t be surprised to see the father sitting among Clemson fans, schedule permitting. Katharyn said her husband plans to make an attempt to watch the end of the Clemson-Alabama game at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 30. It kicks off at 8 p.m., while Georgia has its season-opener much earlier (12:30 p.m.) the same day.

When asked if she could ever see Mark wearing Clemson colors to support Jon, Katharyn said, “That’s a hard question. We’re Georgia Bulldogs and we love our team, but you also want to cheer for your son. I have a white Clemson hat that I might could wear. But I don’t know if you’ll see Mark in anything Clemson. If it affects recruiting, then he won’t touch it.”

– Courtesy of AJC.com

The Richt Era

Richt Attends Press Conference

Richt Attends Press Conference

Here is an article from Dawgsports.com (author: T. Kyle King) about the Mark Richt era.  It says its part 1 of 2, so I will post part 2 when it becomes available:

The 2007 college football campaign is not yet finished, but the Bulldogs’ season is done and Mark Richt now has seven years of service under his belt as Georgia’s head coach. This, then, is an appropriate time for us to take a step back and look at Coach Richt’s record of achievement in order to gauge how his performance compares to the historical norm in the Classic City.

First, we must look at those of Coach Richt’s predecessors who provide a basis for comparison. Mark Richt is just the sixth Bulldog head coach to have held that position for at least seven seasons. Here are the seasons at which we will be looking when analyzing the job Coach Richt is doing:

First seven years as Georgia head coach:
W.A. Cunningham: 1910-1916
Harry Mehre: 1928-1934
Wally Butts: 1939-1945
Vince Dooley: 1964-1970
Ray Goff: 1989-1995
Mark Richt: 2001-2007

Coach Goff, obviously, did not have an eighth season. (He shouldn’t have had a seventh season, or even a sixth one, in my opinion, but that’s a separate conversation. Seriously, I look back on Ray Goff’s tenure as Georgia’s coach the way I look back on Jimmy Carter’s term as president of the United States: “Nice guy. Good man. Fine South Georgian. How the heck did we ever think this fellow could do that job?” The wide-eyed naivete of a small child may be an admirable and even inspiring character trait, but it is not a qualification, either for a Division I-A football coach or for a leader of the free world. Sorry, Doug.)

In any case, we are looking at Ray Goff’s entire career as Georgia’s head coach, but only gazing upon a partial sliver of the careers of W.A. Cunningham, Harry Mehre, Wally Butts, and Vince Dooley when examining the first seven seasons of the Mark Richt era.

We start with the most basic statistic, wins and losses:

Won-lost record and winning percentage:
Cunningham: 39-16-6 (.689)
Mehre: 42-23-3 (.640)
Butts: 52-21-2 (.707)
Dooley: 48-23-4 (.667)
Goff: 46-34-1 (.574)
Richt: 72-19 (.791)

Obviously, it is exceedingly difficult to draw meaningful year-to-year comparisons in terms of wins and losses, as evidenced by the fact that Vince Dooley had only two more victories in his first seven years than Ray Goff had in his. It is rather telling, though, that, in the era of twelve-game regular seasons, conference championship games, and all but assured bowl berths for seven-win S.E.C. squads, Mark Richt still has fewer losses in his first seven years than any of his predecessors except W.A. Cunningham, who never coached more than nine games in a season.

The better basis for comparison, clearly, is the parenthetical percentage next to each coach’s seven-year ledger, which demonstrates decisively that Mark Richt has had the most successful opening run of any Georgia coach, by a large margin. The gap between the second-winningest coach, Wally Butts, and the third-winningest, W.A. Cunningham, is .018, but the gap between the winningest coach, Mark Richt, and the second-winningest, Wally Butts, is .084.

Those, though, are just wins and losses. What did those victories accomplish?

Championships won:
Cunningham: none
Mehre: none
Butts: one S.E.C. championship (1942), one national championship (1942)
Dooley: two S.E.C. championships (1966 and 1968)
Goff: none
Richt: two S.E.C. championships (2002 and 2005)

A trio of caveats ought to be added. First of all, the Bulldogs were declared the 1942 national champions in six of the national polls recognized by the National College Football Hall of Fame and listed in the N.C.A.A.’s official Football Record Book. (So much for the myth of the “mythical” national championship.) Those six polls were the Berryman, DeVold, Houlgate, Litkenhous, Poling, and Williamson polls; both the Associated Press and the coaches voted Ohio State No. 1 that year.

Secondly, Vince Dooley’s 1968 squad was declared the national champion by the Litkenhous poll, but, since Southeastern Conference champion Georgia lost to Southwest Conference champion Arkansas by two touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl, that No. 1 ranking is dubious, at best. Finally, Mark Richt’s 2002 Red and Black unit has as good an argument for the national title as the 2003 Louisiana State Bayou Bengals and the 2006 Florida Gators.

That said, the primary goal of a Georgia coach is to capture Southeastern Conference crowns and, at that objective, Mark Richt has been as successful in his first seven years as any coach in Bulldog history. It took Vince Dooley 17 years to win the Classic City Canines’ only unanimous national championship in 1980; unless Mark Richt is a decade away from guiding a Georgia team to a No. 1 final ranking—and I believe Mark Richt is, oh, about fourteen games away from accomplishing that objective—he will be ahead of Coach Dooley’s schedule and, otherwise, he is keeping pace with the athletic director who hired him.

For the moment, though, let us move past such regular-season achievements as conference titles and focus instead on postseason play:

Bowl games attended:
Cunningham: none
Mehre: none
Butts: three (one Oil, one Orange, one Rose)
Dooley: five (one Cotton, one Liberty, one Sugar, two Sun)
Goff: four (one Citrus, one Independence, two Peach)
Richt: seven (one Capital One, one Chick-fil-A, one Music City, one Outback, three Sugar)

A gargantuan asterisk must be affixed to those numbers, of course. Coach Cunningham had only one losing season and his 1911 and 1912 teams each finished with a lone loss, but, throughout his career in the Classic City, Pasadena was college football’s only postseason destination. Coach Mehre likewise fielded several solid squads in the early 1930s, when bowl berths were significantly less plentiful.

It is, therefore, less impressive than it seems that Coach Richt took each of his first seven teams to bowl games while, say, Coach Butts made it into postseason play just three times. Had there been a Music City Bowl during World War II, the 1944 Bulldogs’ 7-3 record certainly would have gotten them into action after Christmas Day and the 1943 Bulldogs’ 6-4 record likely would have, as well.

What is meaningful is the fact that Coach Richt’s teams have played on New Year’s Day or later five times. (The Red and Black took the field after New Year’s Eve only four times in the 18 seasons between 1984 and 2001.) In terms of the historic major bowl games, Coach Butts attended two in his first seven years (one Orange Bowl and one Rose Bowl), Coach Dooley attended two (one Cotton Bowl and one Sugar Bowl), and Coach Richt attended three (all of them Sugar Bowls).

Getting there is only half the battle, though. How have these coaches fared upon arriving at their postseason destinations?

Record in bowl games:
Cunningham: 0-0
Mehre: 0-0
Butts: 3-0
Dooley: 2-3
Goff: 2-2
Richt: 5-2

Thanks to clock mismanagement against Boston College in 2001 and the ‘Dawgs taking the first quarter off against West Virginia in Atlanta two years ago, Coach Richt has not earned the “bowl master” sobriquet with which Coach Butts was tagged. (In retrospect, though, the Sugar Bowl loss to the Mountaineers was not as disastrous as it appeared at the time. The 2005 Big East champions took the field against the Bulldogs as the winners of 25 of their previous 31 contests and, after securing their program-defining win in the City Too Busy to Hate, the Mountain Men proceeded to emerge victorious from 22 of their next 26 outings, registering another B.C.S. bowl win over Oklahoma in the process. What we didn’t know two years ago, but know now, is that Pat White and Steve Slaton are great players and Rich Rodriguez is a first-rate coach.)

Aside from suffering slightly in comparison to Coach Butts, though, Coach Richt clearly sets the standard for Georgia coaches in the postseason. Mark Richt is responsible for half of the Sugar Bowl victories in school history, winning by margins of 13 and 31 points in a berth in which the Bulldogs’ previous victories were by margins of ten and seven points, and he has never lost a bowl game—or, for that matter, an out-of-conference contest—against a team from a league other than the Big East.

Winning bowl games, though, is just the icing on the cake. Where a coach makes his bones is in rivalry games against teams he faces on a yearly basis. In the next installment of our analysis of the Mark Richt record, therefore, we will be looking at how Georgia coaches have fared against longstanding foes during their first seven seasons on the job.

Go ‘Dawgs!

Richt Announces Scholarships After Practice

ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 1-ranked Georgia’s preparations for the 2008 campaign stepped up a notch on Wednesday, as the Bulldogs worked out in shoulder pads for the first time.

“It was our first day with shoulder pads so we got a little more tempo out of them,” head coach Mark Richt said. “One of the things I like about this team is we have to rein them in a little bit. They’re not afraid to get after it. They enjoy competition and that’s a good thing.”

Richt also was pleased with his team’s performance considering the temperatures were in the high-90s and the heat index reached into the 100s throughout the two-and-a-half-hour session.

“I feel like the weatherman,” Richt quipped. “It was hotter than yesterday and probably as hot as the first day.”

Richt announced that special teams stalwarts Andrew Williams and Benjamin Boyd have been awarded scholarships for the 2008 season. Williams, a 6-0, 197-pound safety from Blairsville, Ga., is a sixth-year senior who also was on scholarship last season when he appeared in 13 games and recorded 11 tackles. Boyd, a 6-1, 210-pound senior from Thomasville, Ga., has played linebacker prior to this fall but is now seeing action at fullback. He posted five tackles while playing in all 13 games last season.

“We re-awarded Drew Williams two nights ago and awarded Benjamin Boyd with a scholarship last night,” Richt said. “I’m happy for both of those guys. They’ve worked hard and earned it. It’s always a pleasure to be able to award walk-ons with a scholarship. You can’t always do that as much as you’d like, but we were fortunate enough to do so with these guys.

“Actually, Boyd made a huge block at fullback today,” Richt said. “He sort of christened himself and his move from linebacker to fullback by picking up a blitz.”

Three former walk-ons have now been placed on scholarship for Georgia for 2008. In addition to Williams and Boyd, punter Brian Mimbs was awarded a scholarship last week.

Richt also said he’s been impressed with several offensive linemen, most notably Tanner Strickland.

“If you asked me who’s improved the most from spring to today it would be Strickland,” Richt said. “He’s pushing for a starting job at guard with (Justin) Anderson. Entering camp, I don’t know if we thought he would compete like he has. You look out there and just seeing how he carries himself in the huddle, you can tell he has a lot more confidence.”

The Bulldogs will also wear shoulder pads during practice on Thursday and Friday afternoons. The first two-a-day practices will take place on Saturday, with the initial full-pads session during the morning workout.

– Courtesy of Georgiadogs.com

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

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