September 8, 2010

Richt offers more on Green ineligibility

As expected, Wednesday's post-practice interview session with reporters dealt very little with the just-completed workout or Saturday's opponent South Carolina. It was all about A.J. Green.

No, this came as no real surprise.

Earlier, Georgia announced that the NCAA was suspending standout Green for four games after selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000 to a person who fits the NCAA's definition of an agent.

Georgia is appealing the decision and Green has repaid the $1,000 to a charity.

"He's hurt. He's sad," Richt said. "He's sorry for what happened. He's sorry."

According to Richt, the NCAA will not hear his appeal until sometime next week. Sources tell UGASports that the University is attempting to get the penalty lowered to two games. If not, Green won't be able to return until the Bulldogs (1-0) travel to Colorado on Oct. 2.

Richt apprised the team of Green's situation briefly before Wednesday's practice. Green did not address the team, although he continues to practice with the squad.

"I just told them we were going to focus on this game, focus on who we're playing and then we flexed and went to practice. We didn't have a discussion," he said. "I thought they practiced well. I don't think the mood changed. We're going to play who's eligible to play."

Tight end Aron White agreed, adding it wasn't difficult at all to focus on Saturday's noon kickoff against the Gamecocks (1-0).

"It wasn't hard for me to focus and I don't think there was anybody out there saying, 'Oh man, we don't have A.J.' I thought we had a great practice."

White acknowledged the Bulldogs have taken a hit when it comes to the program's reputation, a reputation that's been hurt by nine arrests since the start of the year.

"We've had a lot of bad stuff happen. We're not terrible guys, we've gotten into trouble quite a few times and we've gotten a certain label and stigma attached to us because of that," White said. "But at the end of the day I think everybody in the lockerroom knows each other. I know their hearts. I know they're not bad guys."

Richt declined comment when asked if the four-game suspension was fair.

He did, however, express concern over the issues with agents and their runners which continue to plague the college scene.

During SEC Media Days, both Alabama coach Nick Saban and Florida coach Urban Meyer expressed their disdain for agents and their representatives.

Wednesday, Richt was asked to give an update on his feelings.

"I'll just go back to what I said back then. If everybody will just do their jobs, that within the rules and in an ethical way, we sure wouldn't have as many rules as we have and the world would be a better place," Richt said. "But that's not the case and because of that you've got these types of situations that occur."

Sources Wednesday told UGASports that the NCAA learned of the infraction regarding Green when it came to inquire about the receiver's ties to the agent-sponsored party in Miami. Wednesday's statement released by the NCAA did not mention tying Green to the party.

Green will continue to practice with the team while he serves his suspension. The Bulldogs will also continue to run their offense as they would if Green was in the lineup.

"We still are going to run our system. We've still got guys who can make plays and get after people. It won't change us an awful lot," Richt said. "We won't run a lot of different plays. It will probably look a little bit different, you know, as opposed to when A.J. is in there. Those plays look different because of his abilities."

NOTE: Richt said it still hasn't been determined whether or not true freshman Michael Bennett will play this fall.

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