September 26, 2010

Richt makes decision on Baker

Demetre Baker's Georgia football career was short-lived after all.

Barely 12 hours since the linebacker's arrest early Sunday morning for DUI, head coach Mark Richt announced that the true freshman from Jacksonville, Fla. has been dismissed from the team.

Baker was arrested at 4:26 a.m. Sunday and charged with DUI, underage possession of alcohol and improper driving.

He was released from the Athens Clarke County jail on bonds totaling $2,500. Baker was redshirting this year and did not make the trip to Starkville, Miss. for Saturday night's game against Mississippi State.

"I'll just say that Demetre was fully aware of the consequences that resulted from this kind of decision," Richt said of Baker, who became the 10th Bulldog to be arrested since the start of the year.

The arrest was the 19-year-old Baker's first offense, but Richt stopped short of saying there is no a zero tolerance policy in place for the rest of the squad.

"Well, I think our guys understand they need to behave, I'll put it that way," said Richt, who added that he has not spoken with UGA president Michael Adams about the incident since returning from Starkville early this morning.

No doubt the Baker incident was the last thing Richt wanted to deal with since arriving back in town following his team's 24-12 loss to Mississippi State, a loss that dropped the Bulldogs to 0-3 in the SEC for the first time since 1993.

With many fans chomping for some kind of change, Richt acknowledged he's facing the toughest challenge of his coaching career to try and get the program back on track.

"Oh yeah, no doubt about it," he said. "The bottom line is we're 0-3 in the league and we've never been there. We've had off-the-field issues that have been a big distraction for our young men, the program, the university, our fans and everybody else. There's no doubt that this is the toughest adversity we've faced."

During Saturday's post-game press conference, Richt hinted that he would be looking at making some changes in light of the team's poor start. However, during his approximately 15-minute session with reporters Sunday, those decisions had not been made.

"We look at the film together, we always do. I'm with the offense and I meet with the defense after they've graded it and discussed it. Normally, during the time frame that I meet with them we talk about personnel and we talk about those things. But it took a little bit longer to look at the film today so I just moved that (meeting) until after this 6:15 staff meeting," Richt said. "Once we cover the things that we normally cover, tonight after that meeting we're going to talk a little bit more about personnel on each side of the ball and anything else in general we think will help us turn this thing around. That will be a part of this staff meeting (Sunday night). I don't know if I'll divulge everything we talk about but certainly we'll discuss those types of things which is what we do - period. We evaluate after every ball game but we'll be soul-searching just a little bit deeper."

Richt said no plans are in place to have offensive coordinator Mike Bobo go back upstairs to the press box.

Bobo, who used to call the game from up top, moved back down on the field for the first time during last year's game at Vanderbilt.

"I've talked to Mike about that, even last year as well as this year and he feels real comfortable on the ground," Richt said. "The information we're getting from upstairs has been very accurate and I don't think has had an affect with the way we're going."

NOTE: Richt did not have an update on wide receiver Kris Durham who said he suffered what was described as a shoulder stinger late in the game against Mississippi State.

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