Richt: Players must be ready to play multiple positions

semerson@macon.comFebruary 23, 2012 

ATHENS - Mark Richt opened a Thursday teleconference with reporters by bringing up some accolades for freshman Keith Marshall: The tailback and early enrolle has received a national award given annually to the nation's top black American high school scholar athlete.

But it was clear that Richt wanted to emphasize something else on Thursday: what he called an “all hands on deck” approach to possible position changes. In fact, to me it stood out that in almost every case, Richt brought up the player and possible new position himself.

Here are the highlights:

- Malcolm Mitchell will indeed get a look at cornerback, at least in the spring. It’s been necessitated after the dismissals of two freshmen defensive backs and the two-game suspension levied against Sanders Commings.

“I know people have been talking about Malcolm Mitchell and whether he might play both ways,” Richt said. “Quite frankly we’re gonna experiment with it a little bit and see how much he can handle, learning some cornerback. So I think that’s something.”

- Then, on Ray Drew moving to defensive end, Richt indicated that it was a possibility, although pointing out that outside linebackers and defensive ends are basically interchangeable in Todd Grantham’s defensive scheme.

“The flexibility of that has been going on since Todd came in,” Richt said. “The bottom line is we’re gonna play anyone in any given game or any given personnel grouping, if that makes sense, in certain personnel groupings a guy might do this and in other groupings he may be doing something else. It just depends on what we’re trying to depend.”

- Richt also sounded more open to playing Richard Samuel at fullback.

“There’s a chance of that too,” Richt said. “Again, we have got to make sure that we take the entire talent base of our football team and get the best players out there in whatever situations that we need them in.”

- Josh Harvey-Clemons, the incoming outside linebacker recruit, isn’t slated for any time at safety, according to Richt. That runs contrary to what recruit Jordan Jenkins had said the other night; however, Richt indicated that Harvey-Clemons could play both in base and nickel packages – as well as offense.

“You’ve got a guy with his kind of ability you may not have to take him off the field,” Richt said. “And he’s got some offensive skills. And he may be the type of guy to throw some balls to in the red zone. Whether he can handle all that as a freshman I don’t know, but before his career is over we’ll see what he can do.”

- The subject of Commings’ two-game suspension was brought up, with Richt explaining why he felt discipline was in order despite no charges being filed yet.

“We don’t like anything like that. We’re not gonna have that kind of behavior. We don’t condone it,” Richt said. “There’s always circumstances that people know or don’t know. I wasn’t there that night, but … I’ve got enough information to feel comfortable that he didn’t behave as well as he should. And he’s gonna have to live out a consequence as that.”

I’ll have more in a bit on some other subjects Richt touched on.

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