Richt shrugs off Franklin's move into Atlanta

semerson@macon.comMay 27, 2014 

DESTIN, Fla. - James Franklin tried to be a thorn in Georgia's recruiting during his three years at Vanderbilt. Now Franklin is further away, all the way up at Penn State, but he's not done trying to recruit in the peach state.

Franklin and Penn State staffers will be "guest coaches" at a camp at Georgia State in June. It's part of an effort to boost the Nittany Lions' profile in Atlanta, and capitalize on the inroads Franklin made while at Vanderbilt. Georgia head coach Mark Richt was asked Tuesday if that was any concern to him.

"They’re recruiting our guys anyway," Richt said. "It’s only an hour to Athens, so it’s not a problem for me."

The SEC has a rule that prevents its coaches from doing the same thing, so don't look for Richt to retaliate by holding a camp in Philadelphia. So Richt was asked if, given what Franklin was doing, the SEC should let its coaches do the same.

And again, Richt shrugged it off, and sounded like he would prefer to not be tempted. Georgia's head coach is usually in favor of restrictions on recruiting that allow coaches more time to their families in the offseason.

"You’d like to have, again, you’d like to have some sanity in your offseason, if there is such a thing," Richt said. "One of the things that we voted for at the (AFCA) trustee meeting is a little bit of a dead period – we were shooting for a month dead period in the summer where everybody just had a chance to get to know their wife and kids a little bit. If we were allowed to do that, I think you would just, you and your staff would be spread so thin."

Georgia already hosts two summer camps aimed at recruiting, including a Dawg Night and a Mark Richt camp.

"We’re blessed that people come to our camps. I think the kids that are really truly interested in Georgia, and kids that love Georgia that just want to get the instruction by our coaches and all that, they’re able to come and they do come," Richt said. "I think there’s so places where you might have to do something like that."

Bielema on playing Georgia in Little Rock

When Georgia visits Arkansas in October, less fans than usual will be in attendance. The game was moved from Fayetteville's Razorback Stadium (capacity 72,000) to Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium (capacity about 54,000).

But Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, when asked how having the game in Little Rock would change the atmosphere, did his best to sell it.

"I think to get Georgia in that atmosphere is very cool. It's never been done before, so I'm excited," Bielema said. "We only get one game in there, so I expect it to be twice as loud, and we've gotta give them every reason to be there."

Typically Arkansas had played twice a year in Little Rock, but they were usually less high-profile games. Last year the Razorbacks signed a three-year deal to change it to one game a year, but make it a higher-profile game.

Last year Arkansas played Mississippi State in front of a crowd of only about 45,000, but Bielema claimed to be impressed.

"I went into that thing not knowing what to expect. And then (I found) Little Rock's atmosphere, even though it's small numbers, is great in passion," he said. "We went to a 10 a.m. walk-through in the stadium that first game and people there were going nuts. It was 10 o'clock int he morning and the game's not till 6 or 7 or whenever, and they're saying there was a line starting at 7 a.m. to get in the parking lot."

Saban on gay players

Alabama's Nick Saban was asked whether, in the wake of Michael Sam, he would be willing to recruit a gay player. His answer indicated he may already have, or at least played with one while at Kent State.

"We don’t really look at what guys choices are when it comes to those types of things. I’ve been on teams with folks like that, don’t have a problem with it," Saban said. "As long as we respect them and they should respect us, and as long as that happens I’m good. I would have no problem with that and I would hope the palyers on our team would have the same kind of respect for someone’s thoughts and feelings and ifferences and show the same respect.

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