ATHENS - Mark Richt did not move the story much in his post-practice press conference on Thursday. It probably wasn't worth the trip for the half-dozen or so media members who made the trek from Atlanta, probably hoping for more information on the suspension story.
A few moments before Richt entered the room, UGA officials handed out a two-sentence statement: "There is a process we follow regarding team guidelines and policies. I cannot make any comment until that process has run its course."
That didn't quite stop reporters, as it shouldn't, from trying to get something. But this isn't the first rodeo for Richt.
Could he confirm any suspensions?
"I can't confirm anything," Richt said. "I'm just gonna be waiting for us to go through our process, and when there's something to report, I'll report it to everybody."
And what might that process be?
"We've got our guidelines, we've got our policies. There's
certain things we've gotta do when we're taking care of business. And that's what we're talking about."
At that point, Richt said: "You wanna talk about football?"
(We did, and I'll have those notes later in this post.)
Richt didn't even acknowledge knowing the press conference had been moved from Saturday to Thursday to address the news.
"I just do what Claude tells me to do," he said, referring to associate athletics director for communications Claude Felton.
Several times reporters tried to get Richt to bite on general questions about the bad off-field news. Richt just said he didn't like distractions, and he was "not thrilled when things like that happen."
There were some actual football tidbits. For those that can handle some non-suspension news, here you go:
- For the first time this spring, Malcolm Mitchell got some time on offense. The coaches put him at receiver when he didn't need to get defensive reps.
"He enjoyed it," Richt said. "You could tell he was a little tired. But if he's gonna play both ways he's gotta get used to being in condition for something like that. I thought he did a good job."
- Richard Samuel continues to get reps at fullback. Richt said the fullback spot was "an open competition" and that Samuel could start there in the season opener.
"Richard's really the one that came to me about wanting to learn it. He knew we didn't have a lot of depth there. He asked me that, I don't know, before spring break sometime," Richt said. "I told him: Well you're in the same room with them. Every time (assistant) coach (Bryan) McClendon is teaching a fullback you might as well be paying attention. ... He's big, he's strong and he's physical, and he wants to do it.
"He just wants to help the team win. It's the typical Richard Samuel line to me is: 'Coach I want to have a good senior year, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win, and if it means playing a little fullback I'll do that too."
- Richt made a point of praising Cornelius Washington.
"Pretty dominant against the run, and certainly doing a good job of rushing the passer, as always," Richt said.
- Discussing the safeties in general, Richt also agreed that Corey Moore was the most ready of the backups, but he also singled out Connor Norman for praise.
"He's a guy that understands our system well, can play more than one position, can play both safety positions. He's gotten stronger as well, he's a very sure tackler out in the open field. He's got good hands. And he's got good leadership ability. So Connor's definitely gonna throw his hat in the ring as well."
- Josh Harvey-Clemons, the incoming recruit, also has some safety skills, agreed Richt, but he maintained that the Valdosta High School star is still an outside linebacker - who will play some receiver.
"We're gonna see what he can do at wide receiver, down near the end zone," Richt said, repeating something he said on signing day.