November 20, 2011

Richt spells it out

Georgia coach Mark Richt remained vague about the status of running back Carlton Thomas, but sounded more optimistic about whether or not freshman Isaiah Crowell would be able to play in Saturday's game at Georgia Tech (Noon, ESPN).

"We don't know anything on that yet, but I will let everyone know when I know," Richt said of Thomas, who missed his third game due to a suspension this year.

Richt said Saturday that Thomas was suspended for the team's 19-10 win over Kentucky for a "violation of team rules" although UGASports has confirmed through two sources close to the situation that the suspension was handed down following the "violation" last Friday night at the team hotel on Lake Lanier Island, where the Bulldogs spend the night prior to each home game at Sanford Stadium.

Richt did have better news regarding Crowell, who suffered a left ankle injury when teammate Chris Burnette rolled up on his ankle during just his second carry against the Wildcats.

"My guess is he'll be ready to go," Richt said. "It did not swell bad. It was an ankle, his left ankle; it didn't seem to swell too badly. I don't know how much he will be out there (Monday), but we feel that throughout the week he will be able to go. I think that Ron (team trainer Ron Courson) is pretty confident that he'll be ready to go."

Running back has certainly been a high-maintenance position for the Bulldogs this fall.

Along with Thomas' three suspensions (Boise State, New Mexico State and Kentucky), Crowell was suspended for the first quarter of the Vanderbilt game, and along with Thomas and Ken Malcome, were held out of the NMSU contest for allegedly failing a drug test.

Coupled with a slew of nagging injuries by Crowell and speculation he has difficulty playing through pain, along with Richard Samuel's ankle injury against Florida, it's been one of those years for Richt that he admits feeling snake-bit.

"I guess you can call it that. It hasn't been as steady as you like. There's been a little bit of drama, a little too much drama, but we're finding ways to win and guys are stepping up when they get opportunities and everybody's rallying around the fact that maybe we're not as healthy there as we'd like to be," Richt said. "But a lot of guys are stepping up and making plays - offense, defense and special teams. It's a team game. We're just trying to make the best of every situation and whoever can play, let's go play with who we have. It's a situation where I think everybody has handled it as well as could be handled and we're in good shape right now."

But Richt says his Bulldogs won't be looking ahead to the SEC Championship game set for Dec. 3 at the Georgia Dome (4 p.m.) - not with No. 25 Georgia Tech (8-3) next on the docket Saturday afternoon at Grant Field.

"I think you interrupt our SEC season for a week, you put everything on hold and that's what we're going to do," said Richt. "It's all hands on deck as we get prepared for Georgia Tech. We're going to be 100 percent focused on Georgia Tech."

NOTES: Regarding his long, post-game kiss with wife Katharyn after Saturday's win to clinch the SEC East, Richt said, "I thought it was a good one. I personally thought she was mauling me. I thought it was going to be a nice friendly kiss and then she started wearing me out. I didn't know what to do except to go with it. That's the way I saw it … She'll be so mad at me." … Richt said that nose tackle Kwame Geathers (ankle) probably could have played against Kentucky, but was held out for precautionary reasons. "I think he could have gone in an emergency," Richt said. "We just felt if we could keep him off the field this week it would really help for this last game. He could have gone, but he was not 100 percent. If he needed to strap it up, he could have, but fortunately he did not have to."