September 23, 2009

Richt says Jacksonville fine with him

The annual Georgia-Florida game will remain in Jacksonville for the next eight years.

Wednesday, the Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors at its regular quarterly meeting approved a recommendation by Director of Athletics Damon Evans to move forward with negotiations to extend the contract until 2016.

Head coach Mark Richt didn't even wait for reporters to quiz him about the proposed new deal following Wednesday's workout at the Woodruff Practice Facility.

After giving his opening statement, Richt gave his answer before the question had a chance to be asked.

"You can ask me about Georgia-Florida now. Here's my answer. My only focus on that game or any game is just trying to win it and not really be too concerned about where it's being played," Richt said. "Any question that you ask me about the game that will be my answer. Refer to answer No. 1. So, sorry. I ruined it for you guys."

The current contract expires with the game in Jacksonville expires in 2010.

"An extraordinary amount of study has been done on the various options available and a great deal of input has been gathered," said Evans in a statement. "After all the fact-gathering and evaluation of those factors, I'm convinced that moving forward with discussions on extending the contract in Jacksonville is the appropriate way to go. I'm delighted the Board feels the same way."

Evans said part of his decision was based on history and tradition, plus mentioned the economic impact on the southern part of the state of Georgia as an important consideration.

In other news, the Board also approved funds to develop plans for two facility enhancement projects: a Stegeman Coliseum concourse renovation and expansion; and a project behind the north stands of Sanford Stadium that would provide a multi-function amenity supporting both the game day event and the campus on non-event days.

Samuel, King still battling for starting role

According to running backs coach Brian McClendon, Thursday's final practice before Saturday's game against Arizona State should determine who starts at tailback against the Sun Devils - Richard Samuel or Caleb King.

"We've still got one more day to see how everybody does on their assignments," McClendon said. "Right now the only real reason it was up to debate to begin with was because of Richard's ball security."

Samuel rushed for 104 yards and scored a touchdown on an 80-yard run in last week's 52-41 win against Arkansas, but fumbled twice, much to McClendon's chagrin. King, in his first action of the year since injuring his hamstring in Week One of preseason, picked up 59 yards on 11 attempts.

"We'll see how it is. But right now, both of them are going with the ones. Both of them are going to play, as they did last week," McClendon said. "I want to award it to the guy who deserves it. That's what I want to make sure of."

Vance still starting at left tackle

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said that Vince Vance will remain the starter at left tackle, despite working with the second team during the early portion of Wednesday's practice.

Vance dinged his knee in Saturday's game against the Razorbacks, forcing the Bulldogs to move left guard Cordy Glenn to left tackle.

During Wednesday's early drills, Glenn was working with the first unit at left tackle, with Vance getting looks with the second team.

Vance sat out Tuesday's practice but practiced with no limitations Wednesday.

Injury update

Richt said that linebacker Darius Dewberry (pulled muscle) is probable for Saturday's game against Arizona State.

The news wasn't quite as good for Akeem Dent, who according to Richt will not dress out for the game.

• Richt said that it's still too early to say whether or not backup quarterback Aaron Murray's elbow tendinitis will lead toward him redshirting this year.

"It's still too early to say that," said Richt, who indicated he probably wouldn't begin making any decisions regarding redshirts until Week 6.

• Richt said that team doctors are discussing whether or not freshman cornerback Jordan Love should undergo surgery on his injured toe.

"He's not close to being able to go," Richt said.

Erickson wants players to enjoy trip

Saturday's game marks the farthest Arizona State has traveled for a regular season game since playing at Miami in 1997.

It's also the first time that the Sun Devils have traveled to what is now an SEC school since 1951 when ASU played at Arkansas, which was then a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.

Head coach Dennis Erickson said his squad is looking forward to the challenge.

"I don't know if you can tell anybody about and experience like this, but getting to play in the SEC is going to be a tremendous experience for us," Erickson said. "The fan base and the respect they have for football … you talk to our players and they're very excited to go down there. They're looking forward to the trip down and for the chance to play in that venue."

The furthest ASU has traveled for a game during the regular season was 5,803 miles in 1990 when the Sun Devils played Houston in Tokyo, Japan.

This and that

Defensive backs Vance Cuff (knee) and Quintin Banks (knee) both wore green non-contact jerseys Wednesday. Both are considered questionable for Saturday… Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff attended Wednesday's practice. … Former Bulldog and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer safety Jermaine Phillips will miss the rest of the year with a broken thumb.

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