by PATRICK GARBIN, DawgTime Beat Writer
ATHENS—Shortly after breaking down this Saturday’s opponent—the Missouri Tigers—during his Tuesday press conference, Coach Mark Richt fielded questions regarding the most recent defensive back to no longer be a member of the Georgia Bulldogs, cornerback Shaquille Jones.
Jones, a true freshman from Merritt Island, Florida, was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with misdemeanor theft after having allegedly stolen $43 worth of auto supplies from an Athens Wal-Mart. He was immediately dismissed from the team following the arrest.
“I would say there is accumulation of things,” stated Richt when asked if Jones was dismissed for the single incident, or had he gotten in trouble before. “All of these things (like player dismissals) are based on a lot of factors. So would I say it was just that one factor? No, it was not.”
During the individual player interviews, another defensive back no longer playing for Georgia was discussed. However, this particular ex-Bulldog, freshman Rico Johnson, was declared medically disqualified last week due to a neurological condition. In his honor, cornerback Devin Bowman wore Johnson’s jersey No. 19 against Vanderbilt.
“Rico’s actually my cousin, and I’m probably going to wear [No. 19] a few times [this season],” said senior safety Corey Moore when asked if any other member of the secondary will wear Johnson’s number. “Rico’s a great kid on and off the field. … I don’t know when, but I’m going to wear [No. 19].”
Also against the Commodores, Georgia featured three quarterbacks—Hutson Mason, Brice Ramsey, and Faton Bauta—for the second time in three games. All three signal callers played in the first half; backup Ramsey appeared in a few series. Despite the recent shuffling of quarterbacks—each with their own unique playing style—the Bulldog offense has apparently found it not difficult to adjust each passer.
“There are certain plays scripted for certain [quarterbacks],” said receiver Michael Bennett when asked about handling the quarterback rotation. “You know the strengths and weaknesses of all the quarterbacks, so your mindset changes for each—cut a route short [for one], run a little deeper [for another], or something similar.”
Of course, according to Richt, the Bulldogs’ shuffling of quarterbacks is far from a “rotation.” “I wouldn’t call it a rotation,” Richt declared. “I would say that even last week we were committed to let Brice play a series in the first half. That was kind of it. … [Instead of a rotation] it was just more of an opportunity to get Brice’s feet wet.”
Finally, one of the three quarterbacks—starter Mason—was asked about playing alongside perhaps the current favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, Todd Gurley.
“I’m trying to help [Gurley] figure out the best gift to get his girlfriend for her birthday, let alone he’s the frontrunner for the Heisman,” Mason said.
So, Hutson, you’re saying Todd has a girlfriend?
“I may have gotten him in trouble, I don’t know,” Mason responded with a laugh.