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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday News and Notes (10/18)

The celebration of Georgia's 24-14 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday was short lived as two Bulldogs were arrested in separate incidents Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Defensive tackle Brandon Wood was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and was booked into the Athens-Clarke County jail early Sunday.

In an unrelated incident, offensive lineman Vince Vance was arrested after police stopped him for a traffic violation and found his license was expired.

"I think, again, these guys are making decisions, they make a mistake, we educate them very well," head coach Mark Richt said. "It wasn't like (Wood) wasn't aware. He knew the deal."

Richt said Wood was parked, waiting for his girlfriend and two friends with his parking lights on. When the passengers arrived, Wood drove off, only using the parking lights. Police pulled him over, and he was subsequently arrested.

Richt said Wood will be suspended for the upcoming game against LSU, as dictated by the school's athletic association policy.

"Brandon certainly made a bad error in judgment to have alcohol in his system," Richt said. "He is 21, he's of legal age, but he did have something to drink earlier in the evening, and he drove his automobile."

Whether Wood's suspension lasts beyond this week remains to be seen. Richt said the details of the events were still unclear, and he would not make a final decision on Wood's future immediately.

"It's not real clear because this has happened kind of quick. But our athletic association policy says a one-game suspension, and that's the only thing I'm going to say for sure."

Wood was a regular in Georgia's defensive tackle rotation, which was already thin with starter Jeff Owens out for the season and Kade Weston battling a knee injury that kept him out of the Bulldogs' game against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

"One less man for this ballgame, although we held Kade out last week, and Kade will be ready to go this week," Richt said. "So we'll have basically the same rotation we had this past week."

Vance started the first six games of the season on the offensive line for Georgia but tore his ACL against Tennessee two weeks ago and will miss the remainder of the season.

Richt said Vance told him he was stopped after rolling through a stop sign shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday and when police reviewed his license, they found it was expired.

"When they checked his license, he told me it expired on the 11th, which was his birthday, and he didn't even know it was expired," Richt said. "But when they found that information, he was arrested for having an expired license."

Richt said he did not have any official information on Vance's arrest, however, and was simply going by the player's word.

"I asked him if he had a suspended license and he said no," Richt said. "I asked if there was an outstanding ticket or anything like that, and he said no. But I'm just going by what he said to me, and that's what he said happened."


-- Apparently the computers see something in Georgia the voters haven't.

The Bulldogs were ranked seventh in the first BCS rankings of the season, which were released Sunday, despite being ninth in both the Coaches' and Associated Press polls. Florida and Texas Tech are ahead of Georgia in both polls but not in the BCS standings.

"I think it's good that we're ranked in the top 10, but as we all know, there's so much more to be played," Richt said.

Texas tops the BCS standings, followed by Alabama the only team to beat Georgia this season Penn State, Oklahoma, USC and Oklahoma State. Texas Tech, Ohio State and Florida round out the top 10. Six teams from non-BCS conferences are ranked in the top 25.

-- Kickoff for Georgia's game against LSU on Saturday is set for 3:30 after CBS selected the matchup as its game of the week Sunday.

Richt said the mid-afternoon start time suited the team well as it gives the Bulldogs a chance to return home relatively early after the trip.

"Mainly so we could get home at a decent hour and get a good night's sleep, and this gives us a much better chance to do that than those later games," Richt said.

It also allows the Bulldogs to avoid playing a night game in Baton Rouge, La. a notoriously tough challenge for visiting teams.

LSU's strong defensive front provides an even bigger challenge, however. Richt noted that the Tigers' youngest player on its defensive line is the same age as Georgia's oldest offensive lineman.

"We've already had some chance to watch some film on these guys," Richt said. "They're just big, strong, fast, and they get after you."

-- Richt said Georgia came out of its game against Vanderbilt with no major injuries. Linebacker Darryl Gamble left the game twice, but Richt said he was not hurt and would be able to play this week.

-- Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has missed the past two games with a knee injury, and Richt said the team was hopeful the senior could return to practice this week.

"We expect Ellerbe to be ready to play, but we've never seen him yet be able to move great from side to side (since the injury)," Richt said. "I guess until we really see him move, we can't say for certain. But everybody's been anticipating that this would be the week."

-- Wide receiver Kris Durham has not been active the past two weeks while battling an ankle injury, but Richt said Durham was about 90 percent Sunday and should play against LSU.

"Durham is 85 to 90 percent (Sunday) so we think he's got a real good chance barring any setbacks before the game," Richt said.

-- Tight end Tripp Chandler could play this week as well after injuring his shoulder last month against Alabama.

"We're going to allow him to do scout work against our scouts," Richt said. "I doubt he'll do anything full speed in a real competitive situation against our defense, but we feel like he's got a good chance."

-- Defensive tackle Kade Weston sat out against Vanderbilt nursing a knee injury, but Richt said Weston would have been able to play if needed.

"He was ready to go, but we thought if we could give him a little bit of a rest we were going to do that, and it worked out that way," Richt said. "But we do expect him to play this game."

-- Richt said with the number of injuries -- particularly on the offensive and defensive lines -- coaches may reduce the level of contact during practice this week as Georgia gets set for a four-game stretch of games away from home.

"We're very thin up front offensively, and we're actually not very deep up front on defense, too," Richt said. "So we have to be careful how much we run into each other this week because we want to begin to taper down the contact we have against each other and try to get ourselves fresh."

-- After Bryan Evans was beat twice for touchdowns against Vanderbilt, Vance Cuff saw the majority of the action as Georgia's third corner the rest of the way. Sunday, however, Richt stopped short of saying that would be a permanent change on the depth chart.

"Those young guys, Coach (Willie) Martinez has been really wanting to play Cuff more and play (Brandon) Boykin more because they are high-energy guys who've got ability, but games get so tight sometimes that you can't play as many guys as you want," Richt said. "To say that's going to be a mainstay, that would be premature right now."


Anonymous said...

An arrest for an expired license? Does that seem a little excessive, or am I just out of touch with reality? I don't want to sound like the type who says, "They're out to get the players", but it sounds like it with that type of arrest.


Anonymous said...

I feel so bad for Vance. Hes just had the worst luck.

Anonymous said...

Unless Richt is prepared to fire his coaches for DUI, he needs to think hard about giving anything more than a one game suspension. Hopefully this is a wake up call for the young man but his is not the first nor the last alleged DUI in the state of georgia. Guess what, not everyone is convicted.

David Hale said...

I'm withholding any comments on the Vance thing right now because we only have his side of things, but if he was arrested for having an expired license (and only expired by a week) that is absurd.