December 18, 2012

No guarantees made

No promises, just straight talk.

That's the only guarantee head coach Mark Richt said he'll ever make to recruits trying to decide whether or not they will sign scholarships to join his Georgia football program.

"I quite frankly don't feed them a bunch of junk. I tell them up front what the deal is. I don't change much when they get here. I let them know that there are going to be certain expectations and they'll be expected to compete," Richt said. "I never promise someone a starting position, I don't promise them special treatment or anything like that so when they get to Georgia I pretty much do what I said I'd do during recruiting. I don't feel I have to change anything."

With Richt, what recruits see (and hear) is what they get.

Sometimes they might not like what he has to say. Take the Bulldogs' "Dream Team Class of 2011, for example, one which has certainly seen its share of attrition.

Richt recalled a prediction he made to the group during that April's G-Day game.

"Most all the kids come to G-Day and it was the first time we had the whole class in the same room, most of them anyway," Richt said. "I always tell them, 'Look around. Odds are not everybody is going to be here in the end.' It would be nice if all of them are going to be here in the end, but it usually doesn't happen that way. I told them just know you've got to do it the Georgia way. If you do, you'll make it. If you don't, you won't. It doesn't always work out for everybody."

For those keeping count, seven members of Georgia's "Dream Team" are no longer part of the Bulldog program, although one - defensive lineman Chris Mayes - is scheduled to rejoin the team after two years in junior college.

The list of former Dawgs from the ballyhooed 2011 class includes Isaiah Crowell, Quintavious Harrow, Nick Marshall, Chris Sanders, Sanford Seay and Kent Turene, the latter of whom was unable to make it into Georgia due to academic reasons.

But Richt's straight talk is not limited to recruits.

Bulldog veterans get a daily dose of that as well. Again, no promises are made.

That message has already been delivered to members of Georgia's secondary where Damian Swann will be the Bulldogs' only returning starter.

When asked if the Bulldogs had capable replacements for Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams and Branden Smith, Richt was blunt with what he had to say.

"I think we've got talent and I think we've got guys who are capable of playing Southeast Conference football but I'm not sure … I have no unearthly idea who is going to play DB for us next year," Richt said. "The maturity level of the group we have here right now, I don't think they have the maturity to be starters. I told them you're competing with guys who aren't even here yet and we're recruiting our tails off to bring some in here. I told them you guys are going to compete. We'll see who really belongs back there and I said don't think because you're next in line that you belong back there. "

In other words, for defensive back commitments like safety Tray Matthews and cornerback Shaquille Wiggins, et al, if they're able to show they can play - they will.

"I'm very sincere. In general, you want guys to come in and compete and try to win jobs. The guys who came in with last year's class, were they going to beat out Shawn, Sanders and Rambo? Probably not. But now all those guys are gone, so who's going to play?" Richt said. "There are no guys who have guaranteed spots. There are not any guys who have a ton of snaps except (Damian) Swann. Swann is a proven player to me, but the rest of them, they haven't proved it to me yet. I hope they do. I love them, I want them to be the best they can be but they've got to earn it."