Georgia dealing with raised expectations

semerson@macon.comJune 15, 2011 

Georgia head coach Mark Richt fielded this question on Tuesday: Does the highly ranked, much-anticipated recruiting class ramp up expectations for the Bulldogs this season?

Richt sighed and looked away.

“I don’t know. Doesn’t everybody expect us to win every year?” he said, then laughed. “Does it really matter? I don’t think it does. I really don’t. Whether you said you had a good class or not, I think the expectations are the same.”

That might end up being the case. Despite losing a number of its best players off a team with a losing record, Georgia has appeared in a few early top-25 rankings. Athlon Magazine has even picked the Bulldogs to win the SEC East.

A big reason for that is the freshman class, which began enrolling on campus this month and which dominated discussion at Tuesday’s Peach State Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Even the two Georgia veterans brought along got questions about the freshmen.

“You hear a lot of hype about them coming in,” said linebacker Christian Robinson, a junior. “I hope all that hype turns into plays on the field. I know we’re going to need a lot of these guys this fall.”

Senior Cordy Glenn shrugged off a question about all the hype the recruiting class has received.

“I don’t mind it,” Glenn said. “At the end of the day it’s all one team. So if they can come in and help us out, I have no problem with it.”

Robinson has already had a chance to play with some of the freshmen in some informal seven-on-seven drills. He mentioned several players who had impressed him so far, including safeties Corey Moore and Chris Sanders, linebacker Amarlo Herrera and cornerback Damian Swann.

Besides a roster overhaul -- five players also transferred out -- the team hopes there has been an attitude overhaul, as well. There were 11 players arrested in 2010, but none since October.

On Tuesday, Richt tied the arrests to the team’s on-field performance.

“I think that they know that that’s probably been part of our issue as to why maybe we haven’t had the success that we believe we should have,” Richt said. “We all know we could wake up tomorrow and have a bad situation. But to this point today, they’ve done a nice job.”

And has made Richt rest easier, right?

“So far,” he said. “Vacation starts tomorrow, so just give me 10 more days.”

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