ATHENS -- The stated purpose of Mark Richts teleconference Thursday was for media members to ask whatever you want. But after the first question, it became clear that Richt had one thing in mind.
Driven by necessity, the Georgia football team will use players at multiple positions, with spring practice setting up to be a long experiment for some players.
All hands on deck, Richt said.
That means Malcolm Mitchell, the teams top receiver last season, will get a look at cornerback.
It also means tailback Richard Samuel will get practice snaps at fullback.
And it could mean that starters everywhere also will see time on special teams, the teams sore point last season.
We have got to make sure that we take our entire talent base of our football team and get the best players out there in whatever situations that we need them in, Richt said. If that means a guy playing both ways or playing two positions on defense or whatever it might be -- or if that means the entire starting lineup on offense and defense playing special teams -- I dont care what it is, whatever we gotta do to get the best players on the field, weve got to do that. Take advantage of everybodys abilities.
Richt said last week that Mitchell could play at cornerback, and he was more emphatic Thursday.
Quite frankly were gonna experiment with it a little bit and see how much he can handle, learning some cornerback. So I think thats something, Richt said.
There also has been movement on the idea of Samuel at fullback. Prior to Thursday, Richt had been adamant about Samuel staying at tailback for his senior year. But with the tailback spot crowded and fullback a bit thin, Richt has moved off of that.
Theres a chance of that, too, Richt said.
Richt also said last years special teams woes would be attacked not by switching around any coaching assignments, but by tinkering with units and using starters there.
Some other items that Richt touched on:
Cornerback Sanders Commings was suspended despite charges not being filed because of Richts own information. The senior starter is out for the first two games of the season after a misdemeanor domestic violence arrest.
Theres always circumstances that people know or dont know. I mean I wasnt there, I dont know exactly for sure what happened, Richt said. But Ive got enough information to feel comfortable that he didnt behave as well as he should. And hes gonna have to live out a consequence for that.
Richt said he expects his contract extension to be finalized in due time. School president Michael Adams said a couple of weeks ago that the extension, expected to carry him through at least 2015, was 98 percent done.
I dont have any anxiety at all, Richt said. Theres some different language in there. I dont know how to describe it. When you rewrite a contract everyones gotta feel comfortable with that. So weve got to iron all those things out.
The door is not closed on the three freshmen dismissed from the team last month -- but its not quite open yet either. Chris Sanders, Nick Marshall and Sanford Seay were dismissed last month after a theft incident in the dorms; Sanders and Marshall are headed to junior colleges.
Im not gonna sit here and say 100 percent yes or 100 percent no, Richt said when asked if they could return. But right now theyre on this journey where they gotta take care of business. So maybe later on we can talk about the possibility of that, but Im not really in position to say.