Richt believes Tray Matthews has reached 'a turning point'

semerson@macon.comMay 28, 2014 

DESTIN, Fla. - Tray Matthews has had a rough time lately. An offseason arrest, benched by his new defensive coach, called out by his head coach.

But Georgia head coach Mark Richt said Wednesday he believes Matthews, his star-crossed safety, may be getting it now.

"I think he's on a turning point of maturing some, and becoming a very dependable guy," Richt said while attending SEC meetings. "I'm not saying he is a dependable guy, or has been at this point. But I have a feeling that that's his desire to become that. And he needs to. It's time."

Matthews has dealt with a nagging hamstring injury, and at one point Richt said the freshman had to "take ownership" of dealing with it. Richt was asked if he has seen Matthews do that yet.

"Yeah. I think he really wants to be great," Richt said. "But he's learning that it comes with a price, it comes with sacrifice, it comes with maturity, it comes with doing things a certain way. And I think he's figuring that out."

No redshirt for Marshall

Richt but the kibosh on any chance that junior tailback Keith Marshall, returning from ACL surgery, would redshirt this season.

"Keith's working really hard. I don't think he has any limitations at all in his offseason conditioning," Richt said. "I don't anticipate him having any limitations when football begins."

In other words, barring a setback Marshall will play and at least be Todd Gurley's top backup.

"We're not thinking redshirt at all for Marshall," Richt said.

It was never likely that Marshall would redshirt, but offensive assistants had not ruled it out.

Richt: Sam coming out 'took courage'

Richt was asked his thoughts on Michael Sam, the former Missouri star who came out as gay and was drafted earlier this month by the St. Louis Rams.

"It's interesting that you have that being that big of a deal. But it is a big deal," Richt said of Sam. "Anybody who has the courage to tell the truth about themselves that may be controversial, I give them credit. It shouldn't be that big of a deal, but it is. And because it was, it took courage."

Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked Tuesday about whether he'd recruit a gay player, and said he wouldn't have a problem with it. Richt was asked if he felt the same way.

"I mean, if the guy can play," Richt said, chuckling, "then yeah we'll recruit him."

Jones departs Georgia's staff

Daryl Jones, who spent the past two years as Georgia's director of on-campus recruiting, has resigned. Jones could not be reached for comment, but released a statement through UGA:

"After serving the past two years as Director of On-Campus Recruiting for the Georgia football program, I will be pursuing other opportunities going forward. I would like to thank Coach Richt for the opportunity of representing the Bulldawg Nation in that capacity. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Richt and all he stands for as a head coach, man, and leader of the football program. I enjoyed my role in the two top 10 recruiting classes we signed and want to wish everyone involved with the team nothing but success in the years to come."

Georgia-Auburn not moving

Thanks to the schedule switch of two years ago, Georgia will now play both Auburn and Georgia Tech at home every year, or on the road every year. And while the two games are separated by one game this year, in some years they may not be.

Richt doesn't have a problem with that.

"I haven't really looked at it, so I really don't know," he said. "But I think you're always gonna have back-to-back games with great opponents. I think it's inevitable, you can't help it."

Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said he also hasn't looked into moving the Georgia game to earlier in the year.

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