AUGUSTA - On most evenings, visits like the one Georgia coach Mark Richt made to the Augusta Bulldog Club Wednesday night at the Julian Smith Casino are basic standard fare.
Following a picture and autograph opportunity, Richt will generally address those in attendance, followed by a question-and-answer session covering any number of subjects.
Typically, Richt's responses don't generate many surprises, but that wasn't the case when one spectator asked the Bulldog head coach about running back Washaun Ealey.
Ealey missed most of the spring with a strained left hamstring after being reinstated following a nearly one-month suspension in February for violating team rules.
Richt never elaborated on Ealey's suspension, and during a recent sit down with beat writers indicated that the junior running back appeared to getting himself back in good graces and doing the types of things he needed to do.
That no longer appears to be the case.
"Washaun has a ways to go for me still to show that he deserves to start or even play right now," Richt said Wednesday. "He's got a ways to go in my book. We'll see. I love him, though."
Ealey was expected to battle for the starting job with Caleb King, Ken Malcome, Carlton Thomas and incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell.
The Stillmore native led the Bulldogs in rushing last year with 157 carries for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall.
In other notes of interest coming from the meeting, which also included Bulldog assistant basketball coach Phillip Pearson:
• Richt said sophomore Alec Ogletree will enter preseason drills as the starter at Moe linebacker after moving there from safety this spring.
• When asked to give Georgia's starting offensive line, Richt said if the season started today, it would include Cordy Glenn at left tackle, Kenarious Gates at left guard, Ben Jones at center, Chris Burnette at right guard and A.J. Harmon at right tackle.
• Richt told fans there were a couple of games last year when the Bulldogs did not play their hardest. "I don't think there's anything you can say except those other teams played harder than we did," Richt said. "That was an embarrassment and something I'm not ever going to let happen again."
• Richt said tight end Orson Charles is currently his "best wide receiver."
• Outside linebackers T.J. Stripling['/db] (patella tendon) and [db]Dexter Morant (shoulder) will both be ready to start preseason drills with the rest of the team.
• When asked if he would want to move the annual series with Florida to home and home, Richt gave an adamant no. "My focus is to beat them in Jacksonville," he said.
• Richt compared Jones' leadership to that of former Bulldog offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb.
• Richt was asked to describe his recruiting relationship with Carver and its head coach Del McGee. "I've got a tremendous relationship with Del McGee," he said. "I think he's an excellent head coach and we're going to continue to recruit that school. I don't see any problem with it."
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