For the second time in as many days, Georgia has seen a defensive player leave the team in search of a better opportunity.
Following Saturday’s scrimmage, head coach Mark Richt confirmed that sophomore safety Marc Deas has decided to leave the Bulldogs football program. As was the case with defensive end Derrick Lott Friday, Richt said Deas decision was based on the desire for more playing time at another school.
“They love Georgia and we love them,” Richt said in comments distributed by the school. “They had a choice to make. They decided to move on. They’re great kids and we wish them well. … Their teammates understand they’ve got decisions to make and lives to live. No one likes losing a teammate, but we love them and if they think their best chance is at another school then I think (their teammates) understand.”
Deas played in all 14 games for UGA in 2011.
Richt stressed to reporters afterwards that there were no academic or disciplinary issues behind the twin transfers. That stands in sharp contrast to issues that have hit UGA’s defense, specifically the secondary, throughout the offseason.
Projected starters at cornerback, Branden Smith and Sanders Commings, have both been arrested since January, with the latter facing a two-game suspension to start the season and the former likely facing at least a one-game suspension. Additionally, starting safety Bacarri Rambo will reportedly serve a four-game suspension over a failed drug test, while two other defensive backs were dismissed from the program back in February.
Add in linebacker Alec Ogletree‘s two-game suspension for violating team policy, and Richt’s defensive unit has been hit hard by off-field issues that past couple of months. To his credit, Richt addressed the myriad off-field issues and how his program goes about handling them in the post-scrimmage media briefing.
“At Georgia, we’ve got rules and policies that we feel are in the best interest of the players — things like going to class, going to tutors and study hall, and how to behave,” Richt said. “Everything we do and every rule we have is to benefit these guys and the team. A lot of our discipline does involve playing time. That’s the one thing guys covet the most. When you discipline guys and take away playing time, you’re hoping that sticks enough where it will change that individual’s behavior so it’s better in the future.
‘We’re willing to carry it out, even if it hurts. We have high accountability for everyone. If a guy makes a mistake, we handle it. We don’t just let it go by. Those are the expectations we have. If you do right, you’re rewarded. If you don’t, you get disciplined. That’s part of learning, part of growing.”
At least UGA doesn’t have a discipline issue. Things would really be out of hand if that were the case.