Commings, Vasser Return
Sanders Commings
Athens Banner-Herald
Posted Sep 12, 2012


ATHENS - The toughest part, Sanders Commings said, came last Saturday when the player who started 23 games the past two seasons watched at home in Athens as Georgia’s defense went up against Missouri’s spread offense.

“Our guys were so pumped up, it was the environment that you want to play, a hostile environment on the road,” Comings said. “I was glad we got the win.”

The senior cornerback/safety returns this week against Florida Atlantic from a two-game suspension. He was suspended in February following a Jan. 21 domestic violence arrest after police said he hit a woman in downtown Athens who had lived with Commings. He pleaded guilty on March 21 on misdemeanor charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct. He received 40 hours of community service and had to undergo substance abuse and anger management counseling.

“It’s been a learning experience,” said Commings in his first interview with the media since his arrest. “I’ve learned a lot from it and now I’ve just got to move forward. I’ve learned that I just need to put myself around people that bring the best out of me.”

With safety Bacarri Rambo expected to still be suspended this week, Commings expects to “bounce around” between safety and boundary corner. He has five career interceptions and tied for fourth on the team in tackles last season with 55.

“I think he’s ready,” coach Mark Richt said. “He’s in good condition, and he stayed focused.”

Outside linebacker Chase Vasser also returns this week after serving a two-game suspension for a May DUI arrest.

“It was a rude awakening,” Vasser said. “I’m definitely embarrassed by it. I definitely learned my lesson.”

Linebacker Alec Ogletree also is expected to remain suspended. “We’ll wait to see for sure what happens,” Richt said of Rambo and Ogletree.

There was speculation last week that Commings’ suspension might be reduced.

Commings said he appealed, but that it came too late.

That “was a possibility, it was a chance,” he said. Commings said he got final word days before the Missouri game that the two-game suspension was sticking.

He said was “surprised,” to get a suspension that long to begin with because “what really happened (the coaches) know what happened.”

Said Richt: “The amount of time he was suspended was appropriate. He certainly didn’t behave the way he should, and he’s paying his debt to society, he’s paying his debt to the program in my opinion. I’m glad he’s handled everything the way he’s handed it and I think he’ll move forward and be a positive person and a positive teammate.”

The ultimate award for Jones?

Jarvis Jones for Heisman?

The junior outside linebacker is listed along with Southern California’s Matt Barkley, West Virginia’s Geno Smith and three others by ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski as players who could be “seated in the front row at Best Buy Theater” for the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York.

“That’ll be big,” Jones said. “I never thought about that one. That would be big. I’m doing everything I can in a team form and everything I’ve got in preparation. …Just to be in New York, man, it would be a great accomplishment. It’s hard for defensive players to get that award. Just to be up among some of the Heisman finalists that would be a great accomplishment for me.”

Jones certainly is raking in the awards after his dominant showing against Missouri.

The latest on Tuesday were the Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski players of the week. He already was selected as the Walter Camp player of the week and the SEC defensive player of the week.

“People talk about big time players make big plays in the biggest games, and that’s what he did,” Richt said.

Making nice

So what did Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson--who created a stir with his “Old man football” comment directed at Georgia—have to say to Richt after the Bulldogs’ win Saturday night?

“Sheldon basically said it was a good game,” Richt said, “and coach I have a lot of respect for you and your team. He said he didn’t mean to disrespect. You could tell he was sincerely a pretty good guy.”

So peace appears to have broken out.

“I thought it was big of him to grab me and say that he had a lot of respect for our program and our team,” Richt said.”He’s a good player.”

Defense first for now

Malcolm Mitchell is still a cornerback first.

“I don’t know if it will stay that way for the whole year, but for right now he needs to continue to work there,” Richt said. “We want to have an offensive package for him.”

That was the plan for the Missouri game before he sprained an ankle that kept him out of the opener.

Mitchell led Georgia in receiving yards per game last year as a freshman.

This and that

The Florida Atlantic game sold out on Tuesday, according to Georgia. An added attraction is the unveiling of Russ as the Uga IX mascot.

Richt was sporting a scab on his chin Tuesday that he figured came from hugging Richard Samuel after he made a tackle to stop a fake punt. “I think my chin just rubbed back and forth on his shoulder pad and wore a hole in there,” he said. “But that was a lot of fun.”

…Nose guard John Jenkins’ injury from Saturday night? “My big toe,” he said. “The dude stepped on my big toe and the thing hurt.” Jenkins practiced in a non-contact jersey Tuesday because of a shoulder contusion. Mitchell (ankle sprain, shoulder contusion), defensive end Cornelius Washington (strained hamstring), cornerback Damian Swann (knee contusion) were limited. Offensive lineman Watts Dantzler (ankle) didn’t practice

Richt sidestepped a question on if fullback Zander Ogletree is suspended. “Zander didn’t travel, but we only take so many fullbacks,” he said. Georgia brought four, including walk-on Corey Campbell.

Saturday’s captains: Jenkins, Jones, Samuel and Marlon Brown.


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