ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia fans got a taste of what the quarterbacks are capable of Saturday, but they may have to wait awhile to savor the talents of highly touted freshman D.J. Shockley.
Head coach Mark Richt resisted the temptation to let Shockley play in the waning minutes of the Bulldogs' 45-17 victory over Arkansas State. Based on the performances of David Greene and Cory Phillips, Richt says he has some "soul-searching" to do before deciding whether or not to red-shirt Shockley this season.
"A year of eligibility is a precious thing," Richt said. "If the most we were going to get out of him was a few series in the opening game, I didn't think that would be the wise thing to do."
Richt said putting Shockley in against a worn-out Arkansas State defense would have been interesting.
"He would have been fresh and probably run circles around them," he said. "It would have been a fun thing to watch.
"D.J. is a very, very talented young quarterback. He's better than I thought he was. He's going to be a great player, it's just going to be a matter of when."
DETENTION: The Bulldogs got a lot of bad publicity over the summer that resulted in the announcement of four players being suspended for Saturday's opener. Turns out it was worse.
Sophomore nose tackle Ken Veal also was suspended for one game for the ubiquitous charge of violating a team rule. Richt said the infraction happened months ago, but he refrained from mentioning it.
"It was not a big deal and I didn't feel we needed to make it public," Richt said.
Veal joined fellow disciplined teammates Tim Wansley, Charles Grant, Verron Hayes and Randy McMichael in game jerseys and jeans on the sidelines.
CLASS ON CLASS: When Georgia's Michael Johnson starting acting up after a 19-yard sideline reception, Richt got in the sophomore flanker's face.
"I told Michael to act lot he's done it before and be professional," Richt said. "Don't make a scene out there. Show some class. He was borderline of not being classy about it."
WALK THE WALK: Richt implemented the new pregame Bulldog walk through the fans to the stadium, but he's not sure he can continue the tradition himself.
"It got a little emotional for me," said the new coach who slapped hands and whooped it up with fans as he led the march with his accompanying state troopers. "I may not do it any more myself. It's something for the players. I don't want to get too emotional before the game."
Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219.