Originally created 05/05/02

College notebook

One of Mark Richt's more endearing qualities might be his willingness to listen to - and sometimes agree with - criticism from fans.

Former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan usually gave the third degree to second-guessers, but Richt readily admits that he's capable of a boneheaded call every now and then.

That's a big reason he requested the services of a personal consultant to help eliminate the late-game gaffes that took place in his first season at the Bulldogs' helm.

"We brought in a gentleman who is considered a guru in clock management," said Richt, who will attend Monday's Augusta Bulldog Club meeting at Sacred Heart Cultural Center. "The big thing he said to me that was interesting is that it comes down to execution more than anything else."

Richt probably wished he could perform a self-execution after making an inexplicable call to run the ball last season against Auburn with 16 seconds left and Georgia on the Tigers' 1-yard line.

Jasper Sanks was stopped short of the goal line. Out of timeouts, the Bulldogs helplessly watched the clock tick to zero and Auburn traipsed out of Sanford Stadium with a 24-17 triumph.

Richt said the consultant came up with an interesting question: Had Richt made the presumably correct choice to throw and the pass been intercepted, would it have been a good call?

Probably not.

"The bottom line is that if you execute properly, then you made the good decision," Richt said.

Other decisions by Richt were questioned last year, when the Bulldogs finished 8-4. A questionable call for a punt with 1:32 left allowed Boston College to salt away a 20-16 win in the Music City Bowl, and shaky game management contributed to a home defeat against South Carolina.

Richt said he'll work better to make sure communication is clean with quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo, who sits in the press box during games and is responsible for keeping Richt apprised of time and place.

"He'll be the guy reminding me," Richt said.

ROAD TRIP: Former Butler star Jeff Bolton will work out this week with the Atlanta Hawks. Bolton, who averaged 18.2 points per game last season as a senior small forward for College of Charleston, is hoping to find a niche as a shooting guard in the NBA.

Size could be a hindrance for the 6-foot-4 Bolton, who finished as the No. 5 scorer in school history at College of Charleston.

"I don't know what my next move will be," Bolton told the Charleston Post & Courier. "I was invited to go to Italy (for an international camp) at the end of the month. My agent wants me to go just in case things don't work out at home."

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: No one questions the ability of Tennessee receiver Kelley Washington, who made an instant impact last year by hauling in 64 receptions for 1,010 yards and earned first-team Freshman All-America honors.

It's the guys behind him who have yet to prove they can approximate the production of Donte Stallworth, who gave up his eligibility to play on Sundays this fall.

Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer said he is distressed that no one distinguished himself during the spring.

"Kelley Washington is an outstanding receiver, but we need somebody to take the pressure off him," Fulmer said. "I'm not sure we solved that this spring."

CASE CLOSED: New Florida coach Ron Zook is closing on a new house this week in Gainesville, Fla., but he'll let his wife Denise take care of all the details.

"I said, 'If you want to stay in that house, I probably need to be out recruiting,"' said Zook, who is taking over for Steve Spurrier.

THIS AND THAT: Richt said running back Musa Smith, who was hampered last season by a chronic groin injury, is "looking great" and should be at full strength by August. ... Fulmer said he was "shocked" at the progress of offensive lineman Michael Munoz, who missed last season with a knee injury that required surgery. ... Mississippi coach David Cutcliffe said the Rebels will employ a 4-2-5 defense under Chuck Driesbach, their third defensive coordinator in as many years. ... LSU coach Nick Saban said quarterback Marcus Randall, whose competition with Matt Mauck for starting quarterback duties was cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in last week's spring game, won't be available until mid-November.

Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645.


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