published Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Georgia duo add to SEC distractions

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    In this file photo from July 23, 2009, Georgia football coach Mark Richt speaks at the Southeastern Conference football Media Days in Hoover , Ala (AP Photo/ Butch Dill)

The Southeastern Conference's annual football media days extravaganza in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover is scheduled to begin in 10 days.

Which apparently isn't soon enough.

It's already been a brutal month for the SEC with the resignation of Georgia athletic director Damon Evans and the brawl involving several Tennessee players, and it's been a lousy week to be a league receiver. Tennessee's Da'Rick Rogers and Georgia's Tavarres King are awaiting their fate for this season following arrests but are in far better shape than Patrick Patterson, who is no longer on the Ole Miss roster after violating team rules for the third time in a year.

"He was already on thin ice," Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said.

Patterson was's No. 4 receiver nationally in the 2009 signing class, while King was No. 15 in '08 and Rogers was No. 2 this year.

The ink barely had dried from reports of Rogers getting charged early Friday morning with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest outside Bar Knoxville when King was arrested early Saturday by university police for underage possession. Georgia athletic association policy requires an athlete to miss 10 percent of the upcoming season for a first alcohol-related offense, and it has been up to the discretion of Bulldogs coach Mark Richt whether to implement a one- or two-game suspension in a 12- to 14-game schedule.

King was a passenger in a vehicle driven by reserve tailback Dontavius Jackson, who was charged with six misdemeanors: DUI, underage possession, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to move over, following too closely and driving with a learner's permit. Jackson, 20, had four carries for 38 yards last season and is better known for being the "peacemaker" during a late-night taxi cab incident in Athens on March 28 in which a married couple filed assault charges.

"Coach Richt is aware of the arrests and is gathering all necessary information," Georgia media relations director Claude Felton said.

King, 19, is a redshirt sophomore who had 18 receptions for 377 yards and a touchdown last season.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley has yet to announce punishment for Rogers, but on Friday night he dismissed safety Darren Myles and suspended defensive tackle Marlon Walls and linebacker Greg King. Dooley and athletic director Mike Hamilton are expected to wait for the report from the Knoxville Police Department before taking any further action.

Patterson caught 12 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown last season but missed a game due to suspension. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger listed him as the latest high-profile player from the Magnolia State to become a bust for the Rebels, joining South Panola linebacker Chris Strong and running back Tig Barksdale.

Strong was Mr. Football for the state in 2007 but lasted only a year at Ole Miss. Barksdale was Mr. Football in 2008 but so far has more DUIs (one) than carries (none) with the Rebels.

SEC media days is usually reserved for such tidbits as Auburn being the only league school with its entire coaching staff back from last year. It always opens with comments from commissioner Mike Slive, who has plenty of recent events with which to be displeased.

Three players will accompany the head coach from each institution, with the senior trio of tight end Luke Stocker, defensive end Chris Walker and linebacker Nick Reveiz representing the Vols. Alabama coach Nick Saban will be accompanied by quarterback Greg McElroy, tailback Mark Ingram and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, while representing Georgia along with Richt will be receiver A.J. Green, fullback Shaun Chapas and punter Drew Butler.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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NatanElias said...

You'd think that kids with the prospect of becoming millionaires and heroes would discipline themselves a little more. The fact that this happens repeatedly indicates just how immature and short-sighted many are. Surely the coaches emphasize this constantly. I suppose they have to be 'weeded out' but it certainly is a disappointing cultural indicator. Maybe it's an indicator of campus culture as well.

It doesn't help that to the right of this comment as I post it is an ad glorifying alcohol consumption. If that were treated like smoking, things would change. So this paper is really part of the problem.

July 11, 2010 at 7:07 a.m.
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