November 10, 2009

Is Curran pondering the pros?

Junior linebacker Rennie Curran told UGASports Tuesday that the thought of leaving Georgia early and applying for the NFL draft has crossed his mind.

Curran's name has been one of those mentioned as possible candidates on the Bulldogs to leave following this year after ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper rated Curran as the No. 2 outside linebacker on his list of top juniors at the position.

But so far, Curran isn't ready to commit one way or the other.

"Just the possibility of it always crosses my mind," Curran said following Tuesday's weekly press conference at Stegeman Coliseum. "When you see guys like Knowshon (Moreno) and (Matthew) Stafford leaving early and hear what they've experienced, it's hard not to. But it's nothing that I'm really focusing on. It's something that might get mentioned here or there, people are always asking me back home and that's something everyone wants to know.

"If you've had a successful college career, people almost expect you to leave but I don't have my mind set on anything right now except for the team and finishing up strong because that's all that matters into the end."

Nevertheless, Curran said indicated that there will be a couple of factors that play into whatever decision he makes.

First and foremost is family.

Curran's daughter Eleana just turned 1 and the Snellville native admits her welfare is the most important thing on his mind.

"When it comes down to family, that's going to be everything; to make the most informed decision possible," he said. "My daughter's everything to me; I want the best for her."

She won't be his only consideration.

Persistent rumors that head coach Mark Richt may decide to shake up his defensive coaching staff is another issue that Curran would have to consider.

"That's some thing that I'd have to think about at the end of the season. I don't see anything like that happening until … but don't think it would affect my decision as whole. But it is something I'd have to take into account."

Actually, there's a third factor - the risk of injury.

Curran pointed out the misfortune of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, who decided to come back for his senior year before suffering a severe shoulder injury that cost him the bulk of his 2009 campaign.

Projected as possibly the first pick in the upcoming draft, Bradford's future is now cloudy at best.

"It's definitely a risk either way when you think about it, especially being in that position, especially when you look at guy like Bradford," Curran said. "That's definitely something you take into account when you're deciding whether or not to come back. It's human to think about things like that, but you can't let that be the basis for any decision. It's a lot more than that."

No promises for Gray

One week after promising backup quarterback Logan Gray a series or two against Tennessee Tech, Richt refused to do so as it pertained to Saturday's game against Auburn.

In other words, barring an injury, look for starter Joe Cox to go the distance against the Tigers.

"I wouldn't sit here and promise it right now publically, although we would like to help him (Gray) continue to grow as a quarterback," Richt said. "But I wouldn't say going into this game that we're going to nail it down - at least not publically."

Cox was 4-of-5 last week for 25 yards, but threw into double-coverage resulting in an interception while trying to hit wideout Israel Troupe.

Gray entered last week's game after the Bulldogs built their 31-0 lead.

"You could have all the best-laid plans, we're going to do this but you get in the game and start thinking, 'Well, maybe we shouldn't do that.' I was thinking in terms of third or fourth series for Logan but we started scoring touchdowns every drive so I said I'm changing anything right this second," Richt said. "When we ended up with a field goal instead of a touchdown I figured that would be a good time to get him in the game."

Penalties will still cost playing time

For the second week in a row, Georgia players who commit penalties Saturday against Auburn can expect one thing - they'll be coming out of the game.

"They'll come out of the game if they get a penalty," Richt said of the practice he started last week against Tennessee Tech.

That wasn't all. Last week Richt kept the guilty players out the rest of the series, although that probably won't be the case against the Tigers.
"I don't know about that," Richt said. "But they know its coming and we'll handle it in practice, too."

This and that

Former Bulldog and current Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne has been named the recipient of the Distinguished American Award by the National Football Foundation. Payne will receive the award at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 8 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He will be recognized on the field before Saturday's game. … Former Bulldog baseball star Gordon Beckham will be honored on the field for winning the MLBPA American League Rookie of the Year Award.

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