If any team was equipped to lose its best player, Georgia is that team. And not because the the Bulldogs have Nick Chubb to emulate Todd Gurley — this isn’t about personnel. This is about temperament.
Not to go all Phil Jackson Zen Master on you, but something is a distraction only if you allow yourself to be distracted. Even in a perfect storm, Mark Richt is the ideal skipper. (Now I’m taking the nautical route. Somebody stop me before I indulge in any more imagery.) Richt never gets rattled. He never punches walls or lockers. He is what you see on the sideline — the calmest guy in the world.
Correction: He’s tied for being the calmest guy in the world. There’s also Claude Felton, the Hall of Fame publicist who’s a Hall of Famer for a reason. Truth to tell, I once saw Richt get mad at a trash can on the practice field. (The can had it coming). I’ve never seen Felton get mad at anything ever, and I’ve known him for 34 years.
Felton was running Georgia’s sports information department when Herschel Walker was the biggest man on any campus, and the Herschel Pheomenon wasn’t a one-year furor. It lasted three full seasons. Every outlet wanted time with the great Bulldog, and somehow Felton made time, three years running, for a guy covering the SEC for the Lexington Herald-Leader. (I was the guy.) Claude was the best in the business back then, and he’s still the best.
One little suspension, albeit of a Really Big Name, isn’t going to frazzle this athletic department. Richt and Felton won’t allow it. No matter how long this uncertainty lasts, Georgia won’t be panicked or paralyzed or anything of the sort. All of us on the periphery may be going crazy, but inside Butts-Mehre people are simply going to work.