ATHENS, GA. (AP) - No one was more relieved than Sanders Commings when Georgia got through its first two games unscathed.
Now, he’s ready to start doing his part.
Commings, a versatile player who can start at either cornerback or safety, has completed a two-game suspension after being charged during the offseason for domestic violence. He is eager to get back on the field for the seventh-ranked Bulldogs, who play host to Florida Atlantic on Saturday.
“It was tough,” Commings said Tuesday. “But I’ve just been practicing hard and making sure I was ready when it was time to come back.”
That time is now, and he’s not the only one. Linebacker Chase Vasser has served his suspension for a DUI arrest, giving a further boost to a defensive unit that was short-handed for wins over Buffalo and Missouri.
“It feels like everything is starting to come together,” nose tackle John Jenkins said. “We’re starting to get our guys back.”
Still unresolved is the status of two other suspended starters on defense _ All-American safety Bacarri Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Coach Mark Richt has been vague about their transgressions and just how long they’ll be out, though it appears Rambo’s suspension will last at least two more games. The player’s high school coach already revealed that Rambo had a second positive drug test for marijuana, which would result in a four-game suspension under school policy.
Ogletree reportedly was disciplined for a violation of team rules, but it’s not known how long he’ll be suspended.
Commings, who started all 14 games last season, was just glad the Bulldogs (2-0) got through what will likely be their toughest test in the early going _ last week’s trip to Missouri for the Tigers’ Southeastern Conference debut. While he watched nervously back home in Athens, Georgia found itself trailing a fired-up opponent in the third quarter, only to score 24 consecutive points for a 41-20 victory.
“I would have felt pretty bad if we had lost and I could’ve contributed,” Commings said.
While he was a bit surprised to be suspended after explaining the circumstances of his arrest to his coach, Commings said he understood that any brush with the law was likely to result in a suspension, no matter who was at fault.
There was some speculation last week that Commings would be cleared to play against Missouri, but Richt said there is no leeway for players to cut time off their suspensions through good deeds or extra work.
Commings said he did make an appeal to reduce his suspension, but indicated that school officials were concerned about setting a bad precedent _ not to mention stirring up plenty of negative reaction _ if they allowed a suspended player to come back early for a crucial game.