Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Muschamp expects NCAA to clear Gurley

While Georgia continues to wait for word on whether Todd Gurley will be given clearance by the NCAA to play in Saturday’s game against Florida, Gators coach Will Muschamp is already operating on the assumption that the Bulldogs’ running back will there.

“Absolutely. I would expect him to play,” Muschamp said Monday at his weekly news conference in Gainesville.

The comments were in response to a question about Gurley’s uncertain status. Muschamp had alluded to Gurley during his general remarks about Georgia to open his conference: "Extremely talented running back in Todd Gurley. One of the best football players in college football. He’s a violent runner. He’s a great competitor, a guy that really competes on every down in what he does.”

Gurley has been practicing with the team for the past two and a half weeks, even while sitting out the last two games with a suspension during an investigation into whether he broke NCAA rules by signing memorabilia for profit. Gurley certainly seemed to admit guilt in a statement released by Georgia last week after the school applied with the NCAA for his reinstatement: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made, and I can’t thank the University, my coaches, and teammates enough for supporting me throughout this process.”

Many believe Georgia would not have applied for reinstatement unless it expected the NCAA to approve the request, but there has been no announcement yet.

One independent dealer has said that he paid Gurley $400 to sign 80 items, but that doesn't explain the hundreds of signed Gurley items that are on an authenticated autograph website, James Spence Authentication.

Here are a few other Muschamp comments from his news conference:

-- On avoiding distractions with rumors circulating about his job security: “Every week is the same during the season. It’s groundhog day, as far as hours, time, time spent watching film. I’m hardly ever in my office, other than the staff room. Complete bunker mentality during the season. As far as all of the other (distractions), I travel from home to work and work to home. That’s about all I do. I’m not into the other stuff.”

-- On how the criticism has affected him as a father: “It’s tough. You’ve got to get home and explain to your nine-year-old why they’re chanting to fire your dad.”

-- On Georgia winning the last three meetings (24-20, 17-9 and 23-20 last year): “We’ve had three games that have come down to the last drive of the game. We need to play and coach better in those situations. We’ve had opportunities to get off the field defensively. We’ve had opportunities to go for a possible tie, and we haven’t done it. Credit their team and what they’ve been able to do but we’ve certainly had opportunities.”

-- On whether Georgia’s defense looks different under Jeremy Pruitt: “The ends, [Jordan] Jenkins and [Leonard] Floyd, are very active in what they do. Both linebackers, [Amarlo] Herrera and [Ramik] Wilson are very instinctive. … They haven’t given up many big plays. That, as much as anything, is different. Last year they were young on the back end.”

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.