football

Its practice time

The way Georgia coach Mark Richt sees it, preseason practice couldn't get here quick enough.
Who can blame him for thinking that way?
Unless you've spent the summer vacationing in Prague, then you're no doubt aware of the number of off-the-field incidents that have recently plagued the Bulldogs, including eighth arrests since the start of the year.
If that wasn't enough, Richt spent much of the past month answering questions about the team's lofty expectations, along with the never-ending saga of last year's Florida game and the now-famous "celebration."
Today, that can finally change. Maybe.
Following the school's annual preseason press conference at Stegeman Coliseum, the Bulldogs will hit the practice field at approximately 3:20 in the afternoon for the first of 26 workouts in preparation for what Richt concedes is one of the most arduous schedules he has ever seen. Georgia opens the season Aug. 30 at 12:30 against Georgia Southern.
"Out kids understand that this is the toughest league in America, they understand in the West that we're playing Auburn, Alabama and LSU," Richt said of his team, ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll. "They understand that we're traveling to Arizona State which is a preseason Top 10. They know that they have to work their tails off just to be in position to have a good season, let along win any kind of a championship.
"They've been in this league long enough to know that any team in the league can beat you, and if you don't prepare you've got no chance."
When the Bulldogs do take the field Monday they'll do so with a full complement of players.
All 105 expected to report did so Sunday.
Suspended players senior Jeff Henson and junior Donavon Baldwin were not among them.
Richt and his staff won't be wasting any time.
After practicing in helmets and shorts Monday and Tuesday, the squad will put on the shoulder pads for shells on Wednesday and Thursday. The first two-a-day practice will be held Saturday with a full-pad workout during the morning session.
As for how to handle the expectations, Richt said he believes his team has that aspect of the season under control.
"Everyone wants to end up there (the BCS title game), but you can't make that the only goal. Your first goal is to win that first game and the next is to try and win the Eastern Division," Richt said. "After that you want to try and win the SEC title game, and if you're lucky enough to win that, then maybe you'll have the right or ability to play for the national championship.
"But that's not always a given. Look at Auburn. They won every game in this league and didn't get a chance to play. To set it as a goal now and achieve it is very difficult to do because you can't control whether or not you actually get into the game."
NOTE: Georgia's annual Fans Picture Day is set for Saturday Aug. 16 at Sanford Stadium.
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