The fifth-ranked Georgia football team conducted the first of two two-a-days scheduled for the 2013 preseason camp with a pair of 90-minute sessions on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs focused solely on special teams during the morning practice at Sanford Stadium – the first preseason workout between the hedges – then returned to the Woodruff Practice Fields later in the day.
“We did a lot of drills this morning, and it was a lot about guys learning how to protect and cover and block punts,” coach Mark Richt said. “It was a good morning. This afternoon we decided to do shorts and helmets prior to the scrimmage tomorrow. I thought the guys had a good level of energy and did what they needed to do.
“I told them that the NCAA at this point doesn’t force us to go in shorts today,” Richt said. “It was a decision made by myself and the staff. If they can learn to practice without the pads on, we can continue to do that from time to time throughout camp and the season. I thought they took that to heart and did a good job today.”
Following the morning practice, senior Blake Sailors was asked what it takes to be an effective special teams player. The Athens native has played on special teams in each game over the last three seasons. “I think you just have to want to do it,” Sailors said. “It’s literally lining up and sprinting 40 or 50 yards down the field and trying to hit someone. You have to want to do it and have the toughness to do it and be fearless. You have to have the ability to tackle someone or make a play in the open field.”
The team is slated to hold its first scrimmage of the preseason Wednesday morning.
“I told them after practice that (the scrimmage) is the closest thing we have to simulating a game,” Richt said. “We are trying to evaluate what’s going on, but we are evaluating every single drill they do. We are trying to evaluate who is ready to play, who is capable, and who is dependable enough to play.”
Fall semester classes begin at UGA next Monday, Aug. 12, and the annual Fans Picture Day will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, in the Reed Plaza area of Sanford Stadium. Georgia football players will be on hand for photos and autographs from 3-5 p.m. between Gates 2 and 4. Richt will also be available from 3-5 p.m. for those with ticket coupons.
Georgia will travel to No. 8 Clemson for the season opener Aug. 31 at 8:00 p.m., and the game will be televised by ABC. It was announced Tuesday that ESPN’s College GameDay Built by the Home Depot will broadcast live from the Clemson campus leading up to the game.