Apr 6, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs black team defensive back Tray Matthews (28) shown in action during the Georgia Spring Day Game at Sanford Stadium. The black team defeated the red team 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Football: The Clock Is Ticking

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Apr 6, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs black team defensive back Tray Matthews (28) shown on the sideline during the Georgia Spring Day Game at Sanford Stadium. The black team defeated the red team 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

“The clock’s ticking, the clock’s ticking.”

Those were some of the first words uttered by Coach Mark Richt after his fifth-ranked Georgia football team logged a 90-minute practice in full pads on Monday.

The Bulldogs finally find themselves in game week as they will open the season Saturday at No. 8 Clemson. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ABC. The Georgia-Clemson game is 2013’s only season-opening top-10 matchup.

Georgia practiced in full pads for the final time this preseason. The Bulldogs will wear shells on Tuesday and have “dress rehearsals” in shorts Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to Clemson on Friday.

“We started off the day with a lot of energy, but as it went on, the enthusiasm and the energy waned, which is not good when you’ve got to play 60 minutes and beyond,” Richt said. “It was a little warmer than it’s been, but we’ve got to continue to push through that. Overall, everyone was trying to do what they are supposed to do and the way they’re supposed to do it.”

Richt said safety Tray Matthews returned to practice on Monday after being sidelined by hamstring and shoulder issues.

“He practiced, so that was good,” Richt said. “It was hard to gauge since it was mostly scout team work and the tempo wasn’t blazing, but he got into some competitive drills and looked fine. When a guy is coming off a hamstring, it’s a couple of days before you feel like he’s over the hump. Hopefully he’ll have no more setbacks. He’s been at meetings and he’s been observing practice, but if you don’t do it, it’s tough. Hopefully he’s doing all he can possibly do to get ready.”

Richt also had high praise for freshman cornerback Brendan Langley.

“He’s a guy with ability and a guy who can learn,” Richt said. “He’s dependable and he’s focused enough to come in as a freshman and play like a veteran. He’s done a good job of learning what to do and gaining the trust of the coaches.”

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