Athens — Weird. We the media were supposed to be allowed to view the first 15 sessions of Georgia’s first practice of the summer, which was unusual in itself. Standard procedure holds that we press people get to watch the first 15 minutes before being escorted away. But this was Media Day, so an exception was made.
It lasted 13 periods. (A period, in practice parlance, lasts five minutes.) At which point UGA managers were dispatched to inform us, “Coach Richt is cutting it off.”
Meaning: Get outta here.
Maybe this first practice was about — more football-speak here — Setting A Tempo. Coaches were yelling. (Stacy Searels unleashed a line-coach bellow early on.) Players were running hard. A period of offense versus defense included more than the usual August heat. If you were a UGA fan hoping to see an edgy team, your wish was granted.
Even the famously placid Mark Richt was heard to vent, mostly at the positioning of those with cameras but also at one unwitting waste receptacle. Just after the offense and defense went head-to-head, Richt yelled that all those press people standing between the practice fields had to move. And then: “I want that trashcan out of there, too!”
(No, I don’t believe he was pointing at me when he said it.)
But that wasn’t the end of it. Richt cleared one sideline of non-participants shortly thereafter. “If he [meaning a receiver] runs an out, you’re going to get run over,” Richt said. And finally, via his managers, he told us all just to go away. No explanation given.
Which was fine with me. It was hot. I’d seen what I’d come to see, which was Aaron Murray throwing the football without his famous glove — threw it pretty well, Murray did — and Todd Grantham’s 3-4 aligning itself. Nobody would dare suggest the first day of any team’s practice is a real measure, but I have to say to the Bulldogs looked pretty sharp.
They just need to divest themselves of that darn trashcan.