Good morning from Athens, where the temperature is well into the 80s on the way to the predicted high of 96 by the time the Bulldogs take the practice field this afternoon.
Today’s the day, the long-awaited start of preseason camp. Thirty-two days ’til Stillwater.
I noticed that Jeff Owens, the defensive tackle, eager to get back to full-fledged football after missing all but the first eight plays of last season with a knee injury, tweeted this on Twitter last night: “I am signing off, got early wake up in the morning. . . . Practice will be great!!!!” Four exclamation points.
Practice begins at 3:35 p.m., with 104 players taking the field. There would be 105, but as you probably know by now, defensive tackle signee Kwame Geathers‘ eligibility hasn’t been certified by the NCAA Clearinghouse yet and thus he isn’t here. But everyone else is, including 19 incoming freshmen.
The Dogs will practice in helmets and shorts today and Wednesday, then add shoulder pads Thursday and Friday. The first of the dreaded two-a-day sessions will be next Monday, with full pads in the morning practice.
This type of practice phase-in was mandated by the NCAA five years ago in an attempt to to reduce injuries and heat-related incidents.
Before making their way to the practice field later today, coach Mark Richt and some players will meet the media around lunchtime at Stegeman Coliseum. I’ll get back with you from there this afternoon.